How can I record youtube sound from audacity?

I only have headphones and do not have speakers. I’m trying to record youtube and audacity says I can record sounds from youtube while playing. I always get an error, this is my setup:

Playback Device: My headset
Recording Device: ??? - I have four (4) choices

  • AMD High definition Audio Device (loopback)
  • Realtek Digital Audio (loopback)
  • My headset (loopback)
  • My microphone (loopback)
    Recording Channel - Set to 2 Stereo

Error is that it cannot open my recording device, which one of the above is my recording device because if I choose AMD or Realtek nothing happens. Someone have any ideas?

Make sure you turn OFF Overdub and Software Playthrough in Tranport > Transport Option. I’m thinking My headset (loopback) should work, but there may be difficulties if it is a Bluetooth device.

You should select “(loopback)” for whatever is being used for playback. This might be different from what Audacity is using, even if it’s the same physical device.

Right-click on the Windows speaker/volume icon on the lower right of your screen, then Open Sound Settings, and check your default Windows Output Device.

Note that with (loopback), recording usually won’t start unless you start the streaming (or other) playback first. There has to be and audio stream… It can be a silent stream but it can’t be “nothing”.

What should my recording device be? Like I said I don’t have speakers just headphones… and you can see my choices to choose from which one should I use?

Did you try everything, and did you try while the sound was playing? (You only show 4 loopback devices and one should work…)

Wherever the sound is coming out… I assume headphones if that’s what you’re using but the device name may not be correct. The name should match whatever Windows says you’re using.

I don’t think it’s “digital” unless your headphones are digital (like USB or Bluetooth). It shouldn’t be “microphone” unless you’re using a USB microphone with a headphone-output jack. “(loopback)” is capturing/recording the output from your soundcard/audio device so loopback doesn’t make sense for a regular microphone, which is a sound input.

Are your headphones Bluetooth? There’s a chance that Bluetooth won’t work with (loopback).

No, you are correct…I’ll upload and show you what I have and I have chosen the only loopback for my headphones.

Yes, I did try every single one of them. When I chose the top two nothing happened but it just sat there waiting for sound to come on even though the youtube video was playing already.

When O use the headset as speaker sound that I listen to and choose the microphone as recording device it records my voice but does not allow me to play it on audacity. I can save it and play it on my Sony Vegas software and it plays there but I cannot get it to record or play no matter what I do on audacity. And I’ve tried combinations of all four and still nothing.

When I use the microphone to record and try to play it on audacity it tells me that there was an error opening up my playback device which is my headphones.

For something that’s free to use I can’t get it to work…lol.

Hi PantherSlaeyer,
Depending on your computer and the audio chipset it uses (either AMD or Inter) you would select that one. Do you have a built in microphone? If not, this may be the problem. Generally, you have to go to your settings and identify the audio source for playback and recording before selecting it in Audacity.

hope this helps,

Thanks Rick, I appreciate your input. Unfortunately, everything that was suggested to me I’ve done twice over and still nothing. But…I have found a work around that doesn’t really make me happy but it gets the job done in a round-about way.

For now, I guess I’ll keep using Audacity until I can afford to pay for a quality Audio recorder-type software that I’ve seen out in the marketplace. Again, thanks for your feedback!


Hi PantherSlaeyer,
Sorry been busy with radio stuff/work. For youtube, I general don’t bother with trying to get Aud to record it, I use a site called mp3juices ( they have a great youtube download feature that allows me to save an mp3 or wav I believe, then I import it to an Aud project. I think I’ve found that this saves me a whole bunch of time and headaches, when trying to listen/import to audacity. And I’m just your average user on Windows 10 and not some recording techie that probably pays for expensive audio rendering.


There’s also yt-dlp which is a free YouTube video downloader. You can download in multiple formats, e.g., video/audio, video only, or audio only.

Try downloading format 251 (yt-dlp --format=251 to download the highest-quality audio file in Opus format. That will download a file in a webm container which Audacity should be able to open (3.2.4 can open it).

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