With Vista what you hear is not what you get

November 23, 2007

Vista busy cursor I’m a fan of the free open-source (and cutely named) Audacity application for editing audio. Among other things it allows you to capture streaming audio as a sound file. Unless you’re running Vista, that is.

My son, Jonny, had been interviewed for a BBC radio program, The World This Weekend, because they were in Oxford, reporting on the LibDem leadership contest, and he is an Oxford student and well-known LibDem blogger. The program went out last Sunday 18 November at 1pm and then continued to be available from the BBC website as streaming audio for a further week. I thought it would be nice to have a permanent record of Jonny’s broadcast observations about the on-going scrap between Messrs. Clegg and Huhne. One (among many) for the parental pride scrapbook.

Vista had other ideas. Normally, when you use Audacity, you get a choice of inputs from which to record. These include “stereo mix” or “what you hear” or somesuch. The point is that whatever audio is being played by the PC’s soundcard, and out through the speakers, is also available as an input to Audacity and can be recorded as a wave file or other sound file. Malheureusement, with Audacity running under Vista, you can only record from the microphone input. Quel surprise!

Methinks Microsoft have made a pig’s ear of audio on Vista.

pig's ear

It seems that by default Vista installs its own audio drivers which do not offer stereo mix or “what you hear”. You are supposed to install drivers provided by the soundcard manufacturer, if you’re reasonably tech savvy that is, or just go mad with frustration if you’re not.

I thought I had the latest Asus motherboard drivers installed and that included the onboard sound chip. Maybe not. No doubt I’ll find a solution somewhere. Just another annoying little trial and needless waste of time that characterises the Vista user’s world.

Update 25/11/07:  Solution in this post

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  1. After reading the comments, I finally knew why I have failed to record sounds from video clips. I even went to the audacity forum to ask for help. I purchased my laptop using Vista program not long ago. I really regret very much!!!!!!

  2. alternatively you can just run a jack from the speaker output directly into the microphone input and monitor the levels onscreen. tedious and substandard i know, but it is vista.

  3. bastards, this is pissing me off! damn you vista

  4. I haven’t used Audacity, but I think I’ll give it a try. Also, I haven’t upgraded to Vista, and after hearing what alot of people have said, I think I’ll stick with XP for now.

  5. I thought MS disabled it as part of it’s DRM scheme. (So you couldn’t playback protected content and rerecord it)?

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