Soundcard to record "what you hear" in Win 7 with Audacity?

I am using Audacity 1.3.9 with Windows 7 Home Premium with good results.

I sometimes need to record whatever I might hear on the Internet, which requires a sound card that supports “what you hear” or “stereo mix”. Currently, I am using my Intel motherboard’s onboard Sigmatel sound chip for this purpose. I had quite an ordeal getting the Sigmatel to record “what you hear” in Windows 7, but it has been working OK for 6 months or so. I gave up entirely on an older Creative Labs card.

I am contemplating a move away from onboard sound, but any replacement must support “what you hear” in Windows 7 without any agony or funky workarounds. I don’t need any fancy functionality, don’t game, and don’t want to spend over say $50 or $60. I expect reasonably high fidelity, but I am not a hard-core audiophile. All I need is 2 channels.

I’d like to avoid Creative Labs.

I have Googled and searched this forum generally looking for a list of soundcards KNOWN to meet my requirements.

Tentative candidates, based only on anecdotal information:

Behringer UCA 202 external USB; about $30 (I would prefer internal unless I have no choice)

Asus Xonar DS 7.1 24-bit 192 kHz; about $50 (Google finds conflicting info on support for “what you hear”)

Can anyone confirm that the above 2 cards meet my requirements and can anyone make any additions to the list?

it looks like the 202 is your only choice
as long as you insist on win7
and dirt cheap
and audacity
and external …

else stick with the onboard chip and software

why not creative labs?
just because an old internal card didn’t work with win7 ?
or do you have other reasons to avoid them

Hi ignatz,
You’ve probably read my review of the Behringer UCA 202 on this forum - I’d have no hesitation in recommending it as a good, inexpensive no-frills sound card for Windows XP, Vista or Linux, but I’ve not tried it on Windows 7 so you will need to check for Windows 7 support if you decide to go down that road. Also I’m not sure if it supports recording “Stereo Mix” directly on Windows, though it does on Linux. If it does not, then it is very simple to use a short stereo lead to link the output to the input and the sound quality is very good doing it that way.

I’ve not used any recent SBlaster sound cards, but I’ve used lots of old ones (such as the old SB Live) and they have always served me well, and have all supported “What U Hear” (Creative’s name for “Stereo Mix”). The main downside of SB cards for non-gamers is to my mind all of the extra, irrelevant, software that is included. This extra software does not need to be installed. I usually install only the drivers and the Creative Mixer (unless I actually want any of the other features).

Sorry, I can’t help with anything re. Win 7 - I switched to Linux when Vista came out.


I don’t insist on external. As a matter of fact, I would prefer internal, all other things being equal.

Why not Creative Labs: because their card lineup is known to have omitted “what you hear” recording under Windows 7 in most if not all cases. And I have grown sick of their “driver support”, if you care to call it that.

In my experience, paying more for a card only buys more functionality that I DO NOT need. I don’t want a bunch of effects, a cutie pie interface, and I don’t game.

I am locked into Windows 7; it is working well for me and I am not about to use another operating system just because it might provide better support for a sound card.


The web is full of references to user issues with Win 7 and “what you hear” aka “stereo mix” recording. It was no problem under XP. It was a minor issue under Vista and it has become a big issue under Win 7. I’d guess it is a result of pressure from copyright owners who fear the capability will be used against their interests via blogs, youtube, or any other web sources of content.

I did read your review of the Behringer some months back and that is why it is on my maybe list. I notice that there is a variant of the Behringer with some phono capability. Can you provide a little detail on EXACTLY what the variant offers? Is it intended to replace the need for a receiver or preamp in the recording chain?? That is, can you plug a turntable directly into the Behringer variant and bypass a receiver entirely? If so, that functionality might be useful to me.

I will try to independently confirm if either Behringer unit supports stereo mix in Win 7.

Since my original post of last night, I have a little more info on soundcards for those interested:

HT Omega Striker 7.1: a reliable contact has advised me that this internal card supports stereo mix in Windows 7. I think it sells for around $80, more than I care to pay.

Asus Xonar D2X: another reliable contact has confirmed that this card supports stereo mix in Windows 7. It sells for about $150 and is intended for gaming. Asus also has a Xonar DS model that sells for $50 and its spec sheet also states that “stereo mix” is supported.

So as of now, my choice would be the Xonar DS, but both Behringer devices may qualify if I can somehow confirm stereo mix with Windows 7.

I’d be interested in any further input from anyone.

I’ve not used one myself, but I’ve read some favourable reports here on the forum for the UFO-202.
It appears to be basically the same as the UCA-202 except that the inputs can be switched to either “Line” (same as the UCA) or “Phono”. The latter supplies the necessary gain and RIAA equalization for directly connecting a conventional analogue turntable.
See here for more information:

I suspect that Windows 7 may not give the “Stereo Mix” option with either the UCA-202 or UFO-202, but to record what is playing on the computer, all you need to do is use one of those short stereo interconnects and connect the output directly to the input. Both of these devices have headphone sockets so you can hear what you are recording. In the case of the UFO-202 you would switch the input to “Line”.

True, but you may be being a little hard on Creative. There’s a lot of people having a lot of problems with all types of sound cards on Windows 7. SoundBlaster cards are extremely common, so it is not surprising that they are so well represented on the problem pages. The reports that I’ve read say that the Audigy SE works with Stereo Mix, provided that you use the correct Creative drivers and not the generic Windows 7 drivers (which do not support Stereo Mix). I’ll not push this further because I admit that I know little about Windows 7 (and have little interest in learning more :wink: )

I’d not come across that model before, but the reviews look good. Unfortunately it is a lot more than $50 here in the UK.

Whichever sound card you end up getting, I hope you can find the time to write up a short review for the forum :slight_smile:


I do have complaints about Creative driver support, but my comments were generally intended to comment on the problems with stereo mix and Windows 7 generally—particularly considering that it was not an issue at all several years ago with earlier operating systems.

Since I last posted I went to and got as many details as possible on the variant UFO 202. No overt sign that it will support stereo mix.

Then I went to Amazon and see I can buy it for $35 delivered.

So in a classic moment of weakness, I ordered it. Even if I can’t use it for stereo mix, I can use it with my turntable to transfer my vinyl mountain to PC as needed. I have been procrastinating on this for years because of the hassle of getting my stereo receiver involved and the associated cabling. Mostly just procrastinating.

I figure this gizmo will let me place my turntable down on a table beside my PC and transfer from vinyl with no other hardware involved----a much tidier setup.

I will certainly write of my experiences here after I get this thing in a week or so.

A remaining point of confusion on the Behringer is the choice of proper drivers. I have downloaded 4 different software packages from Behringer:


Behringer 2902 win 32…

Behringer USB Asio …

FCA 202 X 86…

but have no idea which I need and which are unnecessary. Any advice appreciated.

I will search this site for comments on the UFO 202.

LOL :smiley:

I’m pretty sure that you don’t need any of those for using the device with Audacity.

“Asio4all” OR “Behringer 2902 win 32” may give better performance (lower latency) with ASIO enabled software, but the distributed version of Audacity does not support ASIO.
You do NOT want “FCA 202 X 86” as that is for Firewire devices, not USB.
Not sure about the “Behringer USB Asio” as I couldn’t see that on the site, but it may be the same as, or an alternative to “Behringer 2902 win 32”.

To use the device with Audacity it should work out of the box with the generic Windows drivers. (plug it in and follow the on screen instructions).

Thanks for the tips.

I unpacked the “Behringer USB Asio” download. As you guessed, it contains Behringer 2902 Win 32 2.8.14–which I assume is simply an earlier version of the other download I mentioned above: Behringer 2902 Win 32 2.8.40.

If that’s right, I guess all 4 downloads are pointless for my use with Audacity. Not surprisingly, I didn’t see any details on these packages on the site and don’t expect any significant help from whatever documentation comes with the unit itself.

The package is supposed to include a bunch of other software, including Audacity. With any luck, you are right and I don’t need any of it and will plug and play and sink or swim with whatever drivers Windows 7 supplies.

I’m pretty sure you are not a fiddle, but wondering if you play one?

Yes he certainly does - and very well too.

Mrs. WC and I recently to a gig of his and saw him play his fiddle - and a great night out it was too :slight_smile:


Thanks for the recommendation (the cheque is in the post) :wink: