Cannot record Stereo Mix

This is probably a Windows or Sound driver problem, rather than Audacity, but I suspect the right knowledge might exist in this forum.

OK, so I am absolutely stumped trying to record “Stereo Mix”. It is simply silent whatever I do, even though I have sound playing on the system (on-line radio but just playing music from the HD is no different). I think I had it working before on this system but can’t be positive.

I have Win7 Ultimate 64bit on an HP Pavilion Elite HPE and just upgraded to Audacity 2.0.2, previously running 1.3 with same results.

I have tried playing around with every possible combination of input device options, both in Audacity and in the Windows Recording devices settings, but the “stereo mix” device remains dead silent whatever I do, even though I have sound playing on the system.

What can I do?

Answering myself: I did a bit more searching and found this other thread:

It seems I am in the exact same situation. When I switch the sound to the loudspeakers it works !!??
I had only fiddled with the settings for recording devices. It hadn’t occurred to me that the output device settings could play a part too.

So the difficulty is partly solved. Switching to the speakers is a workaround that enables me to record Stereo Mix, even if it doesn’t quite do it the way I’d like it to. What I’d really want of course is to record Stereo Mix while listening on the headset.

So any ideas are still welcome.

What sort of headset? Is it a USB headset or does it plug into the minijack headphone socket on your computer?
Stereo Mix records what is playing through the sound card. If you are using USB headphones then you are bypassing the sound card for playback, so nothing will be recorded.

Ah, yes, it’s a “normal” minijack-type of headset, so it SHOULD work with Stereo-mix, but doesn’t.

Can’t resist a general rant here:
I’m rather annoyed, in fact TOTALLY annoyed at the moment, with soundcard and computer manufacturers
going out of their way to make things WORSE by having the equipment trying to be smart about whether
you are listening to speakers or earphones or headsets or whatever.

It used to be that when you plug in your earphones in the socket it would electrically disconnect
the speakers and play the same signal on the earphones. The computer didn’t know which one
you were using, and it doesn’t need to. NOW they are actually WORKING towards, and PAYING
people to design solutions to cause ERRORS FRUSTRATION and DIFFICULTIES. Damn them all to hell.

Right, feeling a little better I guess.