By following this guide, you'll be able to place and record high-quality calls with Skype. Everyone who is serious about prank calling should follow these instructions for the sake of improving the calls and victim soundboards available to the community.
This configuration has two major advantages that most prank callers' studios lack:
- The sound quality of recorded calls is flawless, resulting in calls that are more enjoyable to listen to and also resulting in victim soundboards that are more successful.
- The victim can hear your soundboard perfectly. No more of this "I can hardly hear what you're saying" crap.
- The victim cannot hear themselves, nor can they hear you or your friends laughing in the background during the call.
- Calls are recorded into two separate channels, making it easy to quickly remove one end (your soundboard or the victim) from the call. As a result, any quotes you take from the victim for a new soundboard will have ONLY the victim's voice, even if your soundboard was talking at the same time the victim was saying a particular quote.
In addition to having a computer and an internet connection (obviously), you'll need some inexpensive hardware to make this work.
- Headphone splitter. These can be found easily at Wal-Mart, Target, Radio Shack, etc. A headphone splitter costs about $5 to $10.
- Speakers. You probably already have these.
- Audio cable. Just a simple audio cable that looks like each end would plug into a headphone jack. About $5. Here's an example.
- USB headset or USB speakers. Whichever you choose, this is how the VICTIM's voice will be output for your own listening while you're conducting the call. Any headset (I recommend Logitech) that plugs in via USB (and NOT via an audio jack) should work fine. However, if you can find any, speakers that carry audio through a USB cable would work even better (otherwise, if you have friends at your house to listen to calls live, the only way they'll hear the victim is through the headset). If you decide to go the speaker route, make sure you're getting the right speakers-- many speakers carry power via USB, but carry audio through an audio jack-- those won't work, because the audio MUST be carried through the USB. You'll see why later.
These are all free to download.
- Mp3 Skype Recorder - http://voipcallrecording.com/ - a freeware plugin for Skype which records your calls. The best part about this plugin, compared to similar plugins, is that it can record calls into two separate channels-- the soundboard in the left speaker and the victim in the right speaker, which is important if you decide to create a soundboard out of your victim.
- A text-to-speech program - http://www.naturalreaders.com/ is the one I use (the free version works just fine for our purposes). This software will be convenient if you're using Google411, otherwise you don't really need it.
Setting up the hardwareEdit
- Plug your headphone splitter into your computer's speaker port.
- Plug your speakers into one of the headphone splitter's ports.
- Plug your audio cable into your headphone splitter's other port.
- Plug the other end of your audio cable into your computer's microphone port.
- Plug your USB headset or USB speakers into a USB port on your computer.
Setting up the softwareEdit
- Open Skype and go to Tools > Options.
- Choose "Audio settings" on the left.
- For "Microphone," select your computer's microphone port, NOT your USB headset/speakers.
- For "Speakers," select your USB headset/speakers. This is where the victim's voice will be played for your own listening while the call is being conducted.
- Open Mp3 Skype Recorder and set the "Recording Mode" to "Stereo" (NOT "Joint stereo"); this will separate the soundboard from the victim in the recording. Set the recording bit-rate to 128.
After that, you're ready to place some calls! Because you won't have a REAL microphone plugged in (this is a good thing), you can use the text-to-speech program (NaturalSoft Reader, for example) to say the business name and city/state when you call Google411. Also, remember to run Mp3 Skype Recorder whenever you run Skype (Skype doesn't run the recorder automatically when you start Skype), otherwise your calls won't be recorded.
When your calls are finished, you can use a program like Audacity to trim and improve the audio (amplify the victim's voice if they were talking too quietly, use the Noise Removal effect to remove any feedback/humming in the background, delete long pauses, use the Compression effect to reduce extreme variations in volume, etc.).