Simple Trick to Record Skype Calls

by Nick Seuberling on February 9, 2014

Have you ever recorded a podcast interview with a guest over Skype and you noticed that your guests audio is just a little too low? Or maybe your guests audio levels are perfect but for some reason your audio levels are a little too hot? One of the biggest mistakes podcasters make when recording interviews over Skype is that they record the audio as one mix. Once you’ve recorded your interview it’s next to impossible to go in and clean up the audio. It’s not impossible but it’s very time consuming. Here are the steps I take when recording a Skype call for my podcasts.

Utilize the Pan Feature
Most analog audio mixers have the ability to pan the audio. What exactly does pan mean? Panning allows you to send the audio from one channel of your mixer to a certain side of the signal that’s being outputted. Say what? Put your headphones on, and talk into your microphone. Locate the channel on your mixer where your microphone has been plugged into and find the pan knob. You’ll notice you can either rotate that knob to the left or the right. While talking into your microphone, pan your audio from left to right. You’ll hear your voice move from your left ear to your right ear, then eventually both ears once the audio is panned to the middle.

If I’m recording a guest or host I always try to put them one side of the stereo mix and myself on the other. So in my case on channel 3-4 of my mixer is my microphone, I pan that channel to the right. Channel 5-6 is usually my guests audio, I will always pan them to the left.

Start Recording
Now I’ve gone ahead plugged in the main out cord from my mixer into my TASCAM DR-05. Once I start recording the audio and talking I can see the meter on my recorder bouncing up and down on the right channel of the stereo track. Then once my guest starts talking on Skype I can see his/her audio bouncing up and down on the left channel of the stereo track.

Using Adobe Audition
I’ve got my interviewed wrapped up and I’m ready to edit this bad boy. Once I import my WAV file into Adobe Audition CC I can see in the waveform editor that the audio is appearing on different channels of the stereo track. The right being my audio, the left being my guests audio. Right click inside the waveform editor where you’ll select the “Extract Channels to Mono Files”. This will actually create two brand new WAV files, one file being solely your guests audio, the other being your audio.

Multitrack Editing
Once you have your two files you’ll want to open up the multitrack editing function in Adobe Audition. From there you can place each file (your guests file and your file) on different channels within the multitrack. Once you have the two files in place you and then lower/raise the audio levels for either your guests audio or your own audio.

If you need a visual of what I just described, check out this video tutorial I created explaining the process I use.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon buscall April 19, 2014 at 4:40 am

I do the same but one thing I have not figured is how to have the same level of control if you have two guests on Skype. Any ideas?

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Nick Seuberling April 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

Hi Jon!

Unfortunately as long as you have two voices on the same audio channel there’s not much you can do from a control standpoint. You could get an external USB sound card (like the iMic from Griffen Tech) and run a second instance of Skype and assign the soundcard to Skype 2.

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