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The elusive audio controls

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If you’re like me and you’re into recording sound, you’re probably well-aware of the king of all inputs on your computer’s internal mixer, the all mighty “What U Hear” (no joke) mixer. True to it’s name, the What U Hear mixer records everything on your computer, including your voice, whatever music you have playing in the background, audio from a game, annoying popup sounds alerting you of new emails, and as many microphones as you can plug into the computer. It can save you hundreds of dollars, as instead of buying a mixer you can just get a few cheap USB mics and still be able to have your speaker audio heard through all the chaos. Only problem with this wonderful mixer? It doesn’t appear anymore in Windows 7.

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Why is this? I mean, look… there it is in Windows 2000! It was always there.

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Here it is in Windows XP! How about Vista… is it there?

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WHOOP! There it is! Why is this NOT in Windows 7? I know that I have a sound card capable of handling this mixer, and it baffles me why it isn’t here. Don’t even start with drivers, as I’ve gone back and found the original Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE disc and installed the original drivers. No luck. I updated them to the ones on Creative’s website, no luck. I’ve installed a separate community driver pack that is supposed to include this mixer, no luck. I’ve tried third party programs, but they aren’t the same, and I don’t want to pay $30 for the same functionality I bought this sound card for in the first place. Besides, virtual drivers are a pain.

Another thing… why did Microsoft gimp the volume control so much in Windows Vista/7? Having a full array of volume controls was such a great thing in previous versions of Windows. Also, to add insult to injury, what in the name of love did they do to sound recorder?! Look at the sound recorder of old… just take it in for a second:

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So many features, so much to do. This program is so great! How could Microsoft possibly go wrong with such an old and time tested program? What could they possibly remove?

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Everything. Look at how crippled this new sound recorder is. I even expanded it for you to see. You’re looking at every function this new program can do. It can start recording. It can stop, it can save, and it can view help. How did this happen? What went wrong? I guess they wanted to make it simple, well at least you can’t get any more simple than that. Apple, you may have won the world record for the shortest instruction manual (for the original iMac), but along comes Microsoft making something even shorter and simpler.

You can make some amazing stuff with the old sound recorder and the old volume control and the freaking What U Hear mixer. It’s not only for recording from YouTube and recording copyrighted radio mixes. Give us a break.

And yes, I know there are ways of enabling What U Hear on Windows 7. I just don’t think it’s going to be possible with my hardware. This is an age-old computer, and if I really want to record a stereo mix I can always use my netbook running XP. Remind me to talk all about the manufacturer of my netbook and Bluetooth sometime, but for now, that’s it.

A classmate in my Government class thought I should have a blog if I didn’t have one already in which I just rant about things, and it’s going pretty well thus far!

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