Sometimes you may have need to record what you hear coming out of your speakers, with the exact Fidelity to the source.
- An Electrical Instrument or Instrument Pick-up you have plugged into your computer that you play through your speakers
- An Internet Voice Chat or Phone Conversation you wish to Record & Save.
- A Webinar you wish to record and save for later review.
- A Live Video Conference from Work etc which you would like to record and review or take notes from later.
- A rare song you may have heard from a friend in a distant country which you hear playing in the background that you want to record for further study
- Ambient sound you hear from an online video you wish to record and amplify for further investigation
- Conversation, song lyrics etc from Audio or video which you would like to record and play back at half speed or slower in order to understand the Foreign Language or Foreign Accent more fully.
- Recording some interesting Audio from a Live Stream or Video in a Foreign Language which you can use to replay over and over again for your own Foreign Language Study.
One common method used in the past was to plug your Audio Out (Headphone Jack) into your Audio In (Microphone Jack), and open a program to simultaneously play and record.
Unfortunately, a lot of big companies have added things to their audio programs which break this method of recording from your audio, such as Adobe Audition. Earlier versions of Audition worked great for this. Later versions have made this far more difficult, and often impossible.
Luckily, there’s still the best method out there, Audacity.
Audacity has a very simple yet very coveted and hard to find audio feature . It allows you to simply loop your audio output signal directly to your Audio input, using only it’s own internal software, without any need for cables, specialized sound cards, or other expensive audio hardware.
It’s done as follows:
- Download Audacity from the Audacity Team
- You can also Download a PortableApps Version Here
- Install/Open Audacity
- Select Microsoft Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) as the Interface in the first drop down box on your left above the work area
- In the Second box to the left, the Microphone selection, select your current Speaker Output (loop back). If you don’t know what speakers or headphones you are currently using, right-click your Windows Sounds Icon in the Notification Area and and find the ‘Playback’ properties and see which one is selected, or has a Green Monitor bar moving while you are playing some audio.
- This is the key feature you’ll use. It basically just takes the signal that plays out of your speakers and converts it directly into an Input/Microphone Signal which you can then record. Be sure to select the option which is followed by “(Loop Back)”
- In the third drop down box, the one for your Speakers/Output, select the same device you selected as the Microphone, except it won’t be followed by “(Loop Back)”
- Click Menu > File > New > Audio File
- Get your video conference or chat or whatever the source for your audio is ready, making sure the sound is loud enough etc
- Click the Record Button in Audacity
- Start your video conference or chat or whatever the source for your audio is, as you normally would, and let it play through.
- Click Stop when you want it to end
- Highlight and Delete the beginning silence and ending silence, etc
- Hit Ctrl+A to select the entire wave-form
- Go to Menu > Effects > Amplify… And be sure “Allow Clipping” is disabled. Audacity will automatically tell you the max Amplification you can have without clipping, so just click Apply and let it amplify to its recommended level. In some cases it may actually de-amplify it, or make it quiter in order to remove clipping, so you should follow whatever it suggests.
- At this point you could also select segments from the meeting or whatever audio you have to copy and paste into new Audacity Windows to make several shorter clips, if desired.
- Go to Menu > File > Export> and select Export as MP3
- Name it and select a save location, then click Next
- Set any ID3 Tags you wish to accompany your MP3 Audio File in the next window.
- Export the Audio