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How To Enable “Stereo Mix” in Windows 7 (to Record Audio)

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Ever need to record something on your computer exactly as it comes out of your speakers?  Enabling “Stereo Mix” will let you do exactly that, and here’s how to do it.

Nowadays, most sound cards have the ability to record whatever is being output.  The only hang-up is accessing that recording channel, which can be done rather easily.

Enable Stereo Mix

Go down to the audio icon in your system tray, right-click it, and go to “Recording Devices” to open up the proper settings pane.

stereo_mix_01

In the pane, right-click on a blank area, and make sure both “View Disabled Devices” and “View Disconnected Devices” options are checked.  You should see a “Stereo Mix” option appear.

stereo_mix_02

Right-click on “Stereo Mix” and click “Enable” to be able to use it.

stereo_mix_03

I Still Don’t See It…

In some cases, your audio chipset drivers aren’t helping your cause.  Most likely, this is because they’re outdated.  In other instances, however, it’s because the newest Windows 7 drivers don’t support this feature.  This was the case on my Asus Eee PC (a 1000HE), but I got around the issue by downloading and installing the older Windows XP/Vista drivers for my audio chipset.  As always, before changing your drivers, make sure create a system restore point in case things don’t go as planned.

How Do I Use This?

With “Stereo Mix” enabled, you can open up your favorite recording program and select that instead of your microphone before you record.  If you don’t see the option, or your program doesn’t give you the ability to change the recording device, you can disable or unplug your microphone and make “Stereo Mix” the default recording device.

stereo_mix_04

This works well for when you want to capture audio for a screen-sharing session, or record audio from streaming sources – such as live web-casts – that don’t necessarily allow you to download content immediately.  In order to do that, you’d open up your audio-recording application of choice (like Audacity), be sure other recording devices are muted or disabled, and click record.  Be sure to check out our article, The How-To Geek Guide on Audio Editing: The Basics, to learn how to use Audacity.

Yatri Trivedi is a monk-like geek. When he's not overdosing on meditation and geek news of all kinds, he's hacking and tweaking something, often while mumbling in 4 or 5 other languages.

  • Published 01/4/11

Comments (48)

  1. pitman

    In XP this was much simpler, ah the good ol’ days.
    But I started to like 7 a little more.

  2. Hatryst

    Guess what, this can be used to create custom mp3 ringers for your cellphone. Use the article on “Basics of Audio Editing” (linked above) for more info on recording and editing audio clips ;)

  3. Midnight

    That worked well in Wi8n7! :D

  4. Z S

    wonderful!!
    Thanks!!

  5. BList

    No matter what I do, I still can’t see it and most streaming audio recorders fail. Most dedicated programs (like internet radio) record just fine and there are *some* audio recorders, like Wondershare’s, that work just fine.

    Irritating, it is.

  6. Harshal

    Cant find any such device. Please help. Do I need to install any drivers??

  7. player2704

    nice article

  8. YatriTrivedi

    @BList & Harshal: It depends on your hardware. In general, cheaper chipset eschew this ability. If you update your drivers, you may gain this ability. Sometimes, if you find and use older drivers (like I did), you’ll gain this ability. Unfortunately, it’s not always predictable…

  9. Tom Leparskas

    Not so fast.
    It worked great in XP with my Sound Blaster Audigy. Upgrading to a new Dell box with Windows 7 and a Creative sound card upgrade (to avoid using the motherboard shared resource) was not so smooth.

    Turns out the shipped Creative card from Dell (X-fi Extreme) did NOT support “stereo mix” or in Creative’s jargon “what you hear.”

    After many calls to Dell and Creative syupport – I junked my “new” Creative card for a X-Fi Titanium which DID support it.

    After a week of hassles – something that worked so well in XP – now works on my Win7 box. What a headache and waste of money.

    Tom

  10. delukze

    i don’t see how it could be useful for me… but thanks for the info!!!

  11. xor24

    I was wondering if there was a way to record my screen, the speaker output, and the microphone (it would be nice if the microphone or system sound was in a seperate file for editing purposes).

  12. xor24

    I was wondering if there was a way to record my screen, the speaker output, and the microphone (it would be nice if the microphone or system sound was in a separate file for editing purposes).

  13. seenu

    I didn’t get the option. May be my drivers are out of date.
    What’s the importance of drivers

  14. Odin

    I cant seem to find stereo mix after enabling disabled devices =[

  15. Grey

    Well, I have the IDT high definition audio codec (integrated), and I had to install its driver application before I got the stereo mix to work.

  16. Bill

    On my win7 laptop, I enable and then I get the error “Not available”.

  17. Keith Aroo

    Nothing seemed to work for my Windows 7, Toshiba Satellite. So, I just went ahead and bought a copy of i-Sound from http://www.abyssmedia.com/isound7/

    PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!

  18. Hater

    I hate win 7!:@

  19. Kiwi

    Found the Stereo Mix but the “set as default” is grayed out? I’m trying to use Audacity to record from the internet. Can someone help?

  20. Frank

    Love it! Thanks!

  21. Unknown

    After checking the internet for about the last 3 hours I’v finnally got a fully working recorded. Thanks to BList for posting about Wondershare. It works billiantly.

  22. Liz

    TY TY, it worked!

  23. Deraidos

    I can’t find Stereo Mix

  24. utkesmer

    Both options are checked but there is no Stereo Mix option in my screen.

  25. Whydoucare

    I Have a Toshiba Satellite C655, but i cant find stereo mix. Help?

  26. Elnahna

    Thank you so much. I am not a computer geek but I did know there should have been a way to do this. Thank you again. :)

  27. help please

    the stereo mix is not there and im trying to downgrade my audio drivers but im having trouble finding older/proper drivers? using win7 x64, no idea what kinda crappy soundcard i have.

  28. help please

    i downloaded speccy to see my specs :
    Audio
    Sound Cards
    AMD High Definition Audio Device
    High Definition Audio -laite
    Playback Devices
    Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Speakers (High Definition Audio Device) (default)
    Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Speaker Configuration

  29. help please

    sorry for the typos and misspelling xd was excited

  30. gene

    “In some cases, your audio chipset drivers aren’t helping your cause. Most likely, this is because they’re outdated. In other instances, however, it’s because the newest Windows 7 drivers don’t support this feature. This was the case on my Asus PC but I got around the issue by downloading and installing the older Windows XP/Vista drivers for my audio chipset.”

    same problem i have so just how do you download and install the XP/VISTA drivers

    thanks

  31. nisar

    thank you verry much ,,,

  32. Rei

    My Alienware laptop shipped with Windows 7, and the “stereo mix” feature is called “Rec. Playback”. I’m trying to set up a podcast, and I have everything recording as it should, with the exception that it wants to also playback my own voice with a 1/2 second delay through my speakers, causing me to have to really think about what I want to say. Every configuration I’ve tried either doesn’t pick up my voice at all in the recording, or will only pick up my voice and nothing else. Any suggestions?

  33. SANKAR

    I am using a sound card high defnition on my Dell 1555 studio i cannot configue
    also i m not getting stereo mix icon all devics are displayed

  34. SANKAR

    CAN ANY 1 help

  35. Frank

    I have no problem enabling stereomix the way you describe. But even if I set stereomix as the default input, it seems to be disabled by Windows 7 the minute I shut down then reboot. It’s a complete pain to have to go through the control panel routine by hand every single time I start my computer: how can I keep the current sound settings as a permanent feature?

  36. Jack

    I cant seem to get this to work. When I try to record with the stereo mix it sounds warpy and distorted. Any ideas to fix this?

  37. @HATER

    Nice.

  38. Eirik

    Thank you. This worked perfectly on my HP EliteBook 8460p with Windows 7. Now I can play music over skype thanks to this advice! :)

  39. JM

    I have a Toshiba Satellite C655-S5235 laptop with Win7 and a Conexant sound chip, here’s what worked for me to enable stereo mix: Create a text file with the below, save it as a .reg file and import it into your registry, reboot and then you can enable stereo mix from the recording devices dialog box

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}000\Settings\EPattributes\EpSettings]

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}000\Settings\EPattributes\EpSettings\StereoMixEnable]
    “Enable”=hex:01
    “MixAssocEq”=hex:e0,e0
    “MuteGainSettings”=hex:00,00

  40. Case2

    Omg, your article did the trick after 4 (allmost) full days of researching. Now I can stream my live sets in Traktor Pro using EdCast. Finnally.

    Thnx very, VERY much hehe.

    Greetz from a happy Dutch dude.

  41. ANAS IRAQ

    WAAAW thmx bro its work

  42. Walter Lego

    So, if running into troubles one should install older divers, could the writer of this article or anyone who succeeded with this method elaborate on what version of Realtek High Definition Audio drivers should I seek for?

    And, anyone with knoledge could post general guidelines for doing this with registry hack, as described above in the comments. What is the class UID that one should look for, and what do those regstry entries do?

    Thank you kind, sires.

  43. Ajrini

    Thank YOU VERY MUCH! This work perfectly on my laptop toshiba satellite m305-s4910.I install the new driver audio and bum… my microfone work fine now.

  44. garbz

    If you can’t figure out how to get stereo mix to show up, like me, I recommend going to freecorder.com
    I literally spent 6 months trying to figure out how to get stereo mix to work. It worked on my old laptop but my new Toshiba Satellite doesn’t have the stereo mix option whatsoever. I tried screwing around with files for my crappy Conexant sound driver, I tried downloading audio recording programs but they were shareware, would stop recording after a minute, and I didn’t want to pay for something I had been able to do so easily on my old laptop. I just wanted to record through Audacity! But I finally found this Freecorder thing and it may work even better than Audacity would have..I have it for Windows 7. It is an add-in toolbar in Internet Explorer. I use Chrome for surfing the web but I don’t even mind opening IE just to use Freecorder because it works so well. I just think of it as opening any other program on my computer. It’s great for recording Internet radio because it will stop recording after it doesn’t hear sound anymore, then start again with a new file for the next track. I’d recommend this to people who don’t have the stereo mix option on their laptops. Freecorder is a free, simple way to record anything.
    What really ticked me off is that I spent so long trying to get an answer to the stereo mix problem and nothing was working, but I am so happy with Freecorder now that I won’t even call Toshiba out on that anymore :) No more trying to install new drivers!

  45. Erin Elizabeth

    OMG!!!!
    Thank you sooo much! I was wondering how to record something off YouTube (kind of like a download) and I was trying and trying on my computer’s built-in SoundRecorder and the sound was TERRIBLE with the RealTek speakers I have. I was just about to give up – and then I read this article, enabled StereoMix, made that my default (disabled RealTek) and…umm…my recording sounds just like YouTube!!!! So exciting…now all I need is to get that thing on a CD and in my car and I’m ready to go :)
    This article wins like a million times.

    PS. If it makes any difference, people reading this: enabling stereomix DOES work. I SWEAR on my teaching career…so, do this if you want to get RESULTS! And…I have Windows 7 :)

  46. Yasin

    Thank u so Much it was gooood

  47. Dennis Agnew

    i use audacity to record full cd’s and single tracks too from rdio..the combination of audacity and rdio is awesome.i wonder why some tune stores broadcast full length songs and CD’S in high digital quality.don’t they realise that many people are using software like audacity?

  48. mr37212

    Yeah I found it no prob — but it will not enable– if I try to update driver — it causes errors — its been awhile so I don’t remember what errors but I had to use a restore point– even contacted realtek they were clueless

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