Useful Tips

How to record sound on a computer (from a microphone or the one that is heard in the speakers)


The microphone is one of the most popular external devices for the computer. Using a microphone, you can chat on the Internet, sing karaoke or just record sound. In this material we will consider just the last option. Here you will learn how to record sound through a microphone to a computer, how to save it and what to do if sound from a microphone is not recorded.

Recording sound from a microphone through the Sound Recorder program

If you use the operating system Windows 7 or Windows XP, then you can record sound from the microphone through the standard program “Sound Recording”. This program has almost no settings, but it is very easy to use. In general, it is suitable if you have little experience, and you want to get acquainted with recording sound through a microphone to a computer.

In Windows XP, the Sound Recorder program can be launched if you go along the path “Start - All Programs - Accessories - Entertainment - Sound Recording”. In Windows 7, the path to the program is slightly shorter than "Start - All Programs - Accessories - Sound Recording." In addition, in Windows 7, you can use the search. To do this, open the Start menu, enter the search query “Sound Recorder” and open the found program.

After you start the Sound Recorder program, you can start recording sound through a microphone to a computer. To do this, click on the “Start Recording” button and start talking into the microphone. In this case, pay attention to the bar to the right of the "Start Recording" button. If the microphone is working, then green lines should appear in this strip, signaling the signal level from the microphone.

To end the sound recording, click on the “Stop recording” button. After stopping the recording, the program will offer to save the recorded sound in WMA format. In the future, the saved WMA file can be listened to using any program for playing sound, for example, using Winamp.

It should be noted that in Windows 10 the Sound Recorder program is no longer available. Instead, Windows 10 provides the standard Voice Recorder program. You can start “Voice Recorder” by finding it in the list of all programs or using the search in the “Start” menu.

Recording sound from a microphone through Audacity

If you often need to record sound through a microphone to your computer, then standard programs such as Sound Recorder or Voice Recorder are not enough for you, because they have very limited capabilities. In your case, to record sound you need to resort to more professional programs.

For example, to record sound, you can use the free audio editor Audacity. This editor allows you to record and edit sound in WAV, MP3 and OGG formats. At the same time, import and export of audio files in OGG, FLAC, WAV, AU and AIFF formats is possible. And if you install additional modules, you can also import audio files in MPEG, WMA, GSM, AC3 and AAC formats. In general, Audacity offers a fairly wide range of functions for the novice user.

In order to record sound using Audacity, go to the official website of the developer, download the installation file and install it on your computer. As already mentioned, the program is completely free, so no problems with the installation should arise. Just click the “Next” button several times and the installation is complete.

After starting the program, you can immediately start recording sound through the microphone to the computer. To do this, just click on the button with a red dot.

After pressing this button, sound recording will start. In order to stop it, click on the button with a yellow square.

You can now proceed to save. To do this, open the File menu and select Export Audio, after which the sound recorded from the microphone can be saved in one of the formats supported by the program.

It should be noted that if you want to get an audio file ready for playback, then you need to use "Export audio". If you save in the usual way (using CTRL-S), the recorded sound will be saved in the format of the Audacity program.

First check microphone performance

If you are going to record from a microphone, check first of all its performance. To do this, click on the sound icon in the tray and in the menu that appears, select "Sounds" (see example below).

To help! What to do if the sound icon has disappeared (it is not in the tray next to the clock) -

Sounds | Windows 10

Next, open the tab Record and specify the working microphone.

Important! If you have several devices in this tab, then if the microphone is incorrectly selected, you will not be able to record sound (you simply will not be heard).

Choose the default device

For the right choice - pay attention to the sliders on the right (opposite each device). If you say something into the microphone, you will see how they turn green (depending on volume). See the example below.

By the way, pay attention to the fact that modern laptops have a built-in microphone: usually located next to a web camera, above the screen. See the example in the photo below.

Simply, many users connect an external microphone to the laptop, and choose the built-in microphone as the default. As a result, they are very hard to hear, because they say they’re not in that microphone (he explained chaotically, but I think the point is clear.).

Where is the microphone usually located on the laptop

Built-in Windows application: sound recording (or voice recording)

Windows already has a very simple application for recording sound from a microphone. In Windows 7, it is called Sound Recording (see screen below), in Windows 10 - Voice Recording (it’s easier to run through a search, see the example below).

Sound Recording in Windows 7

Voice Recording (Windows 10)

In my example below I will show the program "Voice Recording". After starting the program - all you have to do is press just one button Record (or a combination of buttons Ctrl + R).

Main window (voice recording)

Then you can observe the recording process: note that the circle near the "Stop Recording" button will show microphone activity (the louder the sound, the larger the circle in diameter, see screen below).

After stopping recording, it will appear in the menu on the left. You can listen to it, cut off unnecessary fragments from it, rename it, share it with someone, etc. In general, everything you need for an inexperienced user.

If the capabilities of the standard program in Windows are not enough for you, I recommend paying attention to specialized programs (I'll talk about a couple of them below).

Audio Master

Audio Wizard - main program window / Clickable

A multifunctional program for working with audio. Allows you to not only fully edit audio files, but also record speech from a microphone (or any sound from speakers / headphones, for example), extract music from audio CDs, create ringtones for smartphones, various effects, etc.

  1. The program allows you to capture sound from various audio devices: microphone, sound card, TV tuner, etc. (moreover, the captured parts can later be combined). The audio track can be saved in OGG, MP3, or WAV formats,
  2. You can convert music from audio discs (also to OGG, MP3, or WAV formats). Moreover, during the capture process, you can edit any of the tracks: for example, cut off the excess part from it,
  3. the ability to extract sound from a video file (for example, many "get" their favorite songs, melodies and phrases and put them on their phones),
  4. The program allows you to work with all popular audio formats: MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, FLAC, M4R, etc.,
  5. the ability to trim files and combine several audio shakes into one,
  6. there is the ability to impose dozens of different effects (for example, you can add an echo, try to change your voice, etc.),
  7. intuitively simple interface: to perform the desired task, just select it from the left menu (see screen above),
  8. support for the Russian language, and popular OS Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64 bits).

As for the process of starting recording, immediately after installing and starting the application, just select the option in the window Record Microphone Sound .

Recording sound from a microphone

After, specify the recording device (Microphone, see screen below), and start recording. In general, quite simple!

Audacity - the main program window / Clickable

Free open source software that allows you to edit audio files. Also, with its help, you can record sound both from a microphone and from any other sound source. Works in Windows, Mac OS X, GNU / Linux, etc.

I note that compared with the previous software, it is somewhat more difficult to master, because there are many more features.

  1. Audacity can record live sound from a microphone or computer’s audio card (you can do this in parallel),
  2. the ability to trim, glue, copy and delete audio tracks added to the program window,
  3. the ability to add any of your past recordings, music tracks, etc., to editing the program,
  4. supports sound of different bits: 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit,
  5. the program supports plugins (and the effects that they create can be changed by you by editing a regular text file!),
  6. any of your actions in the program can be canceled (and, you can roll back any number of steps back),
  7. most actions for editing a track can be carried out using the keyboard (which means that over time, getting used to it, you can edit files very quickly),
  8. frequency spectrogram viewing mode (for visual and simple perception).

For reference : to record sound, you must first set the input signal level (see screen below, No. 1), then select the Microphone device (2), press the record button (3). Pay attention to how your sound track starts to “play”, depending on the volume of the incoming sound (4). To stop recording, press the Stop button (5).

We use a stereo mixer to record sound from a computer

The standard way to record sound from a computer is to use a special “device” for recording your sound card - “Stereo Mixer” or “Stereo Mix”, which is usually disabled by default.

To enable the stereo mixer, right-click on the speaker icon in the Windows notification panel and select the menu item “Recording devices”.

With a high probability, in the list of sound recording devices you will find only a microphone (or a pair of microphones). Right-click in an empty place in the list and click on "Show disconnected devices."

If as a result of this a stereo mixer appears in the list (if nothing like that is there, read on and maybe use the second method), then just right-click on it and select “Enable”, and after the device is turned on - "Use by default."

Now, any sound recording program that uses the Windows system settings will record all the sounds of your computer. This can be a standard “Sound Recorder” program on Windows (or Voice Recorder on Windows 10), as well as any third-party program, one of which will be considered in the following example.

By the way, setting the stereo mixer as the default recording device, you can use the Shazam application for Windows 10 and 8 (from the Windows application store) to determine the song played on the computer by sound.

Note: for some non-standard sound cards (Realtek), instead of the “Stereo mixer”, there may be another device for recording sound from a computer, for example, on My Sound Blaster it is “What U Hear”.

Recording from a computer without a stereo mixer

On some laptops and sound cards, the Stereo Mixer device is either absent (or rather, not implemented in the drivers), or for some reason its use is blocked by the device manufacturer. In this case, there is still a way to record the sound played by the computer.

The free program Audacity will help in this (with the help of which, by the way, it is convenient to record sound in cases when a stereo mixer is present).

Among the sound sources for recording, Audacity supports a special digital Windows interface called WASAPI. Moreover, when using it, recording occurs without converting the analog signal to digital, as is the case with a stereo mixer.

To record sound from a computer using Audacity, select Windows WASAPI as the signal source, and in the second field, select the sound source (microphone, sound card, hdmi). In my test, despite the fact that the program is in Russian, the list of devices was displayed in the form of hieroglyphs, I had to try at random, the second device was needed. Please note that if you encounter the same problem, then when you set the recording “blindly” from the microphone, the sound will still be recorded, but poorly and with a weak level. Those. if the recording quality is poor, try the next device on the list.

You can download the Audacity program for free from the official website

Another relatively simple and convenient recording option in the absence of a stereo mixer is the use of the Virtual Audio Cable driver.

We record sound from a computer using NV> At one time I wrote about a method for recording a computer screen with sound in NVidia ShadowPlay (only for owners of NVidia video cards). The program allows you to record not only video from games, but also just video from the desktop with sound.

At the same time, sound recording “in the game” can also be carried out, which, if recording is started from the desktop, records all sounds played on the computer, as well as “in the game and from the microphone”, which allows you to record the sound immediately played on the computer and then what is pronounced into the microphone - i.e., for example, you can record a complete conversation in Skype.

I don’t know exactly how the recording is done, but it also works where there is no “stereo mixer”. The final file is obtained in video format, but it is easy to extract sound from it as a separate file, almost all free video converters can convert video to mp3 or other sound files.

This concludes the article, and if something remains incomprehensible, ask. At the same time, it would be interesting to know: why do you need to record sound from a computer?

What to do if sound is not recorded?

If the sound is not recorded, then most likely you have something with a microphone or sound card. The most common causes of problems with sound recording are:

  • The drivers for the sound card are not installed,
  • The microphone is turned off or not connected correctly to the computer,
  • Problems with microphone settings in Windows
  • Problems with the connectors on the front of the computer,

You can read more about these problems in the article “Why the microphone does not work”.