Record Skype using a Focusrite 2i4

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Using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB audio interface*, you can record Skype using several different methods to include a backup recording for redundancy.

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How to Setup a Mix Minus for Recording Skype

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If you need to setup a mix-minus to record Skype for your podcast, this tutorial will show you the gear* you’ll need and how to connect it all together.

Below is a complete photo walkthrough of the mix-minus setup demonstrated in the video above.

The basic concept of a mix-minus is to input multiple sources of audio into an audio mixer (your microphone, sound cart, phone messages, Skype, etc.) then send that audio back out to Skype, minus (without) the Skype caller’s voice.

This setup is achieved by using an auxiliary output to selectively send certain audio out of the mixer. If you send all the audio that is in the mixer, back to Skype, then the person on the other side will hear a feedback loop of their own voice. So we need to exclude (minus) Skype’s audio (the person’s voice) from going back into Skype.

Depending on your mixer’s manufacture, the auxiliary output may be labeled Aux, FX or Mon Send. They’ll all work as auxiliary outputs in this setup.
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Recording Skype with No Mixer or Software

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Recording a Skype interview can be a tricky process. There are “easy” ways to do this with software like Audio Hijack Pro for Mac and Pamela for Windows but they can still be hard to setup and of course anytime you’re using software you are at risk of it crashing and losing the entire interview. My other complaint about using software is that it’s not as easy to monitor the audio that you are recording to ensure that everything sounds right throughout the recording.

Here’s a very specific setup that while it uses a particular piece gear (ATR2100 or AT2005)* it gives you lots of flexibility with the final audio file(s) as well as a more reliable system for capturing your Skype interviews and achieving latency free monitoring.

In the video I say that you have to have an ATR2100 style microphone. For this exact setup that is true however you can achieve a Skype recording with your audio recorder with any XLR connected microphone (see section below).

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Stop Skype from Dropping Audio Caused by Background and Unwanted Noise

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One thing I’ve noticed during my daily job as a podcast producer and editor is Skype doesn’t like talk-over.

When using Skype to record your podcast, be it with co-hosts or interview guests, making sure everyone’s microphone is well positioned can be the difference between good and bad audio.badSkype

Skype hates talk-over and will often drop audio from one speaker when another is talking at the same time. This usually happens when the primary speaker is saying something REALLY important (Murphy’s Law). [Read more…]

How To Disable Skype’s Auto Gain and Echo Cancellation Controls

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Your version of Skype might be doing a couple things with your audio that you don’t want it to. Here’s how to fix it.

To disable Skype’s auto gain control (AGC) for both Mac (5.6.0.143 and later) and PC versions, simply go into your Preferrences > Audio/Video and deselect the Automatic Microphone Control checkbox. [Read more…]

PQT – Disable Skype’s Auto Gain Control

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If you weren’t already aware, Skype is likely controlling your audio levels. As podcasters, we want to make sure we are in control of all our settings all of the time. This is how you can make sure Skype isn’t changing your audio quality.

Skype just released (03/06/12) a new version of it’s software for the Mac (version 5.6.0.143). In this release they placed a check-box (already found in the Windows version) for controlling Skype’s auto gain control (AGC). What AGC does is listen to the proximity of your voice to the microphone and adjust the volume as necessary so that the person on the other end can always hear you at a decent level. However, as podcasters, we don’t want anyone besides us deciding what our gain level should be and we certainly don’t want it to change during recording.

Now you can simply go into your preferences audio/video settings and uncheck the “Automatically Adjust Microphone Settings” box. Then go into your computer’s settings and set the level you want your mic to be.

When enabled, AGC will constantly adjust the level of your audio based on your relationship to the mic and whether or not you are speaking into it. During times of silence or if you move too far away from the mic, this can cause the “noise floor” to be raised higher thus producing an audible hiss. Disabling AGC will help to prevent unwanted noise.

Links mentioned in this episode
How to disable Skype’s AGC and EC with HTML code

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