Question about recording conversation from a computer telephone call.

Recently, i installed Skype on my computer for international calls. It’s a VOIP service that is free if i’m talking to another Skype user, and about 2c a minute if i want to dial a regular phone.

One thing i was thinking of doing with this technology was using it to record interviews for my dissertation. I have to do some telephone interviews with people in other parts of the country, and if i can actually record the conversation without making the trek to California or Texas or wherever, then that would make life a lot easier. Of course, i would get permission from the parties concerned before recording these conversations.

Anyway, i seem to be running into a problem recording telephone conversations. I’ve experimented a couple of times by calling my wife, but each time the recording only seems to pick up my voice, even though her voice comes through loud and clear.

I went into the volume control and looked at the section for recording, and it appears that you can only set the computer to record from one device at a time—Stereo Mix; CD Audio; Auxiliary; Microphone; or Line-In. I had it set to Microphone, and it only recorded my voice. If i took it off Microphone, my voice was not recorded.

I was wondering if anyone knows how to get around this issue and record both sides of a two-way telephone conversation?

Here’s my set-up, in case it’s important:

WinXP Home
Sony SoundForge 7.0
Planntronics Audio 90 Headset
Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1

I’ll give this one bump in case there’s anyone out there who can help.

In your situation, you’re not actually recording a “telephone” conversation. It’s not a regular telephone setup. What you want to is to record two channels at the same time.

One thing you may be able to do is to get Audacity and start two sessions. Have one recording the microphone and one recording the speakers. When it’s done, copy and paste one of the recordings into the the session. That should give you both sides of the conversation.

There may be easier ways to do a multi-channel recording and you may want to look into them.

How about something like Total Recorder? Supposedly it can capture both channels of the conversation and save it to one file.

Google on record skype conversations and there seems to be lots of hits describing how people have done it.

I’d also look up some of the top podcasters as well, as many have blogged their experiences with recording skype calls.

Thanks for the advice folks.

I tried Filmore’s Audacity suggestion, but the program still seems able to record from a single input device only. I can’t record the microphone (my speech) and the line-in (the other party) at the same time.

I searched Google and looked at some of the solutions offered by other people. These all seem to require one type or another of new software, and before i fork over the cash for any of that stuff i want to read a bit more about it.

This seems to be such a big issue, with so many people frustrated at not being able to do it, that it wouldn’t surprise me to see Skype incorporate some sort of solution sometime in the future. I must say that i’m really surprised that recording this type of conversation can’t be done more easily using the basic Windows settings and piece of recording software like SoundForge or Audacity…

Well, for those who are interested, i seem to have solved the problem. The solution isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for right now.

I looked on Skype’s website and found a link to a program called HotRecorder, which is designed specifically for recording calls in Skype. It records both ends of the conversation, and if you select the stereo option you even get one person speaking in your left ear, and the other person in your right (not sure if i like that or not).

The output format is the only problem. It seems to be a proprietary file format called an .ELP file, which, as far as i can tell, can only be played in the HotRecorder player. I tried importing it into SoundForge and Audacity, but it didn’t work. The only way to get it into .wav or .ogg or .mp3 format is to play it in HotRecorder and just record the soundcard’s output in real time using one of my other audio programs.

As i said, not a perfect solution, but one that seems to work well enough for now. I can get around the problem by paying $15 to upgrade to the Premium version of HotRecorder, which includes an audio converter for converting the .elp files to .wav or .ogg files. I’ll think about doing that.