Recording output to speakers or earphones

I’m running v 2.4.2 on Linux Mint.
I have loads of options available, but I can’t seem to find any that allow me to record the output which my speakers or earphones are hearing.
I understand I need to find ‘monitor’ or ‘loopback’ or something like that, but I can’t find it anywhere.
I’m fairly sure I’ve done this before, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do it now.

All help gratefully received.

What’s the goal? Record Skype or Zoom? Computers have a Recording Pathway and a Playback Pathway and they normally, as you found, don’t cross.

We can wait for one of the Linux elves.

If it is Skype or Zoom, they have Server systems that can record both sides of a call, usually much better than you can.

Will you be recording shows or “borrowing” music?


I assume you mean if you play a mp3 file or video recording you can hear it in the speakers and earphones but Audacity is not detecting it. Also is mic or linein playing through the speakers.
In windows there is a mixing system but it needs enabled may be same in Linux…??

In the old days there was a way by connecting lineout to linein by a 3.5 mm audio cable

Make sure your Audacity is bac at default settings to start with or re-install it.
I have a linux PC somewhere and I remember at one stage I could see it recording in the track but then had to play it back after the recording to hear it … but I would need to look it up and see

No, I’m not trying to record video at all…
I can do that already.
As I said I want to record the output that is going to sound output device, whether that’s speakers or headphones is irrelevant really.

I’ve most definitely done it before and didn’t have too much trouble doing it, but I can’t figure it out now!

I can play two mp3 tracks simultaneously and I want to record them playing simultaneously and at high quality, so I want the output from my sound card/software to be input to the audacity recording input.

I can play two mp3 tracks simultaneously and I want to record them playing simultaneously and at high quality, so I want the output from my sound card/software to be input to the audacity recording input.

Sorry, I didnt mean record video, what I was thinking was a youtube video playing and recording the sound.
I have rubbed the dust of my old linux laptop and tried it briefly.
Do you use Pulse volume control or something similar for your device control.
Set it to monitor the in built sounds and it should give a stream that works with Audacity.
Set Audacity to Pulse and it will play over speakers at same time.
If you are playing 2 mp3 do you need to sync them… starting and stopping each at same time etc…?? For that you must have some other software else maybe record both in Audacity separate tracks and edit to sync…??
There is alot of info on google etc
Here is link that gives quick overview … Use Audacity to Record Sound on Linux - YouTube

Sorry, but saying "Set it to monitor the in built sounds " doesn’t help me I’m afraid.
I have just installed pulse audio volume control. But I am now so confused by exactly what is ‘input’, what is ‘playback’ and what is ‘recording’, that if I had hair I’d be tearing it out!

Now I’ve mucked around with all the settings on Audacity, and haven’t a clue how to get them correct.
Sometimes if I press record it records nothing, sometimes it records my webcam microphone, sometimes it records like a millisecond of something and stops immediately and sometimes it draws an instant solid line that doesn’t seem to be a recording at all!

Anyway, I now have pulse audio volume control.
Can you point me to EXACTLY which button I need to press and guide me on what to select?
Then I’ll need to know what settings should be in Audacity to enable it to record it!

I lost my audio all together, but I got it back, by starting the ‘Sound’ app and selecting ‘headphones’ as output!

Yeah I have absolutely no understanding at all of what these programs are doing with devices and with ‘Input’ ‘output’ and ‘recording’

I have no idea what they mean or how they relate to each other or how to link them.

I’m almost certain there is the ability to click the correct buttons and Audacity will record the output from the sound system, but right now all I seem to have is literally hundreds of options which do all sorts of things that I don’t want to do, but I haven’t a clue which options I need to set to what in order to record the audio output.

I know I could hold a microphone to the speakers, but that would be really crappy recording.
I wanted Audacity to be able to directly record the output as if I’d plugged the line out into it, or plugged Audacity into the headphone socket.

I have most definitely done this before and totally successfully, but it’s just beating me hands down this time!

I dont have the latest version on my old laptop, but Pulse audio for me gives under the recording tab…
Monitor Builtin Analog stereo
And … Builtin Analog Stereo.
If set to Builtin Audio Analog Stereo I can see the Laptop Mic in Audacity recording but cannot see SMplayer or LXmusic player play a mp3 or wav file
If I set to Monitor of Builtin Audio Analog Stereo I cannot see the Laptop Mic but can see SMplayer and LXmusic player in Audacity and both will mix if playing together.
Ialso see the Blue bar in Pulse setup indicating sound output even if pause in Audacity is pressed.
Note you dont see any recording devices in Pulse until you click the red record button in Audacity. You can then press pause if you want to fiddle with settings
I have Audacity set as Host ALSA, record in mic box…Pulse and speaker out…Pulse.
I think you will need mixer software if you want to mix more.
Did you look at the link to the video and other info on Google
It is bedtime here so I cannot make any more Noise tonight…??? Keep trying and you will get it sorted.

Audacity does not really record what comes out of your system. It records the inputs you send to it.
So Audacity needs to be set to see the inputs. But it will not see them all at one time except they are mixed by some means. With my version of Pulse I seem to get the sound from the Audio application players being mixed and streamed to Audacity input and if the Audacity output is set to speaker what goes to Audacity will come out of speaker. The other option of Pulse I have is just picking up the builtin mic.
The ALSA is the Linux sound architecture and newer version of these will have more options and probably mixers.

Can you give an example of exactly what you want to do and we can be more specific about a solution.
EG. Play two MP3 files simultaneously and record them in Audacity as one mixed stereo track and listen to them on the speakers while it is recording. There will not be any editing or sync other than clicking the play and record buttons on each application.

OR… Play two or more MP3 files simultaneously and talk or sing into Mic at same time and also play my banjo into Linein. Listen to combined output during recording. All to be recorded in Audacity as stereo track.
In bothe cases the recording will be exported as MP3 file

I was blocked from the forum because of too much posting…??? They think I am a new user, I had not been using Audacity forum for a while so they must have deleted me and I had to create a new account, but I used the old username and they still thought I was a new user…??? Now they tell me I can only edit old posts…??
But to get back to your problem…When you said you could already play two mp3 tracks, I thought you meant two mp3 files probably using some other player, then Pulse audio should allow these to be picked up by Audacity and record as a mixed track which could be exported as MP3. as I explained earlier.
I don’t think you can open and play two mp3 files in Audacity and play simultaneously. The second file opening will open a second instance of Audacity and you will have a stereo track in each instance and you can switch between them and play them separately. This means you can copy the track from the second instance into a new second track in the first instance and now both files will be in the first instance as separate stereo tracks which can be played together or seperately or edited separately to get starts , stops, beats etc all in alignment. These two tracks can be mixed and rendered to a new track all as one and exported if reqd to mp3 file. Also you can use the record button to do a similar thing, It will play the tracks and record to a new added track while it is playing but you will need Overdub switched on. Overdub is in the Transport Menu dropdown

Firstly, thanks so much for your help so far.
I really appreciate your patience with me!
I’ve said already what I’m trying to do…

But now I’ve managed to do it but a different way.
One of the mp3 files I was wanting to use, was protected, it would play just fine but wouldn’t load into audacity because of its protection.

All I did was use a converter to convert it from mp3 back into mp3 and that striped whatever the protection code was, so now it could be loaded into audacity.

Then I could load both mp3 files into audacity, get everything how I want it and export it to a new file.

Like I’ve said a few times already, I know in the past I just changed a setting somewhere and I could just record whatever signals were being sent to the speakers, but it seems I’m now not able to do that.

I’d still like to be able to do that even though I achieved what I was trying to do a different way.

But no urgency now.:blush:

You could perhaps use jack to route the sound. I haven’t done that for quite a few years, but I’d guess it still works. Not sure how much DRM protected data could get in the way, never worked with any of those files…

You said : -" I thought you meant two mp3 files probably using some other player, then Pulse audio should allow these to be picked up by Audacity and record as a mixed track which could be exported as MP3. as I explained earlier." That is EXACTLY what I meant. Playing two mp3 files (using two different players, as one can only play one at a time) So BOTH outputs are coming out of the headphones of speakers at the same time.
I want to capture that dual output and save it.
I have done that in the past more than once, I just can’t get it to do it now. It either records my microphones, nothing, or I get horrendous feedback or the Audacity app crashes, but I can NOT get it to record what is being sent to the speakers.

You said :- "I don’t think you can open and play two mp3 files in Audacity and play simultaneously. The second file opening will open a second instance of Audacity and you will have a stereo track in each instance and you can switch between them and play them separately. "

Yes you can, as that’s how I solved it. You open the first file, and you import the second file. That way you get two separate tracks BOTH in the same instance of Audacity and you can play them simultaneously.
When you export to a new output file it mixes them together into one output file.

I think it is how we describe things…???
In the first case I am using two players SMplayer and LXmusic. I just open Audacity blank new project, no opened files or no imported files or tracks. I click red record button thin blue line no audio recording (because no audio playing). I start SMplayer, I see the audio coming in the track on Audacity and hear it over my speakers. I then start LXmusic and I now see the LXmusic appearing mixed with the already playing SMplayer track (all in same stereo track) and hear the mixed sound over my speakers. After a while I stop SMplayer I see the audio wave from SMplayer stop on the track and LMmusic continues on its own in the track and out on speakers. I then stop the LXmusic player and record track goes back to thin line, I then stop recording in Audacity. I can tidy this recorded track up a bit if I want to but it is a mixed track so cannot do much sensible with it. I can then export this recorded track to wav or mp3 at any bitrate etc and that is my recording. To me this type of recording would have limited or very specific use as it is a mixed track that depended on when players were manually switched on/off etc and hard to control.

For the second case…
I open Audacity, then do file, open filename. The file opens as a track in Audacity. If I do file, open filename again for 2nd file a new instance opens with the 2nd file as a track. I can select All, copy to copy the track for 2nd file and paste it in 1st Audacity instance. OR instead of doing the normal file, open filename I can do file, Import, Audio, filename and import several files directly in, each as a new track. each of these separate tracks can be edited independantly and aligned and played separately or all together as required. Then with overdub switched on and click record these tracks can be recorded to a new track while I hear them playing OR the tracks can be mixed and rendered to a new track using Tracks, Mix, Mix and Render to New Track. Then play or export and save as required.

This second case is the way I would normally do this type of thing.

For the first case… I am still not sure how you are playing several players at one time, starting and stopping them and recording them neatly and precisely on time. The playing and recording bit is simple it is the control and any editing required that I see as the problem…?

If these methods are not working as above then it must be setup of your devices or Pulse settings.
If still not working…post what is happening rather than just … it does not work…

For sure I agree it’s how we describe things.
Your descriptions are really good, and I fully 100% understand them.

It seems to me the problem here is my descriptions just don’t work for you, no matter how I say them.
You have now described EXACTLY what I’m trying to do a few times, but it works for you.

When you say "I start SMplayer, I see the audio coming in the track on Audacity and hear it over my speakers. "


What I get is my microphone picking up me swearing because it’s not working and THAT is what Audacity records, maybe some of the sound coming from my speakers/headphones, but VIA microphone, it’s recording the noise in the room!

I can not find a way to redirect the digital signals that are sent to me headphones or my speakers directly to Audacity.

I’ve said this many times now & you still don’t understand.

But that’s fine.

Let’s just call it a day.

It feels to me like you are really not reading anything I post apart from the words “It doesn’t work”
IF you go back to the beginning of this thread you will see me explain MANY times exactly what is happening and NOT happening.

I also described exactly how I solved the problem a different way, but you obviously didn’t read that either or you wouldn’t have bothered writing all that stuff which duplicated my explanation of how I solved it.

You need to start properly reading and understanding other peoples posts rather than just posting your own ideas regardless of what they have said.

Also you seem hell bent on this being a problem about timing and playing things at the right time in the right way on the same player…




Yes, you describe it as ONE BIG problem, but it may be a “small” problem or a collection of “small” problems and that probably is the main problem…??
The BIG problem needs to be broken down into numerous small problems (each step that does not work is a problem) and each problem needs sorted as we come to it along the way.
Most of the “fiddling to fix it” we do is simply to try and isolate the problem into what step is causing the problem, and we need to follow a logical sequence.

The audio player I use is SMplayer "I start SMplayer, I see the audio coming in the track on Audacity and hear it over my speakers. "

You say “I DON’T” … That is the first problem identified…this needs to be sorted out.
At this stage I have to assume you have your player playing and Audacity trying to record…but which one of these is causing the problem.
To try and isolate the problem…
First try … Close Audacity and see if the player is playing correctly. if not sort out settings of the player
Second try …Close the player and open Audacity as a blank new project. Check to see what the device settings are in Audio setup / Preferences for record and output
Third try … Click red record button, tap or shout into the mic and see if it is recording. If it is then Audacity Record device settings probably says “Mic” or something like the name of your sound card etc and will only record from the Mic. OR ELSE Pulse is set to “Built In Audio Analog Stereo”
You said in an earlier post you had Pulse installed. So go to Audacity Audio Setup Preferences and see if pulse is listed. If it is then it is installed and should work, but you need to pick it. I pick it for Input and Output. Pulse is the Mixer software for mixing audio. Similar to Windows Mixer in Windows Sound control panel.

So open the Pulse Volume Mixer app and see what setting you have for the recording tab. You will only see recording devices when actually recording. That is what I mean when I say things must be done in correct order. So click red record button and let record run and record whatever is attempting to be recorded. Then open Pulse app and see the Recording tab settings. In my case I see “ALSA plug-in [Audacity]:ALSA Capture from … then on RHS is a click drop menu [ Built-in Audio Analog Stereo ]” Click it and you will see two options (Monitor of Built-in Analog Stereo) and (Built-in Audio Analog Stereo). Click each option in turn and minimize the Pulse window and see what each option can record in Audacity while Audacity Record is still running. You can minimize Audacity with record running and with the pulse window open and (Built-in Audio) selected and you tap the MIC you can see the Blue bar going across the screen. With the (Monitor Built-in Audio) selected you dont see the Blue bar move when MIC is tapped but it will go across the screen if you play a song on your player. Leave it at (Monitor Built-in Audio) for recording your tracks the way I understand you want to do them. I explained this in earlier posts and gave you a link to youtube describing it but you must not have read it.

You need to read this and do it, and if it does not work for you post what happens and at what stage it does not work. Get this bit working first then you are setup to record and play what ever you want.

The above records the output of your players as input to Audacity, if this is not the methodology you want to use there are options to record by “Overdubbing” and also using Transport Options Software Playthrough.

You Said… I can play two mp3 tracks simultaneously and I want to record them playing simultaneously and at high quality, so I want the output from my sound card/software to be input to the audacity recording input. Do you mean a physical loopback using an stereo audio cable…??
When you play your tracks do you want them to appear in Audacity as separate tracks for editing OR input as mixed in one track…??

Take a look at this (the link goes directly the area probably of interest to you). I think this is what you want.

If the link doesn’t go directly to the time marker, go to time 1:02.

It’s from a video I made specifically for (mostly non-technical) “cuers” (people who run Cued Ballroom Dance events), but this little section shows how to set up Audacity to record whatever is playing on the speakers.

BTW, I believe that MIXING the mic with the speakers is something that Audacity cannot do out of the box. But I don’t think that’s what you were asking about.