How to record what your PC is playing – specifically audio streams?

Is there any software out there that can record whatever sound your PC is currently sending to the audio out? Or is there some other method to capture streaming audio? I was thinking about plugging the audio out into the audio in and recording it using some microphone software, but I suspect the digitization noise coming from repeatedly converting audio to analog and back might result in loss of quality. Any suggestions?

I’ve used Total Recorder and found it to be pretty good. It’s got options for setting up timed recordings, and it can start recording when the sound starts playing, suppress system beeps, etc while recording, and even has an “accelerated” mode where it fakes out the program playing the audio into thinking the clock is going a lot faster than it really is, so you can record much faster than realtime.

And it’s pretty cheap. Support small software publishers!

      • There is software for doing this, Total Recorder (as somebody beat me to posting) is one of the big ones. Some soundcards can do it on their own with their own native recording software, such as most of the Creative cards better-than-SoundBlasterLive series. You use the Creative Recorder and set the recording input to “What You Hear” (in Win98/ME machines) or “System Mixer” in 2K/XP machines) and it will record whatever is playing through the PC speakers, no matter the source.
  • The quality loss isn’t so great, but the problem with doing this is that really cheap/generic sound cards usually can’t do duplex recording (recording one sound while simultaneously playing another). They can only play or record separately.

I’ve used JetAudio in the past … pretty good.

The software looks good, dont feel like paying though, probably gonna do some freeware hunting later now that I know its out there. Shame there isn’t a more straight forward way of doing it, I mean the whole damn song is at one point or another ON the damn computer, why not have media players preserve the buffers or something? Instead it has to be bothersome and time-consuming.

      • It has to be bothersome and time-consuming because they didn’t want you to be able to save it to your own computer at all. If they don’t mind you saving it, they give a direct link to the file.

…And anyway, if you spend $30 for a SBLive card, it’s not either of them things. >;)

JetAudio is free. :slight_smile:

I use Sound Forge 7.0 for this sort of stuff, but it’s not freeware. If you only need it for a short time, they moght have a demo you can download.

I alsao have a SoundBlaster Live card with its accompanying recording device, which works just fine, as DougC says.

You could also try Freecorder. The free version is limited to 64kbps and 30 minutes of recording at a time. The upgrade ($20) allows 128kbps and unlimited recording time.

Get a wire with a 3.5mm stereo jack at both ends, stick one end in the speaker output and the other end in the mic input, volia! Use the sound recorder that comes with Windows to record the sound.

This is yet another use to which I have put Audacity - it will record anything that your computer is playing (you need to tweak the levels, or you end up getting a noisy, distorted recording, but Audacity also allows you to trim, edit, filter, mix etc the recorded sound.