Step 3 - Recording a conversation

There are a variety of way to capture both ends of a telephony call or online conversation.  Some of these allow people to listen in live, others do not. 

 Simple Conversation Recording Programs
  Webcasters cannot use this method to stream a conversation so non-participants to listen live, but is the easiest way to simply record a conversation so that it can be published online afterward.  The Simple Conversation Recording Programs  page has a list of programs that can be used to record Skype calls.  There are also several  telephony programs listed other than skype that support call recording. 


 Web Conferencing Services

   The Conferencing Services Page lists are a variety of  conferencing services that allow webcasters to record online conversations.  These can be web-based, telephone based, or a combination thereof.  

 Advanced Recording Methods
  These methods will let you capture and record all ends of a telephony call and/or all sounds on your computer in a way that allows you to stream that audio out to services like Shoutcast, Ustream, & Livestream so that others can listen live.  These methods involve a number of variables including Operation System and hardware specifications.  They can be the most challenging for webcasters to figure out, but provide more flexibiltiy and streaming options.


The Two computer method

VAC & USB mic Method (Windows)

Audio Hijack & USB Mic Method (Mac)

External Links

    Record and publish a 3-5 minute conversation with at least one other person. You can use whichever method you prefer, but in order to take the next step
,  you will need to use one of the web conferencing or Advanced Recording methods.

Once you'vep posted the conversation recording and it has been reviewed, you will be granted 'intern' permissions which will provide you with additional upload space. You can then move on to Step#4 - Live Streaming of a conversation


Conferencing Services

Web Conferencing Services

Web based  hosting:

  • BlogTalkRadio - allows participants to call in to a North American phone # or use a web based 'click to talk' feature.  
  • Talkshoe - provides a chat interface and automatically records conversations. Can usually telephony to call in to a North American phone number. Long distance rates might apply. Now supports mobile based call-in webcastign
  • WizIQ - web based 'virtual classroom' platform that allows multiple participants, presentation sharing,  and whiteboard. 


  • - the service we have sometimes used to include teleconferencing in our webcasts, now includes an optional recording option.
  • - another free teleconerencing service, reservations required for free version

Recording a Conversation with VAC & USB mic

Recording A Conversation - VAC & USB mic Method

What you'll need



  • Telephony Program - we use Skype for demonstration purposes, but Oovoo, Gizmo, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Jajah, & others will work as well.
  • Audio Bridging Tool - Virtual Audio Cables is the 'magic ingredient' of this method - a funky little program that alllows you to capture audio from your microphone and soundcard at the same time
  • Audio Recorder & Editor - there are others out there, but we primarily use Audacity - it's open source and works quite well.

Capturing both ends of a conversation
The major challenge of producing a live interactive webcast is capturing both ends of a telephony call in a way that it can be streamed. If all you want to do is record both ends of a call without streaming it, there a number of programs that can be used (see this page for more info). To do so in a way that allows the audio to be streamed live, it is necessary to use an audio bridging tool like Virtual Audio Cables along with the hardware described above. There are other ways to do this, additional hardware and/or software is usually required.

Setting up your microphone and headset
  • If using a USB Desktop mic, plug it in to any USB port. Plug any headset into your standard speaker jack.
  • If using a USB headset (with separate jacks for mic and earpiece), plug it into any USB port, remove the earphone jack and plug it into the standard speaker jack as shown below.

Configuring your computer so you can capture both ends of a telephony call.
Parts of this will vary from computer to computer and it is possible that webcasters will need to go through some trial and error to get this working. The most common places to alter settings are your Windows Volume Control, Sound & Audio Device Settings, & your Telephony audio settings.
  • By default, most computers are set up to record from your microphone. This needs to be changed. Using Windows Volume Mixer, set the Recording Control Properties of your soundcard to 'stereo mix' , 'What U Hear', or 'Wave Out Mix'. With some sounds cards you will select his item, with others you will make sure it's unmuted'.
  • In Sound & Audio Device settings, select your sound card as the recording device in the 'Audio' and 'Voice' tabs.

  • Open Audacity. In Edit/Preferences/Audio I/O , select your sound card as your recording device.

  • Open the Audio settings of your telephony program. In Skype, it's under Tools/Options/Audio Settings. For microphone, select your USB microphone.

  • Install Virtual Audio Cables (the trial version will work for experimentation purposes, but to produce actual webcasts, you will need to get  the full version (US$30). Go to Virtual Audio Cable in your start menu and click 'Audio Repeater'. In the 'wave in' section, select your USB mic. In 'wave out', select your sound card. For total buffer, select 100. You can experiment with the other settings, but it shouldn't be necessary to change any of them. Press 'Start'. Open the Audio settings of your telephony program. In Skype, it's under Tools/Options/Audio Settings. For microphone, select your USB microphone.

  • If all is working properly, after you press start, you should hear an echo when speaking. You are now capturing all audio on your machine - your voice, voices of others in the telephony call, audio played from media players, program noises, etc. (Note: you might want to disable notification noises in Skype and other IM programs)

  • Call someone (you can call skype lady at 'echo123'). Press record in Audacity, and you should see that you are recording audio when you speak and when the other person speaks. If so, you're ready to complete the Step 3 task (recording a conversation). If not, let the troubleshooting begin.

Two Computer Method

The Two Computer Method - Windows

The only requirement for the interaction computer is that it allows you to connect to a telephony call or web conference. A headset should be used to optimze audio quality, but it does not need to be a USB microphone.  The Streaming computer connects to the same telephony call or conference with microphone or audio input muted. Volume properties should be set to record 'stereo mix', 'what u hear', or 'wave out mix' - not 'microphone.  The streaming computer then connects to a streaming service (e.g. Ustream, Shoutcast, or Livestream).  It may be necessary to mute the volume on external speakers or headsets on the streaming computer in order to avoid echo.

Simple Conversation Recording Programs

Recording both ends of a telephony call is necessary in order to stream and record a live, interactive webcast. This is usually the trickiest part of webcasting as most systems are not set up to record your voice and those on the other end of the call.

If you want to record a telephony call without streaming, you can use a number of skype 'extras',  3rd party recording programs, or telephony programs that support recording.  Please note, this will not be adequate to stream both ends of a telephony call.  It will only allow you to record the conversation and record it later.

  Telephony Programs that support recording:  Gizmo , ooVoo (premium version)

  Other Programs & Guides




Fee based