Don't Believe The Skype!


So a while back just before Christmas we had to cancel one of our recording sessions due to cataclysmic technical issues with my recording and Skype setup, and not for the first time in recent months it has to be said.  Basically I was using my new Blue Snowball Mic and I noticed that as soon as I started to talk the recording level would increase of its own accord until it hit maximum levels at which point the audio was in the crapper.

Now to put you in the picture, my recording setup is as follows: Blue Snowball Mic (recently purchased for me by the Ayatollah, prior to that it was a generic USB recording mic), Windows 10 laptop, Skype for Windows for talking to Duncan and Audacity for recording my vocals tracks.  All of this had worked fairly seamlessly until I introduced the new mic (which would later prove to be a red herring).

After much googling with very little success we ascertained that the problem was a setting within the Skype to "automatically adjust microphone settings".  If this is ticked it allows Skype to adjust the levels and in my case to keep upping them until the laptop shat itself.  Glad to have found a solution I raced off to test it only to discover that the new version of Skype no longer makes that option available to the user, in fact many of the more advanced audio controls are now gone.  Cue complete and utter meltdown or Bazmageddon if you will. 


At this point all hopes of recording were abandoned and I was genuinely considering whether or not the whole thing was really worth the stress it was causing me.  The point of me starting to use Audacity had been to try and eliminate some of the sound quality issues we had experienced when Duncan would record the whole show direct from our Skype connection.  Would we be better just going back to that?

This situation dragged on for a few weeks until I mentioned it to my office-mate who also has a background in recording.  He set about investigating the issue on my behalf and eventually came across ONE solitary forum post that happened to mention the new Skype App and its associated feature loss.  He sent me a link to what was referred to as classic Skype and suggested I try installing that instead.

Now a month or so previously I had received a message within Skype asking if I wanted to try the new version of Skype which was specially optimized for Windows 10 compatibility.  Assuming this was just their latest upgrade I clicked Yes and installed it.  Turns out this wasn't actually an upgrade to my existing Skype instance, but was actually a separate install of a new App which was in line with Microsoft's push towards a more Apple inspired architecture in Windows 10.  

Using the link I had been given I installed classic Skype onto my laptop with no problem and it happily sat alongside the App with no conflict whatsoever.  I fired it up and lo and behold I was able to access all of the old sound settings and sure enough the "automatically adjust microphone settings" tickbox was ticked.  I immediately unticked it and ran some tests.  

All of my recording level issues had vanished.

And there you have it folks, as ever Microsoft have tried to improve one of their core applications by making it markedly worse, to the point that is practically unusable to anyone other than a retired schoolteacher who wants to talk to their grandkids in Milwaukee once a month.  So don't be fooled into installing this piece of shit, it's not worth the effort or the minor stroke you will suffer trying to do anything with it.

Fuck you Microsoft, just FUCK YOU!!!

Barry Lowe