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Recording Skype to Skype

During my trip to The Fortress of Solitude for November to avoid the blogosphere I had a friend ask about the best way to record a phone interview. It was more strategy than tactics and Tim Street called me out for shoddy workmanship. Since I had begged off on blogging for the month this was classic “No good deed goes unpunished”. Now after a few months in my draft bin, here’s how to do the best option – skype to skype:

  1. Have a smoking fast internet connection. I use Verizon Fios.
  2. There are many ways to run skype and record it via software on the same computer. I don’t trust any of them.
  3. Run skype on your PC and have your sound card set up so that you can monitor yourself in your headphones and hear the caller. I use a standard issue Dell laptop but add an external sound card. I use the Mobile PRE USB, which then allows me to record with my E/V N/D767a microphone (this is about $250 worth of stuff).
  4. Instead of going to the headphones the audio out goes into a digital recorder. I use the Marantz PMD 660, which is more expensive than a lot of recorders but it is a lot more rugged, gets great sound, and sarcastic news audiophiles say it’s so simple even a reporter can use it.
  5. Monitor the sound on the recorder, now you are listening to the final output.
  6. If possible make sure your interview subject is using headphones and has a good microphone. One benefit of this method is that if your subject is not tech savvy you can still use Skype Out to get them on a regular phone and they will sound ok, and you will still sound great.

This is not the cheapest way to do it but it sounds great and it’s the safest way to go. If you are going to get only one shot at the interview this is the way to go.