Redirect/Recording Sound from Built-in Speakers

How to record the sound that comes from your internal or external speakers?

Suppose, you’re making a podcast and you want to combine sounds from your computer, e.g. music, together with spoken sound recorded by means of a microphone. I had a similar situation and needed to record the sound that is normally played through the external speakers. HyperStudio and some freeware allowed me to do this.

What you need:
HyperStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device
Audio Midi Setup (in your Utilities folder)

Most people will first think of Audio Hijack for this kind of tasks, but it won’t do the job.

Step 1: Download and Install

Install Roger Wagner’s HyperStudio 5:
Make sure that the Virtual Audio Device is also installed is available in the Sound system preferences.

Install Soundflower:
Soundflower is a free application. After installation, you should see a Soundflower symbol in the upper-right of your menubar. Don’t worry if your system reports that an extension couldn’t be loaded. It will work anyway.
Read the entire file ReadMe.rtf (it is brief) and follow the instructions to install.

LineIn is also a free application. Open the disk image and copy the app to your applications folder.

Step 2: Setting up the software

We start with Audio Midi Setup. You’ll find this utility in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. Select the HyperStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device in the list on the left and choose “Use this device for sound output” and “Play alerts and sound effects through this device” from the menu (see picture). After choosing these items, they will appear as disabled in the menu.


In the menubar, open the Soundflower menu and select Built-in Output in the Soundflower (2ch) section. Keep the Non (OFF) item in the Soundflower (64ch) section selected.


Open LineIn and select HypoerStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device in the Input From menu and Soundflower (2ch) in the Output To menu.

This explains why I use HyperStudio. I can’t choose my external speakers as input in LineIn, which creates the need for using another sound driver. HyperStudio installs an additional sound driver, HyperStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device, which I can select as output in the Sound panel of the system preferences and as an Input in LineIn.


Open the Sound preferences panel and go to the Output tab. Make sure that HyperStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device is selected and keep the Output volume somewhere in the middle (you might increase the output volume if you think that the final result is too soft). Now open the Input tab and select the Internal microphone (Built-in).


Step 3: Record

Create a new button in HyperStudio. Double-click the button if no Inspector window is visible yet. Select Play a Sound from the Actions panel and click on Record a Sound. Click the red button to start recording. Now you might play some music on iTunes, a song on Youtube or a game with a cool theme. Press the button again (which now has changed into a black square) to stop recording. Press the black triangle to check that you have actually recorded something.


Make sure that Soundflower (2ch) is selected as the Audio Source. Click on OK to go to the next panel and click on OK again. If you now choose the Browse tool and click on the button, you should hear your recording.

Step 4: set everything back to normal

You can now choose Quit Soundflowerbed from the Soundflower symbol in the menubar. This will disable all sound. In Audio Midi Setup, assign both types of sound output to Built-in Output instead of HyperStudio 5 Virtual Audio Device. Now you can hear all sounds again. In the Sound panel of the system preferences, you will want to make sure that Headphones or Internal Speakers are selected on the Output tab.

I tested this with Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) and HyperStudio 5.2.1372. With a little additional tweaking, it also works to record Skype sessions.

Please, leave a comment if you have questions or know a better way to do this.

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