I need to be able to do the following with my Skype calls on my Windows PC:
- inject audio into my Skype calls so the other party can hear it along with my voice, and
- record calls (audio from both parties),
along with the following strongly preferred conditions:
- the setup does not affect other audio software that is not supposed to be used in conjunction with Skype, and
- use of a headset is not required and the combination of a microphone and a set of speakers work fine.
They are for my English teaching business. I teach listening comprehension to some students. I pick a sample audio of a native-speaker or native-speakers speaking, say, from a YouTube video or an NPR program, and have them try to transcribe it in their free time. During their lessons with me, I play the audio bit by bit and help them fill in the parts they could not catch by providing them with various kinds of clues.
I have not actively used call recording (and playing), but I think it’d be very helpful in having students understand how they actually sound. Oftentimes, the sounds they think they are producing and the sounds that actually come out of their mouths are quite different, and they cannot recognize it. Surprising? But this happens so often. Usually I simply mimic their speech with a little exaggeration and contrast it with the correct speech. It seems to work well—exaggeration helps them recognize the differences. But having them listen to their own voice should also be effective.
My aversion to the use of a headset simply comes from my laziness. I have used a microphone and a set of speakers for my Skype calls for years and my callees never complained of unwanted feedback. I take it as a sign that the acoustic echo canceling feature is working well and if it is possible at all, I would like to keep this setup.
Why is this not so easy to achieve? Unlike what some people might naively think, you could not just use your regular audio player, such as Windows Media Player, to “inject” music into your Skype calls so the other parties could hear it. The same was true with recording; you could not just use your regular audio recorder, such Sound Recorder, to record your Skype calls. Skype once provided an API through which third-party “add-on” software could add functionality to the Skype client software. Such needs above were met by those add-ons, and Skype offered a directory of Skype add-ons where you could find those that satisfied your needs. However, after the acquisition by Microsoft, Skype decided to retire this API, making all the Skype add-ons completely useless.
There are some apps still work with Skype. For example, MP3 Skype Recorder (free) is used by some of our students so they can record their Skype lessons (by the way, I wonder how this software works). As to injection of audio, “Why I Don’t Use Stereo Mix in Injecting Audio into Skype Calls” discusses the usual method and why I do not want to use it.
“How To Share Music On Skype Or Add Sound To Podcasts & Audio Clips Like a Pro” details one legit method. “Daydreaming about Automated Skype Client ” is certainly technically feasible, but it is more like a dream at this point.
However, I wanted a one-stop solution for both of my needs. I will write about my own solution in a separate article.