Recording of Internet Phone Call

Help for Audacity 2.x.x on Windows.

ImageThis forum is for Audacity 2.x.x on Windows.

  • Please state which version of Windows you are using, the exact three-section version of Audacity from "Help menu > About Audacity".

  • Audacity 1.2.x and 1.3.x are obsolete and no longer supported. If you still have those versions, please upgrade at https://www.audacityteam.org/download/.
    The old forums for those versions are now closed, but you can still read the archives of the 1.2.x and 1.3.x forums.

Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by TomNYC » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:19 am

No doubt this is a dumb question, but I hope to use Audacity to record an internet phone call (hopefully using Google's gmail.com free phone service). I hope to record both ends of the conversation, naturally. I recently explored some options for this, other than using Audacity, and they all seemed quite hard (to me!).

Maybe somebody can point me to a link on this site or elsewhere. Thank you! :-)
TomNYC
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:11 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:53 am

The short answer is no. Audacity is not recommended for recording telephone, conference or communications performances.

Audacity doesn't Play Well With Others. A good way to screw up Audacity is try to run a second sound program at the same time on the same machine. Any sound program. Chat/telephone programs work by taking over the computer and they don't ask.

My recording worked just fine, but I didn't use an APP. I used two computers and a small sound mixer. I let the communications program flog one computer and I recorded everything on the other.

I have a picture of that here somewhere.

This is the podcasting gold standard. Not only does the poster want to create their own content, everybody want to do live (or recorded) interviews. And that's where it falls apart. As you noticed in the research, it's not easy.

It does get worse, though. There are some people who run Audacity and their interview and everything works perfectly. Those people are celebrity unicorns and nobody else can do that. We hope they don't try to make a video how easy it is.

Koz
kozikowski
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 38428
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:16 am

There it is.

Image

The machine on the right is handling the communications, Skype in this case, but it doesn't make that much difference. The machine on the left has Audacity recording the mix and playing music into the show. You can do that because usually, Play and Record are two separate systems.

So you don't NEED to have the machine on the left. Just something to record the mix. I wanted to see what I could get away with.

The system is a ringer, too. Both machines were purchased originally because they had good sound connections and I could plug them into a mixer with no trouble. Windows machines are harder.

I didn't just make all that up, either. This is how the Pando Podcast is done.

Image

It has the advantage of being dead reliable. Communications programs like to change their software here and again and if you're relying on an APP running on the same computer, you could find yourself out of a show.

Koz
kozikowski
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 38428
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by TomNYC » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:25 am

Thanks, Kozikowski! Wow, who knew such a simple thing could be so hard? It reminds of how hard (impossible, really) it is to do pagination in Open Office (.odt) word processing.

But I bet a TON of people DO want to record phone calls while using their computer. SOME free software must be able to do it. In my quick search, I think I found several different software programs that could do it for a price -- usually charging every month.

So odd! I guess I'm lucky it isn't currently a technical nightmare to download both audio and video from YouTube. And then desperately try to perform both acts together. And then afterwards miraculously attempt to synch them up. But only after getting my four-year degree from some computer college and purchasing thousands of dollars of specialized equipment! :lol:
TomNYC
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:11 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by LaughingZebra » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:53 pm

Hi TomNYC,

I’m sure koz is an Audacity wizard and that his solution is brilliant and works perfectly, but for those of us less ambitious­, who want a simpler solution that nonetheless works well, I’ve got one.

I too wanted to record internet phone calls with Audacity (and I too used the free Google phone to make those calls), so here’s what I did: (In Windows 8.1) I went to the Control Panel, clicked on Sound, and then clicked on Recording (at the top), then in Recording, I went to the bottom, Set Default, and made Microphone my default device (a check mark will appear next to Microphone when it’s the Default Device) and clicked on OK or Apply, I forget which one (whichever wasn’t grayed out I suppose).

Then, in Audacity, I went to the microphone icon and set it for Microphone, not Stereo Mix or Primary Sound Capture Driver.

That’s all-- now since I didn’t plug an external microphone into my computer (my external mic is broken) I had to make sure I spoke loudly enough to be heard by the person I was talking to on the phone, but the recording was perfect! (Or, if not ‘perfect’, at least more than adequate for my purposes-- if the person I was speaking to had suddenly started singing an aria from Rigoletto I might have wished I had used koz’s set-up!!)
LaughingZebra
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:44 am
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:19 am

... his solution is brilliant and works perfectly

That's not exactly the goal. The goal is 'works perfectly forever.'

There's no shortage of postings how to record Skype and other communications programs, and they all work OK—usually on one computer type—until they don't. Each time the service does an update or program change, you stand a good chance that your mixed service podcast or interview is going to drop dead. When you split Skype and recorder machines, it doesn't matter what Skype does. All those changes stay on the Skype computer and don't affect the recording.

Also remember the Gold Standard is to record you on one side of a stereo recording and the guest on the other so you can polish and match the voices in post production for the final show.

All that and the desperation method is sit a small personal recorder in the middle of the table between you and the Skype computer in conference mode. That, too, works on any computer and doesn't matter what Skype does.

Koz
kozikowski
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 38428
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:32 am

There's perfectly plain-vanilla tricks, too.

You can make any communications recording sound better just by having everybody wear headphones. A good deal of that "bad cellphone" voice is just Skype having to do voice management and echo cancellation. If there is no voice management, that problem goes away.

This is a voice test I did with Denise on The Other Coast. It's the two-computer method. Denise and I are both wearing headphones and she's on her sun porch with a Mac laptop open and that's it. All the fancy recording stuff is in LA.

It's an engineering test. Neither of us is a performer. It's all live.

We made the Ideal Podcast. The whole show is discussing when to do the next show. It's riveting. Really.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/De ... lyCut3.mp3

Koz
kozikowski
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 38428
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by LaughingZebra » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:47 am

Hey koz, you have too grandiose conception of me and my intentions! You say, "Also remember the Gold Standard is to record you on one side of a stereo recording and the guest on the other so you can polish and match the voices in post production for the final show." Guest? Post production?? Final show???


My friend, my desires only extend to recording some conversations with a few people special to me, so I can mull over what really transpired in the sometimes emotionally complex interactions, and, occasionally, preserve an exchange for my personal posterity.

By the way, I can't imagine what Google might do to Google phone that would render my very simple system of recording inoperative! I'm not saying there isn't anything they might do, just that I can't imagine it!
LaughingZebra
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:44 am
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:43 pm

LaughingZebra wrote:I can't imagine what Google might do to Google phone that would render my very simple system of recording inoperative!

"inoperative" is probably an overstatement, but when recording both sides of the conversation from one side, the "other side" will, at best, sound like a low quality MP3.

I've not tried using "Google's gmail.com free phone service", but my experience using other voip services (including Skype), is that it can be far from straightforward to get it to work at all. The common problem is that voip services do their best to take over control of the computer sound system, so that they can manage bidirectional communication while minimising echoes and feedback. The side effect of this is that the voip application can interfere with other audio applications (such as Audacity) and prevent them from working properly. It may not be an insurmountable problem, but it can be a real headache fiddling around to get it working. To make things worse, due to differences in computer sound systems, the exact steps that work on one machine may not work on another.

For popular voip services such as Skype, there may be third party applications available that can intercept the voice messages from the voip application. For example, for Skype there is Pamela (commercial) and Skype Call Recorder (free), and probably others.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 45305
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Recording of Internet Phone Call

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:15 pm

My friend, my desires only extend to recording some conversations with a few people special to me, so I can mull over what really transpired in the sometimes emotionally complex interactions, and, occasionally, preserve an exchange for my personal posterity.

So you’re the poster child for a small personal recorder on the table between you and the computer in speaker mode. Near 100% reliability and it doesn’t matter which computer you have or what Skype does to it.

Koz
kozikowski
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 38428
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Next

Return to Windows



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests