Speakers vs Stereo Mix

Windows Vista has made some significant changes to the audio controls. The popular "Stereo Mix" feature becomes obsolete, so how can we record streaming audio? The new feature introduced by Microsoft is the "Speakers" input. What's the difference?

Stereo Mix is a feature of sound card driver. It mixes together audio streams at the hardware level.

  • it has its own gain control
  • supported by all audio software
  • disabled or not exists on Windows Vista/7/8/10

Speakers is a feature of Windows. It mixes audio streams at the software level before they reach the sound card.

  • exists on all computers since Windows Vista
  • has no gain control
  • doesn't work with DRM-protected content