How can I record sound from YouTube videos?

Note: The steps below are only for saving the audio, not how to save a YouTube video to your computer.

Using an online service

YouTubeOne of the easiest methods for saving the audio from a YouTube video to an MP3 file is using an online service that does all the conversion for you. Below is a listing of some of our favorite online YouTube to MP3 conversion services.

How to use these services

  1. Go to the YouTube video page and copy the URL of the video you want to save as an MP3 audio file.
  2. Once the URL has been copied, paste that URL into one of the sites below and click the download button.

YouTube to MP3 services

Using a software program

Note: If your computer has an integrated sound card, you will not be able to download streaming audio. Therefore, the steps in this section will not work for you. It is best to use an online service, as discussed above, to download audio from a YouTube video.

Audacity logoIf you want to do the recording yourself or only need a segment of the video's sound, we suggest using the free Audacity program to record and save the audio. To proceed, follow the steps below.

  1. Download the free Audacity program.
  2. Once the download is complete, run the setup program and follow the steps to install Audacity on your computer.
  3. Open the Audacity program. In the menu bar at the top, click Edit and then Preferences.
  4. Within the Preferences window, in the Devices section, locate the Recording section.
  5. Under Device: look for the Stereo Mix option. If Stereo Mix is not available, it is likely disabled. To enable it:

    1. Open the Control Panel on your computer and click on Hardware and sound, then the Sound icon in the Control Panel window.
    2. In the Sound window, click on the Recording tab and then, in an blank space in that tab, right-click with your mouse and select Show Disabled Devices from the drop-down menu that appears.
    3. The Stereo Mix device should now be visible. Right-click on that device and select Enable.

      Note: If the Stereo Mix option is still not available, it is likely because your computer has an integrated sound card. Stereo Mix is not available with integrated sound cards and you cannot download streaming audio from a YouTube video. It is best to use an online service instead, as discussed in the "Using an online service" section above.

    4. Click OK to save the Sound settings change.
    5. If Audacity was open when you enabled Stereo Mix, close and re-open the program. Stereo Mix should now be available in the Recording Device list.

    Tip: While still in Preferences, select 2 (Stereo) in the Channels drop-down list to enable stereo sound.

    Tip: You can select the settings in Steps four and five within the main Audacity program window as well. There are four drop-down lists located just above the middle of the program window. The third drop-down list from the left is for the Recording Device (has a microphone icon to the left of it). Select Stereo Mix in this drop-down list.

    Audacity Recording Device setting

  6. Click OK when you are satisfied with your settings.
  7. Open the YouTube video you want to record. Unless you have a fast connection, we suggest getting the video fully loaded before recording.
  8. Once your video is loaded, click the record button (red circle) in Audacity, then switch back to the YouTube video and click play. As the video is playing, you should see action in the sound wave section in Audacity. When done recording, click the stop button (light brown square) in Audacity.

    Tip: Doing it this way causes a section at the beginning of the sound file to be blank. To remove this section of blank audio, highlight it by clicking and dragging your mouse, and then press the delete key on your keyboard to remove the blank segment.
     
  9. When you have completed your recording, click File and choose Export. Select MP3 Files in the Save as type drop-down list. Enter a File name and click Save.

Note: If this is the first time you have used Audacity, you need to install LAME MP3 file support to save the recorded audio as an MP3 file. See the section below for additional information.

Getting MP3 support for Audacity

  1. To save the file in MP3 format, you need to get LAME for Audacity from the LAME download site. LAME is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.
  2. Once downloaded, install LAME on the computer.
  3. When you have completed your recording, click File and choose Export. Select MP3 Files in the Save as type drop-down list. Enter a File name and click Save.
  4. After selecting the MP3 Files type, you may be prompted for the location of the LAME file. Point to the lame_enc.dll file, which is found at C:\Program Files\Lame for Audacity if you used the default install location. If you extracted from a compressed file, it is in the extracted folder.

Additional information