Tag Archives: windows-audio

How to Record Anything Through Your Computer Speakers

Geek!This is Eric Patterson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Have you ever come across a song or sound that you just have to have but not able to get it? I can show you how to record anything that comes out of your speakers. In order for this to work, you will need to check and see if your sound card device is able to record audio from your speakers.

Windows XP:

  1. Click on Start, go to Control Panel
  2. Click Sound and Audio Devices, click on the Audio tab
  3. Click on Volume under Sound Recording, and look for a category that says Stereo Mix and make sure its checked and make sure the volume is turned down

Tip: If you don’t see Stereo Mix, click on Properties, go to Options and make sure you are in Recording mode. If the box for Stereo Mix is unchecked make sure it is checked.

Using Windows to Record

Windows has a built in sound recorder. You can use it to capture sound but not to edit. It can only record 60 seconds by default – I will show you how to record for longer than 60 seconds.

  1. Load up the Windows Recorder program located under Accessories, Entertainment on the Start menu
  2. Click on record and let it run for the full 60 seconds
  3. When it completes 60 seconds and stops, click on record again – it will record longer, adding on another 60 seconds each time you click
  4. Click Save As and name your file whatever you want
  5. Go back to the Recorder program and load up your saved file – you will see the length time of the sound a lot longer than 60 seconds
  6. Click on Record and it will record over the entire length of the saved file
  7. Save it, convert to MP3 or keep the default .wav

Using Third-Party Programs

The best way to record sound from your speakers is using audio editing software. There are many programs out there to use. You don’t need an expensive program to record audio, just anything that lets you record and edit the recording the same recording. A few examples are Audacity (free), Adobe Audition and WavePad.

Basic functions of audio recording applications are very similar. Let’s look at Audacity for recording and editing audio from YouTube.

Recording:

  1. Go and find the video you are trying to record from
  2. Load up the Audacity program
  3. Make sure Stereo Mix is showing in the drop down box of the program
  4. Make sure Stereo Mix is checked in your audio properties
  5. Click on record in Audacity
  6. Click on Play on the YouTube video (or any file your trying to record from)
  7. If it is working, you should see it being recorded inside the program
  8. Once the song, video or audio file is done playing, click on stop in Audacity
  9. You have just recorded the audio from your speakers!

Editing:

  1. You probably have dead space at the beginning of the audio file and at the end
  2. You need to use the Zoom feature and zoom into the wave sound at the beginning
  3. Make sure you know the exact spot where the audio actually starts
  4. Highlight everything before that and click on Cut and it will cut off that dead air that you created when you clicked on record before you clicked on the YouTube video
  5. Go to the end of the audio and do the same thing, just cut out any space you have left over
  6. Now that you have the audio sound the way you want it, go ahead and save the file as an MP3.

Note for Audacity: by default when you click on export as MP3 a message will pop up saying that it needs LAME MP3 encoder (lame_enc.dll file). Just go to the Audacity website, then to Downloads and download the file. Once completed, use Audacity to find the file and the program should save it.

Now you should be able to record anything that comes from your speakers. Uses for this would be if you needed a sound/song for a ringtone, a song you can’t find to download or a certain sound effect you heard and need to have.

Windows Vista Sound Problems

I’m not sure about this one. Could either be tied into the Windows sound event process or the audio driver’s limitations?

My name is Chris Proctor. I’ve never written before, but I have a feeling you might be able to answer a question I have concerning system sounds on Windows Vista. I know about your digital wisdom from TechTV (the only thing I really don’t like about G4TV is that they dropped all the TechTV stuff after they bought it), and have seen a few of your web videos, so I’m confident you can help in some way or another. Don’t worry, my question is relatively a very small issue.

OK, I’ll try to stop rambling and cut to the chase here. Basically, I can’t get Vista to play a few sounds in a custom sound theme I’ve made. See, what I’ve done is I’ve created a theme that consists of all custom sound effects, all video game sound effects to be exact (yeah, how dorky is that?). And, for the “grand finale” of this theme, I’ve built 2 custom sound clips. I’ve built a medley of short video game tunes for the start-up sound, and a similar medley for shutdown. The start-up medley runs about 1 minute 40 seconds, and the shutdown medley runs about 1 minute 55 seconds. Before I built these 2 sound clips, I had other sounds for start-up and shutdown which worked perfectly. The start-up tune was 12 or 13 seconds long, while the shutdown tune was about 6.

It’s my guess that Vista has some sort of time restraint for the sounds that I don’t know about. Do you know if there are? And, if there turns out to be no time restraint, do you have any idea why Vista suddenly doesn’t want to play these sounds when I ask it to? It’ll play all others in the theme just like it should, and the 2 big sound clips will play in Windows Media Player, WinAmp, and even when I press the play button in the sound theme dialog box. But, it just doesn’t want to play them at the times they’re instructed to. Any ideas?

I know this may seem like a trivial thing in the face of the horror that is Vista, but damn it, I built this from scratch and I just want it to work. It’s a little pet project that’s been black flagged on the last lap and I need a little help. I greatly appreciate any such help you can provide. Thanks for your time.

UPDATE: I was hoping someone from Microsoft would pick up on this issue and continue the discussion. Silly me forgot to ping Larry about it! No matter, he’s come up with quite a comprehensive report on why Windows shutdown sounds work the way they do…