Recording Calls on Your Computer Using Audacity

Record Calls Using Audacity

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Say you have a tutorial session for your language learning program and you want to be able to record the conversation for later revision. You will want to do that for all sessions, as you would want to do it for any other important conversation, be it a business meeting, a friendly chat or any else among the billions of interesting things you can use Skype or any other Voice over IP app for. 

There are several ways of doing it, including using your sound card which is slightly geeky especially if you have the wrong drivers. You can also use third-party applications for call recording, but those require some effort and possibly financial engagements. Fortunately, there is this very simple way which implies using a very useful piece of software called Audacity. 

Audacity is an open-source audio editing and recording software that, for me, is nothing short of a gem. It is light, robust, brimming with features and power, and completely free since it is open-source. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it from this link:

What's Required

  1. A computer. Not a mobile device, as this works only for computers, running either Windows, Mac or Linux. 

  2. Communication hardware such as a microphone, speakers, or headset. Anything that ensures both input and output of sound through your computer. You may, for instance, be using a laptop computer with inbuilt stereo speakers and microphone, in which case you are all set hardware-wise. 

  3. Audacity software installed. 

  4. A VoIP communication app like Skype or any other Internet calling apps. Anything that allows you to talk through your computer. 

How To Record 

  1. Open Audacity. 

  2. In the top menu, look for the drop-down box whose default value is MME. It is just below the array of control buttons on the left-hand side of the interface. Change this value to capture sound from within the system's input and output. In the case of Windows, select WASAPI. 

  3. Immediately on the right, select Rec Playback. Also, make sure that the box immediately on the right is set to stereo. 

  4. You can now start recording. Launch your calling app and initiate your call. As soon as the call starts or at any moment of your choosing, click the round red button on Audacity to start recording. 

  5. As soon as you are done with the call, click the button with a square to end the recording. 

  6. You can check what has been recorded by playing the audio back immediately. For that, click on the button with the very popular green triangle. 

  7. You can also modify, cut, trim, and manipulate your audio file as you wish and even add effects to it. Audacity is so powerful that it can allow you to transform what you recorded into something very different. More interestingly, it allows you to edit the audio so as to improve the quality. You will, of course, need proficient skills in Audacity for that. Skip this step if you don't want to modify anything. 

  8. Save the file. By default, it is saved as an Audacity project with extension .au, which is totally editable in the future. You can also save the file as an MP3, which I believe is more likely to interest you. For that, you need to do File > Export Audio... and save your file.