How to Record Audio From a Sound Card


Several recording software packages are on the market that allow you to record any sound that your computer's sound card can play. This is handy because you can capture sounds from streaming video as well as save sounds from CDs and DVD soundtracks. While details vary from software to software, the basic procedure for them all is the same: You set your sound card as the input source for the recording, click "Record," and then start the streaming file or disc player.

Things You'll Need

  • Streaming sound source, CD or DVD
  • Recording software, such as Audacity
  • Open Audacity by double-clicking its icon on the Windows Desktop.

  • Drop down the Edit menu from the Menu Bar and select "Preferences." In the Audio I/O tab, under "Recording," set "Device" to your sound card. Click "OK" to close the window.

  • Drop down the recording source menu in the center of the tool bar and select "Stereo Mix."

  • Click on the Record button -- the round button with the red dot -- to start recording. Then play the CD track, DVD scene or streaming media file. You will see the audio wave form drawn on the screen as the software records the audio from the sound card.

  • Click on the Stop button -- the round button with the black square -- to end the recording once the section of the sound source you wish to record has played. Then drop down the File menu to save the recording or export it as a sound file.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you connect a pair of headphones to your computer, you can listen to the file play back as you are recording it. Just select "Software Playthrough" in the Audio I/O tab of the Audacity Preferences window.
  • This procedure allows you to record the audio from anything you can hear on your computer -- including YouTube video and RealMedia, album track previews, even streaming video ads.
  • Recording of copyrighted material for use by anyone other than yourself is a violation of federal copyright law.

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