Audacity Won't Record With Headset on Windows 8.1

Hi all, I am new to Audacity. I have version 2.2.2 and have it installed on a Windows 7 laptop and a Windows 8.1 desktop.

I can record perfectly on my Windows 7 laptop using a standard headset in the audio jack. I have just installed Audacity onto my Windows 8.1 desktop and it won’t work this way. If I unplug my headphones from the audio jack on my desktop it does record through my desktop speakers, but it steadfastly refuses to record with my headphones. I just get a flat line.

I have looked through all of the FAQ and despite trying everything I can find, I cannot get it to work with my headphones. I’m at the end of my tether - can someone help me please?

Thanks in advance,

it does record through my desktop speakers

That’s not normal What’s the goal? What are you recording?


My desktop is an all-in-one and the built-in mic speakers record fine. But when I plug my headset in it won’t record anything, I just get a flat line.

I have just tried using the Windows sound recorder to test this and again it will record through my desktop’s built-in mic speakers but when I plug my headset in nothing records.

It’s like there’s a hidden setting somewhere muting the mic on my headset or something. I am exasperated trying to figure this out.

Not sure if this answers your Q or not, but…

… some higher-end laptops a few years ago had headphone jack ports [Output] that ALSO functioned as MIC ports [Input], and I don’t remember what actually determined how the port functioned - i. e.; BIOS Setting, Keyboard Key / Switch, Application being used at the time, etc.

IIRC, another factor was the laptop having Surround Sound, where Center Channel fed through Mic / H-phone port.

My desktop is less than two years old and the audio jack has a headset symbol so it should work for mic input as well as output. Right now it’s only working as output.

What are you recording?

So you are recording your headset microphone? That’s important. You didn’t say that anywhere.

the audio jack has a headset symbol so it should work for mic input as well as output.

If your instructions agree with you, then I do, too. I know of three different headset configurations, so you get to start there. Back to the instructions.

Audacity gets its sound from Windows, not the device or connection. So Windows has to be happy, first.

Right click the speaker in the lower right > Recording Devices (or something like that) and see if you can straighten out where your microphone went. That panel should have a bouncing light sound meter and that has to work before Audacity has a chance.


Here. I’m making this up as I go along.

Right click the speaker icon…
Select Recording devices.

That top one is actually the stereo UCA-202 interface with a sound on it (click the graphic).
The data device names don’t have to track the maker or product name. The desperation method of finding your sound device is unplug it and see which device vanishes.


I have attached a snip showing the mic. When I plug my headset in the meter goes up and down and then nothing happens. Same thing when I unplug it. As I said, the output works fine, it just seems that the input is muted somewhere and I can’t find where.

it just seems that the input is muted somewhere and I can’t find where.

I think it’s more serious than that. Where is the laptop built-in microphone? Laptops nearly all have built-in microphones and speakers and they should appear in the Windows sound panels. When you plug in your headset, you should have two recording devices, not one.

I think I’m going to quietly back away from this. I’m not a Windows elf and we are now heavily into internal Windows settings.

I think Audacity is fine.


Oh, wait. It’s a Windows 8 Desktop. I would still expect to find the soundcard in there somewhere. Did you build the machine? If you build it yourself, you don’t have to put in a soundcard.