Can record Skype call OR myself-not both w QjackCtl Audacity


Using QjackCtl, Audacity, and Skype, I can record the caller OR myself, but not both. (And I apologize for cross postings, but I’ve been trying to solve this for over a month and am getting desperate.)

No, I do not want to use a third party specific Skype call recorder.

Equipment / Hardware / Software:
Dynamic microphone
Firewire mixer
ASUS P5QC motherboard with onboard Realtek ALC 1200, 8-Channel High-Def Audio
Ubuntu Studio 13.04
Skype 4.1
Audacity 2.0.3 (repository)
QjackCtl 0.3.9
PulseAudio Volume Control

Please see the PDF (if not posted below) at this link:

Referring to the photos on the PDF, from l-r, top to bottom:
Each photo shows Audacity, PulseAudio Volume Control (each tab, indicated by the small red circle: Playback, Recording, Output Devices, and Input Devices), and QjackCtl “Connections” during an active Skype test call when the women is speaking.

The first four photos are the default open for all of the software and I can immediately record the Skype side of the call with Audacity.

The fifth photo, at the bottom of the PDF, shows the only change I need to make to record myself–but then I loose the ability to record the Skype side of the call.

As you can see it is solely dependent on the “Recording” tab option of “Monitor of Built-in Audio Analog Stereo” (large red circle) where I can record the caller (as in photo #2), or, as in the fifth photo at the bottom of the page, “Jack Source (PulseAudio JACK Source)” option where I can record myself but not the caller.

How do I get “ALSA plug-in [audacity]: ALSA Capture from” to capture from both “Monitor of Built-in Audio Analog Stereo” AND “Jack Source (PulseAudio JACK Source)”? It seems I need to added these devices to the QjackCtl “Connections” panel so I can connect them together, yes/no? If so, I’ve not a clue how to do that.

The command line doesn’t scare me, but I’m only a cookbook recipe follower, so I need precise instructions.

Also, I’d like to know how to identify, at the command line, the various output streams from my onboard sound card.

Any help would be greatly appreciated—thanks!

This is notoriously difficult because you not only have to establish the pathways for the recording, you have to also not mess up the Skype pathways – and some pathways are common. The only poster who claimed to get it to work perfectly keeps claiming he’s going to post back with his first interview. We’re still in contact with him and he’s going to get that to us any minute now…

[waiting for linux elf]



I’ve not seen one that works very well under Linux. Do you know of one?

“Skype Call Recorder” works well for me:

It is also possible to record both sides using Jack, but it’s a bit awkward because Skype does not appear to support Jack so I’d recommend that you try “Skype Call Recorder” first.

I’m using Jack. I can record one side of the conversation, or the other, but not both. Hence, my question, how do I do that Steve? You say it’s possible with Jack, but how? Thanks!

Re: Skype call recorder. I’ve never gotten it to work. But then I’ve not tried very hard either. Also, development on it died at version number 0.8 in 2008. I’m not very interested in relying on such old software that’s no longer being developed for my podcast. Besides, it seems that this is what Jack is for, although, admittedly, Jack is not exactly the most intuitive piece of software one can use and it requires a user level above my knowledge. That said, I can follow instructions, if I can find them.


Short version - Set the “host” in the Device Toolbar to “Jack”.
I’m sure that I wrote the “long version” somewhere - give a shout if you need it.

Thanks Steve! That did the trick. I don’t know why I didn’t consider the Audacity settings? (Doh!)


(Solution subject to revision as I’ve not got it working exactly the way I want, but I’m getting close. The biggest problem has been solved however, and that’s recording both sides of a Skype conversation with Audacity.)

Dynamic microphone (Heil PR40)
Firewire mixer (Mackie Onyx 820i)
ASUS P5QC motherboard with onboard Realtek ALC 1200, 8-Channel High-Def Audio

Ubuntu Studio 13.04
Audacity 2.0.3 (repository)
QjackCtl 0.3.9
PulseAudio Volume Control
Skype 4.1


Either in “Device Toolbar” (View > Toolbars > [check] Device Toolbar) or Edit > Preferances > Devices, set:
Audio Host = JACK Audio Connection Kit
Output Device = PulseAudio JACK Source
Input Dievice = PulseAudio Jack Sink
Input Channels = 1 (Mono) Input Channels

Start the Jack server and open the Connections tab

Readable Clients / Output Ports
[long string of #s & letters]_CH1_in
[long string of #s & letters]_CH2_in
[Many other CHs listed as well, but not connected to anything.]

Connected to

Writable Clients / Input Ports
in_[#s. ex., “3”]
in_[#+1. ex., “4”]


Writable Clients / Input Ports
PulseAudio JACK Source

Readable Clients / Output Ports
PulseAudio JACK Sink

Connected to

Writable Clients / Input Ports
[long string of #s & letters]_OUTPUT1_out
[long string of #s & letters]_OUTPUT2_out


Writable Clients / Input Ports
in_[#s. ex., “3”]
in_[#+1. ex., “4”]

PulseAudio Volume Control
Playback tab
Skype: Output on Jack sink (PulseAudio Jack Sink)

Recording tab
Skype: Input from Jack source (PulseAudio JACK Source)

Output Devices
No adjustments

Input Devices
no adjustments

Analog Stereo Output

How would you ideally want it? Perhaps I can give some tips/suggestions.

What does it sound like at the other end of the Skype call? Most times when you do this you’re sending the caller back to himself and it creates echo problems. If the caller isn’t on headphones, you can get some very entertaining feedback problems.

You are on headphones, right?


That shouldn’t be a problem because Skype is only half-duplex (one direction at a time).

Skype is only half-duplex

I don’t know that I entirely agree. As far as I got in my tests I was able to establish a full-duplex voice connection with my poor overworked colleague in New Jersey. We were able to interrupt each other and I have clips of us both on line speaking at the same time. At another, later time, I screwed something up and the connection was far, far worse. That one was clearly half-duplex. I could hear English phrase switching and the line would periodically drop dead as Skype path-managed over four time zones.

One thing that messed us up was Skype had a major version upgrade in the middle of our tests.

“Do you still have a green logo over your opening screen?” “No, I have a whole new decision panel there…” “Where !@#$ did they put the phone icon?”

I think they know now when both parties are on headphones or headsets and there’s zero chance of feedback and echo damage. Then they let fly.


elaterite wrote:
as I’ve not got it working exactly the way I want, but I’m getting close.

How would you ideally want it? Perhaps I can give some tips/suggestions.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)


It’s an external mixer issue, I think. I should be ale to hear myself in the headphones. I haven’t worked on that yet though.

What does it sound like at the other end of the Skype call? Most times when you do this you’re sending the caller back to himself and it creates echo problems. If the caller isn’t on headphones, you can get some very entertaining feedback problems.

You are on headphones, right?



Yes, when doing podacst I have always required my co-host and guests to use either a headphone and mic, or a headset. You’ll get the echoes and feedback otherwise (most of the time anyway).

I recorded a test call yesterday and all went fine. Haven’t tied a Skype conference call as yet however.

But I hear that with Ardour I should be able to record each caller on a separate track. At least one person running KX Studio claimed they could do that. So that’s my next steps, but I haven’t had a lot of luck running Ardour, it’s interface is not nearly as intuitive as Audacity’s. But then I missed the whole Audacity configuring thing that Steve pointed out and which was causing me problems in the fist place. There’s simply too many different ways to do all of this. It’s confusing… o_0

But thanks for all your help guys!

You mean that you “want” to hear yourself in the headphones?
I presume that you also “need” to hear the other caller in your headphones?

The tricky part of using Audacity with Jack is getting Audacity to connect to the right inputs.
As you will no doubt have noticed, Audacity’s “portaudio” connections only show up in QjacCtl when they are active. When record/playback stop, these connections disappear. When you press Play or Record, new portaudio connections are created, so QjackCtl cannot automatically restore the previous connections.

Fortunately Audacity can restore its previous connections - you do this by selecting the required input/output in the Device Toolbar.
Unfortunately, you can only select ONE input device and ONE output device in the device toolbar.

So, here’s the trick - use a “dummy” software device. JackRack (available in most Linux repositories) is ideal.

  1. Start Jack with QjackCtl
  2. Launch JackRack. You don’t need to load any effects into it - just leave it as an empty effects rack and it will have 2 inputs that go straight through to 2 outputs.
  3. Launch Skype.
  4. Use the QjackCtl “Connect” panel to make the following connections:
  • Hardware input to hardware output (allows you to hear your microphone)
  • Hardware input to PulseAudio Jack Source (allows your microphone to be used by Skype)
  • Hardware input to JackRack input 1. (we will record your microphone in the left channel of Audacity)
  • PulseAudio Jack Sink to Hardware output (allows you to hear their mic via Skype)
  • PulseAudio Jack Sink to JackRack input 2 (we will record their microphone in the right channel of Audacity)
  1. Check that the set-up so far is working. Of course, Skype needs to be configured to use PulseAudio and PulseAudio configured to connect Skype to Jack, but it looks like you have worked out how to do that bit :wink: You should be able to make a Skype call and hear both your own mic and the other parties mic in your headphones.
  2. Assuming that 5) is OK: Launch Audacity.
  3. Set the Audacity Device Toolbar for:
  • Host: Jack Audio System
  • Recording input: JackRack
  • Playback Output: Hardware output.
  • Number of channels: 2 (stereo)

DO NOT CLICK ON THE RECORDING METER (that will probably cause Audacity to crash).
8) Click the Record button, then Stop, then Ctrl+Z to Undo. Now that Audacity has connected to Jack it should now be safe to click on the recording meter so that you can set your levels without crashing Audacity.

You are now ready to record.
When the recording is complete, you can split the recorded stereo track into 2 mono tracks - one with your voice and one with their voice.