Tutorial Windows: Identifying a Song in Windows Without a Microphone
There was this song on the radio last night. It went all “woop-woop-wooom” with no lyrics, so I couldn’t quite go tell Google about it. Moreover, Shazam wasn’t installed on my phone, and before I got up and installed it, the song had already changed. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next time it’s on.
It’s no longer a secret that you can nowadays identify almost any song that’s playing simply by pointing your phone at it. Applications are available for all mobile operating systems, and even Cortana can handle this task. We can say that this is a major advantage over the PC.
On the other hand, your computer doesn’t really need such a feature, since you can easily go online and look up lyrics. But not all songs are in English, and most of all, not all of them have lyrics. This leaves you stuck with little options. Don’t worry, there is something you can do, as tricky as it might be.
What song is that?
Unfortunately, there’s no stand-alone application that can listen to what you’re listening too and tell you what it is, and neither is there a feature in Windows to do this without a microphone.
It’s possible to identify songs on a PC even without a microphone, but the overall process not only does it require several software components, but it takes so much time under normal circumstances that you risk losing the song before you start.
This determined us to look for ways to make this happen just as fast as you can grab your phone and launch an identification app. Judging by the results, we consider we did. It can take a bit of time, but after all configurations, it takes more time for the service to identify the song than initiating it. As such, here’s what you need to do:
|Making the computer record speaker sound|
|This can’t really be done by default through what Windows provides. Go grab and install Virtual Audio Cable. It’s a little utility that tricks any recording service into thinking speaker sound is actually what you want to capture with a microphone.|
Step 1: Download and install Virtual Audio Cable. Note that a system restart may be required.
Step 2: Right-click the system tray Volume indicator to access Recording Devices.
Step 3: Identify the Line 1 entry, select it, and press the Set Default button. A green check mark needs to appear next to it if done properly.
|Creating a switch between audio drivers|
|In order for recording services to properly work through Virtual Audio Cable, system playback device also needs to go through the virtual line. However, this completely cuts out any sound you hear. Luckily, there’s an app you can use to make the switch in a second.|
Step 1: Download and install SSD – SetSoundDevice.
Step 2: Run the application executable and when the UAC prompt comes up, uncheck the box to Always Ask Before Opening This File. This cuts off some more seconds when performing the switch.
Step 3: From the drop-down menu, select Line 1, Virtual Audio Cable, Ready.
Step 4: Check the options to Create Shortcut in Program Directory and to Perform Sound Device Switch Hidden.
Step 5: Press the big button to Change Default Sound Device.
Step 6: Go to the folder where the application executable is located and find the shortcut that’s named SSD – #2 Line 1. Drag it over the taskbar.
Step 7: Repeat steps 2 to 6. Now, when you reach Step 3 just make sure to select Speakers, High Definition Audio Device, Ready, the same name you encounter in Step 6.
|Preparing the identification service|
|Music identification in our guide is done through an online, free service that doesn’t even require registration of any sorts. We chose it because it helped cut off even more time in the end process. Since it’s online, it needs to be accessed via a web browser, and we’re going to use Google Chrome because it’s fitted with a feature we need.|
Step 1: Download, install, and run Google Chrome. You don’t have to make it your default web browser in case you’re using something else.
Step 2: Go to Midomi using Google Chrome. Once there, click the Hamburger button in the top right corner, and from More Tools, choose to Add to Taskbar. You can now close the browser.
|The finishing touch|
|All that’s left to do now is make everything accessible in the shortest possible time. As such, we’re going to make everything be ready in a few seconds just by pressing some custom hotkeys.|
Step 1: Move the taskbar shortcut you just created with Google Chrome to a convenient location, preferably in the first slot. This makes it accessible by pressing Win + 1 (one), where 1 is the first taskbar shortcut.
Note: You can do the same for the two shortcuts for the device switch, but you can assign custom hotkeys so you don’t fill your taskbar.
Step 2: Go to the location of the SSD – SetSoundDevice executable and right-click the shortcut named SSD – #2 Line 1 to access Properties.
Step 3: Switch to the Shortcut tab. Click in the Shortcut Key field and press the buttons you want to use to make the switch.
Step 4: Do the same with the SSD – #2 Speakers shortcut, but using a different combination of keys, so you can easily bring back sound when finished.
Note: Yes, we tried to use the same hotkey that activates Google Chrome, but Windows prevents you from using the Win key when configuring shortcut keys, so use something that’s close. We used Ctrl + Shift + 1 and Ctrl + Shift + 2.
Step 5: Launch each switch shortcut one time to deactivate the prompt that asks for permission.
|You need to make sure everything works, and it takes a little time to test things out. A song can be played both from your computer and from the web. Just make sure to hit Allow when asked to use the microphone.|
Step 1: Play a song from your computer or online.
Step 2: Press the hotkey that switches your audio device to the virtual one.
Step 3: Access the online service through Win + 1, or the number of the Chrome shortcut taskbar position.
Step 4: Press the button on the web page that says to Click and Sing or Hum.
Step 5: Let the service finish processing and see if it’s the song you’re looking for.
Note: There’s a chance you won’t get any result, but this only happens because the song database is created by users and if nobody bothered to upload the song you want, then all hope is (almost) lost.
Sure enough you might have used mobile apps like Shazam by now, and you’re probably still using them intensively. However, there are circumstances when you’re forced to use headphones and can’t rely on your speakers to provide sound for the mobile app. You may not call upon this method frequently, but now you know it’s possible and how it’s done.