How to record a podcast interview using Skype

Before the first episode of the Urbanism Speakeasy podcast was published, I wrote a short summary of how to record a podcast interview using Google Hangouts. This was intended for people like me who were looking for a free (and easy) way to record the audio without worrying about video.

Since then, it just so happens that I rely almost exclusively on Skype to record audio podcasts. It can be free. Or you can pay for upgrades. The steps below are not the only way to record interviews for audio podcasts, but they work for me.

Equipment

  • Two computers. If you own a tablet, you could use it plus a computer. So for purposes of this how-to list, I better just call it a “device”. If you only have one device (computer or tablet), consider buying a mixer
  • Two microphones. One for each device. The affordable Audio-Technica 2100 is easy to use and has great quality for us regular people. (The steps below will still work with built-in computer mics, but the audio quality will suffer.)
  • Audacity. The free, open source audio software.

Audio-Technica 2100 USB microphone

How to record a podcast interview with Skype

Device #1 (the Skype computer/tablet)

  1. Connect your mic. (I’m assuming you’re using an external mic.)
  2. Open Skype. In the Skype audio settings, select your external mic as the recording device. (Skype might call it USB2100 or something similar.)
  3. Open Audacity. In the Audacity audio settings, select “stereo mix” as your recording device. This will allow Audacity to record your Skype contact’s voice directly — without your room noise being picked up.
  4. Computer #1 is now set to record your guest, and only your guest. Quick suggestion: once you get your Skype call connected and see smiling faces, turn off the video. It will suck your wifi and probably make the call choppier.

Device #2 (the host computer/tablet)

  1. Connect your mic.
  2. Open Audacity. In the Audacity audio settings, select your external mic as the recording device.
  3. Computer #2 is now set to record your voice, the host.

That’s it. Piece of cake. When you finish the interview, you’ll have two Audacity audio files to work with. One with your guest’s voice and one with yours.

Click to Tweet: “Record podcast interviews on shoestring budget.”

I want more!

There are tons of online resources if you want to dive into more details. But the basic steps above are what I do to record interviews for audio podcast episodes. For help from an audio expert, check out my friend Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting.

5 comments
MeetTheMatts
MeetTheMatts

Is this meant for recording people that are in the same room? Oherwise, I don't understand why the need exists to hook up an external mic to the guest computer... won't that pick up the audio from the host in the room?

yuanlitqi
yuanlitqi

Or if you want better audio quality than Skype try IP DTL (ipdtl.com).

mikelbranch
mikelbranch

Good article on what to do with two devices. Let's say I use one device and had a mixer. Where does the mixer come into play and how do I use this? I'm just now getting into casting and I do a short mini-cast as a segment for another larger cast. I've recently had some interest in make it a standalone cast and I've gotten some folks interested in co-hosting. But I don't know how to record us both.

Boenau
Boenau moderator

I didn't clarify that. The two people are in separate locations. Otherwise, yes, we'd just record our audio streams. Of course, if everyone had their own mic and Audacity, they could record their own audio directly. That would make for some crystal clear audio on both ends. 

MCmyles
MCmyles

I'm confused as to why you're using Skype at all? The way you explain it both people are in the same room. Why not just use Audacity to record the audio streams and leave Skype out of the equation?