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Let's say I want to record part of an internet radio broadcast so that I can listen to it later. Is there a way to route the audio from my web browser into a recording app like Audacity? This seems like it should be simple... can it be done?

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It is extremely simple, and a quick google using the title of your question will show you many sites explaining how to do it. Two simplest options are:

  • Use software such as MP3MyMP3recorder or Freecorder, which can record directly in software. This is the simplest physically, just giving you an output file from your input stream.
  • Use a cable to connect your headphone out to your mic in and use Audacity to record it. This one works exactly the same way as if you were recording from a mic, but uses the output from the streaming app instead of an external mic. As @WarriorBob commented below, make sure not to monitor input in your recording app - you can create a feedback loop!
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There are a few ways to do this with Audacity. If you have Windows, the one that will give you the best quality is as follows:

  1. In the first drop down menu (Audio Host) change the default setting from MME to Windows WASAPI.

  2. In the second drop down menu (Recording Device) change the default setting from microphone to your output device (usually your speakers or headphones).

You will now be able to record whatever audio plays on your computer without picking up any distortion from your mic. Keep in mind if you have any sound alerts (such as message alert sounds etc.) it will pick up those as well.

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Running a cable from your computer's audio output to its input as suggested above works, BUT it will reduce the quality of the recording and add noise. This is because of the extra digital to analog and digital to analog conversion involved, as well as the time spent in your computer's analog audio path. This may or may not be an issue, trust your ears. If your computer has S/PDIF i/o then use that and you should be fine.

BTW Audio hijack is the traditional solution for this on the mac.

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