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My goal is to record 4-5 hours of audio for my long form podcast. I need it to be able to accept input from the mic and output from the laptop audio (so I can record conversation I have with other people over discord), and create files that aren't too huge.

People suggested audacity to me, but I can't seem to figure out how to make it record the audio output.

Someone told me I should:

Use JACK (useful for routing sound from one program to another among other things) together with Audacity. To get the sound output from your laptop (assuming you use PulseAudio), use a PulseAudio JACK Sink. qjackctl is a GUI interface for JACK that makes the routing a bit easier (and visual).

I have audacity and qjackctl installed, but it's really overwhelming trying to figure out how to make this work when I don't know what most of these words mean.

Could you help me with this process, or suggest a simpler alternative?

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The problem is that it's difficult to synchronize the clocks sampling audio on two separate devices. Yes Jack can do this, but it is not always easy to run - I have not figured it out!

A reasonable alternative would be to get a small mixing unit capable of recording 2 or more channels, outputting to USB. These look like a single device to Audacity, and can record multiple channels. I use a behringer 18 channel mixer for music recording, and a behringer 4 channel unit for small recording sessions such as recording church sermons. Similar hardware can be found from many manufacturers, and is readily available at retail outlets such as Guitar Center in the US.

If you would like information about these units leave me a comment below - I'm still trying to make jack work myself...

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