Recording a Skype Call for a Podcast for Free* (Mac)

garageband podcast

*We’ll get the footnote out of the way. The Mac that you buy is not free, but once you have it, GarageBand is a part of the iLife suite that comes with every Apple Macintosh purchase. The other software that will allow us to record a Skype call to GarageBand is free.

GarageBand on the Mac is a great program that allows you to produce some very professional podcasts. That includes enhanced podcasts, which essentially are slides timed with the audio and are displayed on the iPod that you’re listening to the podcast on. Setting up a recording of multiple people is a matter of using an audio mixer and giving everyone their own microphone and recording it in GarageBand. However, if you can’t get the people all into one space, how do you record them? One way is to use the free voice-over-Internet (VOIP) service called Skype. Skype allows anyone with an Internet connection and a microphone to talk to anyone else on the Internet. You can talk to multiple people at a time.

There are two ways that a group of people can record a podcast using Skype. One is to have everyone involved use their own copy of GarageBand (or other recording software), and then edit all of the audio files (after emailing or uploading to a common space) together as one. There are many advantages to this method. Generally the recording quality will be better as you won’t have to rely on the quality of the Internet connection, which in turn affects the Skype call quality. You also have more editing control over each individual. The disadvantages are the editing after the fact. You need to receive all of the individual audio files and assemble them in GarageBand and make sure the conversation is synchronized. A very detailed overview of this method is written up at the Hivelogic website.

The other way to record a Skype conversation is the method we outline on our Digital Media Cookbook site. Essentially one person does the recording of all of the participants. One person serves as the recorder and editor. The other people just have to worry about getting connected to the Internet and be heard by the person responsible for doing the recording. Each participant will only need the Skype software. The editor will need GarageBand to do the recording, along with the Skype software. In addition, two other free programs are used to re-route and pass through system audio to GarageBand. Soundflower simply allows software to pass sound on to other applications. LineIn allows sound input devices (microphones or other line-in devices) to be passed through to recording software. The combination of GarageBand, Soundflower and LineIn allow the mixing of system sounds and live microphone input to easily be recorded without complicated hardware setups.

The recipe called Recording a Skype Call Using GarageBand, SoundFlower, and LineIn outlines the setup. This procedure was inspired by a post by Ahmad Humeid’s. Go to the recipe page to see the programs and links to get the software, as well as the screencast showing how to set the preferences for each program. Below we’ll quickly outline the settings.

System Preferences Input and Output

sound preference input

sound preference output

GarageBand Audio Settings

garageband settings

Skype Audio Settings

skype settings

LineIn Audio Settings

Note the the “Pass Thru” button is enabled.

linein settings

12 thoughts on “Recording a Skype Call for a Podcast for Free* (Mac)

  1. edythemighty, I’m not sure you read the article right. This is not simply to record a Skype call. It is a procedure that would be used to include it in a recorded podcast. I imagine that it would be the same procedure for using Gizmo or any other VOIP application.

  2. I’ve found this very helpful, and even taken it a step further by using the 16ch SoundFlower to put my local voice and the Remote Skype voice on different tracks in garageband.

  3. I have set this up according to the parameters laid out her and it works perfectly…except for one thing. I cant hear the other person while recording. I can hear them fine when I play back the recording, but not during the call.

  4. Don’t leave your speaker volume on full blast before you switch default output to sound flower or you will break your ears when playing back!

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