Hello. I’m an Internet broadcaster and need to be able to record both sides of a Skype conversation/interview. I’m using Audacity 2.3.1, a USB headset and Windows 10. My problem is, I can only record my own voice and not the other side of the conversation. I have Audacity’s recording input set to Stereomix, which is an active W10 audio device. This is supposed to represent “What U Hear”, but it apparently doesn’t. What’s the trick? Many thanks.
I did it with two computers and a small mixer. The older machines had analog stereo in and out and interfaced with the mixer without too much trouble. In modern machines, an interface (or two) such as the Behringer UCA-202 can be used.
The mixer can send the local voice and the far-side voice down the left and right sides of the stereo recording to be processed separately and combined later. The second, recording computer can be any recorder, it doesn’t have to be a computer. I did that way so to give me control over the background music playback at the same time as recording the show. I was recording a mix, not the separate voices.
Denise is three time zones away. This was an engineering test, so nobody is awarding us trophies for production quality.
That technique is the most repliable since Skype likes to take over the computer that’s running it and you have nothing to say about it. In this scenario, the Skype computer (on the right) is stand-alone. The recording is on the left. Doesn’t matter what Skype does to the computer, the recording succeeds because it’s on a different machine.
Another way to do this is one of Skype’s own services. The latest Skype app offers cloud-based recording of both sides.
There are other ways to do this. As you noticed, you can record your own voice just fine. You have each party record their own voice and ship you their found files later. This has the advantage that the bubbly Skype voice never appears in the show.
This looks like a four-way Skype call, but it’s not. It’s each singer shipping sound files to Josh for combining into one show.
A more extreme example of this is a radio show I shot. It’s a live interview between the station and Los Angeles, but nobody recorded the actual call. I recorded the Los Angeles side voice and the station recorded the interviewer voice.
Don’t let the complexity fool you. We double recorded it.
There are certainly ways to do this on one computer, but they generally only last until the next Skype upgrade. Skype became the premier chat program on earth by ripping control away from you and keeping it.
The above examples work no matter what Skype does and they work with anybody’s chat program.
I know you’re going to ask about recording cell, mobile, or telephone calls. I use a special Olympus TP-7 microphone and an Olympus sound recorder. The microphone goes in your ear and picks you up through bone conduction and the far side through plain sound pickup.
This is the microphone connected to a computer. The voice recorder is simpler. No adapters.
This works with any “phone” system you hold up to your head. Doesn’t work with conference or hands-free.
My sincere thanks for the carefully thought-out replies and suggestions. I’m sure they will be of value to other members of the forum. However, my situation is quite simple. My audio-based website consists of radio-type spoken word items. I sometimes do one-on-one interviews with distant people over Skype. I have no music on my website, so no need for mixing facilities. The interviews also need to be done “quick and dirty”.
I still have found no way to record both sides of a Skype conversation/interview directly into Audacity. But I have found a workaround. It’s the recording feature on Skype v8. While in conversation, one just has to click on the record function under + and the entire conversation (including video if used) is recorded into a cloud. When the conversation is ended, the recording is automatically downloaded as an MP4 file. This can then be recorded on Audacity as the file is played. The quality is good.
It’s the recording feature on Skype v8.
Like the one I posted up in the first message.
Thanks for posting back. I think you’re the first hands-on experience. They do mention it drops off the service after a certain time. So it’s not forever.
Do the allow split recording? Just you or just them?
Last I checked, they also restricted you to Skype transmissions. You can connect Skype to the regular phone service, but I don’t think you can make recordings that way.
Have you tried that?
I did a test recording today. Both sides of the conversation were recorded. The levels were good as well as the sound quality. As a metter of fact, the other party sounded better on the recording than he did live at my end. I played the MP4 file and recorded it on Audacity and Sound Forge. Both worked fine. I don’t know how long a recording session may be limited to, but the saved file is available for 30 days thereafter. I’d still like to know how to record a Skype conversation directly on Audacity. But the Skype recording function is an acceptable workaround. The only drawback is that the MP4 file has to be played in real time to be re-recorded on Audacity (or Sound Forge). I didn’t find a way to open the MP4 Skype file directly into Audacity.
PS: My test was Skype call to Skype call. I don’t use Skype for phone calls.
I didn’t find a way to open the MP4 Skype file directly into Audacity.
You could try to install the FFMpeg add-on software. FFMpeg expands the number of file types that Audacity will open and make.
Scroll down to Optional Downloads.
Note this is different from Lame which is the software you need to add so Audacity will make MP3 files.
Thanks for this very useful tip. I downloaded the additions formats and an MP4 test works just fine. Very helpful, indeed.
I’d still like to know how to record a Skype conversation directly on Audacity.
I don’t think you do with any reliability. Skype is viciously aggressive and unpredictable. It does not play well with others. That’s why it’s the top conference program on earth.
We warn people to close Skype completely while trying to edit or record some sound work in Audacity. Do Not leave it running in the background to warn of an incoming call. It could easily mess with your edit.
As Koz wrote, that is difficult to do reliably on Windows or Mac.
One some Windows machines it is possible to record both sides of a Skype conversation by setting Audacity to record from “Stereo Mix”. This does not work on all Windows machines, and a lot of Windows machines don’t even have a “Stereo Mix” option.
On Linux, both sides of a Skype conversation may be recorded by using Jack Audio System. “Jack” is an advanced computer audio system that provides low latency, high performance and extremely flexible routing. Applications such as QjackCtl allow you to connect multiple inputs / outputs between applications, much like using an analog patchbay.
The point of me mentioning Linux (on this Windows forum board), is to illustrate that the difficulty in recording Skype is “not an Audacity problem”, but rather it is due to the limited audio signal routing capabilities in the standard sound systems for Windows and macOS.
Thanks Koz and Steve for the warnings and further information. It looks like I’m one of those Windows 10 users who can’t get Audacity to record both sides of a Skype conversation. (Sound Forge 11 also doesn’t work). My headset is USB and I do have Stereo Mix selected as the Audacity recording input device. Interestingly, I can record the Skype Echo voice like this if I disconnect the headset. But when it’s connected, Audacity only records my mic, not the Echo voice. I never, ever had this problem when I was using my old XP PC with Sound Blaster’s “What U Hear” option. Windows 10’s Stereo Mix is supposed to have the same function as What U Hear, but it evidently doesn’t.
Sound Blaster’s “What U Hear” option was one of the few options that usually did work for recording Skype. That was a nice feature, but you just had to be careful to mute any audio inputs that you didn’t want to record from. A common problem that we used to see a lot with SB (Sound Blaster) sound cards was: “When I record audio from the Internet, Audacity also records sounds in the room”. (The answer to that was to mute the microphone).
I never had a problem with that, Steve. On my XP set-up I was using an Electrovoice RE20 mic into a Behringer VX2496 audio processor with an expander function. That went in the line input of the SB card set to What U hear. Skype recordings worked just fine, although I often had to apply make-up volume to one side or another. But it always worked. If Microsoft hadn’t stopped Classic Skype service recently, there would be no problem. I often hear the slogan: Everything’s getting better. My reply is: No, everything’s just getting more complicated and expensive.
BTW, another, but perhaps related, problem: recording VOIP telephone calls. I use Voipstunt/Voipconnect. It works fine for ordinary calls using an ordinary headset. But when I try recording a conversation on the XP machine, the other party gets a very strong and annoying echo of their own voice. I’ve never been able to fix that. Any ideas?
Yes. Stop trying to force one computer to communicate and record the show.
Plain computers have one record channel where you are expected to plug your microphone in and save your voice to the drive, and one playback channel where you listen to YouTube videos, and they don’t connect to each other.
That’s it. The instant you start folding multiple sound channels on each other you get things like that far side echo business, or not be able to record both sides. Even worse, even if you do solve it and don’t screw up the call, it may only stay solved until the next update.
There was a production called the Reel Life Podcast where Chase plugged everything up on his ordinary Windows machine flipped a couple of settings and started cranking out perfect Skype podcasts with his brother across the country.
Nobody else with similar machines and settings could make that work. Chase is looking at us all like we’re nuts.
Far worse than even that, is the panicky postings from people saying one magic day it stopped working and they were doing a for-pay show.
Never allow automatic updates, ever.
The grownups all use separate dedicated machines to do interviews from war zones, Skype calls and other production voice gymnastics to avoid just this problem.
Post back if you get it to work.
Plain talk, Koz. All noted. But I’m stubborn, I guess. I am not a regular podcaster with a regular schedule of live shows. My website is more of a library of radio productions done in the classic radio style. Old school. Most of them are field recordings - reportages, as we call them. I don’t rely much on Skype or telephone - they’re the exception - so I’m not in the mood to invest money into fancy fixes for that problem. I was looking for a quick and easy fix.
BTW and for the record, I’m not a kid. I’m 73 and worked as a commercial broadcaster for 50 years. I’m not a beginner or wannabe broadcaster. What I’m doing is a kind of post-retirement hobby. I’m also a ham radio operator, so I have an understanding of the technology - up to a point, anyway.
WB4WGE World’s Greatest Engineer.
There is a shortcut to getting all this to work. Insane amounts of luck.
RR. I’m HHB9ASQ. Small world.
OOps, should read HB9ASQ. Check qrz.com