There has been some discussion regarding problematic audio clipping and distortion when using Audio Hijack 3.xx to record a split Skype conversation on independent channels. Basically the recording/playback level of the Skype channel will sometimes exhibit clipping and distortion. Prevention is simple: Adjust the Skype level in Skype Preferences - Audio/Video. Real time audio processing is also an option.
For example it is possible to apply discrete “pre-processing” to each channel of a Session when recording. This initial stage of processing will ensure that captured audio will be optimized and well suited for post production including Loudness compliance processing. Why would we consider independent processing? The answer is simple: the mic audio and the Skype audio are two entirely different sources. What works for one may not work for the other.
In Hijack lingo we can insert independent audio plugin Blocks to each channel of the signal flow. This would be similar to “inserting” plugins on independent DAW tracks. All options are of course highly subjective, as is the overall configuration and complexity of the Session.
Below I demonstrate how to set up a basic discrete Audio Processing Session for a split file containing a Host and a Skype participant. The Host audio will be recorded on the left channel and the Skype participant will be recorded on the right channel. I added a Waves L2 Ultramaximier to the signal flow of the Host audio to increase the overall average level. I also added a FabFilter Pro-C Compressor to the signal flow of the Skype participant to tame the dynamics of aggressive speech. Note that prior to initiating a test recording, the Skype level in the application Preferences was adjusted accordingly to prevent clipping.
The stereo clip below displays a snippet of a (processed) recording. There is sufficient headroom and the audio is well suited for additional processing.
As far as the components (Blocks) of the session, I used the bundled Audio Hijack meters to display the audio levels coming out from Skype. I then implement a split stereo signal flow using “Channel” Blocks and independent instances of “Output Device” Blocks. Audio plugins are inserted on each channel and allow independent processing.
Channel Blocks in Audio Hijack have popup menus with various Mode options. In order to maintain a discrete signal flow for each channel, select “Kill Right” for the left channel, and “Kill Left” for the right channel. The discrete audio will pass through the inserted plugins and out through the Output Device Blocks.
In the Advanced options of the Output Device Blocks we continue to maintain discrete channel separation as follows: The demo Audio Interface (Mackie Onyx 1220i FW Mixer) uses outputs 1+2. So the Host Audio Device needs to route both the Left and Right channels to Output 1. For the Skype participant’s Audio Device, the Left and Right channels need to route to Output 2.
I added a professional grade level meter (bx_meter by brainworx) after the final Recorder Block. This meter instance displays accurate levels of the processed audio.
Please note in this particular session I was not concerned with Integrated Loudness over time or True Peak compliance. Since this session was solely designed to capture suitable audio slated for post production, I elected to use standard signal level (“Peak”) Meters as opposed to one or more Loudness Meters.
If you prefer to distribute processed audio right out of the box, it is recommended to insert a True Peak Limiter and a Loudness Meter at he very end of the session chain.
bx_meter by brainworx:
One final note - I’m not crazy about Rouge Amoeba referring to Session components as “Blocks.” From now on I think I’ll refer to them as Modules …
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