Recording audio playing on the computer

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From Audacity 2.0.4 onwards on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, Audacity can record computer playback even on sound devices lacking that ability by choosing "Windows WASAPI" host in Device Toolbar then a "loopback" input.

On other operating systems, Audacity does not provide its own ability to record computer playback but can do so if the computer sound device offers this ability.

Detailed instructions using the current version of Audacity can be found at Recording audio playing on the computer in the Manual.

It is strongly recommended that you use the current version of Audacity as above.
 
Related article(s):
Generally, it is better to extract or import audio from CDs, DVDs or existing video or audio files than record them as they play. Recording from an analog sound card is relatively inexact and lossy because the digital source is converted to analog to play it, then back to digital to record it. The resulting quality will depend (amongst other things) on the quality of your sound card's digital to analog and analog to digital converters.
  • To extract audio CD tracks to your computer, see How to import CDs.
  • If you use the current Audacity version then download and install the optional FFmpeg library, you can import most types of unprotected audio file into Audacity. FFmpeg can also extract audio from the individual VOB files stored on unencrypted DVDs.
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