Sometimes you might need to record both the audio playing out on your computer as well as an input. Often, this might be if you're recording a screencast or podcast, or if you want to record both sides of an online voice chat or video call, e.g. with Hangouts, Skype or some WebRTC app, for instance.

In my case, I wanted to record an interview and, ideally, want to hear what both of us were saying, without having to record both sides of the conversation separately and later try to combine them into a single piece of audio.


The solution if you're using Linux and PulseAudio is mentioned here but I've clarified this below so I can find it quickly:

  1. Run pactl load-module module-loopback in a terminal. You should start hearing your microphone input; with headphones on at least, you shouldn't get feedback. What you do get is a very slight delay in hearing yourself. For me, using earphones and removing one seemed to help remove most of the off-putting distraction this delay causes, while still being able to hear the other participant in the conversation.

  2. Start recording in, say, Audacity or some other audio recording software.

  3. Open the PulseAudio Volume Control. If you don't have it installed, apt install pavucontrol should get you it in Ubuntu. You may then have a shortcut to it wherever your programs get listed, e.g. in Ubuntu, you can access it via the Unity dash.

    Alternatively, run pavucontrol& in a terminal, open the Recording tab. to Recording tab, select what should be something like "Monitor of Built-in Audio Analogue Stereo" for the selection for Audacity. This is one thing that's a little counterintuitive; you don't see this unless you've already started recording.

  4. When you've finished, you can run pactl unload-module module-loopback to stop hearing audio input in the output. You might also want to reset the Audacity recording setting to what it was, so that you don't forget you changed it.