How To Record From An External Audio Source

Some people still got their old CD tapes and other old musical equipment.

Well, those equipment are quite obsolete right now, but maybe you’ve got some songs recorded in those formats, and you can’t just where to download the digital format of those songs.

How to Record From an External Audio Source? Simply get your audio cables and connect them to the right inputs/outputs, then start recording.

This leaves you with the only option to record the song into digital formats so you can still play it on your modern players or mobile device.


There could be several reasons why one may need to record audio to an external source; however, there are a couple of ways to do that; so, it’s not a big deal.

In this article, we’d explore the possible ways to record from an external audio source. But then, what do we mean by an “external audio source.”

What’s an External Audio Source?

An audio external source can be your CD tape player, keyboard (piano), guitars, etc.

To record audio from these sources simply imply to get the audio playing on these devices or system into an audio recording device where the audio is processed into a digital format, such as MP3, for storage purposes or further usage.

While some audio playback devices also support audio recording, not all of them have such a feature, and thus, you may need to record the audio they produce, externally.

Well, it’s all looking like this is going to be a stressful process, but truthfully, it doesn’t take much – if you have a Windows PC or a MacBook, it’d be even much easier.

How to Record From an External Audio Source

To get started, you need a device capable of recording audio; some people use their mobile phones, but that would give you clearer audio after the recording.

Yes, mobile phones are built with microphones, and typically, also include a “Recorder.” So, when you launch the built-in “Recorder” app and tap the record button, it starts recording any audio/sound playing in the background.


Well, even if you make a noise, it’d capture the noise into the recording (pun intended).

In contrast, to achieve a great sound quality after the recording, you need a standard audio recording device or a computer (you need to install an audio recording software in the computer), and then you also need a cable, which you’d use to connect the external audio source and the audio recording device.

This is where the principle of “audio out” and “audio in” applies the most; because you’d be sending audio out from your external audio source and sending it into your audio recording device. Below are the steps to take.

First Step:

Look at the available audio in and audio out connectors supported by the devices (the source device and the recording device). Once you have confirmed the connectors, get the relevant audio cable.

If you’re using your PC as the recording device, you should get an audio cable that has the AV connectors at one end (for the external audio source) and a 3.5mm input jack on the other end (for connecting to your PC).

So to say, you need an RCA to 3.5mm stereo cable.

The audio cable needed for this purpose will vary based on the devices to be used. But once you’d figured out the best possible way to connect the source and recorder, you’re almost done.

Second Step:

Now, connect the audio cable into the audio out connector on the source device; the source device could be a musical instrument, CD tape player, or another multimedia player.

After that, connect the other end to your PC (or the audio recording device you bought).

With the audio cable well fitted into the respective ports, start playing the audio/sound you want to record – but before playing the audio, ensure that you have turned on “recording” on the audio recording device.

Third Step:

With this method, even if you make a sound while the recording is ongoing, the sound won’t be recorded because the recording device is only receiving audio signals via the wired connection.

Depending on how sophisticated your audio recording equipment or software (if you’re using a PC) is, you can make adjustments to the audio while the recording is still ongoing.

What More?

Yes, that’s it! You could see that there’s no big deal here. In simple terms, to record from an external audio source means to:

  • Get an audio recording device
  • Connect the audio recording device with the external audio source
  • Activate the recording feature on your audio recording device and start playing audio from the external source.

Typically, the recorded audio would be saved in a digital format, usually, MP3 or WAV depending on the device you used for the recording.

But, since it’s in a digital format, even if the format is not what you want, it is easy to convert digital audio into various formats. There are many free digital audio converters that guarantee lossless conversions between audio formats.

Important Notes:

Additional settings may be needed to get a computer to record audio from an external source via an RCA to 3.5mm stereo connection. Also, the quality of the recording would depend on the audio recording software or device used.


Hopefully, this article clearly explains how to record from an external audio source.

Well, some audio recording devices or software programs support several audio formats, which means you can save the recording in trendy formats like MP3, WAV, or other special formats for specific purposes.

Furthermore, if you use devices such as phones or mics, ensure not to make any noise during the recording sessions. Else, the noise you make would be recording into the audio, and that could mess things up.

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