Can it record streaming IN/OUT audio simultaneously ?

Can Audacity be used to record streaming audio simultaneously on In & OUT channels of std audio ?

I had been using a browser plugin called ‘freecorder’ for this task, which did its job perfectly but its toolbar took up much browser space with unwanted other functions. It stopped working after a browser update, and when googling for a solution, read it contained spyware.

When I asked for a free alternative in another forum I was directed to Audacity. Having used your Forum Search, it sounds like the answer may be no, but I registered to ask just to make sure.

If Audacity cannot record input & output channels (mono is sufficient) can someone recommend a free alternative that hopefully is standalone with just a minimal interface, like record, pause, stop, and perhaps a Settings, where MP3/Wav, bitrate can be tailored.

Is this a round-about way of asking can we record both sides of a Skype call? No. But Total Recorder can do that and we used to recommend FreeCorder. We should probably stop.


I think there may still be some suggestions for using “Freecorder 3” but we’ve not recommended later versions because of issues regarding what is or may be bundled with it. Freecorder 3 is no longer officially distributed, so I agree we should not be recommending it now.

There may be ways to do what you want paul5, but it’s not very clear exactly what it is that you want. Could you be more specific about what you want to record, which version of Windows and what sort of sound card you have.

I use WinXP Pro/SP3 on one laptop and Win7 on another. In both cases the ‘soundcard’ is a chipset on the laptop motherboard, but I didn’t think the chipset that relevant on laptops - or even whether WinXP or 7 ?

My understanding of pc’s is the basic Windows OS, as do most others, supports a basic, even mono, audio input/output - I think in the telephony market called ‘full-duplex’. That is what I want to record, and preferably as well as Freecorder does, where it is efficient in not wasting filespace recording ‘silence’, and can record in MP3 rather than wastefull .WAV.

I had installed V4 of Freecorder, and as I said, when googling on solution to the problem, I came across many references in to more recent versions being ‘worse’ for malware. I looked on their website a week ago and saw they were upto V7, then a few days ago, it wasn’t there at all. If they have included spyware, I don’t suppose there is any point my trying to ask them about it as they will probably just deny it or evade the question.

That still does not tell us “what” you want to record, but I assume that you mean as a general enquiry, how to record sounds that are playing on your computer.
If that’s what you mean, see here:

Audacity does not directly record in MP3 format. MP3 is a “lossy” compressed audio format and is not really suitable for high quality audio production. Audacity records high quality uncompressed audio data which you may then export as a WAV, MP3, AIFF, OGG, FLAC or any other supported audio format.

Audacity can be configured to pause recording when there is silence. See:

whether WinXP or 7 … I think in the telephony market called ‘full-duplex’

It makes a lot of difference. Yes, both systems are full duplex, but they don’t cross. The microphone always goes out and YouTube always comes in, simultaneously. Full Duplex. The problem when you’re recording as a third process is you generally only record sound from one or the other – with a strong preference to recording the microphone.

Stereo-Mix or Wave-Out is a way to cross the streams, but you can’t do that and run Skype at the same time, further, Win7 makes this process much more painful than XP because of its corporate bent and absence of those record and play mixers.

So one sentence would be good. “I want to record both sides of Skype.”


The problem with Freecorder 3 ( ) is that it tends to dial home and get the later versions (though there is a chance it will not do that on XP because XP is an old operating system).

You may be able to hide some of its toolbar components in the browser. But if you don’t want toolbars at all and you must have MP3 recording (rather than record to WAV then convert to MP3) you’re probably going to have to spend money buying a program.


Thanks for all your responses. Although the question is as stated, to record the audio in both directions simultaneously, that does include Skype or any other VOIP activity, but preferably excludes OS System sounds.

Regarding audio recording quality, I only need sufficient bitrate for telephone speech quality. I had Freecorder 4 setup to record at 80Kb/s, but probably could be less than that, maybe 48 or 64Kb/s.

I gathered from Audacity’s home page its main purpose is more for musicians creating and editing high quality music, so immediately wondered if the suggestion to use Audacity to record in/out Windows audio was correct.
(btw, on a completely different topic, I am looking for articles that review Hi-Fi Active Speakers that can be used via a wireless (perhaps Bluetooth or WiFi) connection)

Although I prefer recording direct to MP3 for efficient file storage, I could live with recording to another format then delete after converting to MP3. I seem to remember in ancient days of 2,400 bps dial-up modems, my USR Sportster answerphone recorded messages in a proprietary format, but could be set to autoconvert to WAV.

As you say you formerly recommended Freecorder when in Version 3, in absence of a known standalone alternative, I wondered if I should seek that and try it out, so am grateful for the Freecorder 3 link to I saw its a suitably small 2.2MB and downloaded it. I was surprised to receive a Windows notification ‘Open File - Security Warning - publisher could not be verified, sure you want to run this software: Freecorder Toolbar.exe.’. That is so rare, I can’t remember last time I saw that warning. Wonder why ? I cancelled the ‘install’ at that point as a) the Freecorder 4 toolbar that had disappeared after the FF autoupdate, has now re-appeared (although I have not yet tested it still works) and b) when thinking to install an App, usually I first check it is available and I can dl it without trouble, THEN I tend to read a little more about it before deciding to actually install it.

Am I correct in concluding Audacity cannot record a VOIP call in both directions ?

Even if it can’t, sounds useful for when I need to edit audio files. As it happens, I was looking for both a utility to extract audio from the various video formats including MP4 (see my 1 other post) and then save just a 2 minute part of resulting huge audio file, as a test file for evaluating Active Speaker quality. When googling for that, NCH software was top of the search result, and as it said there was a free version for private non-commercial use, looked no further, installed it, used very briefly once for 1 file, was impressed with it, unaware that next time I wanted to use it, it said ‘your 14 day evaluation has ended…’ !!! :imp:

My preference is for open software, (really enjoy Inkscape) but for the various computing tasks I have, sometimes difficult to find a good open software offering, eg. a complete RDBMS with integrated Front-ends.

That’s a lot clearer.

Audacity records from the OS sound system (Windows, Mac or Unix like). It can record whatever the the sound system sends to it.
The Windows sound system cannot send per-stream audio channels to a recording application, which means that Audacity cannot do this on Windows without additional software to act as a “virtual” replacement for the Windows sound system. Virtual Audio Cable may be able to provide a virtual audio device to connect Audacity to individual audio streams, but it is not a simple application and it is not free (commercial).

Also as previously said, Audacity records audio in high quality uncompressed data (PCM) format, which is not what you want.

You could try Sound Leech by Milo Software. It currently records in WAV format, but there are plenty of free MP3 encoders that can batch convert to MP3.

That was before they started automatically installing additional dubious software and toolbars on the computer. I’d recommend staying away from Freecoder (any version). It took me ages to completely and cleanly remove it after testing it - there were bits of “stuff” all over the place that resisted removal.

Audacity is suitable for any high quality audio production work. It does not attempt to do everything, but it does succeed as a multi-track audio editor and is widely used for tasks ranging from simple voice recording and LP transfer to digital, through to large scale multi-track productions.

We prefer to stick to one topic per forum thread, otherwise it becomes very confusing :wink:

The Windows sound system does not provide per-stream audio channels, and Audacity records from the OS sound system, so yes, on Windows recording separate streams from voip applications is not supported. Many Linux systems can provide per-stream audio channels through the Jack sound system, so it is possible to record individual audio streams from many audio applications on Linux.

Yes you can use Audacity for editing your recordings, though it is better to edit uncompressed WAV files and then export as MP3 so as to avoid unnecessary sound quality loss due to repeated MP3 encoding. Encoding MP3s always causes some loss of sound quality and only very basic editing is possible directly on MP3 files, so Audacity always edits uncompressed audio data.

Am I correct in concluding Audacity cannot record a VOIP call in both directions ?

Yes, you’re correct. Those calls establish special sound pathways so as to be able to apply echo cancellation, environment suppression, and auto gain control. Any attempt to mess with those services degrades the call, sometimes – many times – turning it to trash. In the case of Windows/Skype, we recommend Pamela Professional and Pamela Business, those two being the ones with no production limits – and they were designed specifically to “know” how Skype works so as not to interfere with it.

Note that’s not the same as bi-directional streaming or recording your own CD playback. That’s why we keep trying to nail this down. You’re not talking about one thing or service as much as you keep trying to broaden the request.

And yes, recording music playing on the computer does frequently give you OS action feedback sounds as well. You can turn those off in the OS.


Are you saying Freecorder 3 did that? I can put it up on my XP partition and try it, but I really don’t think it does anything dubious… as long as you can stop v4 or later getting installed, which you probably won’t be able to on Vista or 7. Freecorder 3 was actually an extremely capable recorder that could record from different browsers simultaneously to different files, record when audio was muted and save to WAV.

I don’t think Freecorder 3 was any better than Audacity as a Skype recorder; just like Audacity, Freecorder can record both sides of the Skype call from the sound card’s “stereo mix” input if you can make the mic play through the computer output (which usually you can on Windows XP). But you may not get great recorded quality, the other person may hear feedback from your mic, you will get both sides of the call mixed together and you will get system dings in the recording unless you turn off all system sounds.

Windows messages asking if you want to install software from the web are commonplace, I think.

Am I correct in concluding Audacity cannot record a VOIP call in both directions ?

Not entirely correct, see above.


That’s the point. When I tried it on XP it was very insistent on “upgrading” to Freecorder 4 along with its other payload.

Many thanks for all your help, explanation of why not easy in Wondows Sound System, and yes I agree my mention of my seeking reviews of Active Speakers best done as a separate enquiry … having gathered Audacity is intended for working with high quality audio I wasn’t sure if it was a site to gather tips on where to find reviews of Active Speakers. Will post separately. So thanks again, you have answered my question. :smiley:

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