How do I use Ennuicastr?
Just log in with the button at the top-right of this page, click “create a new recording” and follow the instructions. Once you're in the recording, a download link is presented to you; share it with anyone you want to record. They just need to type in a name. Click “start recording” to start the recording, then “stop recording” when you're done, and then you can download a sample or pay and download the full recording from the main window. For more details, watch the demonstration video.
Who is Ennuicastr for? Should I use it?
Ennuicastr's primary audience is podcasters with guests. Ennuicastr could also be useful for meetings, voice or musical instrument lessons, and anything else where recording everyone independently but in sync is needed.
The traditional solution is for one individual (the host) to record both themselves and all of their guests, but this degrades the quality, and makes the final project more difficult to edit. Ennuicastr always separates everyone's audio into their own separate audio file, but all that guests are required to do to accomplish this is to open a web page. Audio is captured before transmission over the Internet, so the only source of quality loss is audio compression.
How much does it cost?
You can either pay a simple monthly subscription fee for unlimited recordings, or pay for individual recordings. The price depends on the recording quality. The monthly fee is $10/month for high quality or $15/month for ultra-high quality.
If you prefer to pay for individual recordings, the cost is $1/hour for high quality or $2/hour for ultra-high quality, for up to four users (including the host). Each additional user costs 20¢/hour for high quality, or 40¢/hour for ultra-high quality. This is prorated by the minute, so a 30-minute recording with four users will only cost 50¢. You can pay for a recording after checking whether the audio is satisfactory through a sample download, and simply don't pay for a recording which you don't think is good enough.
For most users, paying for individual recordings is likely to be less expensive than a subscription, but its cost is harder to predict. Of course, if you make a recording that costs more than the monthly fee, you can simply choose to subscribe; subscriptions apply retroactively. For more information on pricing, see the pricing page.
In all cases, payment is through PayPal, and prices are in US dollars.
Why is Ennuicastr so expensive?
It's difficult to place a price on a service like this, because the expenses and income are essentially unrelated to each other. If the service isn't very successful, the price I'm charging may be insufficient even to pay for the servers and other expenses involved (let alone make any profit). If the service is wildly successful, I'll need to provision more servers, take more time, etc. The price is essentially invented at a level that I hope will keep the service afloat.
Why is Ennuicastr so inexpensive?
Wereweasel, the company behind Ennuicastr, is a one-man team. And that one man has another job. The service needs to pay for itself, but it's not paying my rent; everything beyond paying for itself is pure profit. If it becomes moderately but not wildly popular, then we may end up in the awkward position that I need to hire people to manage the service, but would need to increase the price in order to hire them. Hopefully it remains either relatively unpopular or wildly popular, so that the price can stay where it is.
Why isn't Ennuicastr free?
A lot of what Ennuicastr does could be done entirely in the client (i.e., on your computer, in your web browser), and if so, it would be immoral to charge an ongoing fee for it. But, while a lot can be done that way, enough can't that it's still impractical. Live voice chat requires a central hub, and audio processing would be, at best, annoying to do exclusively on the clients. So long as Ennuicastr is tied to online voice chat negotiation and online audio processing, it can't be free, because servers cost money.
My recording sounds bad. Did Ennuicastr screw it up?
There are aspects of sound quality that are out of Ennuicastr's control. If you record with a poor-quality microphone in a noisy room, then nothing Ennuicastr can do will make your audio sound good. Ennuicastr aims to reproduce whatever your microphone records as well as possible, but if the recorded audio sounds poor, then the recording will sound poor, and the only solution to that is to use better equipment in a better environment.
How many people can be in a recording?
Each recording is limited to 64 tracks. In most case this means that 64 users may be in a recording, but note that if a user rejoins with a different nickname than they joined with the first time, they will get a new track. Note also that additional users incur additional cost.
How many recordings can I have?
There is no limit on the total number of recordings that you make, but you may not have more than four recording simultaneously.
How long can my recordings be?
There is no limit imposed by Ennuicastr, but it's probably advisable to keep them under twelve hours for practical reasons.
Can I schedule recordings in advance?
No, but you can make persistent recording URLs (called “rooms”), and then start a recording in a room instantly.
How long do you store recordings?
Recordings expire one month from when the recording was started.
My recording expired! Can you bring it back?
I'm sorry, but the reason that recordings have expiry dates is so that we can delete them to make room for future recordings. When it expires, it's deleted. What you're paying for isn't the disk space on Ennuicastr's server, but the processing time to do the recording in the first place.
Do I have to credit Ennuicastr if I use it for recording?
No. You may if you wish.
Can I use or record video?
Yes and yes!
Video is supported during chat. Due to prioritization of audio data and audio processing, unlike most voice chat apps, video will be slightly out of sync with audio, but it's there.
Additionally, on all modern browsers and also Safari¹, you can record video. Recorded video has a variable framerate for synchronization purposes, and uses formats more common to browsers than typical video editors for pragmatic reasons, so it may need to be converted before your video editor will be happy with it. HandBrake is a popular, free option for such conversion. The format of the recorded video depends on the browser recording it: On Firefox, Chrome, and Chromium-derived browsers, it's WebM/VP8². On Safari, it's Matroska/H.264. To record video, you simply need to select “record video” when creating the recording. Video is synchronized with audio for easy editing, but does not currently support the “pause recording” feature correctly.
Like audio, video is multi-track. Each video-enabled user's well-synchronized video track is in its own file.
Both video chat and video recording are free, and do not in and of themselves affect recording cost.
¹ Because of issues with streaming downloads on Safari, you are advised not to host on Safari if you intend to accept video recordings from guests, and guests using Safari are advised to send their video recordings to the host rather than recording it locally. Both desktop and mobile Safari are supported.
² Chrome and Chromium-derived browsers support VP9, but it's not used by default because Handbrake's support for VP9 is incomplete.
Can I publish my podcast on Ennuicastr?
No. Ennuicastr is a recording platform, not a hosting platform. This is quite intentional, both for Ennuicastr to focus on what it does best, and to avoid getting embroiled into controversies about the views of any hosted content.
I have a separate editor and host. Can we share our recordings?
Ennuicast supports sharing recordings and recording rooms, as well as sharing organizational accounts. To share a recording or room, simply click the “share” button next to it.
Note that only the subscription of the person sharing a recording or room applies to it, not the subscription of the person receiving the shared item.
Can I make an account for my whole organization?
Ennuicastr supports shared organization accounts. Note that organization accounts are separate from standard user accounts; you still need a normal user account to log into, but you can then log into an organization account. To create an organization account, log in with your user account, then click the “organizations” button.
Recording quality? What's that?
When you record audio, many things affect how good the audio sounds. One of them is how the audio is compressed: When audio data is sent over the Internet, it is compressed to take up less space, but many styles of compression are available. In particular, there is lossy compression, and lossless compression. Lossy compression removes some aspect of the sound in order to make it take less space, and is intended to make the difference due to that loss inaudible to the human ear. In Ennuicastr, “high quality” recording is recording with such a lossy style of compression, in a format called Opus.
Lossless compression makes audio take less space, but without removing anything. Because nothing is removed, losslessly compressed audio takes considerably more space than lossily compressed audio. In Ennuicastr, “ultra-high quality” recording is recording with a lossless style of compression, in a format called FLAC. It takes up much more space and bandwidth, hence the higher cost.
There are other aspects to sound quality than how it's compressed, however. If you record with a poor-quality microphone in a noisy room, then even FLAC won't make your audio sound good. Ennuicastr aims to reproduce whatever your microphone records as well as possible, but if the recorded audio sounds poor, then the recording will sound poor, and the only solution to that is to use better equipment in a better environment.
Is ultra-high quality recording worth the price over high quality?
Ennuicastr's “high quality” is just that, and Ennuicastr's “ultra-high quality” is beyond what most other online services would even be willing to provide. High quality is intended to be good enough for almost all purposes. Ultra-high quality is only likely worth it if you have very good recording equipment and a noise-free environment, and are concerned about generational loss. If you don't know what generational loss is, then you probably have no reason to be concerned about it.
Opus? FLAC? AAC? Audacity? What?!
There are many, many different ways of storing audio and transmitting it over the Internet. Ennuicastr offers your audio for download in several formats, and if you're unfamiliar with them, the options may be overwhelming. If you want more information on digital audio, you can read the digital audio primer, but the simple answer is: If you use Audacity, you want an Audacity project file. If you do not use Audacity, and use a Mac or iPhone, you want AAC. In all other circumstances, you want FLAC.
Can't I just get my recording as an MP3?
A lot of the audio hobbyist and podcasting community—including people and companies that should know better—have gotten stuck in a time warp and are using MP3, an audio compression format so hilariously obsolete that its successor's successor's successor's successor's successor has been obsolete for, at the time of writing this FAQ entry, eight years. Educate yourself, and don't get stuck in this time warp. Friends don't let friends use MP3.
Can I really get end-to-end lossless recording?
If you use FLAC and continuous mode at record time and download in FLAC or as an Audacity project, yes, with a couple very small asterisks.
The way Ennuicastr handles synchronization, it is occasionally necessary to cut a small amount of recorded audio to bring tracks back into sync. As much as is possible, this audio is cut when you're not speaking, but regardless, that small amount of audio is lost. The totally lossless audio is still available, as you can download the raw audio that was recorded, but it's in a specialized format and won't work directly in any audio editor, so for normal users, synchronization is a small, localized source of loss.
Secondarily, and we're really getting into the weeds here, Ennuicastr records in 24-bit FLAC. If your hardware produces floating-point samples, and particularly if it produces 64-bit floating-point samples, there is, technically, some loss in this conversion. On the other end, if you download in wav, there's further loss, because the wav files produced are 16-bit; but, FLAC is provided at download time, so there's no reason to use wav. Most—indeed, nearly all—consumer audio hardware produces integer samples, nullifying this source of loss.
For video, Ennuicastr cannot provide lossless recording. You can set the recording bitrate excessively high, but a lossy encoder is always used.
What bitrate do the download formats use?
All of the downloaded formats use constant-quality encoding, not constant bitrate, so the bitrate is not predictable. The FLAC and Audacity formats are lossless.
Will all the tracks be in sync? What if a user joins late, their computer crashes, or they rejoin?
Ennuicastr uses active synchronization to assure that all tracks are always perfectly in sync with each other. “Active synchronization” isn't a buzzword, it's actually just a description: The software constantly re-synchronizes its local time based on the central server's time, so all of the tracks agree. Every audio frame is timestamped, and then resolved into a standard audio stream by the server's software. This active synchronization happens no matter how problematic the user or user's system is. If a user joins late, then the time before they joined is filled with silence to keep their time in sync. If a user rejoins (so long as they use the same nickname), their previous and new tracks will seamlessly join together.
The Ennuicastr software sends its audio data to the server live, while recording. Depending on a user's connection, this data could buffer, and if it does, a full crash will lose whatever audio data was still buffered. In most circumstances, this is very little time. Beyond that, crashes are harmless.
Is my Internet connection good enough to use Ennuicastr?
Voice chat services like Ennuicastr work by sending your audio data to everyone in the same voice chat room; also sending it to the Ennuicastr server is sort of like having one extra person to send it to. So, if your connection handles voice chat flawlessly, it's good enough for Ennuicastr. All broadband Internet connections and most mobile networks should be more than sufficient. The upload to the server is allowed to buffer, and has lower priority than voice chat, so in the worst case, live voice chat itself will work fine, but you may have to wait at the end of recording for the rest of your audio buffer to be sent to the server. Ennuicastr will tell you when this happens.
If you want to calculate exactly how much bandwidth is needed, it is approximately: 8KB/sec per every user in the room other than yourself, plus 16KB/sec for the server. With ultra-high quality recording instead of high quality recording, add an additional 240KB/sec.
If you're doing an ultra-high-quality recording but one of your users is on a slow Internet connection, you can invite them to record in high quality, reducing their bandwidth.
What browsers does Ennuicastr work on? Is my computer/phone/tablet/toaster good enough to use Ennuicastr?
Ennuicastr works on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and all Chromium-derived browsers including Brave and the new Edge. Any computer or phone powerful enough to run one of these browsers should be more than sufficient to use Ennuicastr.
Ennuicastr works on Android using Firefox or Chrome, and on iPhone and other iOS devices using Safari.
How does Ennuicastr work on iOS? Nothing else does!
First, it's worth mentioning that there is only one browser for iOS: Safari. “Chrome” and “Firefox” for iOS are actually just wrappers for Safari. This is Apple's draconian policies at work.
As per how and why Ennuicastr works on Safari, I have not dug deeply into how the competition is implemented, but I assume many use the MediaStream Recording API to record WebM Opus files, which is not and seemingly never will be supported on Safari. It's also not a very good way to record, because there is absolutely no way to account for clock drift or other synchronization problems. Worse yet, Safari does implement the API experimentally—this is how Ennuicastr can record video on Safari—but only using the MPEG-4 container format which, while a reasonable choice as the industry standard, is not a safe format to use for live recording.
Ennuicastr does its own audio encoding, using a port of ffmpeg. This not only gives synchronization support (which is why it was done), but since it doesn't depend on the browser's recording API, just its audio capture API, it works on Safari, including on mobile devices.
Can I use push-to-talk?
Yes and no. You can use push-to-talk with a gamepad or MIDI device, but not with a keyboard. This is because Ennuicastr is browser-based, and for security reasons, browsers don't give global access to keyboard input. If gamepad push-to-talk doesn't cut it, you may be able to find system software that mutes or unmutes your microphone based on keyboard input.
Ennuicastr is capturing too much background noise. Can I do anything about that?
You have a couple of options. In post, you can use noise reduction, but that may not be sufficient. Alternatively, during recording, in input settings, you can set a noise gate. This is what many pieces of voice chat software call “input sensitivity”, and will stop Ennuicastr from picking up your audio if it's below a certain threshold.
What does “open source” mean?
Computer software is written by programmers in programming languages, in a form known as source code. Programs written like this are readable both to computers and to sufficiently knowledgeable experts (i.e., programmers). Most software hides its source code, obscuring the details of how it works and was written. Ennuicastr does not; its source code is available. If you are not a programmer, this source code is not useful to you, but its availability means that Ennuicastr is auditable and accountable.
You may have also heard the terms “Free Software” and “libre software” to describe the same thing. The difference between Free Software and open source is philosophy, not practice. The author of Ennuicastr takes no stand on the philosophy and usually tries to use the neutral term “F/OSS”, but the word “free” is avoided when discussing Ennuicastr because Ennuicastr is Free Software (libre), but not free software (gratis). These ideas occupy the same word in English, creating confusion, but are distinct in many other languages.
If Ennuicastr is open source, can't I just run my own and do my recording for free?
Of course! But if you want support for it, expect to pay a fee for that support. Ennuicastr has a lot of moving parts.
If Ennuicastr is open source, can't I start my own Ennuicastr-like service and undercut you?
Legally, yes. In weasel society, this is considered a “dick move”. I won't sue (and would have no grounds to), but would certainly mumble and curse.
Luckily, on average, the kind of person who would do this lacks the technical skill to do this.
Who are you? Why should I trust you with my audio?
Ennuicastr is a product of Wereweasel, a one-man company registered in Ontario, Canada. This being such a small business has benefits and disadvantages.
A disadvantage is that running Ennuicastr is not my day job, and so support may not be especially fast, and is subject to the foibles of my personality. Also, if I get hit by a bus, this service dies with me. However, Ennuicastr is open source (client, server), so hopefully someone can make an equivalent.
Are you listening in on my audio? Could anyone else be?
Technologically: When you're recording with Ennuicastr, you're sending your audio data to servers owned and operated by Wereweasel. You're just going to have to take my word for it that I'm both sufficiently uninterested and sufficiently busy not to be listening in. As per anyone else, Ennuicastr uses modern standards in secure data transport, so in principle it shouldn't be possible for others to get at your data.
My business cannot trust audio data being sent to yours. Can you help us set up our own Ennuicastr?
So long as you have sufficiently knowledgeable IT staff, yes, for a fee. Please contact us.
I want to record my cult, nymphomania support group, racist sermon, and vegan supremacy meetings all on Ennuicastr. Is that OK?
Yes. Ennuicastr's terms of service allow any recording which is legal in both your and Wereweasel's jurisdictions. Wereweasel will never ban a user for expressing any views legally, no matter how distasteful those views might be to me or society in general.
Why Ennuicastr instead of a standard audio recorder?
If you have two guests or more, and record your audio by any standard means, you will record them both to a single track. This is essentially impossible to edit in any useful way. Even if you have only one guest, your recording will be of their audio after a lossy (and often low-quality) transmission over the Internet.
Ennuicastr always records every guest separately, and does not suffer from transmission loss.
As a matter of paranoia, you're always recommended to use some form of backup recording, and a standard audio recorder is your best bet for a backup.
Why Ennuicastr instead of having my guests record themselves?
Two main reasons: Fool-proofing and synchronization.
If you have multiple guests, and even one of their recordings fails in some way, then the session is wasted. By recording with a central hub (Ennuicastr), on a service that involves nothing more than opening a browser window, such failures are made considerably less likely.
Synchronization is surprisingly difficult between different audio tracks. Even if you get the initial synchronization right, different devices have different timing crystals, so in a recording that lasts more than an hour or so, the tracks are likely to drift back out of sync. Ennuicastr uses active synchronization. This isn't a buzzword, just a description: Each client's software actively keeps its timer in sync, so the tracks never drift, and are synchronized from the very start.
As a matter of paranoia, you're always recommended to use some form of backup recording, and having each guest record themselves is a decent choice.
Why Ennuicastr instead of (similar-looking online service)?
The world of online recording is quite diverse. The author of Ennuicastr has compiled a comparison of the basic differences between the services, but here are some of the unique advantages of Ennuicastr:
• Ennuicastr uses active synchronization, which is a superior synchronization system to any competitor.
• Ennuicastr offers (for an extra fee) totally lossless recording end-to-end. Many competitors let you download a lossless file, but actually record using lossy Opus.
• Ennuicastr offers video recording at no extra cost, on all platforms.
• Ennuicastr is open source (client, server). I don't hide anything about exactly how it works. You don't need to be an expert to use Ennuicastr, but if you are an expert, you can see for yourself why it works well.
• Ennuicastr is the only online recording solution with a weasel experiencing ennui as its mascot.
What's the relationship between Ennuicastr and Craig?
Ennuicastr is by the same author as Craig, the recording bot for Discord, and in fact, Ennuicastr started its life as a plugin for Craig to bypass Discord. That version of Ennuicastr, now simply called the Craig Webapp, is still available in Craig.
Craig and Ennuicastr share some basic software and techniques, and share many concepts, but are disconnected services. The Ennuicastr client in Craig (the Craig Webapp) is the same software as the Ennuicastr client here, but the server software is totally unrelated.
Ennuicastr in Craig is free, but it's also inextricably linked to Discord.
Craig is also the name of the weasel who is the mascot for Ennuicastr. Whether that Craig is the same Craig as the bot Craig is left to your interpretation.
Is it Ennuicastr or ecastr?
“ecastr” is a more memorable abbreviation of Ennuicastr, but the formal name of the software and service is Ennuicastr. If you'd prefer to call it “ecastr”, please call it “ecastr.com”.
How do you pronounce “Ennuicastr”?
“On we caster”, with the emphasis on “we”. “Ennui” is a word of French origin, so of course its pronunciation is bizarre.
What sort of a name is Ennuicastr?
The kind of name that someone who names a business “Wereweasel” would come up with.
It's a parody of the name of a competing piece of software, but more to the point, I like naming things in a tongue-in-cheek way that has weird or negative connotations, but in a sufficiently obscure way that the name can transcend those weird connotations. I happen to think that Ennuicastr has a nice ring to it, plus it amuses me, so that's the name.
You know what “ennui” means, right?
What do you think?
What's the Ennuicastr mascot?
Ennuicastr's mascot is a weasel named Craig. Craig watches your audio, but your audio does not bring Craig joy. (Note: Craig is not real and does not actually watch your audio; we respect your privacy.)
Craig was drawn by munpetals.
Isn't it unprofessional to have a weasel representing this software, or to name it Ennuicastr?
There is an unfortunate tendency in modern culture to conflate “professional” and “dull”. There is nothing unprofessional about a sense of whimsy.