Is there a device+software that can do this?

I’m looking for something that amounts to a second sound card for my laptop – not a replacement, but one that can work simultaneously and entirely separately from the one built-in. I have two uses for it that are kind of similar.

One is that I’m recording with Audacity from online and external sources. Since some of these recordings take hours, it would be nice if I could do that in background, and do other things (like watch YouTube clips or Netflix) that need sound without interfering the recording.

The other is that I occasionally do gigs as a dj, and it would be nice if I had a separate audio channel to preview and cue music with, again without interfering with a 2nd output to the PA system.

I’m thinking this will need both hardware (on eternal sound card on a USB card, I hope) and some software to route the two separate audio channels between whichever devices or programs I send the channels to and from.

I would think that this would do what you need.
I don’t know how smart Windows is about using multiple sound devices. OS X would handle this with no problems.

M-Audio PCI Audio Interfaces

I think any of those should do it; choice depends on how many different inputs/outputs you want. You can open multiple projects in Audacity and select the different audio devices you want to use with each. You can use multiple sound cards in Windows.

I’ve been using the Audiophile 2496 as my primary sound card for several years; works fine for games and I can record acoustic guitar.

Most computer sound cards are designed for playback with recording only an afterthought, these are designed for recording and will solve a lot the problems you may be having with recording levels causing distortion, pops, drop outs, etc.

No one of those will fit in my laptop.


Well, I think the key phrase you want to look for is “audio interface”. I’m not familiar with the USB type, but here ya go:

Computer Recoding - Audio Interfaces