jacks Sound recorder

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Microsoft Windows Sound Recorder.

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About Sound Recorder

Sound Recorder Setup



How to record and play your own music or other audio on your computer: Many people do not know their PC is also a sound recorder. You can record from a radio, microphone, or other audio source and store the recordings on your hard drive in WAV file format for later playback.

There are other software programs available for recording and playing sound on your PC. Some can even edit your recordings, cutting out unwanted sections or adding sound. You may want to consider these programs because WAV files use more disk space than say MP3 files.

WAVEPAD is a free sound recording / editing / playback program available on the internet for downloading. AUDACITY is another free program and it can convert WAV files to MP3 files, saving disk space and allowing you to transfer the sound to your portable music player.

Sound Recorder is an audio application that allows the user to record and play WAV files. Sound recorder is the standard Microsoft program that is supplied with all Windows operating systems for users to record from their sound card with a microphone or line input and play to speakers or headphones using the green line out jack on the soundcard.

Most soundcards use the 1/8 inch (3.5mm) plug so get a microphone with this connector or get an adapter if the microphone has a 1/4 inch plug. The MIC connects to the pink/red jack on the soundcard and the line in jack is used for other audio sources such as a radio and is usually blue.

1) Microphone jack
2) Line Out jack for speakers
3) Line In jack

1/8 inch (3.5mm) connector cable used for soundcard hookup

Windows 98 Sound Recorder

Sound Recorder is run in Windows 95 by clicking on Start / Programs / Accessories / Multimedia and clicking on Sound Recorder.

Sound Recorder is run in Windows 98 and beyond by clicking on Start / Programs / Accessories / Entertainment and clicking on Sound Recorder.

Windows XP sound recorder

In addition to accessing the file by going through the Start menu, the user has the option to manually run sound recorder by clicking Start / Run and typing in: sndrec32.

Sound Recorder cannot play a CD you load into your computer's optical disc drive because the tracks on a CD are not in WAV file format. To play a CD directly you need to use Windows Media Player which is another supplied program with Windows or an audio application like WINAMP. Windows Media Player version 8.0 and later can also record a CD you play to a WMA file on your PC.

While the Sound Recorder application cannot play a CD, it can record your CD songs if you play them with Windows Media Player. You need to select the correct option within Sound Recorder in order to record from the right source. Select Stereo Mix to record CD tracks.

How to record using the Sound Recorder


The sound recorder in Windows XP for example has several functions to help you control your recordings.

Make sure you set the volume levels correctly before you record. Try a test recording before you do it for real. Always check the box for the source you are using such as LINE IN for connections to the sound card's LINE IN jack or STEREO MIX for other sources or MICROPHONE if recording voice.

What is a WAV file ?

A Wav file is an audio file format, created by Microsoft, that has become a standard PC audio file format for everything from operating system and game sounds to CD-quality audio. A Wave file is identified by a file name extension of WAV (.wav). Used primarily in PCs, the Wave file format has been accepted as a viable interchange medium for other computer platforms, such as Macintosh. This allows content developers to freely move audio files between platforms.

In addition to the uncompressed raw audio data, the Wave file format stores information about the file's number of tracks (mono or stereo), sample rate, and bit depth.

The WAV file is the native digital audio format in Windows. Using the .WAV file extension, 8-bit or 16-bit samples can be taken at rates of 11,025 Hz, 22,050 Hz and 44,100 Hz. The highest quality (16-bit at 44,100 Hz) uses 88KB of storage per second. Windows uses WAV files for general system sounds.

The default content of a WAV file is PCM, which is uncompressed digital samples derived from the analog source. However, WAV files can also be used to store compressed formats including MP3 and others. The headers in the file differentiate the content type because the .WAV file extension is still used. The WAV format is widely used as the audio medium for professional recording and editing. For creating music CDs, the WAV files are converted to the CDDA audio format. Both CDDA files and WAV files (at their highest sampling rates) take up a similar amount of storage space and are not compressed like MP3 or Windows WMA files.

What is Windows Media Player ?

Windows Media Player is a software program that comes standard with the Microsoft Windows PC operating system such as Windows XP for the purpose of playing audio and other functions. Versions of WMP have been available for years on each successive Windows release and have gone up to version 11 with the release of Windows Vista operating system. WMP has the capability to not only play your music files but 'rip' or copy music from a CD to hard drive and store in compressed WMA format, Microsoft's proprietary audio format. You can use Windows Media Player to play and organize digital media files on your computer and on the Internet. It is like having a radio, video player, CD player, and information database all-in-one. You can use Windows Media Player to listen to radio stations from all over the world, play and copy your CDs, look for videos that are available on the Internet, and create customized lists of all the digital media files on your computer.




Related Pages:
Sound Card





Trouble-Shooting and Sound Recorder Limitations

  Sound Recorder has certain limitations.


There is no way to easily change sound recorder to record longer than 60 seconds at a time. However, there are ways to record longer than 60 secs. The best way to bypass this limitation is to click record and just record dead air for each 60 sec, and once stopped to hit record again and keep repeating the process; then when you have reached an ample time for your anticipated recording, rewind and hit record and begin recording your real sounds. Look at LENGTH and see if you have enough time. For example a 3 min. song would need 180 sec to record uninterrupted. You do not lose any partial section of a song using this method but you have to wait for the length of time you need to allocate enough seconds beforehand.

Another way to defeat the 60 sec. limitation is to record a template file of dead air for the lengths of time you think you will need and then open this file and record your audio, then use FILE / SAVE AS to save your recording as a new file. For example, record dead air for 120 secsonds, then save as a WAV file called 2min.wav. Now open the 2min.wav file and record your audio from the beginning. Now SAVE AS myaudio.wav file. You can have a template WAV file for 120, 180, 240 secs. etc. so you can recall them later to use to record your audio. This way you pre-allocate all the time you need. Your empty template files remain available to use.

The alternative to this solution would be to get an application designed to record sound files at a good compression ratio. These programs are available on the web for download. (Goldwave, Wavepad, Audacity)


When trying to play a sound .wav file you receive the following error message: "Sound Recorder cannot record or play back because a sound device is not installed."

Click on Start / Run and type system.ini, this should get you into the system notepad. In the [boot] section add the below line.


If this line is present but has a semicolon (;) in front of the line, remove the semicolon; or if this line is present but has something else written besides the above line, put a space and after what is being loaded and then add MMSYSTEM.DLL.


If when trying to record and when talking into the microphone you do not see the status indicator line moving and you are not able to record anything, verify the below recommendations.

  • Ensure that your microphone is hooked into the correct place in your sound card. 

  • If the microphone uses batteries, ensure the battery is a known good battery.

  • Verify settings are set properly by clicking Start / Settings / Control panel and go to Sounds / multimedia; make sure that the recording and playback device are correct.

Recording radio programming to a computer.

You can record music, news, sports, talk radio or your own sounds from a boombox CD or cassette to your computer using a simple 1/8 inch to 1/8 inch mini-plug cable (available at Radio Shack) connected from the radio's earphone jack to the computer's soundcard LINE IN jack. Using Windows Sound Recorder program, select the LINE IN source and check the volume level with a test recording.

Cable - 1/8 inch to 1/8 inch (3.5mm)

Recording the soundtrack from a DVD you play on your PC

You can record any audio from a DVD, a few words or phrases to hours of sound clips, to WAV files on your PC. Just play the DVD in your PC's drive with a DVD player such as Intervideo WIN-DVD, and record to Windows Sound Recorder and save as a WAV file. Select Stereo Mix on the audio properties and make sure the volume level is set properly. You can then use the WAV file in web pages or copy to portable players as MP3 files using a converter program.

Record vinyl records (33, 45, 78 RPM), reel to reel tape, cassette tape, 8-track, or other sound sources to your computer

You can record basically anything you can play on your stereo system to your computer. You use a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) plug to connect to the soundcard and two RCA plugs to connect to the stereo system. The turntable needs special consideration. Old 78 RPM records from the 1920s thru 1940s require a record player or turntable with the capability to play 78 records. Turntables are available which can play 78, 45 and 33 RPM records. They connect to the stereo amp with a PHONO connection, otherwise you need a phono pre-amp to boost the signal level up to "Line Level" so you can connect to your soundcard.


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