Guide: Recording Stereo Mix in Windows 7

By Matt Cornock

Quick guide to enabling ‘stereo mix’ for recording using Windows 7.

  • Ensure that you have the correct sound card driver installed and not Windows Default Audio driver. [See below for how to check]
  • Open the recording devices settings by right clicking the speaker icon in the system tray (near the clock, see figure below) and selecting Recording devices. *

Selecting 'recording devices' from the right click context menu of the speaker icon in the system tray

  • Ensure you have the Recording tab selected in the window that appears (see figure below).

Recording tab of the sounds control panel option box

  • Right click somewhere in the white space of the box, and check both Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  • Stereo Mix will now appear as an option (if it does not, you need to install the correct sound card driver).

* If you don’t see the speaker icon, you can also go to Sounds in the Control Panel in the Windows Start Menu.

Ensuring you have the correct sound driver

If you use the default Windows sound driver, it is likely that ‘Stereo Mix’ will not appear. You should download the drivers specific to your sound card.

  • Identify what driver is currently being used*: Click the speaker icon near the clock, then click the Mixer link to display the full mixer (see figure below).

Clicking the speaker icon, then mixer link shows the full audio mixer

  • The name of the driver/device will be shown in brackets next to the title for the mixer, e.g. High Definition Audio Device (for the Windows 7 default driver) or the brand name of the sound card (in my example above this is VIA, but could be Asus, Creative, Trust, etc).
  • If you have the default Windows driver, you should find out what the exact sound card is in your computer and download the specific drivers for it.

* A more techincal way is to go into the Control Panel, in the ‘hardware and sound’ category, select Device Manager and locate the sound card in the list of devices.

Using Astra32 to identify your sound card

  • Download and install Astra32 and run it as Administrator (right click and select ‘Run as Administrator).
  • If, like me, your sound card is part of your motherboard* (aka mainboard), you should identify the manufacturer and model number of the main board and then visit that manufacturer’s website to download the sound card driver. The figure below indicates how Astra32 details this:

ASTRA32 screenshot with motherboard details highlighted

  • Alternatively, within Astra32 select PCI/AGP Devices from the left menu and locate the device with a speaker icon. This will be your sound card, which you should then find the manufacturer’s website for downloading the exact driver (ie Google it):

ASTRA32 screenshot highlighting the sound card

* Nearly all laptops/all-in-one units have the soundcard on the motherboard. For desktops: You can tell whether your sound card is part of the motherboard by looking at the back of the computer. If the speaker socket is in the same cluster of connections as your mouse/keyboard/USB/printer/network ports it is likely to be on the motherboard. If the speaker socket is separated and features on a horizontal panel, it is a separate sound card.

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