Blank spots recording Skype

I’m having this same problem and I don’t understand the problem. I use Audacity to record Skype calls, and when I record a call, it will drop silence in between a lot of talking and then I am left with blank spots. Particularly this happens when there is someone taking for more than a few seconds and going on and on. I updated Audacity to 2.0 and I am still having this problem. I’m running on Windows Vista.

The user whose post you attached to was not using Skype, so I started a new topic for you.

Audacity 2.0 is obsolete. I suggest you get the latest 2.0.5 from here: Audacity ® | Download for Windows .

The easy answer is not to use Audacity to record Skype. Audacity is not intended to record Skype. At best you will get yourself and the other party mixed together and one party may be louder than the other.

Pamela for Skype - Compare the different Pamela editions › Pamela for Skype .

When you do record with Audacity, turn Skype off, and you will probably want to turn off sound “enhancements”:
Audacity Manual .

If you still get dropouts, shut down more programs before recording. See:
Missing features - Audacity Support .


There was a recent post from someone who just plugged his computer together and started recording bi-directional Skype calls and podcasts with music and effects sharing. He posted to us about some trivial sound problem and I suggested to him that most people would kill to be able to do what he’s doing. He was a podcast celebrity.

Here it is. Chase and Ben in different cities.

I think he’s down to podcast stingers and samplers now instead of 90 minute shows, but still. He thinks we’re all crazy. I suspect if he ever got a new computer, the show would go straight into the mud.

And yes, I believe we solved his original problem.


And yes, the skipping problem is very probably a computer resource issue. When you record like that, the computer has to deal with Skype, Computer Record, Computer Playback (all in real time) plus Audacity and all of its services. Skype tends to be vicious when it’s running, so it’s not shocking that Audacity gets the table scraps.


I’ve used a free skype recorder before and while it records fine, I have trouble cause they record within one speaker. Normally everything ends up on the right speaker when I do that.

I notice this only happens when there is a lot of talking going on, and then a bit of loudness. Once it starts getting loud and for longer than a few seconds, I get these big blank spots and lose huge chunks of audio. It drives me nuts, I have no idea what the problem is. I really like Audacity and would love to record my calls with it, I have to record my phone calls cause I have trouble with my memory, so it’s nice to go over them a few times to catch up if I forgot something.

Please try the Skype recording programs we suggested. Or try which I know records each party to separate channels.

Please consider the advice you were given. If you must use Audacity to record Skype you will get both parties in one channel, even if you record stereo. To avoid the dropouts you will have to turn off more applications and services in your computer, or go through Missing features - Audacity Support to identify other things you can try to stop the dropouts.

And in case the problem is caused by fluctuating volume levels as you describe, you will have to try turning off sound enhancements ( Audacity Manual ) and possibly Windows playback adjustments ( Audacity Manual ) .

If you record with an application meant for Skype, you should be able to avoid most or all of these issues.


I’ve already turned off the sound enhancements. I’ve done all of that and I still have this problem.

I actually like everything to come into one channel cause I have no idea how I am supposed to edit two channels into one. I edit everything in Audacity for playback.

I have tried the iFree Skype Recorder and the quality is not near as good as Audacity can be (when it’s not cutting out).

If I can get this program to record Skype, i would be very happy.

As previously said, Audacity is not designed for recording Skype. Recording Skype with Audacity may work sometimes, but there may be problems due to the way that Skype manages the audio system, and Audacity has no control over that, so if it doesn’t work reliably you would do better to find an alternative way to record.
I’ve had good results using Skype Call Recorder (free and open source).

If you want a finished recording in mono and you already have a stereo recording with empty left channel, click the Track Drop-Down Menu , choose “Split Stereo to Mono”, then click the to close the upper (empty) track.

If you have a stereo recording with different left and right channels, use Tracks > Stereo Track to Mono in the menu at the top of Audacity to make the recording mono (containing the content of the former left and right).

You may have to try everything in Missing features - Audacity Support to try and prevent the dropouts when using Audacity to record Skype, and you may not succeed then.


Still, why would a loud signal cause dropouts? I can generate reasons why a very loud digital signal can cause analog damage. Do you see the dropouts on your timeline — when you hear a dropout, do you have a blank spot in the blue waves? If you reduce the volume of the show, do the dropouts go away or change?

Are they in exactly the same place every time.


I gave it a shot with these other programs and when I edit them together, I lose out when two people are talking at the same time cause one person seems to always drown the other out based on who is louder.

The drops don’t seem to happen when there is slow talking in a call, but when there is noise and then a lot of back and forth conversation (For example, someone explaining something) then I start getting these big blank spots. I wonder if it’s a filter doing this or something cause it will work just fine when it’s a slow conversation. There’s no way I could record an interview and have someone go on and on explaining something.

I don’t know what the problem is but I appreciate you nice people for helping me. I am not going to give up, if it’s my computers problems I will work to resolve this issue.

I do believe perhaps the fact I am a Vista user, that might be a contributing factor since Vista is loaded with problems. I don’t remember ever having recording issues on my XP laptop many years ago, it’s a shame I got rid of it.

I apologize for not seeing this message at first.

I watch the blue waves (well it’s red during a recording) and often it will pick up loudness when someone is talking but if it goes on for more than a few seconds, yeah I see these big blank spots drop and there it is. I also noticed a while back in one call, right before someone hung up, the volume increased right before they disconnected. I thought that was weird but didn’t pay it much attention. That has only happened a handful of times.

I have my stereo mix set at 30 on the master volume. I don’t know if that’s too loud or not, it’s kinda loud but I have trouble hearing in my right ear, so I did it that way.

I apologize for not seeing this message at first.

Dueling posts.

I don’t mean the bouncing red recording meter. I mean the blue waves on the time line. Ratty illustration below. See the “hole” or place where the waves flatten out? I would expect that to sound like a sudden silence in the show.

You may need the magnifier tools to see it or them.

I think that’s overkill. I use three zoomers for everything. Drag-select a portion of the waves and zoom into it with Control-E. Keep doing that to zoom further and further in. If you mess up, zoom out a little with Control-3. Zoom out to the full show with Control-F. That’s it. Three zoomers.

Audacity is naturally unstable doing this with Skype, so nobody is shocked that you’re having troubles. That’s why everybody is immediately steering you away from using Audacity.

Stereo Mix represents all the sounds on the computer. That means Audacity is recording both Skype send and Skype receive — as you pointed out — as one mixed show. That’s pretty annoying right there, but Skype needs these to be split to keep the conversation from howling with feedback. Also, it wouldn’t work if the far side listened to themselves in addition to your voice. Ever have one of those conversations where you hear your own voice coming back a second or more late? Isn’t that annoying?

But wait, you can’t split them up because Audacity needs a mix because it’s the only way Stereo Mix “self-recording” works… and etc.

People use Pamela all the time. Pamela will record far and near on separate tracks, so they don’t interfere with each other at all and you can process each voice by itself including getting rid of delay sync problems if you want. The two lower licenses are intentionally damaged.


You can still fix that if you have each voice on separate channels - use the Track Drop-Down Menu to Split Stereo Track, then select the parts of the voice that are too loud and use Effect > Normalize… to make them quieter.


One possible explanation is due to Skype managing the audio.

Skype has to manage 2 audio streams, one from each person, through a single IP stream that goes in one direction at a time. It handles this through automatic switching depending on who is speaking

Stream 1) Person A mic → Person B headphones.
Stream 2) Person B mic -Person A headphones.

Person A speaking, then Person B starts speaking loudly, Stream 1 is cut from the Person B headphones by Skype.
Person B speaking, then Person A starts speaking loudly, Stream 2 is cut from the Person A headphones by Skype.

Audacity can only record from one “device”, which means either from Person A mic, Person B mic, Person A headphones or Person B headphones. Depending on where Audacity is to record from will affect what gets recorded. If there is any overlap between Stream 1 and Stream 2, part of the recording will be cut. Audacity cannot access both streams at the same time. At best it can record one stream, as managed by Skype.

Specialist software such as “Pamela” (commercial) and “Skype Call Recorder” (Free, open source) are designed to intercept both audio streams simultaneously, and are able to record Stream 1 in full on one channel of a stereo track, and Stream 2 on the other channel. This recording can then be imported into Audacity, split into 2 mono tracks (as described in Gale’s last post), and manually mixed as required.

Splitting stereo tracks to two mono tracks is described in the Audacity manual here: Audacity Manual

It’s totally my computer.

I just tried a trial version of Adobe Audition and I had this same problem I had with Audacity.

I have no idea why my computer is doing this, I believe it’s filtering stuff. I apologize for wasting your time.

I don’t recall anyone else reporting a dropout problem resulting from volume changes, so if you must use Audacity to record Skype I think you will have to dig much deeper into computer settings.

Again, I see no reason against using a Skype recording app that records one party in left and one in right. You have complete flexibility to edit that in Audacity.

Do you have a “Communications” tab in Windows “Sound”, or only “Playback”, “Recording” and “Sounds”? I am fairly certain that “Communications” tab did not come in until Windows 7. If you do have that “Communications” tab, set it to “Do nothing”.

Also look in Skype settings. Look at this guide Troubleshooting issues with Skype call quality | Skype Support (it applies to Vista too). Look at the section “Make sure your your audio settings are correct in Skype”. Try changing the settings for microphone volume and speakers volume. Experiment with different volume settings and most importantly, experiment with checking and unchecking “Automatically adjust microphone settings” and “Automatically adjust speaker settings”.

Experimenting there may fix the problems you are complaining about in apps meant for recording Skype.

If you still get dropouts recording in Audacity, you must try everything on Missing features - Audacity Support . There is no shortcut to going through that list and eliminating all possibilities one by one. It could be there is extra CPU use when two voices are speaking together and that is enough (given a stressed or misconfigured computer) to cause dropouts.

I am not totally convinced by that, or we would hear much more about dropouts when using Audacity to record Skype. The “one device” Audacity records from is stereo mix or similar, and Audacity records whatever stereo mix contains (whatever the user hears) as determined by Skype’s management of audio streams.

If Enver is not hearing the dropouts when recording the calls I suspect the source of the dropouts problem lies in computer resources.


It probably depends on how we are imagining the “blank spots” that Enver is talking about. None of us other than Enver have actually heard these “blank spots”. When I use Skype (not often), I’m aware of the other person being cut off when I talk, similar to what happens with mobile phones compared with land lines.

This is when you use Skype without even recording it? I rarely use Skype either and don’t use mobile phones much, but I can’t say I’ve heard that problem often. I thought mobile and VoIP offered full-duplex emulation ( Duplex (telecommunications) - Wikipedia ) so that theoretically, parties should be able to speak simultaneously.

From Enver’s description, that the dropouts happen after a period of rapid exchanges between parties, or when volume changes, it sounds (somewhat) more like faulty volume manipulation and/or resources problems.