Recording Skype Conversations with Audio-Recorder on Ubuntu

Because some of my future guests on the podcast are not local, I will be interviewing them via Skype. But how to record that? There are various ways.

I could record my side of it, get the guest to record the other side, then combine them in Audacity. This would only work with forward planning, and with a willing interviewee. In addition, the sound files may start out sync’d up, but may drift out and would need lots of editing just to line up. Never mind the second phase of cutting out all my croaks, “Um”‘s and so on. No thanks.

I could record the sound of my voice, and the sound of the other person coming out of the speakers, or with the line-in on the Zoom. Now one half sounds good, and the other doesn’t, and I’d have to edit it all so the levels matched up. No thanks, either.

Luckily, there is a fantastic little tool called Audio Recorder which allows you to set it up so it records any sound coming out of (or going into ) your computer. This includes Skype, and you can set it so that whenever you make a call, or a call comes in, the recording starts (including the distinctive Skype ringtone if you want). By default, it records to an OGG file, with a filename consisting of the date and time, ready to be imported into Audacity for editing.

Other Uses

Because Audio-Recorder can record any sound coming out of the computer, it’s great for grabbing sound effects, samples from clips on YouTube (such as this one, or this one), even entire songs when necessary.

Another great use – when I have the Zoom connected to the computer as a USB microphone (as described previously), I use Audio Recorder to quickly record to an OGG file directly on the computer, via the Zoom’s superior microphones. I don’t like recording directly into Audacity – I prefer to have a separate file I can then import. The tray indicator allows me to easily and quickly start and stop recording, and the files are automatically saved with a filename made up of the date and time.

More technical tips soon!