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How to Record Sound from Your Computer (Even Without Stereo Mix).


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You don’t have to hold up a microphone to your computer’s speakers to record its audio. Even if you don’t have a Stereo Mix option on your PC, you can easily record the sound coming from any windows PC.

You can record the sound coming from your PC in numerous ways, and we’re going to show you some of the best we’ve found. The first three options use only software, and the third relies on an old trick that connects your computer’s audio output to its audio input with an audio cable.

Option 1: Stereo Mix, or What U Hear

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Stereo Mix is sometimes called “What U Hear.” It’s a special recording option that your sound drivers might provide. Stereo Mix can be selected if it’s included in your sound drivers. This will allow any program to record the exact same sound as your computer outputs from speakers and headphones.

RELATED: How to enable “Stereo Mix” windows Make Audio Recordings from Your Computer

Modern versions windows, Stereo Mix is generally disabled by default — even if your sound drivers support it. Follow our instructions to enable the Stereo Mix audio source on windows. After enabling Stereo Mix, you can use any audio-recording program, and just select “Stereo Mix” as the input device instead of the usual “line-in” or “microphone” option.

This option may not be available on all devices. There may be a way to enable it with different audio drivers, but not every piece of sound hardware supports Stereo Mix. It’s unfortunately become less and less common.

Option 2: Audacity’s WASAPI Loopback

Audacity recording an audio stream.

Don’t have a Stereo Mix option? You don’t need one? Audacity has a useful feature that can record the audio coming out of your computer—even without Stereo Mix. In fact, Audacity’s feature may be even better than Stereo Mix, assuming you’re willing to use Audacity to record the audio. This method takes advantage of a feature that Microsoft added in windows Vista is named “The” windows Audio Session API (WASAPI). It also works in windows 7, windows 8, windows 10 windows 11. It makes up the difference that there is no Stereo Mix option for modern. windows PCs.

In Audacity, choose the “windows WASAPI” audio host.

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Then choose an appropriate loopback device, such as “Speakers (loopback)” or “Headphones (loopback).”

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RELATED: How-To Geek Guide To Audio Editing: Basics

Click the Record button to start recording the audio in Audacity, and then click Stop when you’re done. Because you’re using Audacity, you can easily trim and edit the sound file when you’re done.

Note: If this doesn’t work, you may also need to select the correct number of recording channels to match your device using the dropdown box to the right of the device selection box. For example, If you have a 7.1 channel headset, select “8.”

Audacity’s tutorial website explains Why this feature is so much better than Stereo mix:

“WASAPI loopback has a Big Stereo mix and similar inputs offered by the audio interface have a distinct advantage. The capture is entirely digital (rather than converting to analog for playback, then back to digital when Audacity receives it).”

In other words, your recorded sound file will be higher-quality when using Audacity’s WASAPI loopback option.

Option 3: Make use of Open Broadcast Software

Open Broadcast Software (OBS), usually pronounced “Oh-bee-ess,” is most popular with streamers on Twitch or Youtube. It isn’t just good for that, though — it is a very capable screen or audio recorder, too. OBS records video and audio by default, so you’ll have files in MP4 or MKV formats rather than a pure audio file, but it is simple enough to convert a video file to an audio-only file with VLC.

RELATED: How to record your desktop and create a screencast windows

When you launch the program for the first time, this is your main OBS window. Note that the “Audio Mixer” section at the bottom of the window has a “Desktop Audio” input.

The OBS main screen.

Make sure the microphone audio volume is turned down all the way if you have one connected to your system, so you don’t have to worry about separating the audio tracks later.

The OBS Audio Mixer panel. Set the mic volume to 0.

Then click “Start Recording” and capture all of your system’s audio output. When you’re done, click the “Stop Recording” button that replaces the “Start Recording” button. Your file will save to “C:Users(YourUserName)Videos” by default.

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You can convert the file to an audio-only format like MP3 with VLC.

RELATED: Converting a Video File or Audio File with VLC

Option 4: An Audio Cable

A male-to-male aux(3.5mm) stereo cable.
Olga Popova/Shutterstock.com

If neither of the first three options suit your needs, there’s always the low-tech solution — although it’s a bit of a hack. Just get an audio cable with a male 3.5mm connector on both ends. One end should be plugged into your computer’s line-out (or headphones) jack, while the other into your line-in (or microphones) jack. You’ll stop hearing the sound your computer produces, but you can use any audio-recording program to record the “line in” or “microphone” input. A microphone is required to hear the sound. splitterThen, output the audio through headphones or speakers while you return it to the computer.

It’s not as easy and convenient as the software-only solutions we mentioned. But, if you desperately need to capture the audio coming out of your computer in an application that isn’t Audacity or OBS, and you don’t have Stereo Mix, the cable trick allows you to do this.


Obviously, copyright laws may prevent you from distributing whatever recordings you make in this way, so don’t use these tricks for piracy! After all, even if you were going to pirate some audio, there’d be easier ways to do it than this.

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