Balancing a sound board with skype calls

This is a specific question, but I wanted to see if other podcasters or audio people in general had some advice.

I recently got some sound board freeware called SoundPlant that allows me to map sound effects, voice clips, and music to keys to play at any time. I wanted put some sound effects in during podcast episodes, and this thing is great. When I press the “2-track to mix” button on my podcastudio equipment, Audacity picks up the sound as well as my voice. No problems there.

The problem is that when I push the 2-track to Mix button, Audacity also picks up the voice of the person I’m talking to on skype. My podcast partner lives in another state, so we record our own isolated voice tracks and combine them into audacity in post-production.

What I’d like is to have my voice track only pick up my voice and the sound effects from my computer, but not the voice of my partner. Is there something I can do on Audacity or Skype or even my own recording hardware to keep it that way?

Thank you for any help you can send my way.

The overly simplistic solution is put the stingers, bumpers, music beds and themes into the show in post production since you’re doing post anyway to put the two talents together.

The much more complex solution is use two computers (widen your screen view to get them both in).

The computer only has one play channel, so you can’t play Skype on channel one and music on channel two. There is no channel two. In the illustration, the machine on the left is recording the composite show and playing music into the mixer thus using up it’s one set of Play/Record. The computer on the right manages Skype.

I did it this way to avoid sending my partner’s voice back to herself (as it happens, in another state) as an echo.

We did have a completely stupid (and solvable) routing problem with the music, but because the system doesn’t have to do pumpy echo cancellation, she sounds like she’s in the room with me.

This is also first pass, so none of the theatrical timings worked. Her distortion is from her not using headphones. She’s just talking in the general direction of her MacBook Air. I think she said she was ironing shirts.

But that’s probably the effect you’re after. We patterned it after a radio show since we’re both actual broadcasters.


And lest you think I’m completely nuts, this is how the Pando Podcast is done (attach).

I could do that podcast since my mixer will handle two microphones and interviews at once, but I wouldn’t want to. Their mixer is much more convenient than mine.

We’re pretty sure she’s playing Angry Birds.


Okay you definitely opened something up for me here. I podcast on my laptop, and I do the show right beside my desktop computer (mostly used for gaming). I have skype on the desktop. I have a five-channel studio mixer. I could have the soundboard on my desktop, and connect my desktop’s audio to my mixer, right? That seems to be the setup you have on your first picture. I would just have to another USB audio interface hardware piece and some audio cables so I can connect the desktop to the mixer.

I just ordered a USB audio interface from Behringer, the company that made my original one. I’ll get some audio cables from around the house or buy some. Wow! This really cut through the gordian knot if this works. I’ve never connected anything into my mixer before besides my mic and headphones, so I hope it works. I’ll keep this thread posted on my progress. Thank you for the help!

There are some hidden items in that illustration. I intentionally bought a new, but older design MacBook Pro in order to get Analog Stereo Out and Analog Stereo In. Newer Macs don’t do that any more, but I don’t need the separate interfaces you do. The machines plug right into the mixer.

I did a signal diagram here somewhere and I can’t find it.

You have to make Mix Minus.

Mixers actually have more than one output. Do you see knobs in the sound strips called “FX Send?” That’s if you want to send your voice out to, for example, an echo generator and then bring it back into the mixer. That’s not what I do. The main mix is The Whole Show, Everything and that’s what I listen to and that’s what goes to recording or in their case out to the streaming server. But the far side is listening to FX Send. What you do there is bring up all the FX Send knobs except the strip with their voice. They listen to the whole show minus their voice. Mix Minus.

I’m more than even sure now that the Skype machine was sending my built-in microphone instead of the mixer FX Send. That’s why she had no trouble at all hearing me but I’m talking in a dead quiet room. The music is on the FX-Send Mix-Minus cables. Had I been on top of it, I would have done a scratch test to see what was happening.

And yes the convoluted nature of this will make your head hurt.

I had to lie down for a while.


Please note that the instant you start using a mixer, there is no upper limit. Add microphones, add effects, add music. At any time you can get a larger mixer without redesigning the whole world. If you do it right it’s lift the cables straight up, slide the old mixer out and new mixer in and lower the cables into their new home.

Last time I did it with the grownups, the mixer was seven feet long and had enough channel strips to do a major television news show. After you got over the shock of the room, you would have no trouble following the signals.

The operators frequently put little sticky notes down to keep track of where everybody was. I used to think that was cheating, but I got over it.