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I am interesting in generating an audio file (mp3, wma...) instead of having the sound coming out of the speaker.

For example, I press record, play one or multiple sound on my computer (movie, website, windows sound...) and after a while I press stop and it gives me an audio file of everything that went trough the speakers during that period.

I don't want something that record the sound that is played, but rather capture it before it is outputed. So if I play back the generated file, I have the exact same quality as when I recorded it.

Does such a program exists?

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Note that mp3 is a lossy format, so if you create mp3s, you do not have "the exact same quality as when [you] recorded[...]" – horatio Apr 11 '12 at 15:29

Step 1: Choose or install an audio recording program such as Audacity which can record audio as MP3

Step 2: Make it possible for that program to record your audio-out channel. Choose one of

  • Select "Wave-out mix" or "Stereo mix" if your soundcard drivers support this (some do, some don't. Thanks to Bob for reminding us of this). Or

  • Connect a real audio cable between line-out and line-in on your sound card. Select line-in and turn off recording-monitoring. Or

  • Install Virtual Audio Cable and read it's documentation carefully.

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Can you be more specific about how to record audio played on the computer with audacity. I am interested to record the "internal sound", before it comes out of the speakers for a better quality. – pinouchon Apr 11 '12 at 13:07
@pinouchon: Something like 1. connect a cable between line-out and line-in. 2. start Audacity. 3. choose "record". I'm not at my audio-recording PC right now. Details later maybe. – RedGrittyBrick Apr 11 '12 at 13:10
There's also the built in "stereo mix" in many audio chipsets... – Bob Apr 11 '12 at 13:36
@Bob: Good point. I'll reorganise my answer for clarity and include that. – RedGrittyBrick Apr 11 '12 at 13:39

Streaming Audio Recorder does it. You can record up to 3minutes with the trial version.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

In fact, you don't even need a program to do this. Here's how to do it with windows 7:

  • Right click on the sound icon, and then click recording devices.
    sound icon

  • right click on the default microphone, and click disable
    disable default microphone

  • Right click on line, and click enable.
    enable line

  • Then you have to record. Type "record" in the windows search, and click sound recorder
    sound recorder

  • Now you can play your music, video or sounds, press the record button, wait for it to finish and press Stop recording. Windows will prompt you to save it as a WMA file.

Edit: In order to have line available in the recording list, you have to install virtual audio cable, or streaming audio recorder.

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