Connecting to the microphone input (red) may produce mono sound or poor quality.
To hear what is playing while you record it, buy a single stereo to double stereo adaptor to plug into the audio output. This gives you a spare jack to plug the speakers or headphones into.
Alternative programs for recording computer playback
You can use other programs to record computer playback that do not rely on the computer sound device having this ability. These programs will make an audio file which can then be imported into Audacity for editing.
All the options below grab the audio digitally from the application producing the sound. This has advantages over stereo mix recording. Lossy digital-analog-digital conversions are avoided and also unwanted system beeps and alerts are not captured.
- VB-Audio Virtual Cable is a donation-ware application for Windows XP or later. You can set the Cable Input as default playback device then set Audacity to record from the Cable Output.
- TotalRecorder is a low cost recording package. Internet streams can optionally be captured at faster than real-time rates (monitoring is not available in that mode).
A further alternative is an external USB soundcard with a "Stereo Mix" type of option. An example known to work on all versions of Windows is "Trust Sound Expert External". Not all USB soundcards offer a Stereo Mix option, so read the specifications carefully before purchasing.