How to Record Streaming Music or Audio

Guide to recording (or saving) streaming music or audio

How to Record or Save Streaming Music or Audio

If you have ever listened to streaming music or audio, such as on some Internet radio program or the like, you might have wondered if it is possible to record it for future playback. This is useful, for example, for time shifting a program — recording a radio program for listening at a later time.

The method described here works only with certain sound cards. For example, it works with Creative Sound Blaster products (Live, Audigy, etc). It relies on a feature of such cards that allow you to record what the sound card outputs.

First, download and install a free audio recording program called Audacity. You can find Audacity listed on the Free Digital Audio / Sound Editors page on

Start Audacity. In the main window, near the top on one of the toolbars, you will find a drop down box with a variety of inputs that you can record from. Select the "What U Hear" (or anything similarly named) input. I'm told that not all sound cards have this, and that on some sound cards, the equivalent input to select is "Stereo Mix", "Wave" or "Wave Out". (Even if you don't have anything similarly named, you can always try the procedure below with each input till something works.) Make sure your Internet radio or streaming music program is running and playing. Hit the "Record" button (the button with the red circle on it) in Audacity. When you have finished recording, hit the "Stop" button (the button with the square on it).

A word of caution: while you are recording, you should not do anything that causes the computer to make sounds, including clicking on links in Windows Explorer. By default, Windows makes some audible clicks when you perform certain operations, such as open folders, click on links, etc. Since you're recording every single sound that goes out from your computer speakers, sounds produced by other programs will also be recorded.

Your recording need not be precise — that is, you should arrange to start recording before the portion you want to keep, and stop a few seconds after your program or streaming music has ended. You will can then edit the recording to your liking; Audacity is after all primarily an audio editor. How to edit the recording is, however, outside the scope of this tutorial. Please read up the documentation or help manual for more information. It's basically clicking and selecting the portion you don't want and cutting it with Ctrl+X; the program is actually quite intuitive.

To save your recording, click File -> "Export as WAV" from the menu, if you want to save it as a WAV file. Alternatively, if you don't have enough space on your hard disk, you might want to save it either as a compressed MP3 or Ogg Vorbis file. To save as an MP3 file, click File -> "Export as MP3". To save as an Ogg Vorbis file, click File -> "Export as Ogg Vorbis".

That's it. You have now recorded your streaming music or Internet radio program for later listening.

Copyright © 2006-2015 by Christopher Heng. All rights reserved. Get more "How To" guides and tutorials from

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