In recent years, the ability to record your own audio has become a must for many PC users. Whether you’re recording a podcast, creating an original video, or just saving it for future reference, it’s increasingly becoming a valuable tool to use in both our personal and professional lives.
Various free and paid software make that process quite simple, but it usually only records what comes through the microphone (built-in or external). What if you want to record the sound coming out of your speakers?
Here are two relatively simple ways to do it.
How to Record PC Audio with Stereo
We will be using Windows 10 for the purposes of this guide, but for older software and macOS, the third-party software in question is still available.
Stereo Mix is a feature built into Microsoft’s operating system, but it’s disabled by default. To record external audio, you need to enable:
- In the search bar next to Start Menu, type ‘control’ and click on the relevant result
- Select ‘Hardware and Sound’ then ‘Sound’
- In the window that appears, click the ‘Record’ tab and you will see the Stereo Mix marked as disabled
- Right click on it and select ‘Enable’
- To make sure this works, we also recommend clicking Stereo Mix to highlight it and then ‘Set Default’ at the bottom of the page (you can always change this back later)
- Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes
Once done, you are free to open the recording program of your choice to record externally. Just make sure you select ‘Stereo Mix’ below the input device, instead of the usual ‘Microphone’ or ‘Input’ options.
How to record PC audio with Audacity
One such program for recording is Audacity, but you can also use this freeware to skip the first stage if you don’t have access to Stereo Mix. Here’s how it’s done:
- Download Audacity for Windows via the Fosshub website. The macOS and Linux versions also provide similar functionality for this tutorial
- Once installed, open the app and you will see a screen like below
- Now you will need to customize the dropdown boxes above the timeline. Select ‘Windows WASAPI’ from the farthest left and then select something containing ‘loopback’ from the next to the right – in this example ‘Speakers (Realtek (R) Audio) (loopback)’
- You will want to make sure that the Recording Channel is set to 2 (Stereo), otherwise you may receive an error message. You should also check that the relevant speakers are set as your output devices
- When you’re ready, tap the red circle at the top of the screen and Audacity will record the sound coming out of the speakers. It will automatically pause recording when there is no sound or just tap the gray square at the top to stop at any time
- Audacity is designed for audio editing, so you can trim and adjust your clip once it’s recorded before exporting it to a variety of file types.
Here you have it. Two simple methods to record audio outside of your PC. If you’re looking to record internal audio (i.e. from your microphone), try Windows 10’s built-in ‘Voice Recorder’ app or the aforementioned Audacity, both of which are very easy to use.
If you are having problems, try how to fix sound problems in Windows 10.
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