Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Stereo Mix? Also, Windows sound driver.

  1. #1

    Posts : 57
    Windows 8

    Stereo Mix? Also, Windows sound driver.

    First of all, to all those having problems with sound, I would suggest the following.

    Go to Control Panel, Programs, and uninstall the audio driver.


    Then try to play sound. You might think that you would not hear any, before installing a different audio driver, or reinstalling the same one. But actually there is a default audio driver that works with your chipset in Windows, that installs when you uninstall the manufacturer sound driver, and although the Windows driver may not have all the bells and whistles of the Realtek or Soundmax or Sigmatel or whatever driver, its basic functioning might be better, and it uses much less memory.

    That said, I am wondering if any of the Realtek drivers support what used to work in XP, and has been problematic since--choosing "Stereo Mix" for recording input, so you can record the sound digitally that is playing on the computer?

    Has anyone got that to work with one of these drivers?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    There are many current sound drivers that have the Stereo Mix (System Mixer) function. I have two systems with RealTek (current technology Z77 motherboards) and a Lenovo Laptop with Connexent sound. All have Stereo Mix.

    XP drivers are not compatible with Vista/Win7/Win8 as these OS' handle some audio functions differently so you do need newer drivers. However, some of it can also be the sound hardware chip and what it supports, especially if its an old hardware style made for XP. On the Dell forum, many users that upgraded an old XP hardware system to newer OS systems had to install a separate OS compatible sound card to get the System Mixer function.

    The generic basic function Windows installed HD Audio Codec doesn't usually offer all the functions of regular sound drivers. It will get you PC audio, but not much more.
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  3. #3

    Posts : 57
    Windows 8

    Thanks, Fireberd.

    I did not recommend XP drivers for newer OSes. Of course not.

    The reason I mentioned the Windows HD audio driver, is that I see many on the forum having problems with their sound. They might just want to uninstall their sound driver, reboot, not install another one, and see if using the Windows driver will solve the problem.

    I think that most of the bells and whistles with the manufacturer audio drivers are pure marketing BS, and do not really improve the sound, and can have various problems, as well as using up more system resources, memory, etc.

    In fact, I installed the manufacturer driver (Lenovo X230, newest (Realtek, not Conexant) driver on Lenovo site, and did not like it, did not think it added any improvement to anything while using memory and resources, so I uninstalled it, and the audio works just fine with the Microsoft HD audio driver.

    As you say, the Windows driver since Vista does not provide Stereo Mix capability. Neither did that Lenovo-Realtek driver though. If I can find a driver that would do that which works on my computer, that would be worth installing to me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Have you checked to see if the Stereo Mix is just disabled or disconnected, in the Sound Panel/Recording Section? In that panel, RIGHT click in an empty area and then check to show disabled and disconnected devices. If you are lucky it will be there. On my Lenovo Laptop, which came with Win 7, it was not showing initially until I did that. I was then able to enable it and make it the default recording device.

    I don't have any problem with system resources for audio. I have a computer based recording studio (using Sonar X2) on my desktop. The Lenovo Z560 laptop is also setup to be used for on-site (location) recording.
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  5. #5

    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64

    Quote Originally Posted by maiki View Post
    In fact, I installed the manufacturer driver (Lenovo X230, newest (Realtek, not Conexant) driver on Lenovo site, and did not like it, did not think it added any improvement to anything while using memory and resources, so I uninstalled it, and the audio works just fine with the Microsoft HD audio driver.
    That's what I thought too (I had one PC where this rule could be applied).

    Unfortunately this doesn't work with HP laptops with IDT audio because the default system driver will produce a crippling sound distortion (very loud that can even damage speakers over time: happens both on Windows and Linux if you don't have good drivers) so that's why I recommend manufacturer drivers in this case.

    Realtek (acer laptop) drivers could be replaced with the system driver but then some minor buzzing was heard through speakers. I even hear buzzing when USB copies files (if you got sharp ears and bad hardware / drivers you'll hear it ).

    What the manufacturer drivers provide as an extra is the tool that allows you to enable effects and change sound configuration, other than what the system provides.

    Click image for larger version

    The one from HP has really nice BASS support and is really recommended to be installed (also because of the problem without IDT drivers).

    That might be useful but for simple usage I agree you can get along only with the system driver but that might not work on all hardware, seeing is believing.

    About Stereo-Mix on Win7/8:
    This worked very well on my Win7 install. There is a stereo-mix but it has to be enabled first.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 57
    Windows 8

    Yes, I know about that right-click in recording devices, check to enable disconnected and disabled devices. That does not work on any computer I have tried it on, but I guess it must work on some. No stereo mix shows up on mine. (It used to be available in XP, but not in Win 7 and 8.

    Surprising that some have reported getting Stereo Mix with the Realtek drivers 270. I have tried it and the very new 271, and a couple older versions as well, on my Lenovo Thinkpad X230 running Win8 Pro 64 bit, and neither will show any stereo mix option, including with that enable disconnected and disabled devices thing.

    I am thinking that it might not only be a matter of the driver, but in the actual hardware chip, whether or not they support Stereo Mix in Win 7 and 8 or not. (likely the same in Vista too.) Of course, rather strange that Realtek would include that capability in some of its sound chips, and not in others.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Some manufacturers limit what is available in the sound with a custom implementation. If it can't be activated, its a hardware limitation. As I noted I have a Windows 7 64 bit Lenovo laptop and it has Stereo Mix as does both the Win 7 64 bit and Win 8 64 bit RealTek on my two new desktop motherboards (one is a Gigabyte and the other an ASUS).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu

    The whole history of the Stereo mix or What you Hear options is a complex and not really a technical one, but is related to copyright, digitally recording anything coming from the sound driver opens the possibility of recording music with copyright.

    Because of this, the way I understand it, manufacturers were leaned on, gently persuaded to remove this function from their drivers, some did this completely either in the hardware or the drivers they supplied. Some just set the option to hidden or disabled by default, which to be honest, will remove the option from the majority of less technical users.

    I'm afraid it's a bit of a lottery, which option was used on any particular system, I am lucky in that I have three live systems at the moment all using Realtek, and all with the option available, though hidden by default.

    I'm currently using the R230 drivers that provide access
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  9. #9

    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there.
    It seems most of the standard Sound drivers just have a load of pre-sets -- no user setting Equalisers or custom settings available.

    I HATE all these pre-canned mixer settings-- the older versions used to allow you to set the equaliser settings MANUALLY -- most of the pre-canned stuff is usually very "Boomy" Bass or biased towards those who like excessive sound effects that modern movies or games yield -- I can't really go to the cinema any more -- the music etc is far too loud and when there is dialog I can hardly hear it --- even on TV the mixing engineers seem to do a hopeless job with modern movies. When I look at an old movie (sometimes in Black and white) from say TNT or Turner Classic Movie channel the dialog is always perfectly clear so I know it's not ME that's going deaf.

    The best way in any case is to STREAM your music into a decent sound amp / speaker set then you don't have to worry about the quality of the computer sound card -- let the DAC (Digital to Analog conversion) be done by a decent pre-amp.

    Computer speakers as well at best aren't very good if you are into high quality audio. They are OK for effects at games etc.

    VLC and Winamp actually have decent equaliser settings so I would tend to use those to play your music rather than rely on the computers native sound settings. Screenshot below. Note in Winamp you have to load a preset one -- then you can move the sliders and set it under your own name as a custom preset. VLC is better but both are quite good.

    For RECORDING with VLC player link shown as a lot of people don't realize it can be done. !!!

    How to Record Audio With VLC |

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails vlcequ.png   winampequ.png  
    Last edited by jimbo45; 11 Apr 2013 at 06:09.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64

    Great input Jimbo.
    I very much agree about the loudness of the cinema these days.

    I use HP bass effect, it's something subtle on my laptop, nothing too "boomy".
    It really makes the sound through headphones better.
    Click image for larger version
    Good for small headphones.

    For those interested for stereo-mix:
    The Stereo-MIX is ON by default (factory OS) on the HP envy dv6 laptop I use.
    Click image for larger version
    Conclusion: IDT audio chipsets still support this.
    Last edited by Hopachi; 11 Apr 2013 at 06:59. Reason: added screenshots
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Stereo Mix? Also, Windows sound driver.
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