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How To Record Speaker Output on Linux

Not many users know this, but the Linux audio system (aka Pulse Audio) is quite powerful. With the right tools, any Linux user can manipulate it to do anything they want, for example, you can record speaker output on Linux with this tool.

Install Pavu Control And Audacity

The first step to record speaker output on Linux is to install the volume control management tool for Pulse Audio.  You’ll also need to install the Audacity recording tool so that the recording can take place (it’ll also help if you want to edit the audio after the fact).

Pavu Control and Audacity are widely used tools in the Linux community so users should have no problem finding them. To install the software, open up a terminal window, select your operating system and follow the instructions given.


sudo apt install pavucontrol audacity


sudo apt-get install pavucontrol audacity

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S pavucontrol audacity


sudo dnf install pavucontrol audacity


sudo zypper install pavucontrol audacity

Once both programs are installed open up the application menu, search for “Pavu Control” and open it. Also, search for “Audacity” and open that as well.

Switching Inputs

Audacity on its own won’t record the output from speakers or other audio output devices. That said, it is possible with some basic knowledge of how the Linux sound system works. Start off with Pavu Control and click on the “Configuration” tab. This tab shows all audio devices that your Linux PC has loaded up. Determine what your speakers or other sound output device are. Keep in mind that each sound device may be labeled differently, and it’s up to you to find out.

Once you’ve determined the correct sound device, switch over to Audacity and click the red “record” button. Keep in mind that we won’t be recording any audio yet, we just need to swap out the recording that Audacity is using.

Leave the program recording and switch over to Pavu Control again. This time, click the “Recording” tab. You’ll notice Audacity is currently using a sound device, most likely a microphone to record sound.

Look to the right, next to the volume icon for the name of the microphone, and click on the name. In this example, the device is labeled “USB Audio Device Analog Mono”. In the menu, look for the “Monitor” device.

Note: monitor means turning the output of the speakers into an input.

In this example, if we want to record the output of speakers from the USB audio device, we’d select “Monitor of USB Audio Device Analog Mono”. Use this example to find the “monitor” device for your speakers. Once switched over, Audacity will start recording with your speakers of choice, rather than the microphone.

When everything is configured correctly, press “Stop” to stop the test recording.


Audacity’s recording setup is modified to record directly from the speakers. From here, you’ll be able to record any output of sound (coming from the speakers) directly. Keep in mind that if you choose to record speaker output, you should mute other sound-making programs, as they might interfere with the recording.

When you’re ready to record, press the “Record” button once again. Startup audio and let Audacity record the output. When you’re done, press “Stop”.

Satisfied with the recording? Use the Audacity tool to cut and trim it down to your liking. Then, save the recording to your PC by clicking “File”, then “Export Audio”.

In the Audacity file browser, click the drop-down menu to select the desired file format, then export it.

Using Gnome Audio Recorder

Sometimes the Audacity recording tool might seem a bit too complicated, especially for users who aren’t looking to manipulate audio files. If you don’t want to fuss with Audacity, a good alternative to use is Gnome Sound Recorder. It’s basic, but it’ll still work in the same way as Audacity. To get started, open up Pavu Control. Then, open up Gnome Sound Recorder (it’ll show up as Sound Recorder on your PC).

Click the record button and let it run. Switch back to Pavu Control. Like in the Audacity method, click the “Recording” tab. In the recording tab, look for “Sound Recorder” and click the label next to the audio device it’s using. By default, it should be using the microphone. Click the device label to reveal the sound device chooser, and click the option to “Monitor of X device”.

Go back to the recording, click “stop” in the top-right corner to stop the dummy recording. After that, get the sound ready to play, go back to Gnome Sound Recorder and click the “Record” button to start.

As the audio starts recording in the tool, you’ll see sound wave-forms moving up and down. To end the recording, click the “Done” button.

Playing Back Recordings

Unlike Audacity, users don’t need to fuss with editing. Instead, it shows up and is playable immediately. Click “play” to listen back to the recording. Access all recording files in /home/user/Recording/.

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