Sound not recording on Windows 7 (using HP laptop)


I have a beats by dre Hp laptop, running on WIndows 7. I cant get the sound to record through the RCA cable thats plugged into my mixer to my laptop.

I know that with Windows 7 some devices are hidden in the Recording Tab of the Sound Panel (in Control PAnel). Ive tried connecting the RCA cable and then clicking back into the Sound panel to see if its been recognised; ive even done this when connected to the mixer but nothing seems to come up and the only thing that comes up is 1) Exterbal Mix 2) Sterop Mix and 3) Integrated microphone array. Now Im trying to record a dj mix from my mixer to my laptop so Im guessing it wouldnt be any of these and ‘line in’ is what I would need?

Also, when plugging in my RCA cable, that goes to the back of my mixer, do I connect it through the headphone input or the one which has a mic symbol?

Then, there is the issue of what setting I use when I actually open Audacity; on the top left of the page there is the choice of the following tabs: MME, Speakers & headphones, Stereo Mix (IDT High definition) these are confusing too; I mean should ‘line in’ appear on here too?

If anybody has any suggestions I would be so grateful


Also, when plugging in my RCA cable, that goes to the back of my mixer, do I connect it through the headphone input or the one which has a mic symbol?

Since it’s unlikely your computer has a Stereo Line-In, you might try an external USB adapter such as the UCA-202 or equivalent.

Some computers allow switching one connection from Mic-In to Line-In. Consult your instructions.


Hey thanks very much for your reply,

Although surely I thought I would be able to record straight from my mixer using a RCA cable, I know others that have done it on laptops? Is there anything else you can suggest before I go ahead and buy one the USB adapters?


Stef, your “headphone input” in the laptop is probably a headphone OUTput, you can’t record through it.

And for about five years now, there’s been a big question as to why laptop makers have almost totally dropped the LINE IN feature from laptops and only provide MIC IN and often just in mono.

So as Koz said, you probably want to buy a USB audio “card”. A number of us are using a Behringer 2xx series, about $35 online. There are other brands, other solutions if you have a “card slot” of some kind, but a USB adaptor is typically the solution.

Thanks very much for that hello sailor, appreciate it!

just one more thing - with the USB adaptor connected, will this option display automatically when I open Audacity up? I just get a little confused when it has the choice of MME and all things like that. I just want to know what the correct settings to record a dj mix would be - would record in stereo, not mono.

Thanks again.

No, it won’t automatically configure. In fact, at least on mine, the USB audio comes up in MONO and you have to use the Control Panel, Sounds, Recording options to change that to stereo. Once you’ve set the audio in the control panel, you’ll have to check in Audacity to see if you also need to set the recording device (mic) there to the USB audio.

There’s also an option to set the sound level in the control panel sound settings–you might want to make sure that’s high enough and then just use the one in Audacity to trum it down as needed.

It will be listed in Device Toolbar if you connect the adaptor before launching Audacity. You may have to choose it from the list.

If you connect the adaptor after launching, use Transport > Rescan Audio Devices then choose it from the list.

Try MME to begin with. If you get distortions you may have to choose Windows DirectSound and change settings in Windows.

Hellosailor answered while I was answering, but to find out where to choose stereo in Windows, see the green box “Operating System Specifics” on Audacity Manual .

If it was working correctly, the Audacity and the system slider for the device should change in parallel - move one slider and the other moves. If that doesn’t happen with the input slider, the Audacity input slider “should” grey out.


"If it was working correctly, the Audacity and the system slider for the device should change in parallel "
Nifty! Thank you, once again, Gale.
I find my control panel slider has 2-digit percents, i.e. I can set 55%, while the slider in Aud2 only has ten steps? Or at least, only read in single digits?

And there’s that mysterious business where Vista will present playback controls for each program, not just a master. But the recording level will be linked one-to-one?

If you double-click the Audacity slider you can choose finer gradations. How fine a control you really get depends on the sound device.

If you right-click the system tray’s speaker icon > Open Volume Mixer you’ll see a “Device” output slider which is the “Master” volume. The Audacity output slider “should” control the “Device” slider but I know it doesn’t on all systems - on some it will control the “Audacity” slider, but scaled by the “Device” slider- that is, when you have the output slider in the Audacity program on 1.0 (maximum), the Audacity slider in Volume Mixer will be at the level of the Master slider, and if the Audacity program slider is at 0.5, the Audacity slider in Volume Mixer will be at half the level of the Master slider.

There is probably a good case on Vista and 7 that the output slider in Audacity should directly control its own slider in Volume Mixer, just as if you were moving the Audacity slider in Volume Mixer.


Sumbich. Not only did I find the slider, but one of the devices with an audio slider of its own is (are you sitting down?) the Microsoft Sync Center.

Which I certainly never enabled by choice. Have no idea what it does or why it needs a VOLUME?! control. And now must go play whack-a-mole trying to find and remove.

Great shortcut to the audio controls though, thank you once again!

Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for your help. I have just got my USB sound card adaptor through the post, but have read the instructions and it says that I will have to run some RCA cables from the mixer to the output speakers. However, I thought I could just connect the adaptor to my laptop, and the adaptor to the mixer. I thought that the speakers would not have to be touched?

Also, as im recording a mix I wouldnt put my head phones through the sound adaptor, I would just listen through my headphones that are connected to my mixer wouldnt I? sorry if I am asking some silly questions here!

Thanks in advance,


Ok so a little update, Ive plugged the adaptor into my laptop. then plugged the red and white RCA cables into the input part of the adaptor and connected that into the record (red and white) inputs on my mixer. Now im at a complete loss! I realise that I have to connect an output somehwere. However, my speakers are connected to an Amp - I dont have integrated speakers and therefore I have no clue how I am going to connect the USB adaptor to my speakers. I now also realise why I would connect my headphones to the adaptor so that part of my previous post doesnt need answering.

Thanks again.


Steffi, what is the SOURCE for your music? A tape player, stereo amp, what?

Why are you putting that into a mixer, what are you mixing down? Can the mixer be omitted?

Normally you would put your source into the input on the USB adaptor and ignore any monitor/output there. Then the USB adaptor feeds the laptop.

I’m be surprised if you have an hp/dre/beats laptop running Windows7 which somehow does not have speakers in it–since they are the whole point of the dre/beats brand. What’s up with that?

Normally you would listen to your work on the laptop’s speakers or by plugging your headset into the laptop while working on the files. You could certainly take the USB adaptor’s output and lead that back into a stereo or other power source for your speakers. Or plug headphones into IT if there’s a monitor socket. There are different options but it is unclear what you have and what you are trying to do ith it, besides digitizing music on the computer.


Ok so I’m aiming to record a dj mix using my laptop. I dont want to record through the speakers of the laptop if this is what you mean, but to record through the laptop itself for better quality.

I have 2 x cdj’s that are connected to my mixer, my mixer is connected to an amp, which in turn is connected to 2 separate speakers. I have plugged an 1/8 inch to RCA into my mixer to record the mix but this didnt work. So I purchased the UCA202. I have connected the RCA202 into the laptop with a USB connector. Then I have connected the mixer to the UCA202 but Im stuck on what to do with the ouput option since I cant connect this to my amp?

So to answer your questions, the source is a stereo amp and no I cant omit the mixer because this is what I will be mixing the music with, if that makes sense.

" I dont want to record through the speakers of the laptop if this is what you mean, but to record through the laptop itself for better quality. "
You never record “through” speakers, there’s no way to do that. All that speakers do is let you LISTEN to something that is being recorded or played elsewhere.
If you are recording the mix on the laptop, it doesn’t matter what speakers you listen to it with, your recording is made in the laptop. Like all recordings it will sound different with every speaker you use to listen to it–but the recording is still the same. You can’t monitor a recording with the same speakers that are also playing the source material at the same time, so either you listen to the laptop with a headset, or use the laptop speakers, or…either way you can’t listen to the music both on the source and on the laptop, at the same time, with just one set of speakers.

If I have understood you correctly, what you are trying to do is to achieve a mix of multiple input signals and to record that mix as a stereo track. Right?

If so, you probably should be feeding the inputs into the mixer; taking the stereo out of the mixer into the UCA202 (to have the analogue signals digitized) and sending that digital stream to the laptop via the USB connector between the UCA202 and the laptop. To hear what’s going on you should be able to plug headphones in at various points along the line to monitor things: into the mixer to monitor individual sources or stereo out; into the UCA202 (? - not familiar with this beast) to monitor whats going in(?) or out (?); into your laptop to hear what Audacity is getting up to.

If your speakers are hooked up to your amp, then leave them there and use them only to listen to what is playing through the amp. Make sure you have Audacity set up to record from the USB source (UCA202). If it is recording through the laptop’s inbuilt mic you could get some serious feedback problems if there is also sound coming out of your speakers when you try and record.