Echo Issue Upon Playback

You have several shortcomings straight away.

Audacity is not commercial software and has a few oddities. So it’s good to get your hands dirty straight recording before you jump into anything complex. Making a straight, uncomplicated voice recording is one of the first steps in the Overdubbing/Sound-On-Sound tutorial. Before you get into technology up beyond your eyebrows, let’s see if you can record your voice—full stop.

You created an Audacity Project. A Project is a _DATA folder containing the sound in snippets and an AUP file to keep track of it all.

So if you have the _DATA folder, you have the show in perfect, uncompressed format and it would be a snap to create a WAV file from that.

I see you went straight to MP3 for sound files. MP3 is good for end-product posting, ACX AudioBooks and listening on your Personal Music Device, it doesn’t work so well for theatrical voice production. MP3 is a compressed sound format and contains, however well disguised, sound damage. That would only be bad, but it gets worse the more copies you make and production/editing you do. Archive work should be File > Export: WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. That’s an uncompressed, perfect sound format and it matches the high quality sound format on an Audio CD.

It is big, so it’s going to take up more drive space and that can be a shock. MP3 is very efficient and that’s it’s siren call.

It’s not obvious until you get this far in the production, but it’s insanely handy to have your voice on one track and the guest on the other. You can create a mixed show later. We can’t split up a mixed show into individual voices (or instruments or sounds) for editing. So even if there was a good way to fix the guest voice (there isn’t), we wouldn’t be able to apply it to his voice only. If he were on the left (for example), it’s a simple matter to apply different filters, effects and corrections to just his voice through Audacity splitting left and right to their own tracks.

See where your voice is slightly lower than his? That a trivial correction if your voice was by itself.

As a guess, I’d say the recording software was recording your voice (even Audacity can do that), but recording the guest error correction, noise suppression and echo cancellation instead of the actual incoming voice. That seems to be a fairly common complaint.

Our go-to Skype capture software package for Windows used to be Pamela paid software, but we have postings where even they threw into the towel recently for not being able to keep up with what Skype was doing.

This is where I tell you how to fix the capture process.

I got it to work with two computers. This is an engineering test. It’s totally not a finished podcast. Denise and I are on opposite US coasts. The left-hand computer is recording the podcast in Audacity and playing the music into the mixer from iTunes.

There are at least two other podcasts doing it that way.

I wish I could push a button and Everything Would Be OK. It’s actually getting worse as some of the older reliable software packages stopped working. If you know someone who got it to work, post back. Be warned that there are Celebrity Unicorns. Chase fired up Audacity and Skype and is (or was) turning out show after show with no problems at all. He’s looking at the rest of us like we’re nuts. No, we’re normal.