> I have two machines, both XP SP3.
> I have tried a few screen-capture softwares, e.g. DEBUT, CAMTASIA,
> SNAGIT, AVS. They all fail to capture sound - just video. on machine
> 1, but two of them, at least, work fine on machine 2.
> I figure the problem may be the video card. Am I right? Anyway the
> video cards are (I have included other info for the two machines):
> machine 1
> RADEON X300 SE 128MB HYPERMEMORY
> 3D ACCELERATOR ATI RADEON X300 (RV370)
> INTEL PENTIUM D DUAL CORE 820 2.8MHz
> 2 GB DDR2-533 SDRAM
> machine 2
> ATI RADEON HD 3600 SERIES 512MB
> AMD Athlon 64, 2200 MHz (11 x 200) 3200+
> 768 MB DDR2 SDRAM
> Okay, so should I replace the video card in machine 1? If so, how can
> I know what card will work (what is the pertinent spec)? Tell me
> what to buy?
> I have read on Google that this is a problematic area - some cards
> seemingly will not pass on the audio without some trick such as
> patching audio speaker out to line in or mic in, which I have tried,
> without luck.
I agree it is a problematic area.
Don't go off and buy anything just yet.
You need to understand some of how the process works, to understand
why buying more hardware won't help. I'm not an expert on capturing
content, but this gives the basic idea.
file --+-- CODEC ---- decoded video (annotation plane or
(or stream) | frame buffer plane or
DRM protected | surface used for 3D rendering)
+-- CODEC ---- decoded audio --- Sound card ----+----- Speakers
Captured audio <------------- Audio recording <------------------+ "What you hear"
file program Mixer feedback path
Programs that copy content, can work at the file level (just after
the DRM step), or they could capture the info just after the CODEC
decodes the information into something useful. Windows has ways of
attempting to protect against copying media while it is in memory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_Media_Path
Eventually, the content is delivered to the video card (for the image portion).
And the sound content is sent to the audio card.
The video card has at least three places to hold image data. To you and I,
it looks like it's "just a screen". But the components on the screen
are composited, like pasting items in a collage. A still image, can
be stored directly in the main frame buffer. Video content, was at one
time place in the annotation plane (now VMR7 and VMR9 are used instead).
And when you play a 3D game, the buffer used for that, can be separate
as well. They're all glued together, to make the final image.
This means, for a program attempting to "screen capture", it has to be
prepare to handle all three kinds of buffers. If a method lacks all
three, there can be a colored square where the image should be, when you
look at the captured content. An example of a reasonably well equipped
physical level capture program would be FRAPs. Another might be
Camtasia, but I don't know it's capabilities right off hand.
Audio capture can be attempted as well. On older hardware, there
was a mixer path that was called "What you hear". Effectively,
it loops the stereo output back to the stereo ADC input, for capture.
More recent OSes, there have been rumors of the demise of that path.
The hardware may still have the capability, but it would be possible
for the OS to prevent its usage.
What you'd need to try in such a case, is use the custom mixer panel
that comes with the sound card, and see if you can enable the tick
box for "What you hear", also known as "Stereo Mix". My custom mixer
panel looks like this. And the green button at the bottom of
"Stereo Mix", has enabled that as an input. If I use the Microsoft
"Sound Recorder" program, I can record sounds coming through the front
speakers of the sound system. http://www.digitalbreed.com/wp-conte...-stereomix.png
So far, we haven't discussed buying any hardware. Since much of the
restrictions are software based, there wouldn't be much point.
Even if your mixer panel doesn't have a "Stereo Mix", it might well
be present in hardware. Just not accessible.
It is possible for video and audio to travel over the same cable.
The HDMI interface on computers, has room for both video and audio.
And on modern equipment, you can have a confusing "digital output"
option, which causes the sound to travel over the HDMI cable. Depending
on your "Home Theater" setup, such a path may not line up with how your
theater is wired. Some people have a separate audio amplifier with
analog inputs. In which case, you'd want to switch the computer
to using analog sound output, which is a separate audio device. But
this little distraction, has virtually nothing to do with capture.
As the best places to implement capture, are still inside the
computer. While I know of devices to capture HDMI (unencrypted,
less than 1080p), none of them as far as I know, could extract
digital audio. Redirecting the audio elsewhere, will make