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How are you recording your Google Chats?

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I asked Dave this on Twitter, but it seems more appropriate to ask here.

I have a podcast with a couple of Internet friends, and we're using Skype currently. After hearing episode 5 of the AmpHour, though, it seems that Google Talk might be better tech for the purpose (it's certainly better sounding). We're going to try out a test of it before recording our next episode, but I'm running into trouble trying to find a way to record the conference call. Any pointers on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

I just got the answer from Dave on Twitter. It turns out they each record only themselves locally, then mix the separate tracks together later, using a countdown to sync. Thanks for the help, Dave!

Yes, it's silly to try and record Skype or Google chat, the quality is just going to be horrible.

We only use Google Chat/Skype to actually talk to each other so we can carry on a sensible conversation in real time.
I use my Samson C01U USB Podcasting mic with Google Chat and record the same mic signal with Audacity at the same time.

Chris uses a more convoluted setup with multiple mics and machines.

But the end result is we both get 16bit WAV files direct form the mic at each and and then sync'n'mix.
Chris does the editing so you'd have to ask him how easy the sync part is.

I need to improve the acoustics in my room, way too much echo.


We've been recording the Skype conversation, and to be honest, it's good enough, but given that it's a podcast on sound design, and we're supposed to be audio guys, I think we can do better. :) The thing is, the three of us can do the "local recording and sync later" thing just fine, but what happens when we have a special guest on for one episode? How much coaching and troubleshooting will I end up having to do if they don't know how to record their local mic and use Skype at the same time? The beauty of simply recording the Skype audio is that I can be responsible for 100% of the recording, and nobody else needs to care about anything but their Skype connection working. The advantage we have here, though, is that most of the people we would have on as guests would also be audio guys and girls, so this might be a non-issue.

I'm going to propose we switch to local recording and post-syncing, then. We'll give it a test tomorrow.

EDIT: You know, the more I think about it, the more I think sticking to the Skype recording, mediocre as it is, is the best idea for us, because our podcast is not just two people carrying on. We have three regulars, and we would like to have special guests on in the future. Now, some of these people are superstars in the field, and they're all nice guys, but they're also really busy, and the only way we might get them on is for it to be as easy for them to participate as possible. Asking them to record their local mic then upload a huge file somewhere is asking too much, I think.

So, you can call it silly if you want, Dave, but I really think the way we're doing it now is the best way for us.

Hi Darren,

I thought the same thing when I was listening...these are audio engineers? Might hurt your street cred  ;)

I think your idea of just recording a skype stream for a guest is fine. If you listen to TWiT, Leo Laporte has guests on that call in through a cell phone. It's pretty difficult to listen to honestly. But I think a Skype stream would be better. On TWiT they have fantastic local recording capabilities because they're in a studio and encourage people to come in if they can. So if you ask me, I'd do local recording for the regulars, esp if you're local. The sound quality is worth it.

When I'm fixing up our recording I also usually do some dynamic limiting to get rid of some background noise, do a pre-master compression, add in pink noise and then do a 30 band punch and sparkle equalization. Then I chop it up, cut out the mess ups and ship it out. Takes about 1-2 hours total but I'm on an ass-old computer. To do the local sync it's best to have a multitrack type of program. Also as you know from an audio engineering background it's ALWAYS better to have a nice initial recording rather than trying to process the crap out of it later. That's why Dave is going to try to fix his echo issues (it also contributes to why he sounds "louder" even though our levels are the same).

Keeping your stuff simple is good for now. If it takes off and people don't mind the sound quality it means your content is all the better. Then you can wow them later when you start to really make it sound nice. Good luck!



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