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How do I record sound coming from inside my computer?

You don’t need a fancy microphone to capture ideas and record music. There’s a lot available inside your computer or mobile device.

Think About

  • How can producers or audio engineers capture or record musical ideas?
  • What equipment is needed to record?
  • How can I get the best recording to ensure the resulting mix will be the best it can be?

Get Started

  1. Let’s start with recording sounds that come from inside the computer (You can impress people by referring to these kinds of sounds as “Virtual Instruments”)
  2. Check out this site with resources on basics of using Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
  • It helps to have a MIDI controller to play the sounds. Some typical MIDI controllers people use are MIDI keyboards or grid controllers like the Ableton Push or Novation Launchpad.
  • Check out this video on what MIDI controllers are:

Once you have a MIDI controller, you’ll need to communicate with your computer.

  1. Check out this video on how to hook up a MIDI controller to a computer
    1. (This video uses Garageband as an example, but most music applications will work similarly – check to see if the app you are using has information on MIDI controllers in the “help section”

Note:  If you are having trouble getting virtual instruments to play from your specific software search Youtube or the web for “The name of the software + MIDI Instrument”

For example:

  • Cubase MIDI instrument
    • name of software = Cubase + MIDI instrument
  • Ableton Live MIDI instrument

You could also be even more specific and search for the name of the MIDI instrument you are using. 

For Example:

  • “Garageband Akai MPK mini”
    • Name of software = Garageband
    • Name of MIDI controller = Akai MPK Mini
  • “Ableton Live QuNeo”
    • Name of software = Ableton Live
    • Name of MIDI controller = Keith McMillen QuNeo
  1. Once you have your MIDI controller communicating with your computer, play some sounds

You are now ready to record some music! 

  1. Record some music ideas
    1. Don’t worry if it’s “any good.” All that matters right now is that you can record and, importantly, play back the recording.

Sharing What You Learned

  • Describe what you did to record sound from inside your computer

Go Further!

Curious about learning more? 

(optional) Try out additional scenarios for recording virtual instruments