Recording a Skype call: (Windows) tool comparison

I needed to record a Skype phone call. In a previous stint, both my correspondent and I each used Audacity to record our own voice (directly from the microphone), and I synchronised and merged the two separate MP3 files afterwards, again with Audacity. This time, I only could record on my side of the line. A simultaneous recording of your own voice and the incoming Skype call still happens to be a non-trivial activity on Windows. I found these options:

1. Virtual Audio Cable

This is a piece of software that “virtually” connects the (Skype) output of your sound card to a virtual sound input device (scheme). So you can mix the virtual sound input with your normal microphone input.

The software is free for non-commercial purposes, but I found the docs hard to grasp and this O’Reilly tutorial warned against “the PC’s zillion possible configurations”. So I went on searching for a tool with a simpler setup. The following two solutions are both integrated with Skype and easy to set up. After trying these two however, I found this blog post with an 8-page tutorial in pdf on Virtual Audio Cables – so you still might give it a try.

Skype Screenshot2. Powergramo

When you run Powergramo, it puts itself in the Skype menu. It will record your Skype calls and prompt your for meta-information afterwards – you can even take notes during the call to be able to pinpoint relevant pieces of conversation afterwards.

You can also password-protect files and the Powergramo interface lets you play and manage your recordings (see further screenshots). The only differences between the free Basic and the $19.95 supported version are conference recording and dual track support (= separate voices in separate audio tracks, so you can mix and adjust the volumes afterwards and create a stereo effect).

This all seemed nice and well, but when I tested Powergramo there was an annoying high-pitched background buzz, which another tool, Hotrecorder didn’t have (hear for yourself Powergrano versus Hotrecorder).

3. Hotrecorder

The image “http://www.hotrecorder.com/images/helpHR/001.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Hotrecorder is handier than its horrible framed site makes you think: see screenhots. The free version is limited to two-minute-length recordings doesn’t let you export to mp3 or ogg. The paid version ($14.95) of course doesn’t have these restrictions, offers you voice mail functionality, and allows export from the proprietary ELP format to mp3, wav and ogg with a separate converter.

It also lets you record your own and your correspondent’s voice in separate tracks. If you do not want the 100% left/right stereo mix (your microphone input on the left and Skype’s output on the right), you will need to open the file in Audacity, selectively export these tracks and remix them again (if you find a more elegant solution, please leave a comment :-) ).

Hotrecorder happens to be the tool of choice for the guys of the “Web2.0 Show“. It is mine now as well .

Update: also have a look at this list of 10 Windows and 5 Mac Skype recording tools.

[tags]podcasting, skype, recording, hotrecorder, powergramo, windows, audio, comparison, review, virtual audio cable, virtual audio cables, audacity[/tags]

12 Responses to “Recording a Skype call: (Windows) tool comparison”

  1. Marco Raaphorst Says:

    Cool article!

    Total Recorder would work as well.

    And soundcards who have a loopback functionality. I am using an Echo Indigo IO and RME Hammerfall for loopback recording. Recently did an interview using Skype with my RME and it worked great.

    Skype 3 has a recorder build in, but I haven’t tried it yet. Being able to record both channels as separated tracks is a great feature though!

  2. Christ Tomkinson Says:

    Nice tutorial! I set up Powergramo today and it’s working beautifully, with no echo at all. Thanks for the instructions.

  3. fora Says:

    These program’s don’t cost very much, but I still wanted to make an objective comparison. Thanks alot for this beautiful post

  4. David Says:

    Go here to get instructions how to record a Skype call in Windows using the OpenSource tool Audacity: http://blog.keutgens.de/index.php/archives/14

  5. wangyi Says:

    Two programs for recording VoIP/Skype:

    ———————————–
    PowerGramo
    http://www.powergramo.com
    PowerGramo is a powerful Skype audio recorder. It flawlessly records all type of Skype calls (pc-to-pc, skype in/out, conference, skypecast, etc..) with the best quality and have call records encrypted and password protected. Recording is done automantically and necessary information about calls is saved together with the calls for your future review. It is the perfect tool for podcasting, online journalism, conducting business, and much more!

    ————————————-
    vEmotion
    http://www.voiceemotion.com
    vEmotion is a perfect VoIP audio assistant. It flawlessly record VoIP calls into MP3 or WAV files with data and infos encrypted and password protected. Also add life to your VoIP voice convsations. Enjoyable things include background music, voice emotion (lively audio clips), text to speech that enable you to talk without openning your mouth.

    It is the perfect tool for podcasting, online journalism, conducting business, and much more!

    The program is compatible with nearly all VoIP clients, among which Skype, ICQ, Msn/WLM, Gtalk, AIM/AIM Triton/AIM Pro, Yahoo Messenger and QQ were fully tested and explicitly supported. Other VoIP clients, such as voipcheap, teltel, sipphone, are supported via simple user customization. You can tune up all these IM and VOIP clients with single installation of the software.

  6. desmond cheung Says:

    Good article!! While, I wonder if there is any software can be used for an organization? Similar to those PABX recording system, which it records the outgoing and incoming calls seemlessly and quietly…

    thanks

  7. Jacky Fu Says:

    Try PrettyMay Call Recorder for Skype which is Skype certified call recording software for Windows.

  8. Lenare Says:

    Another free call recording software is Skype Call Recorder

  9. NoDaddy.com Says:

    these are crap

    the point of skype is free calling

    who wants to BUY something to record FREE calls?

    where are the FREE solutions? trials are not free; they’re crippleware

  10. Data encryption software Says:

    Nicepost… I like it.
    Keep it up
    Cheers

  11. Jack bonr Says:

    PowerGramo cool, gets menu shown in skype window.

  12. Applian Says:

    Replay Telecorder is another option for recording Skype calls. It is the most powerful video call recorder for Skype. It can record audio calls as well.