Recording with Stereo Mix not working?

Hi, I am trying to record some audio directly from my laptop without having to use a loop back cable or using the internal microphone. I previously was able to do this on my laptop without any issue. I simply followed the instructions/tutorial on setting up to use the Stereo Mix under the microphone pull down menu. This worked just fine before, to the point that I could even begin recording with the Stereo Mix and then I could mute my laptop speakers and still get a wonderful audio recording!
Now, when I select the Stereo Mix option and record audio, it sounds as though it is actually recording from the microphone. I can somewhat verify this by the fact that when it’s recording and I mute my speakers the recording level drops right off as though it is muted as well.
I’m sure it has something to do with my hard drive having completely crashed a while back, and I had to replace it with a new one. I have gone to the HP website and downloaded the latest drivers, which gave me the option of using Stereo Mix as an input (before downloading I did not have the Stereo Mix option).
I’m posting this in the hope that someone out there can help me out to get things back to the way they were working before my hard drive crashed. I would really like to be able to record using the Stereo Mix, and then muting my sound so that I still get the recording just fine, but don’t have to listen to it while recording.

So are you on Windows XP? You can’t usually mute the audio and still record stereo mix on Windows Vista and later.

The new drivers could perhaps be working incorrectly. In Audacity Device Toolbar, try choosing Host=“MME”, Input= “Microsoft Sound Mapper (Input)” then go to the Windows Control Panel for sound and make “Stereo Mix” the default. Then Sound Mapper will record from stereo mix.

See here for the XP Sounds and Audio Devices applet .


Hi Gale,
I will try your suggestion, but I think I had already used those settings.
I am using Windows 7, as I previously had when things worked. The only difference is that previously it was a factory install and setup, whereas this time I had to install and set things up. I thought I got everything, but maybe I missed something? Do you know is the type of Windows 7 would make a difference somehow (Home vs Pro vs Ultimate)?

So how were you muting the speakers? Do you mean they are external speakers with a mute control? Stereo mix can only record if there is loud enough sound playing on the sound card.

The different Windows 7 versions don’t affect basic sound playback or recording, but you may not have the correct audio drivers intended for your motherboard. Windows generic drivers could cause inputs to not record correctly. See here .


All I was doing was pressing the key combination on my laptop that muted the sound through the internal speakers. I didn’t have any external speakers, just the internal ones. The laptop has function keys to raise, lower and mute the volume, and I was able to mute it but I could still record the sounds. I’m pretty sure that was how it worked, but it was long enough ago that I don’t honestly remember it all that well.

I tried the settings you suggested, and I get the same results. I am able to record audio just fine as long as I’m listening to it at the same time. However, I cannot mute the sound but still get the recording.

I’m starting to wonder if I had imagined that I was able to do this before. I really wish I had done it enough times to commit it to memory, but unfortunately it was maybe one or two times that I think I’ve done it.

I’m not sure if it’s a possibility at all, but I think that it would certainly be a great feature/function to have. There are many instances where one might want to record a webinar or something like that, but not have to have the audio playing the whole time in the office.

Thanks for your help trying to get things to work the way I thought they did.

I have not heard of anyone muting the playback device so that there is no signal level and then recording computer playback on Windows 7 with stereo mix.

At its simplest, buy a cheap set of headphones at your local electrical store and put them in the audio input to shut the audible sound off. This will still let you record the playback.

Try SoundLeech which grabs a copy of the sound before it reaches the sound device, so does not depend on the playback level.

Doesn’t recording with a loopback cable also achieve the objective of not hearing what you are recording?


I had tried SoundLeech, but it ran into issues if I remember correctly.

For a loopback cable, would I just plug into the headphone jack and then feed that into the microphone jack? Essentially using a stereo aux input cable?

I just downloaded SoundLeech again to try it out, and after I have supposedly leeched the sound, I click on show captured files, and the folder where it was supposed to be saving to is empty. This was the same issue that I ran into before. I’m not sure exactly how that program is supposed to work. I clicked on Start Leeching, then played the audio I wanted in another window, and after it was done playing, I pressed Stop Leeching. A few seconds after that I clicked on Show Captured Files, and it opens the directory that it should have saved the file in, but it’s an empty folder.
I’m not sure if I need to wait for a while to let the program save the file or do some processing or something, but even after waiting a good 5 minutes or so, the folder is still empty.
I know that this isn’t the place for getting help with SoundLeech, but if someone could tell me how it normally functions (I guess more of how long it should take after pressing Stop Leeching for a file to show up), it would be appreciated.

Yes, but you need to plug the cable into the blue line-in port, not the mic port (unless your computer manual says you can change the mic port to line level). Otherwise you will record in mono or poor quality stereo.

SoundLeech was not a finished program. It is best to “start leeching” before you start the audio stream but it doesn’t always record, especially from web browsers.


Unfortunately on my laptop I only have USB ports, a LAN port, an external monitor connection and then the headphone and microphone connectors. I don’t have a line in port on my laptop.

As luck would have it, I was trying to record from a web browser with SoundLeech, so I guess that means I’m out of luck there too.

You could buy a USB sound device that had a line-in, or a USB sound card that had stereo mix. Trust Sound Expert External is an example of the latter.

If the USB sound card has stereo mix, then you could set the Windows default playback device to the USB card (this is required for the web browser to play to the card, as web browsers usually can’t choose their playback device). If you then record from the USB card and have no speakers or headphones attached to that card, you won’t be able to hear the audio that is recording.