7 Free Ways to Record Audio from a Computer [2024]

Try Movavi Screen Recorder!

  • Capture system sounds and microphone

  • Trim recorded audio

  • Save recordings in high quality

Edited by Ben Jacklin
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Whether you're a musician, podcaster, or just want to capture a video call, recording your computer's audio can be a great way to get high-quality recordings. In this article, we will discuss how to record computer audio using different tools, including a desktop screen recorder, built-in apps, and audio-editing software.

Quick summary

For recording and editing computer audio: Audacity

For recording quick, simple audio clips: Windows Voice Recorder

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How to record computer audio with Movavi Screen Recorder

  • Best for:

    Recording computer audio, video calls, and gameplay

  • OS:

    Windows and Mac

  • G2 rating:

    4.5 out of 5, 48 reviews

One of the best ways to capture audio is to use Movavi Screen Recorder. The program has a simple interface and a wide range of features, including the ability to record audio directly from your microphone, from your speakers, or both. It also has a built-in editor that lets you make simple edits, for example, you can cut and trim your recordings. The program is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 and macOS 10.13 or higher. 

Key features:

  • Remove unwanted segments right after the recording
  • Save anything you need to keep from your screen to boost your day-to-day productivity
  • Use AI noise reduction for clear sound
  • Schedule recordings of important online events


  • Record music, speech, and audio effects in high quality to enhance tutorials and presentations

  • Customize footage and create videos in a few clicks

  • Easy to set up and use

  • Share links to your recordings or upload them to the cloud and social media straight from the app


  • Only the features of the full version can boost your productivity

Here’s how to record audio from a computer using Movavi Screen Recorder.

Step 1. Download and install the program

In the first step, you will need to download and install Movavi Screen Recorder on your PC or laptop.

Step 2. Set the recording parameters

If you want to record audio only, click the Plus icon on the sidebar. In the dialogue window, click Select under the Audio recording option. Close the window.

Then hit Audio recording on the sidebar. If you want to record just audio from your computer, activate System audio. You can activate the recording from your microphone as well. 

Step 3. Start recording

To record your computer sound, hit the REC button. When you're done, click the Stop button to finish.

Step 4. Edit and export your recording

You can cut and trim recorded audio. When you're done, hit the Export button and then Save.

That's how easy it is to record sound from a PC with Movavi Screen Recorder!

How to use the Audacity computer audio recorder

An audio recorder with advanced audio editing features


Versatile software for all recording purposes

Movavi Screen Recorder

A simple built-in recording tool

Windows Voice Recorder

Editor’s rating:



  • Best for:

    Recording audio from a computer

  • OS:

    Windows, Mac

  • PCMag rating:

    4 out of 5

Audacity is a free and open-source audio recording program that you can use to record PC audio. It has a wide range of features, including the ability to record multiple tracks at once, edit your recordings, and add effects.

Key features:

  • Record multiple tracks at once

  • Edit your recordings

  • Add effects

  • Export your recordings in a variety of formats, including MP3


  • Works on Windows and Mac

  • Wide range of features

  • Free

  • Can record multiple tracks at once

  • Can edit recordings

  • Can add effects


  • Not as user-friendly as some other programs

To record computer audio with Audacity, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download and install Audacity

Start by downloading Audacity from the link below. Once it's downloaded, double-click on the file to install it.

Download Audacity

Once Audacity is installed, open it by double-clicking on the icon on your desktop or by searching for it in the Start menu.

Step 2. Set the audio input and output devices

Before you can start recording, you need to set Audacity to use the correct audio recording and playback devices. To do this, select the desired option from the corresponding drop-down lists marked by the microphone icon and the speakers icon.

Step 3. Record your computer audio

To record computer audio, click on the Record button in Audacity and start talking. When you're done recording, press the Stop button to finish.

Step 4. Edit your recordings

Once you've finished recording, you can edit your recordings by clicking on them in the Audacity timeline. This allows you to cut out any unwanted parts, add effects, and more.

Step 5. Export your recordings

When you're done editing your recordings, you can export them in a variety of formats by going to File > Export (on a Mac, Audacity > Export). This allows you to share your recordings with others or use them in other projects.

That's it! You now know how to record sound from a computer using Audacity.

Download Audacity

How to record sound from a computer with Stereo Mix

An audio recorder with advanced audio editing features


Versatile software for all recording purposes

Movavi Screen Recorder

A simple built-in recording tool

Windows Voice Recorder

Editor’s rating:


Stereo Mix

  • Best for:

    Recording system and game audio, making software or app tutorials, recording online classes

  • OS:

    Windows Vista, Windows XP

The Stereo Mix feature on Windows can’t record audio, but it can be used as a source for audio capture in other programs. Stereo Mix captures all audio playing on your computer, including system sounds, game audio, and music. 

Key features:

  • Captures audio from all sound sources currently playing on your PC


  • Records high-quality audio without any background noise

  • Automatically detects the sound sources active on your PC


  • Requires an audio-recording app

Here’s how to record audio on a PC:

Step 1. Open the Sound window in Control Panel

Open Control Panel and click Hardware and Sound. Then hit Sound.

Step 2. Select Stereo Mix as your recording device

In the Recording tab, select Stereo Mix as your recording device. If you don’t see Stereo Mix in the list of recording devices, it might not be enabled on your computer. To enable it:

  • Right-click the blank space in the Recording tab and select Show Disabled Devices.

  • Right-click Stereo Mix and choose Enable.

An audio recorder with advanced audio editing features


Versatile software for all recording purposes

Movavi Screen Recorder

A simple built-in recording tool

Windows Voice Recorder

Editor’s rating:


How to record audio from a PC with Windows Voice Recorder

  • Best for:

    Recording quick, simple audio clips

  • OS:


Voice Recorder is a free computer audio recorder that comes with Windows. It’s one of the easiest recording tools, but it lacks advanced features. However, it gets the job done if you need a simple voice recording program for your desktop computer.

Key features:

  • Record sound from microphone and/or speakers

  • Save recordings in WAV or MP3 format

  • Option to record computer audio-only, microphone only, or speakers only


  • Very easy to use

  • Free


  • Lacks advanced features

Here’s how to record audio from a PC using Windows Voice Recorder:

Step 1. Open Windows Voice Recorder

To record desktop audio, start with opening the Windows Voice Recorder application. You can find it on the Start menu or type Voice Recorder in search to open it for you automatically.

Step 2. Start recording

Click the Record button to start recording computer audio.

Step 3. Stop recording

After you’ve finished recording, click Stop recording. The file will be saved to your computer. 

That's it! You've learned how to record system audio using Windows Voice Recorder.

How to record audio with the Windows 11 pre-installed Voice Recorder app

  • Best for:

    Capturing quick microphone recordings on a Windows 11 device

  • OS:

    Windows 11

  • Rating:

    3.5/5 (Microsoft Store customer reviews)

Sound Recorder (formerly called Voice Recorder in the Windows 10 version) is Microsoft’s native voice and computer audio recording app for Windows 11. It enables users to record computer audio or microphone quickly and easily, but lacks audio editing functionalities. If you just need to make an audio note or send a short clip, Sound Recorder may be the solution for you. If you need to create more polished audio clips, you’ll likely need a third-party app.

Key features

  • Audio waveform graphic display to visualize volume during a recording
  • Timestamp markers to call out specific sections of an audio clip
  • Multiple microphone options
  • Adjustable playback speed


  • Windows audio recording functionality

  • User-friendly interface

  • Easy sharing capabilities


  • No trimming capability

  • No file format export options (only saves as .M4A)

How to record audio with Voice Recorder:

Step 1. Open the Windows 11 Sound Recorder app

In the search box, type “Sound Recorder” to open the app. If it is not installed, you can download and install it for free from the Microsoft Store.

Step 2. Record computer audio with Sound Recorder

In Sound Recorder, click on the red Record button to begin recording. You can also use a hotkey combination (Ctrl + R) to begin your audio recording. If you need to pause the recording, click the Pause button at any time and click it again to continue recording.

Step 3. Finish recording and save your audio file

To complete your audio recording with Sound Recorder, click on the Stop button. Sound Recorder will automatically display your recording for you on the left side of your screen. To rename your file, change its save destination, and/or share it, right-click on the file name.

How to record desktop audio with VLC

  • Best for:

    Windows and Mac users who want an easy-to-use program that can record audio coming from programs

  • OS:

    Windows, Mac, Linux

  • TechRadar rating:

    4.4 out of 5

VLC is a free media player that can be used to record audio on a PC. It has a wide range of features, including the ability to record audio as it plays on a website or in a desktop app.

Key features:

  • Record audio from websites, apps, and other programs

  • Can record in multiple formats

  • Easy to use

  • Free


  • Wide range of features

  • Records audio from websites, apps, and other programs

  • Free


  • Doesn’t have a lot of exporting options

Here’s how to record desktop audio with VLC.

Step 1. Download and install VLC

Download the installation file and install the program on your computer.

Download VLC

Start with opening up the VLC media player.

Step 2. Specify the settings

From the main menu, go to View and select Advanced Controls from the drop-down menu. Next, go to the Media tab and select Open Capture Device.

Step 3. Select your audio input

Open the Audio device name menu, select Stereo Mix as your audio input.

Step 4. Start recording computer audio

Click Play and then the red button to record. Click the red button again to stop recording.

To open your record, go to Media > Open File. Files recorded via VLC will have the vlc-record prefix added to their names.

How to record system audio with OBS

  • Best for:

    Real-time audio capture

  • OS:

    Windows, macOS, Linux

  • G2 rating:

    4.4 out of 5 stars

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a freely available and open-source application designed for capturing video and audio content, as well as facilitating live streaming. OBS can record PC sound and video, allowing for subsequent editing to construct scenes composed of various inputs. It supports the capture of images, text, browser windows, webcams, capture cards, and additional elements. This system audio recorder gives its users the ability to select the audio source, such as system sound, capture card sound, microphone sound, and more. Furthermore, it offers features for adjusting audio bitrate, sample rate, and channels.

Key features:

  • One-click switching between scenes and transitions
  • Audio mixing


  • The program is well-suited for bloggers and streamers

  • Works with almost any audio source


  • Can’t save audio in audio-only formats

  • Takes up a lot of CPU/memory

Here’s how to capture audio from a computer using OBS.

Step 1. Install and launch the program

Download and install OBS Studio on your computer by following the link below.

Go to the OBS official website

Step 2. Add the new scene and source

Click Add Scene to create a new scene in the Scenes section. Click Add Source in the Sources section and select Audio Output Capture to record system sound or Audio Input Capture.

Step 3. Record the sound coming from your PC

When the desktop audio recorder is ready and set up, click Start Recording to begin capturing audio and then Stop Recording to finish the process.

Tips for recording audio on a PC in high quality

Below, you’ll find a few tips that will help you make high-quality audio recordings on your computer.

Minimize background noises

Make sure you’re recording in a quiet place. Some seemingly quiet sounds, like an AC working or someone typing, can turn out pretty loud on the recording. So, pay attention to any background sounds that can affect your recording. Also, make sure to use a PC audio recorder with a noise reduction feature such as AI noise reduction of Movavi Screen Recorder.

Use an external microphone

Of course, it’s easier to use a built-in computer microphone to record audio, but the quality will not be that great. To get a better sound on your recording, use an external microphone. Depending on how professional you want your recording to be, choose appropriate equipment. 

Use an external sound card

External audio cards provide a better sound quality. It can take a while to figure out how to set the equipment, but once it’s done, you’ll definitely improve the quality of your audio recordings.

What to look for in a computer audio recorder

When looking for an audio recorder, you should consider the following factors:

  • The operating system it is compatible with: The audio recorder should be compatible with the operating system of your computer.
  • The audio recording format it supports: The audio recorder should be able to record in the format that you need.
  • Its ability to record from different sources: The audio recorder should be able to record audio from multiple sources like websites and apps.
  • Whether or not the program is free, paid, open-source, etc.: You may want to consider a free or paid program depending on your budget and needs.
  • Ease of use: The audio recorder should be easy for you to use without any experience with other programs of this type in the past.
  • The quality of the recordings: The audio recorder should produce high-quality recordings.

If you’re struggling with choosing the app for audio recording, consider looking at the table below. Whether you want to record computer audio in high-quality or just simple fragments, you sure can find something that meets your needs.


Best for



Recording high-quality audio from PC, video calls, and gameplay

Windows and Mac

Recording sound from PC

Windows, Mac

Recording online classes

Windows Vista, Windows XP


Now you know which factors to consider when looking for an audio recorder. Keep these in mind and you will be able to find the best program for your needs. Our personal recommendation is Movavi Screen Recorder due to its versatility and ease of use.

Movavi Screen Recorder

The perfect way to record anything from your screen

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to record computer audio?

Yes, you can use any sound capture software to record computer audio. We recommend using Movavi Screen Recorder. With this handy recording tool you can effortlessly make recordings, take screenshots, and perform audio capture. Use this functionality to create engaging video lessons, make presentations and software demos. Make your screencasts more informative by showing keystrokes and mouse clicks.

How can I record audio from my computer?

Follow these simple steps to record audio from your computer with Movavi Screen Recorder:

  1. To record audio from your computer, start by downloading and installing the program.

    Download Movavi Screen Recorder for Windows
    Download Movavi Screen Recorder for Mac

  2. Select the Screen Recording option.

  3. Choose the audio input you want to record from – your microphone, system sound, or both.

  4. Click the REC button and start talking into your microphone or playing back audio from your computer.

  5. When you’re finished recording, click the Stop button and save the file to your computer.

Can you record internal audio on a PC?

There are a number of audio recording programs available, but the following five are some of the best:

  • Movavi Screen Recorder – Best for recording computer audio, video calls, and gameplay
  • Audacity – Best for recording audio from a computer
  • OBS – Best for real-time audio capture
  • Screencastify – Best for teachers, designers, marketers
  • Apowersoft – Best for unlimited sound recording

For more options, check out this article:

Read about free internal audio recorders

Does Windows 10 have an audio recorder?

Yes! Microsoft Voice Recorder is a built-in audio recording program that comes with Windows 10. It lets you record audio from your microphone or the system sound, and it’s very easy to use. To record computer audio on Windows 10, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Voice Recorder and click Record.

  2. Click Stop recording. The file will be saved on your computer.

  3. Trim your audio if needed.

Can Audacity record computer audio?

Yes, to capture your computer’s system audio with Audacity, you just have to ensure that the program is set to capture internal audio. In the toolbar at the top of the Audacity window, click on Audio setup to change settings and include your system’s audio.

How do I record audio on Windows?

You can record audio on Windows with Movavi Screen Recorder in just a few simple steps:

  1. Download and install Movavi Screen Recorder.
  2. Set your recording parameters by clicking the + icon and choosing Audio recording.
  3. To record from your microphone, click on the microphone icon at the bottom of the window. To record your computer’s audio, click on the speaker icon to capture system audio. You can use both simultaneously if you want to capture system and voice audio.
  4. Click REC to begin recording.
  5. Click Pause at any time to pause your recording if you need to stop and restart.
  6. When you’re done, click Stop.
  7. Use Movavi’s editing tools to edit your audio clip and then hit Export to choose your preferred file format and save or share your audio clip.

How can I record music on my computer for free?

Here’s our top-5 programs to record computer sound:

  • Movavi Screen Recorder – for recording computer and microphone audio, as well as gameplay and online presentations.
  • Audacity – for recording computer audio and mic.
  • Stereo Mix – for recording system or microphone audio to make online tutorials.
  • Voice Recorder for Windows 10 – for simple audio recordings.
  • Sound Recorder for Windows 11 – for recording and sharing quick audio clips.

Can work computers record audio?

Yes, if your work computer runs Windows 10 or 11, you should have a built-in audio recorder, and employers typically have the authority to record your system and mic audio.

Can I use Windows Media Player to record audio?

Yes, Windows Media Player has the capability to record from your microphone and other devices. With the correct settings, Windows Media Player can enable you to record system audio. If you’re having difficulty getting Windows Media Player to record your computer’s audio, check audio capture settings or try an app like Movavi Screen Recorder.

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