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Podcast Problems – Help?

Today, Jeff (from The Sand Trap) and I attempted to record our first podcast. Armed with a copy of Audio Hijack Pro and Skype, I connected and we could hear each other. I was routing the conversation (both sides) through headphones plugged into the front of my G5 and using an iSight as my microphone. Jeff was using either his iMac's built-in mic or the microphone built into his Logitech Premium Stereo Headset. Jeff was not recording, just talking and listening.

At various points throughout the show, Jeff said that my voice would simply cut out or severely stutter. Once it happened, we both had to quit and relaunch everything (Skype, AHP on my end) to get things working again. Oftentimes, that meant I had to re-plug in the iSight. I never lost audio - even when Jeff couldn't hear me, I could hear him and my own voice (through the headphones) just fine.

Jeff was using a 1.8 GHz G5 iMac with 768 MB RAM with only Skype, Safari, and a text editor running. I was using a 2 x 2 GHz G5 with 2.5 GB RAM and the same applications + AHP running. Neither of us had other users logged in. DSL Reports tells us that my connection is running at 3142/825 kpbs down/up and while Jeff is seeing 4104/353, which should be plenty to carry on an audio conversation.

What could have caused this problem? Simple Skype flakiness? How do people record a podcast "over the Internet" if Skype is that damn flaky? What can I do to resolve this issue so that it doesn't take 20 attempts to record a 30-minute show each week?

9 Responses to "Podcast Problems – Help?"

  1. Is there a reason you have to use Skype? Since you're both on Macs, could you use iChatAV? Maybe it would produce better and/or more reliable results. Pure speculation on my part though.

  2. Not everyone will always be on Macs. We have Windows users too.

  3. I'm sure Blake Burris over at Cocoa Radio could give you some tips if you e-mail him nice enough. There is also a beta Mac version of TeamSpeak you may try.

  4. Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson were using Skype, but IIRC they switched to Google Talk, which is supposedly slightly better.

    Gibson says he thinks this may be the solution. Maybe ... but it doesn't look there's a Mac version (although it runs on most platforms).

  5. I don't even know that it's a Skype problem, per se. It should have worked…

    I don't want to troubleshoot Windows or people getting later versions of AIM to work with iChat. I want something that "just works." Seems that may be asking too much.

  6. Well, to try to determine if it might be a problem with Skype, you could try using iChat with someone who has it and see if you have the same problems. Even if you can't always use iChat, you might at least be able to confirm or deny the source of the problem.

  7. Erik - missed your IM earlier.
    This is a real issue for me too that I've not yet solved. I was just trying to get info out of Gizmo Project re audio levels - the only hitch to using their app which has built in recording to WAV. At one time I had some succcess with Skype and iChat coupled with AHP but the settings proved to complex even with their new application mixer tool. I had the terrible experience of recording a show for 30 minutes only to come out with 1/2 the conversation! And, yes I did a test recording prior. Understandably, I lost trust in the setup.

    My new recordings to be posted were recorded in a pro radio studio which provides the best environment but it's not portable. Epensive mics and multi-line Vonage service linked up Palo Alto/Dallas/Amsterdam without a hitch.

    Until some one in the Mac podcasting camp posts explicit intsructions to do conference recording in software or I decide to buy an equally unportable mixer & mic setup, I'll stick to the local studio.

    On the other hand, I'm game to try hacking this out.

  8. Today I published that Podcast I've been talking about. I've also submitted it to iTunes - I wonder how long it will take until it appears? If anyone at Apple wants to push it through quickly, by all means, go...

  9. Hey Erik,

    You might want to try using "The Gizmo Project". This is a Skype like application that has built in call recording. I do a couple podcasts myself, and anytime I have to do an interview over the net, I've used Gizmo.

    I've had nothing but problems trying to get Skype calls recorded.. I finally gave up and am glad that I did it 🙂

    Oh and Gizmo has Windows, Mac and Unix clients.

    PGR's PSP Podcast