Audio recording is simple in Windows 10. All you need is a
microphone and software to capture the input.
You don't have to spend money on a sound recording program,
however. Good paid programs exist, of course, but you can do well
with free offerings. That's especially so if you plan to do very
little in the way of editing.
Not all sound recording programs have the same level of
features, so we've highlighted two that suit both basic and more
advanced needs. You're covered if straightforward is what you want,
and also if you require greater control over inputs and edits. And
both picks cost absolutely nothing to use.
Editor's note: This article was updated to include a video
of the process.
Recording in Voice Recorder is dead simple.
This dead-easy-to-use sound recording program comes included
with Windows 10, so you can jump into it straightaway. To begin,
tap the Windows key (or click on the Start button), type
voice or recorder to bring up
Voice Recorder as a search result, and hit enter.
Starting a recording is as simple as clicking on the large blue
microphone icon in the left-hand part of the window. The screen
will change to show buttons for stopping, pausing, and marking
specific moments within the recording, as well as a counter that
shows how long you've been recording. When you're done, click on
the blue stop button in the middle of the screen.
In the main window, you'll see a list of recorded clips. You can
also select files for playback, trimming, and renaming. If you're
having trouble recording through your microphone, or through the
correct microphone, go into Win10's Sound settings (Windows key,
then type sound settings.) Under Input,
verify that the microphone in use is set as the active device.
Files recorded in Voice Recorder are immediately accessible as
.m4a files, which most modern devices can play through their
Audacity might lack a sleek, modern look, but it has plenty of
features to make up for its plain user interface.
Audacity may not look like much, but this well-known
free audio recording program's sophistication lies in its feature
To record, simply open Audacity after installation and hit the
red recording button. Audacity makes the most important basic
controls obvious and available in this main window: You can start,
stop, and pause recordings as needed, easily change which
microphone you're using as an input device, and switch up the
output device for listening to playback. Basic editing tools are
available here on this screen too.
Audacity's real benefit is its ability to accommodate more
complicated recording setups, like multiple tracks and/or multiple
input devices, as well as more intricate edits and adjustments.
(Example: Increasing input levels because the mic's output isn't
strong enough.) Learning the ins and outs of Audacity can take some
time, but that time invested will make it easier to get the most
out of your recordings.
You can also export your clips in a wide variety of common file
types, which is beneficial to even basic users. Be aware that
unlike Voice Recorder, Audacity doesn't immediately save recordings
as playable audio files. Instead, it saves whatever you've recorded
as a project file, and you must export via File
Export to an audio format like .mp3 or .wav for other devices
or programs to be able to play back the file.
For more detailed information on how to dive into Audacity's
wealth of features, check out our Audacity primer.
For higher-quality recordings, keep these tips in mind:
- Record in a spot free of background noise and echo. As odd as
it sounds, the inside of a closet full of clothes works remarkably
- Stay closer to your micâ€”moving too far away from it can cause
the recording to sound hollow.
- Hardware does play a role in sound quality, so if you have some
spare cash, upgrading to one of our best USB microphone picks from a laptop,
webcam, or headset mic will let your voice shine.