Stop Skype from Dropping Audio Caused by Background and Unwanted Noise

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

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…]

TPS Ep. 056 – SXSW, Archiving Your Podcast, and Powerpress 3.0

Fresh off my return from SXSW, I share my experiences from the conference and a couple panels I saw that led me to bigger ideas about my podcast, sharing and your show’s legacy.

One of the speakers I sat in on was Jason Scott from the Internet Archive. He talked about curating the culture of the web and capturing it for future generations. So what happens to your podcast when you’re gone? I discuss thisSXSW Interactive 2012 logo and suggest that you might want to backup your episodes to Archive.org. You’re creating great content that when viewed from a far in context with other shows produced during the same time, can lead to a bigger picture of what was happening in a particular time in our history. Save it.

I discuss a new episode of Podcast Quick Tips where I take a look at Skype’s new release which includes an option (for Mac users) to disable auto gain control. Windows users already have this in their version of Skype. Don’t let Skype control your microphone. Now you can easily disable this setting for times when you are using Skype to record a podcast.

Check out ThePodcastersStudio.Tumblr.com. Yet another way I’m using the content I create here to generate small amounts of income. The site is a collection of mobile photography of podcasting gear that I come into contact with, connected to affiliate links. This might be another revenue stream for your podcast. Anytime you are creating content that promotes other’s products, try and incorporate affiliate links. It adds no extra cost to your audience and it could help you offset the costs of producing your show.

Custom title tags are a way to help you write blog posts for humans and robots. I discuss how you can create catchy titles while still maintaining good SEO for the likes of Google, Bing, etc.

Finally, I take a look at PowerPress 3.0, the podcasting plugin for WordPress created by Blubrry.com. Once again they have added some great features that you are likely able to add into your podcasting site’s backend to help improve how your show is delivered to your community. Don’t miss the great resources I list for helping you work your way through the newest version of the plugin.

Links mention in this episode:
Jonathan Stark – The guy who gave the Internet free coffee
Archive.org – for free podcast hosting or archiving
How to disable Skype’s AGC and EC with HTML code
All in one SEO pack – plugin for WordPress
The School of Podcasting’s Morning Announcements – Feedburner Vs PowerPress – An interview with Mike Dell, part of the PowerPress tech support team
The Audacity to Podcast Episode 72 – How to Setup PowerPress 3.0 with video walkthrough

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PQT – Disable Skype’s Auto Gain Control

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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TPS Ep. 047 – Recording a Double-Ender Podcast

When you want the absolute best quality recording from your remotely co-hosted podcast, you record a double-ender.

A double-ender is a type of recording where everyone on the podcast episode records their own audio. This allows for the cleanest sound possible, removing the unwanted noise problems you might get from such things as Skype or the telephone.

While this method does create more work for the editor (e.g. lining up clips, transferring files) you do end up with the best recording possible because everyone has recorded their microphones directly into their own software or recording device.

The basic workflow is as follows:
1. Everyone records their own audio (into Audacity or any other recording software or their own digital audio recorder).
2. Each person uploads their audio to a server so that the person doing the post production can gather all the audio files.
3. The editor lines up the audio tracks in an audio editor and does the normal post production (leveling, sweetening, etc.)
4. Export and finish the same way you would any other podcast episode (ID tags, show notes, etc).

In this episode I team up with Steve from NetcastStudio.com to record a double-ender podcast about recording double-ender podcasts. Listen as we describe the steps in detail and pay attention to the great sound quality we get from the process. It’s like we’re sitting in the same studio even though in reality I was on the East Coast and he is on the West.

Links mentioned in this episode
MicToob.com – A YouTube like site (user generated) dedicated to microphones (reviews, unboxings, demos, etc.)

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TPS Ep. 040 – USB Mixers, Recording Skype Video, and Podcasting Statistics for 2010

When choosing a mixer for your podcast there are some special considerations that I think each podcaster should think about before making their purchase. Some of these include the number of mic inputs your mixer will allow. Can you grow your show with the mixer you are planning to buy? Can it power condenser microphones and will it record multiple channels when connected to your computer? I bring up these questions and more to help you understand the special needs of a podcaster when choosing a mixer. I take a listener question from Gene who called in to find out how to record Skype video and how to take that video and put it on your blog/website. Also I take a look at the new statistics published by Edison Research and their “Current State of Podcasting” report for 2010. Tom Webster presented the information at Blogworld 2010 (see below for the entire talk and slides) and I discuss some of the most important insights that I think podcasters should take away from the talk. Finally, I tie in the information provided by Tom with recent actions I took on my site to upgrade the social sharing features I provide. I explain why I changed wordpress plugins in an attempt to clean up my site while still providing a way for users to pass on my content to their favorite sharing sites. download this episode (48 min. | .mp3 | 47 mb)

The Current State Of Podcasting from Tom Webster on Vimeo.

links mentioned on this episode Call Recorder – for recording Skype video on Mac Pamela – for recording Skype video on a PC ShareThis – WordPress plugin for social sharing buttons (twitter, facebook, digg, etc) The Current State of Podcasting for 2010 PDF” – slides from Tom’s presentation

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TPS Ep. 016 – Podcast Freebies, Skype Tune Up, Mic Review, and Much More

This episode of The Podcasters Studio takes a look at a variety of podcasting options such as how to record Skype calls for free (if you’re on a mac), how to make your Skype better suited for recording interviews, a great review by Neil aka @GeekwithGlasses covering the Audio Technica ATR3350 wired lavalier mic for video cameras, a great way to make easy money from your show, and much more! SkypeandGaragebandGraphic

Below are the links to all the items talked about in this episode.

Podsafe Music Network Artists featured on this episode of The Podcasters Studio. (listed in order of appearance)

  • Al Phlipp & The Woo Team – A man Reborn (open)creative_commons
  • Adam Woodall Band – Runaway (intro)
  • Bodybag – Tears Garden (featured as a transition)
  • cshc – e-cock (transition)
  • Aron Bass – lma (transition)
  • Anonymous American – Sleep Tight (outro)

All artists and songs are made available via Creative Commons License at www.MusicAlley.com

TPS Ep. 003 – Skype for the Podcaster

On this episode of The Podcasters Studio I talk about Skype. What it is and the different ways it can be used.

Special focus is placed on the benefits of using Skype for podcasters. Learn what you will need to start conducting interviews with Skype including gear, software, and additional tips.

Have you ever wanted to record an interview where you and the interviewee were not in the studio together? I will let you know what you need to accomplish this whether you are on a PC or Mac.

Find out all about Skype in this edition of The Podcasters Studio.

Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/podcasthelper and feel free to ask questions anytime, I love to help.

-Ray