Redirect Audio Out to Mic In (Linux)

February 3, 2010 by Noah
I discovered a neat trick you can do with PulseAudio: redirect the audio output of your computer to the microphone input, so that any application that supports recording from a mic will get your audio output instead.

I needed to do this because I was testing something at work that involved an Asterisk server calling a softphone running on my Linux box, and it wanted me to record a voice prompt and then hang up. This computer didn't have a microphone installed, so I started looking for a way to fake the mic input and make it record an MP3 or something instead.

If your system is using PulseAudio (every recent Fedora and Ubuntu distribution does), the steps to follow are:

1) Open PulseAudio Volume Control

This is pavucontrol on the command line, and in Fedora is provided by the package pavucontrol.

Go to the "Input Devices" tab, and select "Show: Monitors" from the bottom of the window. If your computer is currently playing audio, you should see a bar showing the volume of the output:

Input Devices
The "Input Devices" tab showing monitors.

2) Start running an app that is recording audio, and go to the "Recording" tab and see if your app is listed.

In this screenshot I'm running Audacity and recording audio.

3) Click the input device button ("ALSA Capture from") and pick "Monitor of Internal Audio Analog Stereo")

The "Input Devices" tab showing monitors.

And that's pretty much it. If you see volume bars on the Recording tab now then it's probably working, and the recording app is now recording your audio output.

Here's a full desktop screenshot of me running `play audiodump.wav` (a WMA-to-WAV conversion of the Windows XP Welcome Music) in a terminal, the PulseAudio Volume Control running, and Audacity recording from the mic.

Audio Out to Mic In
Click for bigger screenshot.


There are 28 comments on this page. Add yours.

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John posted on May 12, 2010 @ 12:09 UTC


I found this useful.

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danyle posted on December 22, 2010 @ 16:01 UTC

yeah, really helped especially with google voice and espeak, thanks.

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gtech posted on December 28, 2010 @ 22:30 UTC

Wow this is great, works perfectly.

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westen posted on July 30, 2011 @ 10:20 UTC

hi, can you please tell me how i can get my mic input to be heard over my speakers. massively appreciated

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dog posted on April 10, 2012 @ 08:26 UTC

Im using this for my honours thesis. Thanks! saved me some effort emulating recording process in the software im writing :)

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srikrishna posted on May 26, 2012 @ 04:56 UTC

thanks this post is help full. but this is only redirecting speaker to mic. original mic in is missing. i want both audio out and mic out to mic in is there any solution

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simon posted on December 2, 2012 @ 20:45 UTC

Fantastic, thanks, I've been trying to work out how to do this for a long time.

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avmfree posted on January 19, 2013 @ 15:50 UTC

Thanks. Very useful.

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cata posted on December 6, 2013 @ 12:38 UTC

thanks man! I knew about PulseAudio, but didn't know it can redirect sound. Much appreciate!

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george posted on December 9, 2014 @ 18:17 UTC

How to do the exact oposite?

Im participating in some video conferences and im making some kind of echo because of this.

But i cant find a way to do the oposite,


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Jerry posted on January 27, 2015 @ 17:01 UTC

I was banging my head on this problem for the past month! Thanks so much!

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_nix posted on February 11, 2015 @ 17:57 UTC

5 years ago and still helping. thank you! got the job done.

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Andrew_Gaines posted on April 23, 2015 @ 21:25 UTC

What about recording both the mic AND the output stream?

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SGoblin posted on October 10, 2015 @ 00:33 UTC

hey, i see this works. but there is an echo. on my recording software, how can i fix this?

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Ramon posted on March 20, 2016 @ 18:01 UTC

THANKS a lot man!! <3

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D. Grateful Mann posted on June 8, 2016 @ 18:54 UTC

I've been trying to find a reasonably decent recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with cannons and chorus for a good few years now - classical music is getting harder to find through most of my usual channels. The only place I've had any luck has been YouTube, and although kissyoutube/ exists, this song is longer than that service allows for.
Thank you for helping me replace this fundamental classic in my library.

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TangoDeltaDelta posted on August 31, 2016 @ 18:40 UTC

Is there a way to do this completely from the command line for a Linux system that isn't running X at all?

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Rafael posted on August 31, 2018 @ 21:10 UTC

Wow....really a great tip, very useful, in my case, to generate closed captions for on line videos that does not provide this feature =) Thank you so much for sharing this tip !

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Carlos posted on August 25, 2019 @ 17:40 UTC

Thank you so much for sharing and helping me.

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Anonymous posted on November 17, 2019 @ 18:30 UTC

Algo Dons mi buen! se le aprecia. Muito Obrigado.

I kept messing with possibilities and found that; for any implementetion where this doesn't do, jackd and qjackctl can be used so as to make a virtual patch cable and then still use this solution

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iraj posted on May 18, 2020 @ 18:16 UTC

it's handy, keep the good work up.

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Bradley Frank posted on June 28, 2020 @ 16:43 UTC

You can also use -d with parecord with the monitor device found with pacmd list and pactl list to write directly into a wav file from the command line.

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Anonymous posted on September 11, 2020 @ 11:33 UTC

Is there a method to do this on an ALSA-only system?

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Anonymous posted on November 1, 2020 @ 15:44 UTC

Is there a way to redirect output into microphone but also keep actual microphone input?

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Anonymous posted on March 12, 2021 @ 08:48 UTC

2021 gang found this still useful... same as OP, is there a way to get both into one mic?

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Noah (@kirsle) posted on March 12, 2021 @ 18:47 UTC

I'm not sure about any other fancy audio redirection apart from my original post. If the pavucontrol GUI doesn't do it, there may be some other ways closer to the PulseAudio API (maybe command line tools) but you'll need to do your research on that. 🙂

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Anonymous posted on October 15, 2022 @ 11:09 UTC

Thanks, tip you can redirect your phone mic to another app and you will have a free mic :)

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Mr. Roboto posted on March 4, 2023 @ 06:27 UTC

Mr. Roboto hereby declares this page to be informative and useful.

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