how do I record phone interviews

ok, new to all this. I want to record phone interviews for potentially uploading to a podcast, archiving, RSS feeding etc. How do I record a phone conversation with a person I am interviewing?

For best sound quality, you record your side of the conversation, they record their side, then they send you their recording and you put the two together.

An inexpensive way to do it all “from your end” is to put them on speaker-phone and place your microphone between yourself and the speaker - don’t expect broadcast quality.

Is this perfect timing or what? There is no good, simple answer, so we are embarking on a research and fact gathering campaign. We don’t want scared chickens every time somebody asks this.

How is the interview person arriving? Be specific. “By Phone” tells us nearly nothing. Copper land-line deskset? Skype? Do you need it portable between rooms or time zones?


Two suggestions i’ve found in my quest to do the same…

  1. find a male-male 3.5mm connector. Plug one into your headset plug on your phone (this will record sound out only), and plug it into your mixer. Now you’ll have to hold the phone receiver next to wherever you’re speaking into your mic. I’m currently doing this, and it’s working out alright. Apparently on the other end it sounds like I put them on speaker phone.

  2. JL audio makes the ‘dapter 2’ which I think would eliminate me holding the mic to my face, though at $175, it’s a tough gamble if you’re cheap like me. I’m getting to the point I might spring for that though

Plug one into your headset plug on your phone

So that’s your cell phone, and not landline and not Skype.

You can’t make assumptions when you start asking questions like that.

I suspect what the more expensive unit does is completely take the place of a communications headset. Not only do you have to capture both sides of the conversation, you also have to be able to hold the conversation in the first place.

The gold standard of all these tools is to put you on Left and the caller on Right of a stereo show. Then you can mix, apply effects and filter each side as needed for the final show.

Yes, there are certainly ways to fudge this and we’ll probably list those, too. I have both of the Radio Shack “telephone recorders” and they’re both terrible. That’s the problem with fudge tools. They may work OK for you on your Motorola cellphone, but they may not work for me on my Samsung.


yes I pulled out my ‘jump to conclusions mat’ for that one, but considering land lines are more or less dead, and most people refer to skype as skype and not a “phone” i felt safe in my assumptions. I will keep my guard up moving forward. Just trying to help a guy out based on what I know, albeit rudimentary.

Also, I thought the 3.5mm plug was relatively universal, smart phone or not.

I thought the 3.5mm plug was relatively universal, smart phone or not.

The plug size may be, but have you looked closely at the number of gold rings on a cellphone headset?

You still need to pay attention when you go into a phone store to buy accessories.

land lines are more or less dead

I had a disturbing conversation a bit ago. The three top technologists at work and I maintain copper landlines, and those were only the three I talked to. Given, we live in an earthquake zone, but still.

Don’t get lost. We’ll need you to participate when we get this thing rolling. This is a public forum, not a help desk.


Just to add another idea, many cellphone service providers will provide their own recording services and then you access the recordings on the web, or if not, third-party companies will provide such, like:

Of course, this is not cheap, but is hassle free and usually of high quality.


I’m all sorts of turned around sometimes here.

I am interested to try the left vs right side on my next podcast. So far they have been pretty good as stereo recordings right down the middle for both, but I’m just learning.

But no earlier when I mentioned the dapter2, you still have to buy the in between cords for phone to dapter2 and dapter2 to mixer. It disables the cell phone’s speaker as if you were using a headset. Then when yo speak through your mid it goes through the mixer to the phone. I called a technition at Jk last august and it will work as you think, it’s primarily bought by radio stations per the service rep. I think there,s a special concession you have to make with your mixer in order that the callers spoken audio doesn’t end back up on their end.

Yes, the broadcast people have the advantage of a multi-bus mixing console to take advantage of the split feeds. The grownups even have a special service called “mix-minus.” The caller hears everything going on in the live radio or TV show except themselves (which would echo and cause all sorts of problems.).

I’m going to copy a piece I wrote on a Radio Shack device that just made it out of testing. It seems to be a really good, cheap way to make good quality recordings and it’s not married to the device or phone. Forget the 3013 microphone. That’s something I force to work because I have it. This thing is much better.

Olympus Test

I did a real world test of the Olympus TP7 phone pickup.

It’s better than the 3013 tie-tack microphone because I don’t have to glue it to my face. It’s a fitted earpiece and you get to choose the size of rubber comfort nubbie that goes over the unit to suit. The StarTech ICUSBAudio and most soundcards use the central ring for battery and the unit uses a sharing system at the tip. Not to fear. One of the adapters included in the package works famously. So a TP7, a StarTech USB adapter and a computer is all you need for a very simple, reasonable phone capture. Any “held to your head” device should work.

ICUSBAudio $20
TP7 $20

I think the only way you could get away cheaper past the Skype systems, is put the cellphone on speaker and record your computer built-in microphone on the kitchen table. This will not work with most non-corporate desksets and wireless telephones, and it will pick up the refrigerator noise in the kitchen.

Oh, and no replacing 3013 batteries once a year. It uses the computer USB battery. That could cause trouble on computers with dirty power.