How to record system sound in Linux

How to record system sound in Linux

One of the best parts of Linux is that as a creative workstation it’s an incredibly viable competitor. For audio creation, for example, there are some excellent industry standards available to users, like Audacity and Ardor, and overall it’s a powerful and flexible system. This tutorial shows you how to record system audio in Linux, both from a microphone and from your system, using Audacity and PulseAudio.

Install Audacity

Audacity is available in a wide variety of distributions. It is generally available in the main repositories.

For Debian / Ubuntu / Ubuntu based distribution:

For Fedora:

For OpenSuse:

For Arch Linux:

Record Linux Dnf Audacity sound

If you prefer Snaps or Flatpaks, these are also available.


Record Linux Flatpak Audacity soundRecord Linux Flatpak Audacity sound

Installing the PulseAudio volume control

This is the application you will use to record system audio. It’s a great way to acquire audio from videos, songs, or other media to use for a later date. If you’ve ever wondered how people get high quality audio samples, this is one way to go.

PulseAudio Volume Control is available in most major repositories. You will use the same commands as above to install it.

For Debian / Ubuntu / Ubuntu based distribution:

For Fedora:

For OpenSuse:

For Arch Linux:

Record Linux Dnf Pavucontrol soundRecord Linux Dnf Pavucontrol sound

PulseAudio Volume Control is also available in Flatpak but not in Snap.

Record Linux sound Flatpak PavucontrolRecord Linux sound Flatpak Pavucontrol

Recording sound from a microphone

With your microphone plugged into your system, open Audacity. It should automatically find your material and open ready to save.

Record Linux Audacity Open soundRecord Linux Audacity Open sound

Just click on the big red record button and you are recording. It’s that simple! Audacity is such a simple tool to use, it’s hard to go wrong.

Record Linux Audacity Mic RecordRecord Linux Audacity Mic Record

Recording sound from your system

This one is a bit more complicated. Press the record button, as above. This will start recording from your microphone. Once you have already recorded, open PulseAudio Volume Control and navigate to the “Recording” tab.

Recording sound in Linux PavucontrolRecording sound in Linux Pavucontrol

Click on the drop-down menu that says: “ALSA Plug-in [audacity]… Of. “

Choose the option that says “Integrated Analog Stereo Monitor”. This will keep track of the information that apps send to PulseAudio and record it rather than the sound coming from your microphone.

From there, go ahead and play whatever sound you want, and you’ll see that sound appear in Audacity as it plays. You can stop recording, browse playback, and treat the sound you record like any other audio input in Audacity.

Record Sound Linux Audacity System RecordRecord Sound Linux Audacity System Record

Hope you learned a couple of useful things about Audacity and PulseAudio Volume Control. Now that you know how to record audio from your system in Linux, be sure to check out some of our other Linux audio articles, such as Improving Your Audio with PulseEffects, How to Use ALSA Utilities to Manage Audio from terminal and essential tools to produce high quality podcasts in Linux.


John perkins
John perkins

John is a young technical professional passionate about educating users on the best ways to use their technology. He holds technical certifications covering topics ranging from computer hardware to cybersecurity to Linux system administration.

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