I guess it is obvious from previous posts of mine, particularly in this thread, that I consider Pulse Audio as close to a necessity, when wishing to have user level easy access to audio streams.
Without it, as I recall from a few years ago, it is a huge hassle to arrange access to the streams for recording and other purposes.
Generally things appear to work this way ........ you can record easily from a Source ..... the source of a sound stream ..... but when it comes to recording from a sound sink --- such as the sound going to speakers etc you must record from a "monitor" of that sound stream and need not be concerned about the source of the stream.
That is really where PA makes it simple, as it provides those 'monitor' selections in the GUI, to record from. So although the recording app may not itself be capable of 'seeing' the sound sink and its stream, PA will allow the user to link it to the monitor of that stream.
Hope that helps a wee bit.