How to take live phone or Skype calls, managing Audacity plugins, effectiveness of podcast cards, live-streaming a Skype conversation, how to get a chatroom, and multiple USB mics/inputs on Windows.

Podcast cards are effective

Fred Casteneda from Struggling Entrepreneur podcast responded to tip #7 from “9 Tips for Growing Your Audience by Attending Social-Media Events“: “Bring blog/podcast cards.” He has used podcast-specific “business” cards since 2006 and has great success. Here examples of Fred’s cards.

Live-streaming a Skype conversation with chatroom

Hi Daniel,

I listened to your episode on reasons to do live podcasts. I do have this annual, joint-live-podcast coming up and I am in a hurry to get everything prepared. I’ve been looking around for the best way to do things, but I figured I could just ask you real quick and you would probably have the answers.

  • I would like to stream a Skype conversation to something embedded in my WordPress site.
  • I would like to have a chat like on noodle.mx/live where people do not have to make an account to participate
  • I would like for people in the audience to be able to call in to our Skype conversation.

Suggestions? =) Thank you very much for your help with everything.

Scott/Stud

For simplicity, I recommend using Mixlr to stream your Skype conversation’s audio. But you could end up with a mess of cables trying to get both you and your cohost back into Mixlr’s input. There are two ways you should do this.

  1. Use two computers: one for Skype and one for Mixlr (or other live-streaming service). Setup a mixer for Skype mix-minus, send your mixer’s main output to Mixlr’s input.
  2. One one computer with two inputs: Setup a mixer for Skype mix-minus, send your mixer’s main output to your computer’s second input, and set Mixlr to use that second input device.

For a small, inexpensive mixer, I recommend a Behringer 302USB Mixer ($49.99) or a Behringer XENYX 502 ($39.99) without USB.

Learn more about live-streaming your podcast.

Taking live calls

Wayne Henderson from Media Voiceovers, Stephen Greenwood from SB Nation, and Scott/Stud (above) all asked how to take live calls during their podcasts. Here’s the easiest way for a phone number:

  1. Setup a mixer for Skype mix-minus.
  2. Create a Google Voice phone number, or use your current one.
  3. Go into your Google Voice settings > Phones, and set to forward to Google Chat.
  4. Open that Google Gmail account and make sure you’re logged into Gtalk.
  5. Receive phone calls to your Google Voice number and use it just like Skype.

Other services you could use would be Talkshoe or BlogTalkRadio just for the incoming call. You could also forward your feedback number to your wireless phone, and connect that to a mixer with a simple iPod AV cable (works on almost any modern phone with a headphones jack). Their voice usually comes through the red and white cables, your voice usually goes through the yellow cable. I’ll cover these in more detail, with more options, in a future episode.

Managing Audacity plugins

Hi Daniel,

My question is about all the plugins in Audacity. I read through some of the team notes, and it seems they are a ways off from dividing them up into subsets like Adobe Audition does (for example). I wondered if you have given much thought to that, and how you manage the sheer volume of plugin effects.

There are only a few that I really use. Amplify, Noise Removal, Normalize to start. I would like a few EQ options, as well as some reverb. And Chris’s Dynamic Compressor of course!

I was thinking of creating a folder named “Plugins (not in use)”. Then I could drag all the other plugins into that folder. I would have them available if I ever wanted them, but it would clean up my Audacity interface immensely.

I have been experimenting with this and it has not crashed Audacity, so that’s good news.  I had downloaded the LAPSDA plug-ins, so my list was over 100 items!  I found a listing online by the guy who made most of the LAPSDAs and that helped me to see what ones might be useful for me.  I weeded out the others.  Now I will have to play around and whittle my list down some more.  I would ideally like the list of effects to all be visible on the screen without scrolling.

Ron Eastwood

This is a great tip and works well! Just remember that this will be undone when you update Audacity, as the plugins will be thrown right back into the plugins folder.

Multiple USB mics/inputs on Windows

Hi, I am a podcaster and I use a program called Virtual Audio Cable [$30]. It has a bit of a learning curve but it allows you to make multiple audio cables and tell various sources of sound including outputs to route through those cables, You can then use Audacity to take one of those cables as an input. It is kind of hard to explain. There are some youtube videos about it.

Christopher

Thanks! This is a great Windows alternative to making an aggregate device in OS X.

I’m back to Chris’s Dynamic Compressor

After the Audacity Compressor Plugin Showdown, I decided to give Levelator a better chance. But it didn’t work out well for me because of the low noise level I receive and size of my audio files. Levelator was much slower than Chris’s Dynamic Compressor, so I’m back to Chris’s great plugin. But your results may vary.

My frustrations with Disqus and Livefyre

I would like to try commenting systems like Disqus and LiveFyre, but they don’t work with WordPress Network, so I’m not stuck and have hostage comments trapped in those systems.

Read more:

What do you wish you did differently when you started and can’t change now?

I’d like your feedback and stories for a future episode to talk about the things podcasts need to get right the first time. These would be things that can’t be fixed later. This would be stuff like using a free website that gets shutdown without redirection, or many other things.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

27 comments on Live calls, chatrooms, Audacity plugins, and podcast cards [Feedback] – TAP066

  1. Nick Seuberling says:

    Hi Daniel! I tried setting up my google voice/google talk like you said but in order to receive calls from mobile/landline numbers, I have to use google chat in the web browser. The bad part is the notification noise that plays when a call is incoming. I have disabled Sound in my Google chat settings, but I can not get rid of the incoming call sound. I was really hoping to use this for live callers but if a sound is going to play, I can’t use it and interrupt my show.

    1. Yuck. That’s right. I’ll see if there’s any way to disable that. Otherwise, you could forward the calls to a phone that you can connect to the mixer.

      1. Nick Seuberling says:

        is there any way to run two instances of Skype with different skype names?

        1. Only if you have a virtual machine running.

          1. Nick Seuberling says:

            Actually, there’s an easy way to run two instances of Skype with two usernames. For PC users simply create a 2nd Skype desktop icon and replace the target with this “C:Program FilesSkypePhoneSkype.exe” /secondary”. I did it on my last episode and it worked! I forwarded my Google Voice # to my Skype telephone number while on my other Skype username, hosted the conference call. Using the mix minus on my mixer, everyone heard everyone. It worked great!

          2. Oh yeah! I had forgotten that you could do that rather easily on Windows. Not so easy on OS X.

  2. as for me, i always use this nice tool http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_Skype/, it allows to record skype calls in great quality!) but thanx for info)

  3. J.D. Sutter says:

    Hi Daniel,

    You mentioned in a recent show something about separate RSS feeds for podcast episodes and blog posts. It wasn’t clear to me whether you were advocating this practice or not. Can you clarify your feelings on this? Thanks!

    -JD

    1. I do recommend having separate feeds: one is podcast-only (submitted to all podcast directories) and the other is blog and podcast (the human-subscription option).

  4. Brian says:

    Curious, why do you not consider using BlogTalkRadio for more than just the live call? 

    1. BlogTalkRadio is terrible quality and should never be used for recording a podcast. Sitting twenty-four inches away from a computer’s internal microphone is even far better quality than BlogTalkRadio.

      Phone-quality is fine for phone calls, but I think it’s unacceptable for podcasts and only gives podcasting a bad reputation.

      Here are more of my thoughts on the disadvantages of BlogTalkRadio.

      1. Mike says:

        How do I setup something similar to blog talk radio with better sound quality ?

        1. What aspect of BlogTalkRadio do you want to replicate? The live-streaming and chat room, or the live call-ins?

  5. Hi Daniel J. Lewis I have a question I have to start a podcast for an event I am doing I have listened to you describe how to set up using mixlr and it has really fired me up. But I don’t like the effect I am getting from the set up I was using.. Si would explian my situation.

    I have a a sure microphone
    A Mackie 1402 mixer
     Behringer U control 
    Iphone 4s
    Edirol R09HR Recorder
    and head phone

    I want to do Skype calls.
    What the obvious set up here for me to use.
    Thanks for the information.

    1. What “effect” are you getting that you don’t like?

  6. Erika says:

    Are you still recommending people use 2 different computers? That’s ridiculous. I’ve been doing this just fine for almost a year with multiple shows a week with 1 computer.

    1. Two computers is best and easiest, but it’s certainly not the only way. I’ve previously explained and illustrated how to use Skype in podcasting with just one PC.

      The complexity of the setup depends on how much a podcaster wants to do. For example, mixing in sound effects adds an extra layer of complexity. Live-streaming while recording is also more complicated. These extra layers are possible to work with just one PC, but are far easier with even a cheap second PC.

  7. Kev says:

    Is this topic officially dead? I like what you had to say about live streaming using Google Voice for call-ins, but I’d like to know how to do it w/o a mixer (and w/o using “Stereo Mix,”) like using Virtual Audio Cable. I’ve read the whole internet and no such instructions exist (the few attempts have failed for me). I do live broadcasts from “Spreaker,” and just want to be able to take calls/make calls with Google voice; they are only half the price of BlogTalkRadio and are reliable/high sound quality–it’s just the call-in feature that’s sorely missed with Spreaker.

    1. No, this topic isn’t dead.

      Google Voice can work if you don’t get a lot of call-ins, or if you need to call others.

      Stay subscribed, especially to my video edition (or on YouTube). I will soon have a Virtual Audio Cable video, or maybe a few, that can help with this.

      1. Kev says:

        Ok will do. Actually, I think I got it working after I got Sam Broadcaster but I’d like to know alternative methods that don’t use mixxer or require “stereo mix” so I’ll subscribe.

  8. Robert says:

    I do a live radio broadcast each month using DaCast and the free Adobe Encoder at 128bps. I played with BlogTalkRadio, really liked the studio interface with the live call-in feature but hated the sound quality. I decided to live without the call-in feature but
    recently I discovered Callinstudio.com. Here’s their blurb: “Call In Studio is a virtual call-in platform designed for Internet and radio show producers. It allows anyone to virtually accept and manage calls from listeners in an easy-to-use, Web based interface. Call In Studio can be used as a plug-in to your existing Podcast or radio station setup.“ I’m still testing the service but so far I like what I’m hearing and it’s very easy to use compared to Google Voice.
    You might want to check out Daniel.

    1. Thank you, Robert. This is the second or third time I’ve heard of them, but I haven’t had time to fully investigate them yet.

      1. Robert says:

        It seems more options keep popping up. I now use Speek.com and Uberconference.com
        to take live callers alongside DaCast. Super easy and for the most part they are both free.

        1. It’s a great day to be a podcaster!

          I’ve seen reliability problems with uberconference, but I’ll check out the other services you mentioned.

  9. omegamanradio says:

    Like to get some feedback from others on this:

    I have done over 1,200 LIVE podcasts in 3.5 years using Blog Talk Radio and taking live calls for my show Omega Man Radio.
    I usually have a guest doing the show which I simply skype in with me.

    I use a Plantronics DSP-400 USB Headset connected into a ASUS G750 Laptop and skype into BTR.
    A while back I started skyping to a second laptop which runs MIXLR in order to run both a BTR and MIXLR broadcast simultaneously,
    I have the BTR audio, Mixlr archive and I also run callburner in the background as a backup sytsem for capturing audio.

    This month MIXLR released their new software so I now am able to scale down to one laptop and use the ANY INPUT device set to “Loopback” to separate the skype channel from my audio which is on the MICROPHONE channel.

    The problem I have had from the beginning is that I have had to play my commercials/intro and outros from BTR so that those listening thru BTR can hear them and this lower quality audio is being piped thru MIXLR.

    The New Mixlr software has a playlist app which will stream cd quality audios thru MIXLR but I am unable to route them back to the BTR listening audience…

    Anybody know of a way to do this?

    1. I recommend that you upgrade to professional equipment, including a mixer. This will allow you to more easily send the right audio back to Mixlr and BTR so your local recording will be better.

  10. You can use the Skype or Google voice option with Call in Studio (www.callinstudio.com) to take calls in a call-in talk show format, with call screening and many other features.

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