Recording Quality via Speakers and Dual headphones

Hello, I have been using Audacity for many many years, and one of the features I found most useful, aside from the actual editing of the waveforms, was recording sounds that were playing on my computer. Not using a mic, but actually recording the internal sounds. In the oldest versions of Audacity that I remember, this feature was called recording “What U Hear”. Then in later versions I remember having to dig around and change the recording settings to something internal to get it to work.

Now with the most recent versions of Audacity the only way I can find to do this is to use the “Widnows WASAP” and change the input to “Speakers and Dual Headphones”. What this yields however is a HORRIBLY “boxy” sounding recording. It works but it literally sounds as if it recorded what was playing in a tiny cardboard box. What happened to the easy recording of sounds that were playing on my computer? This is not only extremely difficult to use now, but the quality is absolutely unusable. Is there any way to record like I used to without this awful sound degradation??

It may not be a problem of either Audacity or WASAPI. What U Hear or Stereo Mix is a dual pathway. It runs the sound down most of the playback pathway, turns it around and brings it back in to the record pathway. Modern Windows machines try to help you out by automatically adding effects and filters to both.

The recording pathway may have Microsoft Enhanced Services applied and last time I had to check a Windows machine it had “Cathedral Ambience” on the playback. You may be listening to both.

Check in the Windows Control Panels and see if there is too much help running there.


That was not a feature of Audacity, that was a feature of your sound card drivers (probably under Window XP).
“What U Hear” was a feature commonly found in SoundBlaster cards on XP. Other manufacturers used other names such as “Stereo Mix”.

On Vista and later, “What U Hear” / Stereo Mix has become increasingly less common. Very few modern computers have that feature. This is nothing to do with changes in Audacity, it’s all to do with changes in the Windows sound system and sound card drivers.

If it’s a laptop computer, it is probably recording from the built-in microphone. Tapping your computer near the microphone while Audacity is recording will confirm if this is the case. Check in the Windows Sound Control Panel and ensure that “listen to this device” is OFF for the microphone.