How to record a Skype call for free

9 Apr 2013

Recording a Skype call is much easier than recording a regular telephone conversation, which requires a Dictaphone and specialist equipment. Better still, you can do it for free.

For this method, you’ll need to install the Skype Windows desktop client (the Windows 8 app won't work), and a piece of free software called MP3 Skype Recorder.

If you install both these pieces of software at the same time, you may need to restart your PC before MP3 Skype Recorder recognises the Skype installation. When you first open MP3 Skype Recorder you’ll also have to click in a pop-up in the Skype client, giving the app permission to access Skype.

The MP3 Skype Recorder is fairly basic, but there are a few settings to fiddle with

Once you’ve completed these steps, everything is automatically set up to record your conversations. In fact, you might want to press the big Stop button and prevent Skype Recorder from automatically recording all your conversations, unless you're particularly intent on filling up your hard disk with chats with your mum. Remember to hit the big red record button when you want to start recording again.

The MP3 Skype Recorder is fairly basic, but there are a few settings to fiddle with. By default it will record in stereo, with one side of the conversation in each ear. Joint stereo made it a little easier to listen back to conversations with headphones on, in our experience.

You can also set a recording bit-rate, ranging from 24 through to 128-bit, although we found the default 32-bit setting was adequate.

One setting you may want to tweak with is the folder recordings are saved to, which by default is set to App Data in your Windows user account. This is a hidden folder, and you may have to tweak with Explorer settings to find it. It’s much easier to point MP3 Skype Recorder at a new or existing folder in Documents or Music.

If you need to transcribe your conversation from a recording, I’d recommend the excellent Transcribe website. This lets you upload the MP3 file, and then slow down or speed up the recording as you type the transcription into the form on the website. There are also shortcuts for jumping back or forward two seconds, all of which are assigned to function keys (i.e. F1, F2).

Transcribe saves your work into your web browser’s local storage, so you won’t lose a transcription, even if you accidentally close the browser tab or the PC crashes.

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