Saturday, April 11

Recording Skype Calls on OS X with Audacity (for free)

UPDATE: I've posted a follow-up with a slightly better configuration.

Over the last decade, I've had many entertaining and enlightening "debates" with an old colleague of mine, so I asked if he'd be willing to record a few over Skype and see if they might be worthy of releasing as podcasts. Since it was my bright idea, he left it to me to figure out how to pull it off. I figured it couldn't be too hard since so many other people are doing it - boy was I wrong.

I wasted a few good hours today trying to figure out how to record Skype calls on my Macbook Pro using free tools, piecing together fragments of vague and out-dated blog posts and pleas for help on various support forums. I finally got it all working and thought it would be a good idea to put it all down on [virtual] paper for posterity in case I ever need to do it again, and by putting it here others might save themselves the trouble I went through.

All you need is to download and configure four pieces of free software:

1. Soundflower doesn't require any configuration - just a reboot after install.

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

2. LineIn (scroll down the page and look for the microphone icon). Set the input to the microphone (I'm using the built-in) and the output to Soundflower (2ch), then press the "pass thru" button to activate it.

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

3. Skype. Set the input and output, both, to Soundflower (2ch). I worried this would cause feedback, or an echo of my voice, but apparently I don't know the first thing about audio.

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

4. Audacity. Leave the playback device set to built-in output and change the recording device to Soundflower (2ch). Also don't forget to check the "playthrough" box or you wont be able to hear what you're recording, which includes the Skype call.

Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

5. Leave your system settings alone. They should look like this:

System Output
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

System Input
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

6. Back in Audacity, hit the record button, then switch over to Skype and start the call. Now you're in business.

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