Recording Skype calls in Linux
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I use Skype quite a bit. Not only to call family, friends, and clients, but also to record interviews and the occasional podcast. The recording part I had to do under Windows. While I’ve found quite a bit of advice on recording Skype calls in Linux, none of the solutions has ever worked for me.
A couple of weeks ago, though, I came across SCX Tools, which are described as “set of Linux utilities for Skype. All the utilities work as addons for the Skype client communicating with Skype using public Skype protocol.” While only the call recorder — called SCX Recorder — is currently available, SCX Tools looks quite promising.
Downloading and compiling
You can download SCX Recorder here. There’s no binary; you must compile the software. Call me a lamer, but I prefer not to compile. In around nine years of using Linux, I’ve only compiled about seven programs. SCX Recorder reminded me why I don’t like compiling.
The first time I tried to compile it, I got errors telling me that I needed to install a library or two. I did that through Synaptic and tried again. Again, I got an error message and the thing didn’t compile. Needless to say I started to get frustrated. After stepping back a bit, I realized that I could download the latest files from the SCX Tools Subversion repository. In case you’re wondering, Subversion is a tool that software developers use to maintain their source code; maybe it’s a good thing that I work with some propeller heads …
That worked. SCX Recorder compiled and I got a shiny little binary which I copied to the folder
Using SCX Recorder
To use SCX Recorder, you first have to start Skype. Then, start SCX Recorder. The interface is pretty simple, as you can see from the screen shot to the left. Before recording, I decided to configure the app to my liking. Luckily, the configuration is pretty simple.
By default, SCX Recorder saves recordings to the folder
/Skype Records/ in your
/home directory — for example,
/home/scott/Skype Records/. You have three choices of output formats: wav, Ogg, and Speex.
On the toolbar, you can click the telephone icon to start recording automatically. Recording starts when the party on the other end picks up. You can pause and stop recording at any time using the buttons on the toolbar.
The quality of recordings is quite good. I do have to clean them up a bit in Audacity, but that’s more to do with Skype than the recorder. Admittedly, I haven’t stress tested SCX Recorder — the longest conversation that I’ve recorded has been just over five minutes. I plan to record a podcast with my business partner soon, though.
SCX Recorder works for me, where other solutions for recording Skype calls haven’t. I plan to put it through its paces a bit more in the coming weeks and if SCX Recorder acquits itself well then I’ll definitely add it to my arsenal of software.