For the past three weeks I have been gearing up for a new podcast that I’m starting up with my buddy Shayne. My goal has been to find a combo of hardware and software that I could use on my Mac so that I could easily port the setup around and record my podcast from virtually anywhere. On the hardware side, I’m starting out pretty basic with a Blue Snowball microphone (which is awesome, BTW) connected directly to the Mac. At this point there’s no mixing board or anything like that. Since Shayne is in Texas, he’ll be calling in via Skype.
After spending 3 hours trying to get some other software solution to work, I contacted my buddy Doug. He pointed me towards WireTap Anywhere and GarageBand, which is included free on the Mac. I downloaded the trial and proceeded to bounce my head against the wall. Then, just as I was ready to give up, I made one last attempt. Amazingly, it worked. It didn’t just work, it worked exactly as I wanted it to.
Since I wasn’t able to find a suitable step-by-step tutorial on how to make it work, I decided to write one myself.
Here is the scenario I was shooting for. I will be talking on a USB mic and will have a caller on Skype. I want to record both of our audio on individual tracks in GarageBand so I can modify sound levels independently as needed. I’ll wear headphones to hear the caller so the system audio doesn’t bleed in to my USB mic.
This tutorial assumes already that you have a USB mic plugged in, Skype and WireTap Anywhere should both be installed.
Step 1 – Create a new audio device that contains your mic and Skype.
This was the initial cause of my confusion. I had it in my mind that I needed to create 1 device for Skype and 1 device for my microphone. But, GarageBand will only take one input, so you use WireTap Anywhere to create a single device that contains both input sources.
Step 2. Set “Mix Sources To:” to “Off”
Since we want both of our audio streams to be recorded on separate tracks, we do not want WireTap Anywhere to mix them together for us.
Step 3. Set “Audio Input:” to your new WireTap device
In the GarageBand -> Preferences menu select the Audio/MIDI tab. Then, in the dropdown for Audio Input you should see a device named WireTap: [your device name]. Select it and close the menu.
Note, you may get the following warning message. Click Yes.
Step 4: Set the Input Sources
In GarageBand set up two tracks. One will be for you, one will be for the caller on Skype. Select the first track and in the bottom right corner you should see a settings box that looks like this:
After that’s set, select the second audio track and select the input settings like this:
Notice that on the first track I’ve selected Stereo 1/2 and on the second track I’ve selected Stereo 3/4. If I had added more input devices as part of my custom device in WireTap Anywhere, they would have shown up as Stereo 5/6, Stereo 7/8, etc.
That’s all there is too it. Have your caller call in on Skype, click the record button in GarageBand and you are all set!
If you have any questions, definitely leave me a comment!