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How to Get Stereo Mix on a Conexant HD Sound Card and Windows 8

This guide originally appeared on my old blog. Since it was helpful for many (and I couldn't be bothered fixing up WordPress), I've recreated it here for future generations to follow. It looks a little messy because I had to hastily copy+paste everything to this new site, which included some markup WordPress added.

I love my laptop. It's a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition, and you know it's great because of the words "SPECIAL EDITION".

But what I didn't like was the fact that Stereo Mix wasn't available out of the box. What the heck is Stereo Mix is, you didn't ask? It's a recording device that allows you to record sounds occurring on your desktop, so it's like a microphone inside your computer! Woah.

It turns out that I'm not the only one, several owners of all sorts of laptops have the same problem. Despite following the suggestions left by users on the forum, none of them worked for me. I realised at some point of time that everyone there was running Windows XP, Vista or 7, while I was using Windows 8.

I won't bore you with the infinitesimal details of why that really matters, so please find enclosed in this blog post the instructions on how to get Stereo Mix working on a Conexant SmartAudio-enabled laptop! YAY!

  1. First, we need to change something under the hood of our Windows 8 installation. Move the cursor to the top right-hand corner to bring up the 'charms' menu, click on "Settings", then "Change PC settings" on the bottom of the pane.
  2. When the Settings app loads, click on "General", then scroll down until you find "Advanced Startup". On there, click on the "Restart now" button.
  3. After the computer restarts, a new screen titled "Choose an option" should appear. Click on "Troubleshoot", then "Advanced options", then "Windows Startup Settings". Click the "Restart" button.
  4. After the computer restarts (again), this screen should show up: Hit "7" or "F7" on your keyboard to disable drive signature enforcement.
  5. When you find yourself back on the desktop, download the latest drivers for your laptop. For example, my laptop is from Dell, so I can get them from here.
  6. Once you have downloaded the driver, open the .exe file. The installer should be 'un-zipping' the setup files into a folder. When that's done, cancel the setup process.
  7. Go to the folder with the freshly unzipped files. If you forgot or can't find the folder, just search for chdrt.inf in your hard drive.
  8. Open the chdrt.inf file with Notepad or a similar program (I recommend Notepad++)
  9. Hit Ctrl+F on your keyboard and type in StereoMixEnable until you find the following:
    ;HKR,%EPattributePath%\EpSettings\StereoMixEnable,Enable,1,01 ;HKR,%EPattributePath%\EpSettings\StereoMixEnable,MixAssocSeq,1,E0,E0 ;HKR,%EPattributePath%\EpSettings\StereoMixEnable,MuteGainSettings,1,00,00
  10. Remove the semi-colons at the beginning of the lines, then save the file as chdrt.inf.
  11. Open up Device Manager. To do this in Windows 8, move the cursor to the top right-hand corner to bring up the 'charms' menu, then click on "Settings", then "Control Panel". From there, click on "Hardware and Sound", then "Device Manager".
  12. Expand the "Sound, video and game controllers" pane, right-click on "Conexant SmartAudio HD" then click on "Update Driver Software..."
  13. A new window should pop up. Click on "Browse my computer for driver software", then click on "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer".
  14. Click on the "Have disk..." button, then navigate to the folder which contains the modified chdrt.inf file.
  15. During the installation process, a pop-up window will appear, saying that "Windows cannot verify the publisher of this driver software". Click on "Install this driver software anyway", after all you only modified a single file that was downloaded from your laptop manufacturer's driver page (did you?!)
  16. Hopefully, by the end, the window should say that your driver software has been installed successfully. Close the window, then restart your computer.
  17. When you're on the desktop, right-click on the speaker icon on the taskbar, next to the clock, then click on "Recording devices".
  18. Right-click on the window, then check the "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices" options.
  19. The Stereo Mix device should appear greyed-out. Right-click on it, then click on "Enable".
  20. Open up a sound recording software, such as Audacity. Check to see if the recording device is set on "Stereo Mix".
  21. There is no Step 21!

And that's it, hopefully. Leave a comment below if this helped you, or if I have left anything out, or if you just want to clarify something... after all, it was three in the morning when I wrote this.

Special thanks to "AcrUsr" over at the Toshiba forums.

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