To record sound from your computer, you do not need to hold a microphone near the computer speakers to record audio. Even if you do not have the Stereo Mix option on your PC, you can easily record the sound coming from any Windows PC.
All this can be done with software. No, you do not even need to connect your computer’s audio output to its audio input with an audio cable to do this – although this may be an option.
How to record the sound coming from the computer
Option 1: Stereo Mix
Stereo Mix is a special recording option that can only be provided by audio drivers. If you have this option, you can select it and force any application to record the same sound that the computer outputs from its speakers or headphones.
In modern versions of Windows, Stereo Mix is generally disabled by default – even if the audio drivers support it. Follow our instructions to enable the Stereo Mix audio source on Windows. Use any audio-recorder program and select “Stereo Mix” as an input device instead of the usual “line-in” or “microphone” option.
On some devices, this option is not available. It has become increasingly less common.
Option 2: Audacity’s WASAPI Loopback
Do not you have the Stereo Mix option? No problem. Audacity has a useful feature that can record audio from the computer even without Stereo Mix. In fact, the Audacity feature can be even better than Stereo Mix – assuming you are willing to use Audacity to record audio, of course.
This software takes advantage of something that Microsoft has added in Windows Vista, and can also work on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. It helps to prevent the Stereo Mix option from missing on modern Windows PCs.
In Audacity, choose the “Windows WASAPI” audio host and then an appropriate loopback device – for example, “Speakers (loopback)” or “Headphones (loopback).”
Click the Record button to start recording audio in Audacity, and click Stop when you’re done. With Audacity, you can easily cut and edit the audio file when you’re done. Download Audacity.
Option 3: an audio cable
There is always the low-tech solution. Just have an audio cable with a 3.5 mm male connector at both ends. Connect one end to the line-out socket (or headphones) on the PC and the other to the line-in socket (or microphone) on the PC.
You can use any program for audio recording to record from “line in” or from the “microphone” input.
Of course, this is more inconvenient to use than the options above. But, if you desperately need to record audio from your computer with an application other than Audacity and you do not have Stereo Mix, the cable will allow you to do this.