Interview Recording, Two VERY different qualities - HELP!

I am attempting to record a conversation via Skype (or Google+ Hangout). I am connected to my system via a USB headset and can hear everything (myself and other person) just fine. When recording via Audacity my voice comes in very well, the other person sounds distant (almost as if in a tin can) and I cannot seem to get everything to level out.

I have attempted to play with the inputs and it just isn’t working.

When I balance the levels, it sounds more like I am talking to someone on a cell phone.

Is it even possible to have both sides of the conversation sound as if we’re side-by-side?

I’m working with Audacity 2.0.3 and Windows 7…HELP!

Is it even possible to have both sides of the conversation sound as if we’re side-by-side?

Sure, but it’s harder than changing a few settings.


Thanks for the heads up!

I’m more than willing to dig as deep as needed to get this resolved. I am just pulling my hair out trying to get the two channels mixed naturally. The mic will work fine, then I’ll lose every other aspect (the person on the phone).

Have you, or anyone, tried Google+ recordings?

Skype and I suspect most other communications packages take over the sound channels inside the computer. They have to in order to maintain as clear and consistent conversations as they do. They have to perform stunning digital juggling acts to keep echoes, room noises, line restrictions and computer shortcomings from affecting the conversation.

That doesn’t leave much room for conventional recording. All the sound channels are used up. The purpose built software packages create new devices and software sound channels inside the computer. A future Audacity may do that, but not yet.

Also there’s that sticky thing about recording the far side without their permission, which is illegal in many areas. You weren’t planning on doing that were you?

I’m in the design phase of a system to record Skype in hardware. This is a test clip; I’m the male voice. The woman in this clip is four time zones east of me.


No, definitely nothing illegal. Just for podcast purposes for a nonprofit across timezones. Thus a VERY limited budget.

I don’t know anybody whose actually done it, but Kristal Audio Engine may be the answer. One of the training people at work uses it to record seemingly impossible combinations of microphones and music devices.

But again, Skype and other packages like that are not normal.

The desperation method is borrow a second computer or other recorder and start it recording from its built-in microphone between you speaking live and the Skype laptop speakers. That does work. I’ve done that as a test during large conferences, but you need a very quiet room and it can be sticky to get the volume balances right.

You may have to buy the owner of the second machine a sandwich.

I was doing it to prove that one of our international location microphones was broken. You never hear your own sound when you’re on one of these. “Hello from Mumbai. Hello from Toronto. BSHSHMRDHJ MHJJH.”