Feb 28, 2011

How to record what you hear from your sound card (and Youtube) on Windows 7 using VLC

OK, I know everyone's dying for it but a word of advice first.

With Windows 7 most people have been out of luck when trying to record from the "Stereo Mix" or "What you hear" channels of their sound cards, especially the people using integrated sound cards. The reasons, let's face it, are recent anti-piracy measures. The advent of high quality digital media on the Internet, mostly for promotional purposes, has brought both big advantages and disadvantages to artists, record houses and the like. While you can now listen to a full song before you buy it and the quality is sometimes just as great as the original for a simple bloke (haha, I love English!), that doesn't mean that you can rip everything you hear and like and forget about ever buying the song because you're satisfied with it. If you really care about your music the same way that I do, you buy your songs, not rip them off from the Internet! But for those that really hate Flash like I do, you could either download the FLV file and play it using a hardware accelerated player (if it's HD) or simply a lighter, better player, like VLC, KMPlayer or even the awesome mplayer or just rip the audio and then play it using foobar2000 or something. Yes, I said you "could", not that you should. Think about the artists first!

So here's how you could record the audio off a Youtube video using VideoLan Client (VLC):

  1. Open VLC and click the Media menu (first menu) and select Convert / Save.
  2. In the Open Media dialog, click the Network tab, paste your Youtube video URL and press Convert / Save.
  3. In the Convert dialog, select or type in the destination file's name plus an extension (I recommend .ogg). You can tick Display the output if you want to hear what you're recording but it slows the converting to 1x speed (ie. record at normal playback speed).
  4. Select a profile for the converted file format. I selected Audio - Vorbis (OGG). You can edit the profile and change the recording bitrate if you want but 128kbps is overkill already for Youtube videos. Setting it higher would just waste disk space.
  5. Click Start (and peek through the door peep hole to make sure there aren't any men in black suits).