How to Record Both Ends of a Skype Call on Your Mac For Free — Step by Step Tutorial

Video Tutorial

Hi Everyone! I’m hoping to start recording a podcast in the coming months where I speak to people about their experience becoming a software developer in hopes that we can help you make the transition from your current career. We’ll be discussing early experiences with code and programming and how people got initially interested in software development and then the moment that they got hooked and started pursuing it seriously. So, I wanted to learn how to record Skype calls for free.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts in the last few years and I think it can be a really helpful way to learn about Software Development. Learning on your own, little things like how to pronounce some of the terms can really easily slip through the cracks. I think it can really help building a comfort level when you hear people talking about software development. I think it really humanizes the process of learning and helps you to feel more comfortable discussing and thinking about the ideas and concepts that come up.

Recording Both Ends of a Skype Call for Free

I already happen to have a lot of the equipment I need to record a podcast because of my past experience as a musician doing home recordings. If you don’t have any gear yet, John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn both have a bunch of content related to choosing the right podcast gear. There are links to their content at the end of this article, but for now all you’d need to use this tutorial is a pair of headphones.

I’m in the initial planning phase of my podcast now and I’m pretty sure that I want to have guest interviews as a strong component of the show, so I wanted to find a free way to record both ends of the audio of Skype conversations with the gear and software that I already have. It was a bit more difficult to set up than I had anticipated, so I wanted to make a video in case anyone else wanted to try this and just follow a step by step tutorial to get it done.

I ended up only needing to make minor tweaks in 4 applications/extensions to get it working and 2 of those are already installed on every mac. The 4 apps/extensions are Soundflower, Audio MIDI Setup, Skype and Quicktime Player.

I made a YouTube video with step by step instructions of how to set it up. I heard a lot of people saying that Quicktime couldn’t do something like this, but I wasn’t convinced. Feel free to give it a look if you’re curious.

Step by Step Instructions

Here are the instructions written out if you’d rather read.

Download Soundflower

If you’re looking to record both ends of a skype conversation and you want to capture both video and audio and you don’t want to spend any money, you can do so using 4 pieces of software. All are free and 2 are already installed on your Mac:

Soundflower
Audio MIDI Setup
Skype
Quicktime Player

Soundflower

You’ll want to go through the installation process for Soundflower after downloading the file, double clicking on the dmg file and opening the package. You’ll get a warning, but it’s okay, just go to System Preferences and then select Security and Privacy and click the ‘Open Anyway’ button. After you’ve completed the soundflower installation, you can move on to the next step.

Audio MIDI Setup

Go to spotlight (command + spacebar) and type in Audio MIDI Setup and hit return to open the application. Here you’ll want to do 2 things:

  1. Create a new Aggregate Device
  2. Create a new Multi-output device

You can do both of these things by clicking the + icon in the bottom left of the window.

For your Aggregate device, you’ll see checkboxes for all of the different audio input sources. You’ll want to select your internal microphone (or your audio interface/external microphone if you’re using one) and soundflower. Then you’ll want to right click on your aggregate device in the left hand menu and make sure that you have selected ‘use this device for audio input’. You’ll see a microphone icon next to your aggregate device if this worked.

For your Multi-Output device, you’ll see checkboxes for all of the different audio output sources. You’ll want to select your built-in output (or your audio interface if you’re using one) and soundflower. Then you’ll want to right click on the multi-output device and make sure that you have selected ‘use this device for audio output’. You’ll see a speaker icon next to your multi-output device if this worked.

Skype

Now open up Skype (I’m assuming you have it installed, if not you can download it from skype.com) and open up preferences. Within the Audio/Video tab, you’ll want to make sure you have your built in microphone selected as your microphone (or your external microphone/audio-interface if you’re using one). Next, you’ll want to select your multi-output device as your option for ‘Speakers’.

Doing this makes sure that the audio from your Skype conversation is routed to both your headphones and soundflower.

Awesome. One more step and we’re ready to go!

QuickTime Player

Open up the QuickTime player, open the File menu and select ‘New Audio Recording’ now we’re going to make sure we select our aggregate device as our microphone by clicking on the downward arrow next to the record button. This will ensure that the audio from your internal microphone and soundflower will be recorded (remember that Skype is outputting the conversation into your headphones and soundflower, so quicktime can hear your end of the conversation through your microphone and the other end through soundflower.)

Resources for Getting Started Blogging and Podcasting

Recently I’ve been directing my attention towards resources designed to help you learn how to blog and how to podcast.  I’ve just joined a few newsletters and subscribed to a few podcasts that have been really helpful, so I want to share them with you here:

John Sonmez’s SimpleProgrammer Blogging course newsletter

Free Podcast Course w/ John Lee Dumas

Pat Flynn’s How to Start a Podcast Podcasting Tutorial

All of these resources have given me a ton of homework and have really help me to focus my efforts on delivering the most value that I possibly can given my passions & skills.

I feel like I have a path to where I want to go with the blog and the podcast and I have a lot of action steps to complete along the way.

The John Sonmez SimpleProgrammer Blogging Course newsletter is great for jump starting your blog, getting you setup, picking a specialty, developing a set of ideas to develop and getting you set up to consistently deliver valuable content.

The Free Podcast course is full of a ton of resources that can help you develop a podcast that you’ll be able to stay consistent with, delivering high value content on a consistent basis by focusing on the intersection of your passions and your skills.

Pat Flynn’s How to Start a Podcast Podcasting Tutorial is very helpful for honing in on the aspects of deploying a podcast that will help you get found on iTunes. The YouTube video playlist was very helpful for me in getting an overview of how your media host fits in with WordPress and how to coordinate that with your RSS feed from WordPress with iTunes, Stitcher and the other podcasting platforms so that your listeners can subscribe to your podcast.

Thanks for Reading

I hope this tutorial was helpful, I’m really excited to get started with Podcasting and sharing the journey with you as it unfolds. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

P.S. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about the process.

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