Recording sound output in Windows

I can’t believe I didn’t find out about this trick until today. It would have prevented the need for all these hacks and placing the microphone next to the speakers to record sounds.

Download Squad:

If you’ve ever tried to record streaming audio in Windows, like a Skype call or a webcast, you may be aware of a simple setting that allows you to record any sound playing through your computer’s sound card. All you have to do is:

  1. Select your sound properties through the control panel or the sound icon in your system tray.
  2. Click on the properties tab.
  3. Check the recording box.
  4. Make sure Wave Out Mix is selected (It’s sometimes called stereo mix, or mono mix).
  5. Now you should be able to set Wave Out as your default for recordings made by Audacity or other audio recording programs.

This is a fantastic and dead easy way to make short sound clips from Youtube or DVD videos, or maybe you want to broadcast music to a friend over MSN Messenger or Skype. Or Google for some soundboards and randomly insert clips of Tom Cruise or Darth Vader breathing in the middle of one of your phone calls.

The possibilities are endless. 

I can’t imagine what would happen if both of you were using this trick though… I take no responsibility if your speakers end up on the other end of the room. 

31 thoughts on “Recording sound output in Windows

    • I know this is 5 years too late lol, but in case anyone else looks at this with the same question, every computer pretty much since 1999 has at least an onboard sound card (built into the motherboard). If nothing shows up on your computer, do a search for a generic sound card driver

    • You probably relate your question to the Windows Audio-Recorder:

      Just record 60 seconds and save the file. Then do a “insert file” (I don’t know the exact words shown in an english windows version; it’s the 4th entry in the 2nd Main-Menu) and select the previously recorded file. Do this until you have the approximate length for your recording. Then do the recording and cut the rest of the original lenght by using the 7th entry in the 2nd Main-Menu (“delete after actual position”)

  1. How does this work for Vista? I’ve tried to follow the instructions as written but I don’t find a recording box or option for wave out.

  2. Vista really sucks. It has some advanced stuff I don’t care about, and it misses sruff like this, stuff I do wanna do. Can you help me plz?

  3. sir i have a problem of record sound from computer i plug the out line in th e pc in and sound is coming from pc speaker so tell me how i record a sound

  4. I use Windows XP and it doesn’t work for me as described. I can’t find the “recording box”. I can just set volumes.

    What am I doing wrong? Does this depend on the audio driver I am using? Could you provide some screenshots with the dialogs and settings you are using?

  5. it does work but it kinda sucks… i can’t turn of my mic to do this, so if i want to listen to what i’m recording in my speakers it will record the sound in the mic too…

  6. for Vista, I did this: (and it works)

    – Control panel
    – Sound
    – Recording Tab
    – Rclick in the box, tick “show disabled devices”
    – Mine was called “stereo mix”, but it could also be “wave OUt Mix” or “mono Mix” (as said above)
    -Rclick that, enable it and there should be a little tick in a green circle by it. If not, highlight it and click “Set default”.
    – That’s it, you’re done! Open sound recorder and away you go!

  7. Hey, this is very neat indeed :D :D
    i just have one problem. I cant record the bass correctly. I always sound sloppy or something (very bad) :( All the other sounds perfect :D
    Trying some different methods now. ^^
    Anyone know how to record a neat bass? :)

  8. thanks for that. In Audacity you must uncheck ‘software playback’ option in order to do this stereo mix recording, otherwise it will keep recording the playback of what you’re recording. It will not record correctly otherwise and I’m worried this might damage something.

  9. I knew this before, but my problem is that I have input from mic, the sound is processed, effects are added, and then it is outputted. Stereo Mix doesn’t work, I get just noise, and no mic input. That’s the problem.

  10. thankyou thankyou thankyou! Ive spent the past few hours, trying to figure out how to do the opposite and turn “stereo mix” off! Yay now i can do multitrack recordings again, you’re a life saver!

  11. Some of you (like me will not find this helpful because the mixer appears to have been disabled (even though it says it’s enabled) so…….

    I finally found a solution for this. Open up sound from the control panel, I right clicked on the sound dialogue box to show the disabled devices and after a lot of messing about enabled the mixer. However having done this it still didn’t work – it appeared to have been disabled. However I found that if you click mixer then properties then advanced the default setting for sample rate and bit depth is 2channel 16bit 48000hz. As soon as I changed this to 2 channel 16bit 44100hz the mixer started working! The next problem was a horrible background noise that was present all the time the mixer was enabled. However by taking the level meter down to 7 under the levels tab, I was able to resolve this problem as well et voila! It all works and I can happily stream my soundcard output – spotify etc to my streamium which is connected to my stereo and I can record any stream at all.

    This has taken me about two weeks to resolve so I thought I would share!

  12. i think this may be a driver dependent thing, not everyone has the "Wave out" or other device even with everything checked and set to SHOW

  13. yes, it might be driver dependent, or sound card dependent,

    i had a Soundblaster audigy 4, and there was a “What You Hear” option, (also equivalent to “Mono Mix” “Stereo Mix” “Wave Out Mix”) it was present on Windows XP, Windows Vista 32/64, and now Windows 7 32/64, but is not possible with current audio hardware, just Input, microphone, line in, auxiliary.
    i think i need an alternate option

  14. You can take an 1/8″ male to 1/8″ male cable and create a physical loop-back connection from the headphone port to the mic port to accomplish this task.

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