Recording a Podcast with Skype and GarageBand for Free

The Easiest, Cheapest, and Simplest Way to Record a Podcast

In my earlier post Recording a Podcast on Garageband I talked a lot about the step-by-step process of doing an actual recording with any input devices. This time however, I will explain the easiest way I have found to record an all audio, perfectly editable, podcast using nothing but FREE software (the Mac computer and the headset will cost you money or course; other than that everything else is absolutely free! 🙂 There are four software programs that you will need to run on your Mac; Skype, GarageBand, LineIn, and Soundflower.

Gather Your Software

  • Firstly, you should have GarageBand on your Mac, it comes free with the Mac you purchased. If for any weird reason you don’t have it, you can download or upgrade it here.
  • Next download Skype for your Mac. Install the bugger and create an account. This is simple enough to do so I wont show you the step-by-step process but I will show you how to test your call later on.
  • Download LineIn for Mac. Trust me, it’s legit.
  • Finally, download Soundflower for Mac. Legit also. 🙂

Podcast Recording Setup

Soundflower

Soundflower is a program that mostly runs in the background of your computer. It’s a great little tool that allows you to direct audio elements to other programs on your computer. Install Soundflower and then activate the program (you can do this by throwing it on your dock and initializing the program there).

Warning! – Soundflower will NOT have any active windows on your computer. It runs completely in the background. To change any settings for Soundflower, you will need to do so from the Menu Bar at the top right of your display.

It’s time to configure Soundflower (which is super easy).

Click on the Soundflower icon on the Menu Bar and make sure the settings are put to “None (OFF)” for both Soundflower (2ch) and Soundflower (16ch). In the Soundflower (16ch) short menu make sure that Channels 1, 2, 3 and four are “None”. And that’s it, there’s nothing else you need to do with Soundflower.

LineIn

After you download and install LineIn, go ahead and open the program. There isn’t much to it at all.

Input from: should be for your input device (mine is my Logitech USB Headset. Output to: select “Soundflower (16ch).

Click “Advanced” and make sure everything is set to default except for the “Output Device Settings” which should be “Left Channel: ” and “Right Channel: 4”. Click “OK”.

Select “Pass Thru” to make sure that your signal is going through LineIn.

Skype

Skype for Mac is very simple. Sometimes a bit too simple as it wont let you have certain functions like the PC version. See my post on the How to Fix the Auto Gain Control for Skype. This will alleviate the problem of Skype cranking down the gain when you are talking on your headset. If you are noticing that the louder you talk the lower your level goes then read this post.

Setting up Skype for audio podcasting is very simple.

Select Skype>Preferences and click on the “Audio” tab.

Set these parameters:

  • Audio Output: Soundflower (16ch)
  • Audio Input: Your input device (mine is my Logitech USB Headset
  • Ringing: Soundflower (16ch)

And you’re all done with Skype.

GarageBand

Open up GarageBand and read my post on Recording a Podcast on Garageband. This will get you all set up for your record minus the setup for Skype, which I’ll let you know below.

Go to the pulldown menu GarageBand>Preferences>Audio/Midi, here you will be able to select the inputs and outputs of GarageBand. Set the Audio Output to your headphones (Logitech USB Headset for me) and the Audio Input to “Soundflower (16ch). Your done with preferences.

(1)Select track 1 which I have Adam on from the Ask Adam League. (2)And select the “View/Hide the Track info” button on the bottom right of the interface. (3)Also make sure you have the browse tab open as well.

At the bottom right, you have several options available for controlling the audio of this particular track which I have Adam on.

Select the parameters; Input Source: Stereo 1/2 (Soundflower (16ch)) and put the Monitor: On. You can also adjust the Recording Level here.

Repeat this for track 2 which I have as myself on my setup except that the Input will be Stereo 3/4 (Soundflower (16ch)).

Finally, click the “Enable Recording” button for each of your tracks or else you wont be recording those tracks respectively.

System Settings

Don’t forget to change the System Settings: Click the Apple at the top left of the screen>System Preferences>Sound. Put the Output to your headphones (in my case the Logitech USB Headset) and the Input to your microphone (again the USB Headset in my case).

Checking the Setup

So what we’ve done is channeled the sound of the Skype caller and the host computer operator (presumably you) into separate channels that are being directed into GarageBand. The next step is to make sure that all your programs are fired up and double-check your settings. Skype makes it very easy to test your settings by providing the “Skype Test Call”. She’s a lovely Brit which will allow you to hear a mock call from Skype and even and ‘talk-back’ feature that will record your own voice for input checking.

Make sure your Record Enable buttons are on, hit the Record Button and hit the Skype Test Call button on Skype. Go ahead and talk over your new girlfriend and speak through the talk-back. After you’re done, check your recording. Check to see that the levels are where you want them and the fidelity of the sound. It should be fantastic.

Pifalls

The first episode of the Ask Adam League, which was our pilot, was recorded with a $25 headset and the sound was horrible. I have since gotten a $50 headset and it sounds fantastic. Any audio issues may stem from poor quality equipment and possibly not your setup.

Double-check your filters applied to each individual track. They may be interfering with the quality of your record by adjusting settings over your audio. See my post Recording a Podcast on Garageband for details.

Good Luck on your recordings! If you have any trouble at all, just post here and I’ll get back to you promptly.

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