Among many things which did not work out of the box on my Windows Vista installation – like creating and burning to CD music playlists or displaying some web sites correctly – recording music from a web browser didn’t work either. On my Windows XP machine I am using Free Music Zilla to record music tracks especially from last.fm. It has a limitation of only 10 downloads per day but works nicely and easily with Firefox. Nevertheless: under Vista of course it doesn’t work at all: Free Music Zilla simply doesn’t seem to catch any audio stream from my browser.
One of my Christmas presents was a “Vinyl USB 1 Turn Table” from DJ-Tech allowing me to record my vinyl disks and store those as mp3 files on my computer. It comes with an Audacity CD as the recommended software to do the recording. Audacity is a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. After I recorded my first discs successfully I was studying the documentation a bit and bumped into the chapter about Preferences and Audio I/O where I discovered that Audacity of course can capture from all kinds of audio input channels: The two drop-down list controls in this pane is where you configure which device Audacity should use for sound input and output. This basically means which sound card, USB sound device, etc you want to use. If your sound card support multiple sound inputs, e.g. has a microphone input and a line-in, then you select these on the mixer toolbar.
Initially I wasn’t able to get the audio line-in from my soundcard to show up as a selectable input source. I headed to Windows System Settings – Sound and found an option “Stereomix” not enabled so far. After enabling it I now can select this additional option shown in screen shot below as an input source and now record audio from my browser or most probably any other type of application using Audacity – without any limitation .
Whether this works on anyone else’ computer certainly depends on what sound card and device drivers are installed. In my case it seems to be some Realtek Sound Device together with the corresponding drivers and software enabling me to do what I described above.
Important Hint: “Software Playthrough” should be disabled when recording from the line-in audio stream, since otherwise this will cause some very annoying audio feedbacks effects. The option is useful for recording from my USB turn table allowing me to listen to the tracks without needing an additional amplifier,, but as I said: when recording from line-in, which is played back through the speakers anyway this option definitely should be turned off.