Trying to record both voice and system audio on separate tra


I will try to explain my situation as comprehensive as possible.

Basic information:
Windows 8 x64
Latest version (2.0.3 - Just downloaded the exe yesterday)
Dell Inspiron 17R SE laptop
Using headphones (3.5mm jack)
Using internal mic (in the laptop - I’m using an external monitor so the laptop at the right side of the table → I’m not facing the mic)
IDT Audio driver A03 (

What I want
I’m playing a game. What I want is to record sound of that game. Only sound, no video. I want to record my voice at the same time. I thought this wouldn’t be too hard. There are tons of “commentaries” to be found on youtube. Granted, they also have video, but wanting only sound should make it easier, not harder, right?

What I tried (the problems)
Like most laptops, my laptop has a recording option called “stereo mix”. Recording audio through stereo mix with audacity works fine. However, there are two problems:

  • Sometimes, and I say sometimes because I don’t really know what causes it, one channel seems to go louder (you can see it in the visual representation of the sound). Sometimes it’s the left, sometimes the right channel. When I restart my laptop, everything seems fine again, but after a while it’s like the sound is slowly making it’s way to one channel.
  • It’s quiet. Like I said, I’m using headphones. Because my headphones don’t have volume control, I have my system audio at about 20/100. This is already pretty loud for me. However, when I record at this volume and listen to my recording, the volume is way lower than it originally was.

A solution to the first problem, something which I actually might prefer, is to record mono (for in-game reasons which aren’t important). And I have an extension cord with volume control I could use for my headphones, so that I can put the system audio on 50 or more which should make the recording louder.

I also want to record my voice though. Checking the box “listen to this device” at the internal mic options works. Again, there are some problems:

  • The quality sucks. My voice sounds muted and is overshadowed by the system audio (which is already low). Typing is louder than my voice (I’m using an external keyboard), which isn’t the case in other applications. I know my mic setup isn’t optimal, but the quality isn’t nearly as bad using skype and other VOIP applications.
  • I want to record my voice separately, so that I can edit it separately. I don’t what my mom saying “dinner is ready/feed the elephant/clean up your room” through my recording. If I have separate tracks, I can edit/mute those parts.

I don’t mind using a separate program to record my voice. But why is it so difficult? Like I said, there are literally millions of videos of games with live commentary. In those videos you hear the sound of the game, very clearly and with good quality, and the sound of the voice of the commentator, very clearly and with good quality. Granted, they are probably using headsets, but I can buy an external mic which I can put on my bureau if I have to.

Is what I’m asking impossible to do? Recording on separate tracks, I mean? If so, I can also consider another option: if I can mute my mic at any time I want (with a hotkey), that would work too. Then I will only turn it on whenever I say anything that is in-game.

Thanks in advance!

Recording computer audio and microphone onto separate tracks is difficult because Windows does not have built-in support for sending the computer sound to one channel and the microphone to the other.

Probably the most common way of recording game commentary is with Fraps (commercial product).
Other possible solutions include using VAC (Virtual Audio Cable - commercial product) or using an external mixer and a sound card that has a stereo “line level” input.

With an external mixer you can connect the output from the computer to the mixer and pan that to one side, then connect your microphone to the mixer and pan that to the other side. Then you connect the output from the mixer to the stereo line level input of the sound card and record in stereo. The recording then has the game audio in one channel and the microphone in the other channel. The stereo track can then be split to give separate (mono) tracks for game audio and microphone.

Thanks for your response!

FRAPS is for video. I only want audio.

What I would really like is stereo recording, with separate tracks for game audio and voice. If stereo isn’t possible that way (at least not without buying expensive equipment), then mono is fine too. If separate tracks aren’t possible (at least not without buying expensive equipment), then being able to mute the mic with a hotkey is fine too. If that isn’t possible, then I would at least like my mic quality too be better than it is now.

An external mixer sounds like a good idea. It would mean that the recording would be mono, but if that’s the trade off for separate tracks I"m fine with it. What’s the cheapest, simplest external mixer there is? One that would work the way I described? System audio in one track (mono) and mic in the other (mono)?

FRAPS does video with audio. The audio could then be extracted from the video.

Perhaps you could get a mic that has an on/off switch.

That is a really simple, cheap and obvious solution. Why didn’t I think of that. Thanks!

Still sucks that the volume of stereo mix is so low. Using an external cord with volume control would allow me to put the system volume on something higher than 20 (as high as I want), which should increase the recording volume, but is this the only solution?

Second problem is that hearing myself talk is really annoying, and that the sound quality of my voice is really bad when using “listen to this device” combined with stereo mix. Any solutions to those problems?

Recording your voice is not drop-dead simple. The fact that it works in Skype or other communications software just means the people at the other end have a high tolerance for distortion, noise and echoes. I’ve been known to record a corporate conference call and send the sound file back to the other cities. “This is why we can’t understand you when you talk.”

What does it sound like when you make a perfect, straight, uncomplicated voice recording? No Fraps, no Stereo-Mix, no crazy. Just record your voice. Your combination is never going to get any better than that, and no, we can’t get rid of microphone noise and echoes in post production.


You might want to take a look at another free recording program; Kristal Audio Engine.
It can record from several different sources simultaneously.