Recording audio when the headphone and mic jack are combined

I’m new to using a computer for audio recording like this so please be patient and give a lot of details. With my desktop that runs xp I could use a 3.5mm mini jack and connect one end to my ipad and the other to my computer and play audio through my computer speakers. I have a new laptop with windows 8. The headphone and mic jack are combined. I opened Audacity and selected line in. I have my computer set to stereo but all it does is record from the external mic. It does’t record from what is connected to the computer. I then tried just trying to play my ipad over the speakers and couldn’t get that to work either. I went into my settings and the listen button was checked. My computer says under the mic settings to select the listen feature to play external audio over the computer speakers. I’ve tried every setting I can think of. I need to record audio from a keyboard and an ipad for a project I’m working on. I figured connecting it to my laptop would be the easiest solution but i didn’t know it would be this complicated. Any suggestions?

With my desktop that runs xp I could use a 3.5mm mini jack and connect one end to my ipad and the other to my computer and play audio through my computer speakers.

You left out some words. “… and the other to my computer Stereo Line-In …”

Computers as a rule don’t have those any more. Your whole world is supposed to be taken up with Skype, FaceBook and Twitter and none of them need a stereo line-In connection. So computers tend to only come with Mic-In and Headphone-Out.

Some celebrity computers can switch connections or play other games, but as a rule, you’re stuck if you need a stereo connection. You can create good quality bidirectional stereo connections with a USB device such as the Behringer UCA202. This has been a good performer for me; I have two.


Do you mean it records from the built-in mic?

From your description, you don’t have a line-in, only a “combo” microphone in and audio out.

You may have to look closer in Windows Sound (Recording Tab). Plug-in an input. Right-click to enable all disabled and disconnected devices then see if there is a device for recording the input when an input is connected. After doing that, restart Audacity and see if you can record by choosing the correct input. If not, post the information from Help > Audio Device Info… at top right of Audacity. Then we can see what input devices Audacity sees.

Even if you can record from that input, it probably won’t be suitable for your keyboard - your input may be mono or really only suitable for a low powered mic. In that case you need an interface like Koz suggests.

Note that if you have (or feel you might want) a headset for combined listening and recording, you can use it with the combo in and out if you buy an adaptor like this:

Also note that you don’t need to use “Listen” in Windows if you use Audacity. If you can get the audio coming into the computer you just have to enable Transport > Software Playthrough in Audacity, then you can listen while you are recording. If you want to listen in Audacity without recording, click in the Audacity Recording Meter as well as enabling Software Playthrough. But be aware there will be a delay before the sound gets to the computer speakers. “Listen” will be the same.