Unable to record audio stream

I’m using Audacity 2.0.2 with Windows XP and a Dell PC. I’m trying to record an audio stream but all I get is a flat line or a solid wall of noise. Using information from the Audacity manual and some other sources, I have tried two connections. One is to use an audio cable connected to the back of the computer in the Line In and Line Out ports. The second, suggested by PC World, is to connect that cable to the microphone and headphone jacks on the front of the computer. I’ve read some postings on other message boards from people who have had the same problem. The responses I’ve read have been no help to me.

There is a special “device” called Stereo-Mix which crosses the play and record sides of your computer. This lets you record YouTube or anything else on the computer with as good a quality as is possible. Especially in WinXP, this should not be particularly difficult to do.

I call the difference between a real device like Mic-In or Line-In that you can reach out and touch and “fake” devices like Stereo-Mix that are created entirely in software for special purposes.

Headphone Out connected to Mic-In rarely works well. Newer, laptop computers do not have symmetrical connections. Your Line-Out to Line-In should have worked, but that’s using the analog pathway and the quality is restricted.