One of the technology challenges I had in putting my early shows together was how to record a phone interview. My first ever interview for the Electric Sky was with Art Turner. For that, I set up two microphones and navigated an elaborate mess of stands, cables, keyboards, papers and my speaker phone. It wasn’t pretty, and the sound quality wasn’t what I had hoped for. In fact, there was so much bleed between the microphone I used on myself, and the one I used for the speakerphone, that in the final edit, I only used one of the audio channels in my editing software.

My next thought was to record a Skype or Skype-Out conversation directly to the computer on which Skype ran. Like many of you, I learned that doing this causes incredible feedback on the other end of the connection. That makes it very hard for the interviewee.

The solution I adopted is not elegant, though it works. It involves a computer with Skype installed, a block of Skype-Out time (for interviews with guests without Skype), a Logitech headset, my iRiver and the male-to-male mini-plug cable included with my iRiver. Here’s how I make it work.

I plug the microphone of the headset to the microphone-in connection on my computer. Then I plug the iRiver mini-plug cable from the headphone out of the computer to the line-in of the iRiver. Then, I plug the headphones into the iRiver headphone jack. Do not plug the USB cable in to the iRiver as that will overide all other operations except file transfer mode. Now, I’m cabled and I’m still able to listen to the audio on the headphones using the iRiver to provide the audio feed to the headset.

Next, I set up my iRiver to record an external line-in source and set a reasonable audio level (maybe 45-50) using the iRiver control panel. Then, set your operating mode to Line In. Leave the iRiver on. On the computer’s playback mixer, I usually set the Master volume fader to about halfway, the Wave fader to about halfway, and the Microphone fader quite high, almost full.

When I’m ready to record my interview, I press the record button on the iRiver, then start my call in Skype. The iRiver will record until you stop it, or until your battery dies (oh yeah, make sure you have a lot of juice in your battery). When I’m done, I stop the recording and then hook up the iRiver to the USB cable and retrieve the file onto the computer for editing using the iRiver Music Manager.