Audacity: Sound card requirements?

Anyone familiar enough with Audacity to know what the sound card requirements might be for it to run effectively?

I’ve got it loaded up but it’s not recording from streaming sources like previous machines I’ve worked on.  This XP machine has “integrated” sound card on the motherboard.  In my souces menu on audacity I see only Mic , Mic Rear and Line In.  None seem to produce a signal for recording.  

Have you looked at the Properties sheet in the XP Volume control to see if there are any extra volume controls you can display? Sometime there is a Capture control that might need turning up. You might need to tick a Select box for the channel you want to record.

Also look it Settings/Control Panel for Audio and Video Controllers or Sound. Lots of tweakable stuff in there.

In Audacity, go to Edit>Preferences>Audio I/O tab and check the settings in the drop-down for Playback and Recording devices. Mine was set to Microsoft Sound Mapper and I had to change it to my sound card.

I’ve been through just about everything I can get my mouse on…

but I will try all these specifics.  Thanks.

Wow.  Still no luck.

XP volume control properties give the diagloge box labeled:  Sounds & Audio Devices Properties

In the Audio tab, sound Record and Playback:  I have only two options:

1  Sigma Tel Audio (this must be the “integrated” sound card on the motherboard.)  (??)

2  Modem #0 Line

Settings/control Panel.  This also gives the same dialoge box and options as described above.

Record Inputs:  My only options are: 

1  Microphone

2  Rear Mic

3  Line In

None seem to enable recording “off the sound card”

In Audacity/Edit/Preferences>  Aidio I/O tab:

record:  I have only three options:

1  Microsoft Sound Mapper-Input

2  Sigma Tel Audio

3  Modem #0 Line Record

I’m at my wits end.  The recording leve.meters show zero regardless of what I try.

My sense is that the “integrated” sound card does not offer the possibility of recording “off the sound card”.

Anyone with specific knowledge of this?

(I acknowledge that this may not be the right forum page, but it’s where I come all the time and where the good guys hang)

SigmaTel Audio is the driver for the intergrated Intel soundcard.  I d/l the latest driver but that doesn’t appear to have done anything.

I’m willing to buy a real sound card but really I don’t have a great deal of confidence that this will really do the trick.


Wow. It does sound like it’s a sound card issue. If you can play back existing files through it with Audacity, but can’t select it as a source option for recording, then I’d bet on it. I can’t remember if you said it was a laptop or not. If not, just about any new sound card should solve your problem. For laptops, you may have to shop around to find a USB audio interface that will do what you need. is a good place to start for those.

I’ve used Freecorder Toolbar by Applian Technologies to record streaming audio, I see there is a newer product called Ask & Record Toolbar by Applian… No dedicated audio card line out signal is required for these recorders to work and the sound quality (of Freecorder) is good but a little heavy on the bass…

Freecorder Toolbar

Ask & Record Toolbar

There are also little plug-in ‘sound cards’ for laptops that would generate a real audio line out signal but I don’t know about the quality of the signal. Even a cheap internal card would likey give very good line out quality if that is an option in your case. Except for programs such as those above, you really do need the audio line out to get where you want to go I believe…

Total Recorder records streaming audio. It’s $18 (Standard–who needs Professional?) and you can try it free. 

But I still think there’s an Audacity setting to tweak.   I haven’t read this, but maybe the answer is in there, or on the Audacity user forum.

I read the info at the Audicity link you provided above, and implemented changes suggested in the Windows Problem section re ‘RealTek HD Sound Effect Manager’ specifically the “Enabled recording multi-streaming” option and enabled “Stereo Mix”…  FWIW these changes made no difference in getting Audicity to record directly on my system ( XP Home, SP3). I can record a segment with Freecorder and then import that saved MP3 file into Audicity to play or edit and then re-save from Audicity…

If you do manage to solve the issue of direct recording with Audicity w/o a ‘real’ sound card, please share your successful procedures!!

Message Edited by Bucko on 08-27-2009 11:00 AM

i’m also using a software from applian, it’s called “replay music”.

with streaming recorders, make sure that you turn off system sounds, IM sound alerts etc because it will be recorded together with the stream… 

Why don’t you post a question on the Audacity user forum? It has a zillion users–surely one of them has a SigmaTel.

Black Rectangle

Thanks for that Audacity link and info.  Very useful- I learned a lot.  But mainly I learned that Sigma Tel Audio offers little customer support.  Audacity suggests going to the motherboard manufacturer for driver upgrades.  That sounds like a bit too much Sherlock “Homes” for me.  I DID take the suggestion of Freecorder and that seems to work fine (albeit with WAY less options than Audacity)  Yeah- bucko- I’m in a similar spot.  I can get recordings with Freecorder and then go to Audacity with the WAv or mp3.

Spent a lot of time on this and apparently the crappy sigmtel “card” on the motherboard is not going to give me any options here.  Hard to believe how much Dell and Microsoft will “cheap out” on the customer.

Sooner or later I’ll get a real sound card.  I know it’s not that expensive but having been laid off recently, anything in the “extra” category is out of the question.

BR- I will check out Audacity forum when I have some extra time.  Thanks again guys.

Hey, Blackdog. Check this out:

Audacity forum on SigmaTel

Just Googled : Audacity SigmaTel 


You rock.  Very cool.  Will check all this out.


That psot from bugmenot got very deep.  I followed him almost all the way until he mentioned “Settings…” but could find only “Setup…”  I flipped a value from 0 to 1.  Not sure if it was the correct spot.  didnt’ seem to make any difference.  Oh well.  MicroSoft and SigmaTel blows and I will eventually have to spend $50 or so for a real sound card.  Thanks for the good pointers!

thanks for tolerating this off-topic post too.

SOrry I didn’t see this thread earlier.  I also have XP with integrated audio.

The record mixer is buried in submenus, but here’s how I do it:

  1. click “Sounds and Audio Devices” in your control panel (might also be left-click on speaker icon in system tray)

  2. On the Sounds and Audio Devices" panel, click on “Advanced”  That shoud pop up a panel titled “Volume Control” with a bunch of sliders.

  3.  Select “Properties” from the Options pull down menu.  This pops up a panel of that same name.

  4. Properties panel lets you select the mixer device (likely only one choice, mine is “SoundMAX Digital Audio”).

    Select “Recording”,  You get choices what inputs show on the mixer, make sure “Line In” is checked.  CLick OK.

  1. FINALLY I get the recording mixer panel.  To record from your stereo (ie to rip vinyl records), select “Line In” and set your volume slider!  If you don’t have a “line in” jack, try Microphone or Aux.  To record whatever’s playing on your computer, select “Wave Out”

Hopefully even if your audio chip is different, this is enough for you to find your way to the recording mixer.   

There’s also a program “radio ripper” which can save mp3 internet streams (shoutcast etc) directly to disk so you don’t have to save or edit as .wav then reencode. It seems to have had no development in a few years, but still works at least on XP (


Thanks.  I have been thru that menu.  In my case the only option I have for record or play is SigmaTelAudio.  Line in and both of the microphone inputs are checked.  I CAN record via “Line In” but what I want is to record off the sound card.  Other computers have given me an option called “What U Hear is What U Get”.  It takes whatever is hitting the soundcard and records that.  But this apparently is not possible with the low quality SigmaTel integrated into the motherboard. Thanks for the post anyway.  The directions were very clear.

Outboard sound cards aren’t that expensive.

You might also check out the Griffin iMic which has a stupid name. It’s not a mic, it’s a USB soundcard with line and mic inputs and outputs.  And despite the i-prefix and design, it’s not Mac-only–it’s standard USB. Since no one quite knows what it is, you can often find them for under $20 on eBay–especially the v1 (gray, round), which is ergonomically dopey but works fine. (I got one for $12 on eBay.)  The v2 that replaced it is white with one flat side. 

It turns out that I have a SigmaTel in one of my computers and Total Recorder ($18) does record streaming audio or whatever else is going through the soundcard.  That would give you a software solution. Try the trial version and see if it would work for you. The $18 is for use forever, complete with annual upgrades.

Total Recorder

I’m not quite sure how Total Recorder gets the audio, because I had to go through Total Recorder’s own wizard to find the audio, but it works. Which leads me to believe Audacity could do it too, if you could find the magical combination of settings. The post above is correct–it’s Stereo Mix that you want to record onto Audacity. But that SigmaTel is a very restricted gizmo. Mine doesn’t even show Line-In under Volume Control.

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 09-03-2009 01:17 PM