This method is for those who wish to play audio files though the mic or just to mic spam without using external programs, or heck, without having a mic even. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to play music through Stereo Mix (or Rec. Playback – it’s the same thing as stereo mix) that acts as a virtual microphone, FULLY FREE.
(Tested on Windows based systems)
What Is Stereo Mix (Or Rec. Playback)?
Most audio drivers have a built-in feature for playing back every audio stream coming from your computer, a.k.a system sounds, even that of a microphone if one is enabled.
Most call it Stereo Mix, some call it Rec. Playback. Maybe there are more names for it in different audio drivers, but those two are all I’ve seen. It goes by a nickname: “What you hear.”
How This Method Works
It plays all the sounds coming from your computer, the stuff you hear, the system sounds, through a sort of virtual microphone (stereo mix, rec. playback). If it works, others can hear all the sounds playing on your computer as if you were using a microphone for playing those sounds. More specifically, they will hear what you hear.
How To Set Up This Method (4 steps)
On windows PC, open recording devices.
Right-click and tick “Show disabled devices.”
Find and enable Stereo Mix (or Rec. Playback).
Make it the default device (that way voice applications, such a game, Skype, Discord etc, will likely use it automatically. And if they don’t, set the voice application(s) to use the Stereo Mix (or Rec. Playback) manually within the voice application’s settings).
Let’s Test This Out?
There are a few ways to check if it’s working or not.
One way is to just look at the bars next to the recording device in Sound settings. If the bar next to the stereo mix is showing any audio signals, it means something is working.
To find out if the quality of the audio singals is decent enough, we need some other way of checking that. For that, we could use a recording device. Most Windows Systems should have built-in application that records sounds coming from microphone. For Windows 7, it should be called “Sound Recorder.” Windows 10 calls it “Voice Recorder.” In the absent of such apps, you can download Audacity (free, open source audio software) and record the sounds coming out of microphone with that.
If it works and the sound is coming out of the microphone with you being satisfied with it, good. If it doesn’t or is of bad quality, erm…
Troubleshooting In Case Of Problems
In case you’re panicing and not seeing it in your recording devices, you may just have to right-click and tick “Show disabled devices” in order to see it. They’re disabled and hidden by default.
If after that you’re still not seeing it, you might just have to download an audio driver that has it, (Just an EXAMPLE, I’m not sure how audio drivers work in relation to different Operating Systems etc. But one example would be the audio driver from realtek. http://www.realtek.com/downloads/ – if you were to download and try it, select “High Definition Audio Codecs (Software)” – but only at your own risk, I simply couldn’t find much information about this)
And in case after all that trouble it turns out that Stereo Mix (or Rec. Playback) doesn’t seem to be functioning properly for you still and you’re panicking again, you’re kind of starting to make me panic too. It’s because there are lots of things that can be off and troubleshooting stuff like this can be a hit or miss enterprise. But here’s a few common fixes I know of:
- using an auxiliary cable (the 3.5mm ones and the like) for your mic/headset and removing all USB or HDMI devices (you need to restart some apps for it to pick up on these changes).
- setting all the audio devices to use the same kind of format in their property settings. The standard should be “2 channel, 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality.”
Alternative Options For Playing Music Through Mic
If NOTHING here worked out for you, don’t let it get you down.
I don’t use this method myself either, mainly because I tend to use a lot of USB devices. So, like me, you just have to give up on going further with this ancient technique and opt for some newer way for playing audio files through mic, which there are plenty. Check this list of methods for playing audio through mic here: “My Best Picks – How To Play Music Through Mic (Tutorials).”