What I want is to be able to record the sound played by my laptop without recording external background noise. Since it is possible to capture screen video without using the camera, I suppose it should be possible to somehow loop the laptop's sound output to input as well.

The problem is that Audacity records the sound played by the laptop only if the internal microphone is enabled. I found out that most probably I was always recording sound only from internal mic, which in turn was gathering sound from laptop's speakers. This leads into background noise being added to the recording, as well as keyboard hits being audible. Is it possible to somehow record the sound played by my laptop without gathering external sound by the built-in microphone?

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If I don't check the "Rec." checkbox below the "Capture" slider, I can't record anything. But by checking it, I enable the built-in microphone.

As you can see, I'm on Linux (to be more specific: Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 64bit). Well, the laptop came with Windows 7 preinstalled. Perhaps the problem is just that Linux doesn't fully support my hardware sound? Because again, I find it hard to believe that any hardware sound facility would require enabling gathering external noise in order to record internal sound!

If possible, I'd like to make it working on Linux, since I'm trying to record sound from an app that is easiest to run on Linux... I'll try recording sound on Windows as well soon, but again, I no longer have Windows 7 on my HDD... Rather, I installed Windows 10, which has problems with sound on its own (doesn't play sound from headphones, only from built-in speakers); perhaps I need to install some kind of a driver from laptop manufacturer.

  • I'm confused by your use of the term "internal mic" and then seeing that strange (to me) "Internal" line muted. Why not just mute the "Mic" input specifically? Oct 15, 2015 at 15:37
  • I noticed that the rightmost "internal" slider allows me to record sound from my laptop even if I have headphones plugged in. Not sure what the leftmost "internal" slider does, I had it muted all the time. The "Mic" and "Mic boos" sliders, surprisingly, do not seem to affect the built-in microphone, which continues gathering external sound if the "Rec" checkbox is on. I have these "Mic" and "Mic boos" sliders down, since I noticed that putting them up only adds even more unwanted background noise. I suppose these sliders try to gather input from the mic minijack socket on the case (not sure).
    – gaazkam
    Oct 15, 2015 at 15:51
  • Sorry, I was wrong. The rightmost "internal" slider did not allow me to record sound with headphones plugged in, it only produced even more noise.
    – gaazkam
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


In the audacity manual there is a page for recording computer output on Linux. It says to install the pavucontrol package, and then open PulseAudio Volume Control (pavucontrol) and under the recording tab set the source to monitor. Now in audacity set the recording method to ALSA and the device to pulse. This is the link for more detailed instructions: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_recording_computer_playback_on_linux.html

NOTE: If all else fails, plug a double ended cable from the headphone jack to the microphone jack and record that.

  • Great answer! Only a duplicate one, I found it out a few minutes ago and wrote an answer myself. ... Perhaps doesn't matter anyway, your answer is more detailed. But having read the cited documentation, I'm not sure if this will work on every possible Linux setup. Perhaps my answer is more generic.
    – gaazkam
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:30
  • Well, the link here has other methods as well, but specifically mentions that this method works on mint. Plus, it's best to not answer with just a link in case the link rots.
    – SilentVoid
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:34

It appears that it is not always possible to record computer's playback just with ALSA. Fortunately Audacity's documentation lists a variety of methods to successfully record computer's sound playback. (on my setup, the PulseAudio Volume Control method worked)

It should be also possible to set up sound recording with a screen capture tool with methods taken from this documentation. For example, I was able to record screen video and audio with RecordMyDesktop. However, I had to start recording with RecordMyDesktop before setting PulseAudio.

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