Whether you’re a YouTuber, a streamer, a gamer, or a professional, you’ve probably needed to record system audio in Windows at some point. We will show you how to record Windows system audio as you hear it by utilizing the “Stereo Mix” feature, which is a hidden audio mix option in form of a virtual media device most people don´t know about.

In just five simple steps, you can record audio within Windows just as it comes out of your speakers. Windows 10 does this by looping back the output audio signal into this “Stereo Mix” virtual audio device which then can be set as input device in any application.

All you need to record Windows system audio recording is a Realtek sound card and a recording software. The former is included in most computers on the mainboard in form of a chipset provided by Realtek. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow in order to enable Stereo Mix and record system audio in Windows 10.

How to activate Stereo Mix in Windows 10

Time needed: 1 minute.

  1. Open “Input devices” in Windows 10 settings

    The fastest way to see available “Input devices” in Windows 10 is by searching and opening “Manage sound devices”.

    Windows 10 - Search - Manage sound devices

  2. Enable Stereo Mix in “Managed sound devices”

    In “Manage sound devices” you will find a disabled “Stereo Mix” entry in “Input devices”. Just click on “Stereo Mix” to show the “Enable”-button. Then you can enable “Stereo Mix” with a simple click.

    Windows 10 - Settings - Manage sound devices - activate Stereo Mix

How to Record Windows System Audio using Stereo Mix in Audacity

Time needed: 2 minutes.

With “Stereo Mix” enabled, you are now ready to record audio in Windows exactly as it comes out of your speakers. You can now open your favorite recording program and select “Stereo Mix” instead of your microphone as the recording source.

A good  and freely available pc recording software you can use example is Audacity. With Audacity, you can record audio in Windows easily, and the program allows “Stereo Mix” to be used as the recording device.

  1. Setting “Stereo Mix” as input device in Audacity

    Click on the “Microphone” pane and choose “Stereo Mix”. Now you are ready to record system audio in Windows 10 using Audacity.

    Windows 10 - Audacity - Setting Stereo Mix as Recording Device

Stereo Mix is missing – What can I do?

In some cases, your audio chipset drivers aren’t helping you record audio using “Stereo Mix”. There is a chance that you open the “Recording Devices” pane and “Stereo Mix” will be missing.

To fix this problem, you can try to update your audio chipset driver. With sound chipsets from Realtek, it should usually work. In other instances, however, it’s because the newest Windows drivers for your chipset don’t support this feature.

In order to fix this, you should try downloading and installing drivers from older Windows versions for your audio chipset. As always, before doing so make sure you create a backup of your system.