recording skype conversations

My Mami (maternal aunt) mailed and said she wants to record the skype music lessons for my cousin sister. I had once recorded my mami’s and mom’s conversation and put it as a podcast. On the skype music lesson, my cousin sister who is in the first grade in the US uses skype to learn carnatic music (south Indian classical music) from a teacher in Europe! She is skilled enough to start skype and dial and have the class at the required time all on her own :-) Talk about 7 year olds learning technolgy!

So, here is the tutorial to record sound on your computer and convert them to mp3. In the following post, I will tell how to put it into a podcast.

Requirements: Headphones, Microphone, Software: Audacity and Lame Encoder (for mp3 conversion) and of course a bit of patience and exploratory nature to poke around the software a learn more

Step 1: Download – Audacity (free open source sound editing software) http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ {download the stable version} and also download the Lame encoder (click here) for mp3 conversions.

audacity.jpg

Step 2: Install Audacity

Step 3: Unzip Lame encoder software into a directory. I have do it at C:/Program Files/LameEncoder Do it at any place but remember the location.

Step: Open Audacity and this is how it looks. I would advice you to play around with it a bit – best way to learnany software.
audacity_program.jpg

Step 5: Go to Edit > Preferences and if you are not doing high quality recording lower the sampling rate to 16,000 kHz (good for interviews and general conversations). As my aunt is doing music classes I think she may go for 44,000  but I wonder if the voice quality of skype is hardly that much! And change Sample format to 16 bit if you want smaller file sizes from 32bit. Again this depends on quality.
audacity_preference.jpg

Step 6: Click the ‘File Formats’ tab in the preferences itself and click the library button under mp3 export. Find the Lame dll – the place where you unzipped the encoder.

where_lame_encoder.jpg
Change the bit rate here if you want to. I would recommend 128 usually for music but if its just conversations you may push it to 64 easily. (note:all this to reduce file size if you are concernec abut space or bandwidth)

audacity_findlibrary.jpg

Step 7: if you want to record conversations you will need to mix the line in and line out and let the software know this. you can choose to do what you want to do by selecting the format in the drop box in the main window. Stereo Mix or Mono Mix.

in_out_mix.jpg

Step 8: now start your skype conversation or anything for that matter. if you want to record only your microphone input choose microphone. If you want to mix – choose mix and choose the volume of line in (speaker icon) and microphone volume. Kind of adjust the setting before hand and you are good to go!

recording.jpg

Step 9: click file save as – will save in audacity format. If you want to save in  mp3 format – export it :-) now you are good to go. You may have to experiment a bit with the setting I mentioned in the steps before to get the best or optimum sound quality and size.

Step 10: BTW put the plugins if want! And also you can do multiple tracks. you can add echo, give bass boost and more stuff basically play with music like you do with photoshop! you can cut sections out make ringtones for your cell phones and then transfer via bluetooth and more …… Have fun and let me know by the comment section if you have any suggestions, comments or yeah of course doubts!

I am sure my cousin will learn this easily if given some time to play around. Imagine the power of editing sound, images and publishing – all the technology need by the big media houses at affordable prices and simplicity and mostly for free! The next generation is basically going to breed in a ‘Free Culture‘, a cut and paste culture in its true sense – learn at a massive pace and exchange and consuming media in its truest meaning :-) And I am glad I am going to be part of it …

Will follow up this post soon with one on how to put them on the internet and create a podcast! For people who can’t wait – I use this service and I just love it http://www.pod-serve.com/

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26 thoughts on “recording skype conversations

  1. Thanks for your instructions! But my copy of Audacity (1.2.3) doesn’t give me the option of mono or stereo mixes from the dropdown menu in Step 7. Any suggestions?

    Marcus

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  5. From what I understand, the choices in your dropdown box are affected by your hardware. For example, when I use my USB headset (just playing around in Audacity with it right now), I don’t have a choice on what I can record. All it’ll let me record is my mic. However, if I’m using a line-in through a sound card, it’ll give me more options.

    This is just a theory, however. If anyone else has something, I’m all ears.

  6. Good, but i can’t record any skype conversation. If i choose the stereo mix, the other part says that he hears a ‘horrible sound’.

  7. You know what I think the problem is, It might be that some of you have the BETA version while others don’t… Just a thought. Ive got beta and its not working, so I am going to try and download a different version and see what happens

  8. # Audio Hijack (Mac – Universal) – Quickly and easily save audio from almost any application to an AIFF file. Slick integration with OS X. Free, optional upgrade offering ability to tweak sound.
    # Call Recorder (Mac) – Skype plugin to record conversations and save as AAC, or convert to MP3.
    # GarageBand – Workaround: uses 2 other apps, LineIn (Universal – free) and Soundflower (Universal – free). If you don’t want to spend extra on a dedicated app, try this.

  9. http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/mac/2005/01/25/podcast.html

    http://www.360east.com/?p=133

    I’ve been going audio-crazy over the past few day. Will write more about that later..

    Ok.. In the spirit of sharing solutions with other Mac users out there, here is how I managed to record a Skype call on GarageBand using the apps LineIn and Soundflower:

    I just kept messing around with the settings and then it worked perfectly using the settings below.

    GarageBand:
    Audio output: Built in Audio
    Audio Input: Soundflower (2ch)

    Skype:
    Audio output: Soundflower (2ch)
    Audio input: Soundflower (2ch)

    System Preferences/Sound:
    Output: Built-in Audio
    Input: Audio line in (I am using a Mic)

    LineIn Application:
    Input from: Built-in Audio: Line In (ie the Mic)
    Output to SoundFlower (2ch)

    Dont forget to click the ‘Pass Thru’ Button in LineIn.

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  16. I thank God for this post…it’s the first app that worked for recording Skype ..and I referred to this post on how to get it done! But I still need to increase the volume of the other party.

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