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Record Audio on Your Computer or Phone

What's wrong with recording audio on my computer?

Unusually, it's recommended that you use a microphone or an external recording device to record your audio. Your computer produces sound that the internal microphone picks up that can distort the recording. In addition, the quality of the internal computer microphone is usually not very good and doesn't produce a high-quality sound.

However, sometimes there is no other option. 

This guide provides options to improve your audio recording when you don't have access to higher quality equipment. 

NOTE: The quality of the microphones varies greatly by device. You will want to test the audio quality before you commit to a single method of recording.

Option 1: Stereo Mix

Stereo Mix is not available on all PCs, but if it is, these are the instructions to enable it. 

  1. Right-click on your audio icon on the menu bar and select recording devices
  2. 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.
  3. Right-click on “Stereo Mix” and click “Enable” to be able to use it.
  4. With “Stereo Mix” enabled, you can open up a recording program and select that instead of your microphone before you record. For example, this is the option available in the drop-down menu in Audacity.

Audacity interface: Selecting Stereo Mix in the recording drop down list

Source: How to Enable “Stereo Mix” in Windows and Record Audio from Your PC

Option 2: WASAPI Loopback in Audacity

We usually recommend recording audio through a microphone or separate recording device rather than recording through your computer microphone. This is because the computer microphone picks up sounds from your computer. However, the WASAPI Loopback feature can record the audio coming out of your computer and then remove it from the recording.

  1.  In Audacity, choose the “Windows WASAPI” audio host, and then choose an appropriate loopback device, such as “Speakers (loopback)” or “Headphones (loopback).”

audacity waspi loopback

  1. Click the Record button to start recording the audio in Audacity, and then click Stop when you’re done. Because you’re using Audacity, you can easily trim and edit the sound file when you’re done. NOTE: If this doesn’t work, you may also need to select the correct number of recording channels to match your device using the dropdown box to the right of device selection box. For example, If you have a 7.1 channel headset, select “8.

Source: How to Record the Sound Coming From Your PC (Even Without Stereo Mix)

Option 3: Your Phone

  1. Get close to the source: Make sure you are close enough to the device that you can pick up good audio. However, not too close that the sound is distorted. Try a few positions to see what works best.
  2. Record in a quiet space: Think about the sounds around you: fan, birds, people talking. What can your phone pick up?
    • Find a location that doesn't have a lot on ambient sound.
    • As you are recording, make sure to capture at least 10 seconds of room sound so you can remove this during editing. 
    • If there is a loud sound that you cannot control (card door, someone talking loudly), take a pause and rerecord. You can remove the failed attempt during editing.
  3. Use Airplane mode: Make sure to put your phone on Airplane mode so that you don;t get unwanted sounds and interruptions from notifications or an incoming call.
  4. Listen to your recording on good quality headphones: the speakers on your smartphone won't be able to do your recording justice. Listen to it on headphones so you can really hear it.

Source: 3 Simple Tricks to Record Great Audio with Your Phone

Recording an Interview over Zoom

Local recording allows users to record meeting video and audio locally to a computer. The recorded files can be uploaded to a file storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or a streaming service like YouTube. Local recording is available to free and paid subscribers.

Note: Local recording is not supported on iOS and Android.

Step 1: Enable Local Recording

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal and click My Meeting Settings (if you are an account administrator) or Meeting Settings (if you are an account member).
  • In the Recording tab, navigate to the Local Recording option and verify that the setting is enabled.
  • If the setting is disabled, click the toggle to enable it. If a verification dialog displays, choose Turn On to verify the change.

Step 2: .Starting a Local Recording

  • The host must record the meeting or grant the ability to record to a participant.
  • Start a Zoom meeting as the host.
  • Click the option to Record.
  • If there is a menu, select Record on this Computer.
  • Hosts will see the following recording indicator in the top-left corner while recording is active.
  • Participants will see the following indicator in the top-left corner while the recording is active.
  • Click Participants to see which users are currently recording.
    • Note: Dial-in participants will hear a message informing them that the meeting is now being recorded unless disabled by the host.
  • After the meeting has ended, Zoom will convert the recording so you can access the files.
  • Once the conversion process is complete, the folder containing the recording files will open.
    • Note: By default, the audio/video file (MP4) will be named Zoom_0.mp4. The audio only file (M4A) is named audio_only.m4a.

For more information, please see the Zoom Support page. 

Zencastr

Zoom does not always produce the best audio quality, even when you're using a mic. Zencastr is a tool that allows you to meet with someone on any video chat platform and record the audio separately. Each participant is sent a link and the audio is recorded directly from their computer. You can then combine and edit the files in an audio editor like Audacity.

Resources to Help with Recording Audio

Link to Guide: Record Audio with AudacityLink to Guide: Record Audio on your computer or phone

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.