Record computer microphone input

To record computer playback, Audacity relies on your sound device making an input available that can record playback. This is often the case on older Windows machines, so only requires selecting the correct input in Audacity.

Due to copyright concerns, newer computers often lack an input for recording computer playback, or it must be specially enabled outside Audacity.

This Tutorial therefore presents many options for recording computer playback. Please always respect the copyright of others when recording.

Choosing the input in Audacity

You can also choose this input device at Recording Device in Devices Preferences.

  • If the computer's sound device provides an input for recording computer playback, choose its name. It could be called "Stereo Mix", "Wave Out", "Sum", "What U Hear", "Loopback" or other names. The exact name and whether such an input is available depends entirely on the drivers of your sound device.
  • On Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 only you can choose the host (in the first box in Device Toolbar) and then the (loopback) input in the Input Device box. Choose the loopback input for the computer sound device you will be listening to (for example, "Speakers (loopback)" ). The loopback input records computer playback even if your sound device lacks its own stereo mix or similar input.

    Note that on many devices the Mixer Toolbar input volume slider will be grayed out when selecting the Windows WASAPI host, and even if not grayed out, the device may not support Audacity or the system input slider adjusting its volume. So to control the recording level, adjust the output level of the audio. This is best done in the application that is playing the audio, for example the video or audio player on the web site you are recording from. Even if the Audacity output slider is able to control the volume of the audio you hear while recording, it will not affect the level you record at.

You must play the audio you want to record using the same sound card that has the stereo mix or similar input. You cannot play audio through a USB headset or USB speakers device then record that playback using the stereo mix input of the built-in sound device.

Exit Audacity and continue reading below if you do not see an input for recording computer playback.

Windows Control Panel for sounds

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers almost always only have microphone inputs enabled by default. Earlier Windows systems may also need the input for recording computer playback to be made visible before Audacity can use it. To show or enable inputs, launch the sound device control panel from the Windows Control Panel or from the system tray (by the clock).

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
  1. Right-click over the by the system clock then choose to open the Recording tab of "Sound".
  2. Right-click anywhere inside the Recording tab and choose "Show disabled devices" then right-click again and choose "Show Disconnected Devices".
  3. Right-click specifically over the input device you want to record with (in this case "Stereo Mix" or whatever alternative you have), and if visible, choose "Enable".
  4. Sometimes it helps to right-click over the "stereo mix" or similar device again and choose "Set as Default Device".
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I need advice on home recording

by storminside

Im trying to set up home recording for my music. i need advice on what i have now and what i will need. i have a alesis multimixer that hooks up to my computer via usb. i want to run a microphone, 2 guitars, and some drums. i also have 1 crate practice amp with 1 input, only output is for headphones or speakers. Also have a footpedal for special fx with 1 input and 1 output. Can someone guide on how to hook this up right and if there is anything else i need? Is a sound card necessary? I'm trying to play live music and record on my computer to then burn on a cd. Thanks for everyones help and is much appreciated

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