API for capturing sound on Windows


February 2019


6.5k time


I need a C++ API to enumerate input devices and capture sound for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. If there is no common API I can use OS specific API for different versions of Windows.

I found some references on Microsoft site, but I don't know what to chose. What do you recommend?

2 answers


Take a look at the BASS library.

It is:

  • cross-platform;
  • well documented;
  • has a great support;
  • easy to use;
  • has lots of plugins;
  • free for non-commercial use.

Get the total number of recording devices currently present:

int a, count=0;
for (a=0; BASS_RecordGetDeviceInfo(a, &info); a++)
    if (info.flags&BASS_DEVICE_ENABLED) // device is enabled
        count++; // count it

Start recording at 44100hz 16-bit stereo:

FILE *file;
// the recording callback
BOOL CALLBACK MyRecordingWriter(HRECORD handle, void *buf, DWORD len, void *user)
    fwrite(buf, 1, len, file); // write the buffer to the file
    return TRUE; // continue recording
HRECORD record=BASS_RecordStart(44100, 2, 0, MyRecordingWriter, 0); // start recording

For waveIn API use waveInGetNumDevs() and waveInGetDevCaps(). For Core Audio API use IMMDeviceEnumerator. For DirectShow read this: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd377566(v=vs.85).aspx

It all depends on the rest of the architecture. You have to do something with the captured PCM and you probably know what. That should help you decide what technology to use.