Instructions for Recording Skype Conversations
Submitted by kentbye on Mon, 2005-11-07 16:44. Skype
After much experimentation, I've finally figured out how to record a Skype call on my Macintosh without having to use external hardware or hearing an echo of my own voice.
This will enable me to record my phone conversations and then share them as podcasts in order to help develop the community -- both calls to regular phone numbers by using SkypeOut for two cents a minute, but also directly to other Skype users for free.
Beth Kanter made a very interesting diagram about "Audio as Online Conversation for Online Communities Experiment" that is rich with ideas -- so there is a lot of issues to explore. (via Nancy White)
So I hope to experiment with mediating audio conversations here on EchoChamberProject.com by using the RSS feeds associated with the folksonomy tags served up by Drupal.
A lot of the "How to Record Skype Recipes" include Audacity and Soundflower Bed, but I finally got it to work with WireTap Pro (shareware program for $19), LineIn, and Soundflower, a pair of headphones and a USB Mixer / Microphone.
Here's a schematic and table of the input and output settings of these programs that I used to get it to work -- as well as a screenshot of the preference settings for a quick reference and sanity check.
|Macintosh System Preferences||USB Audio CODEC / USB Port||Headphones / Built-In Audio Port|
|Skype||USB Audio CODEC||Built-In Audio Headphones|
|LineIn||USB Audio CODEC||Soundflower (2ch)|
|WireTap Pro||Source: "Mac Audio and Microphone" /
Mic/Line-In: "Soundflower (2ch)"
It's also possible to record the USB Mixer / Microphone input directly through the Built-In Audio, but there was a really annoying delay and echo of my own voice. It's really difficult to talk with delayed feedback being piped into your ears. Some people use speakers to eliminate this feedback, but then there is additional feedback or an echo. Passing the microphone input through LineIn and then Soundflower eliminates this echo when using headphones.
Below is a screenshot of all of the preferences as well as some afterthoughts...
UPDATE 11/10/05: I've been able to successfully record a conversation with this setup, but I've run into another setting change that should be made in order to edit the WireTap Pro audio in Sound Track Pro. The default Preferences > Format > File Format of AIFF & Compressor of IMA 4:1 gives the following error when you try to load the *.aifc file into Sound Track Pro:
Can't open file ".../Music/Recordings/test.aifc" because the file uses an unsupported compression format.
Setting the File Format Preference to AAC and Compressor to MPEG-4 Audio solves this problem.
The often-cited Audacity / Soundflower Bed combination was a bit buggy, and I could either hear Skype or I could hear the microphone -- and the only way to hear both was to not use Soundflower (2ch). So I was never able record both at the same time with the setup.
In this process, I discovered that my XLR microphone needed a pre-amp in order to record on my Mac, and so I had the choice to buy an iMic that would convert from to 1/8" microphone jack input to USB output, but I ended up getting the more versatile Alesis Multimix 8 USB mixer instead.
I also had my USB mixer plugged into the front USB port on my Mac G5 and it was very noisy, but the noise went away when I used one of the back USB ports. Not sure why that's true, but there was a really annoying buzz until I moved it. UPDATE: This same buzzing came back after I opened Audacity. I'm not sure why Audacity would add so much noise to the mixer input, but I shut everything down, switched USB ports again, and it seems to be working again.
The only thing that this approach does not allow me to do is to patch audio from my computer into a Skype call. If anyone figures out a solution for how to do this, then it'd be great to be able to weave audio sound bite clips into conversations. If not, then I'm just happy to finally get this to work.