How to record Skype and Google Hangouts

I’m new to Audacity and I’m trying to figure out how to record Skype and Google Hangout sessions. I downloaded Sound Flower and Loopback to capture the audio from the hangouts but I can’t seem to find them in my applications. I’m just wondering what’s the method when it comes to recording audio for Skype and Google hangouts.

Thanks

what’s the method when it comes to recording audio for Skype and Google hangouts.

Stop using Audacity.

Audacity is not recommended for recording Skype, Chat, Conferences or Game Commentary.

That’s the bumper-sticker reply. It is totally possible to record all those things, but most people don’t want to invest in two computers, mixers, etc. Skype in particular is not gentle or graceful when it’s running and it’s usually a digital knife fight who’s going to win.

One solution is to get each person in the show to record their own microphone and send the sound files to you for mixing into the final production. Recording local microphone usually works (but not always).

Koz

If I can’t record podcasts off of Skype and Google Hangouts, what other alternative options do I have to capture the audio?

On Mac it is possible to record Skype or Google Hangouts by creating an “Aggregate device” in the Mac “Audio MIDI Setup”, and use SoundFlower as one input, and your physical audio device as another input. Although “possible”, there are a number of drawbacks:

  1. SoundFlower is obsolete, unsupported, and not always stable.
  2. Setting up a working Aggregate device with SoundFlower is not particularly easy, and is beyond the scope of this forum.
  3. Even if you get it all working, the sound quality of the remote voice is likely to be poor,
  4. You may find that the real device and SoundFlower “fight” with each other - with each trying to grab control of the aggregate device and blocking the other.

Alternative approaches:

There is a “Call Recorder for Skype” made by Ecamm.com ($40 US. Trial version available). I’ve not tried it, but I have seen it recommended by others. This will not solve the problem of poor sound quality from the “remote” end of the conversation, as that is limited by the Internet network.

It may be possible to record just your side of the conversation by setting Audacity to record from your microphone. The other side of the conversation would need to be recorded by the other person. Disadvantages of this approach are:

  1. Skype may block access to the mic, preventing Audacity from recording. This may produce an error in Audacity “Unable to open recording device”, or “Latency correction has cause the tracks to be hidden behind zero”, or simply Audacity recording just not starting. The only way to resolve this is to persuade Skype to not grab exclusive control of the recording device. This may or may not be a problem - we have no control over what Skype does.
  2. The two sides of the recording need to be manually “assembled”. Synchronizing the two recordings can be tricky.
    The advantage of recording the two sides separately is that the sound quality of the “other side” is not limited by the network.

Use one computer for Skype, and another computer (or cassette recorder, or iPhone, or MP3 reorder, or video recorder…) to record it.
In its simplest form this can be extremely easy. Just get Skype running using a headset mic and sound from your speakers, and set your mobile phone / MP3 recorder recording with its internal mic. This “simplest way” may have problems with echoes. More complex but better would be to run the recorder via a small mixing console so that you can use headphones to avoid echoes. This is similar to how radio stations record phone-ins.

Synchronizing the two recordings can be tricky.

If everybody is recording their own voice, you may find the voices drifting off sync because of minor timing differences between computers. Each one has their own digitizer.

The Hollywood movie people spend thousands to make sure all their recorders are in perfect sync while shooting a production.

I used the two computer technique because I had two. One new, one really old and a small mixer.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/pix/PodCast_Studio_WS-600.jpg

Koz

If you do get something working, do post back and tell how you did it. If it’s a reliable technique, you’ll be a hero.

Extra points if it works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Koz

On Windows you can use VB-CABLE Virtual Audio Device (add manually many devices, not only one)
https://www.vb-audio.com/Cable/index.htm

On Mac and Windows you can use PulseAudio VC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio
https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/PulseAudio/

here is manual https://youtu.be/0i4ekcGYWSE

I presume that you mean “Linux, BSD and Mac”?
There was a Windows port of PulseAudio, but I don’t think it has been actively developed in years (and last I heard it was quite buggy).

PulseAudio and Jack are both readily available for most Linux distributions, though I would not personally recommend either for Mac or Windows. Would you?

On Windows you can use VB-CABLE

And you know this because you use it regularly? I can do a Google search, too, but we know from multiple user postings that it’s just not that easy.

If you don’t use one of the hardware techniques, you’re at the mercy of Skype’s background configuration changes and service modifications. “This worked yesterday,” is a common phrase presented by people doing multi-point recording in one computer.

Even the highly respected, paid, Pamela recording software went face-first into the mud a couple of months ago when Skype did a service change and whacked Pamela off at the knees.

Koz