An old (2014) link suggests that it is possible to do a full video recording (video+audio) on a mac with Quicktime, using only free software.

That seemed a little bit too good to be true, and when I tried it out on my recently bought MacBook Air with MacOS 10.13.6 and QuickTime 10.4 installed, I wasn't surprised to see it go wrong. The main problem is that as soon as audio is turned on in a QuickTime screen video, it starts repeating continuously an unbearable sequence of (mostly strident and high frequency) sounds in the background which all but hides any other sound. And yes, I double-checked the "Use ambient noise reduction" boxes to be checked and the volumes to be set reasonably in System Prefs > Sound.

This background theme sounds a lot like a proposital handicap, to be removed by payable additional sofware. I googled and browsed apple pages, but did not find any real explanation.

Related (but older, and perhaps a little outdated) questions : here, there

  • Your phrase "background theme" confuses me - I'm assuming you don't mean it plays a tune.. so, what do you mean? Best guess so far is you have the mic feeding back through the speakers... – Tetsujin Sep 25 '18 at 10:19
  • @Tetsujin the for your feedback, I edited the question to hopefully make it clearer. – Ewan Delanoy Sep 25 '18 at 10:23
  • Still not clear. QuickTime screen movie capture does not add any background music (if this is what you mean by "theme".) BTW/ what version of macOS are you running on this Mac? – IconDaemon Sep 25 '18 at 12:23
  • @IconDaemon I added the macOS version in the question. What's "still not clear" please ? – Ewan Delanoy Sep 25 '18 at 13:05
  • What is not clear is the 'theme'. Is it a musical theme? Your description of unbearable sequence of (mostly strident and high frequency) sounds does not appear to be a description of anything musical. So far as I know, QuickTime does not add any propositional handicaps requiring the purchase of additional software, licenses, etc, to remove the handicaps. Something else is going on. I've used QuickTime to do many screen recordings and have never heard anything like you're describing. – IconDaemon Sep 25 '18 at 13:21

There are three different auto levels involved with a recording. The first two can be set from System Preferences, as shown below.


The input volume is the record level from either the built-in mic or input jack. The output volume controls level for the internal speakers other device (such as headphone) you may plug into the output jack. The third auto level is set in QuickTime, as shown below.


This is the level used monitor what is being recorded. This is not the same level as the output volume shown in System Preferences.

If you are using the built-in mic or an external microphone and the internal or some other external speakers, then the System Preferences output volume and/or the Quick time level should set to zero.

Although not directly asked in our question, I might as well add the following:

If you are trying to make a recording where the sound is being produced by the computer, then you need to plug a jumper into the input and output jacks. Say for example, you want to record video either from the camera or the screen and you want to sound to be music from iTunes, then you will to feed the sound from the output jack back into the input jack.

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