«Return to Blog List Recording Interviews: My Setup

Chances are, most of your customer interviews are by phone. For me, it’s 99% of all interviews for case studies and success stories.

I occasionally get questions about how I record interviews. I type my notes during the call and record calls digitally to have as a backup to verify information during the writing process – especially with complex technical subject matter.

It took me a while to find the right pieces of equipment to record calls with my hands-free phone. It comes down to these two pieces:

  • The VEC Telephone Record Adapter
  • Olympus Digital Voice Recorder

Both of these connect to my phone, allowing me to simply hit record anytime I’m on a call (after asking those on the call for permission).

You can find the adapter at http://www.nch.com.au/hardware/callrec.html. I got the recorder at Radio Shack. It works very smoothly!

7 Responses to Recording Interviews: My Setup

  1. Wow, I was planning a post on the very same topic!
    I have almost exactly the same setup, except my recorder is a Sony… Really comes in handy now that my brain doesn’t retain like it used to!

  2. Greg Binsto says:

    I use recordiapro.com. its really easy and i download all my interviews as an mp3 file onto my computer. ever hear of it?

  3. Graham,
    Oh, I beat you to the punch! It does sure help, especially with fast-talkers that go faster than I can type.
    Greg, I haven’t heard of Recordiapro, but I’m glad to know about it. Do you need any equipment for that? What would you say is the benefit over the other way? I’m always looking for recommends to pass along to writers.

  4. Hi Casey,
    I got rid of my office phone in 2005 and work only with my cell now…wireless guy that I am. I would be interested in hearing about any setup that works well for a cell phone.
    I rarely record interviews, choosing instead to write like a maniac – I use a clipboard and a stack of paper, and usually am pleased with my notes. I think it makes me listen better. When I read that Poe Bronson takes handwritten notes and doesn’t record, I figured I’m in good company.
    Earlier this year though, I did an article on submerged arc welding for a trade pub. I’m not a technical guy and know less about welding…so this one pushed me to the limit. I interviewed the heads of the SAW business units from the two largest US welding manufacturers, (both degreed engineers) and wrote several pages of notes for each interview. What a learning curve this was and how I would have liked a recording!
    So I decided I need to invest in a system, but have yet to look into any details. I will also soon switch from Windows to Mac, so I need to marry up with OS-X. Any direction provided will be appreciated. slr

  5. Hi Steven,
    There must be a way to record via cell phone and for Mac users, but I personally don’t know how. I’m not sure where you are, but Radio Shack has been the most helpful of any place. You can really explain your setup and see what answers they have.
    For the more technical interviews, I might suggest using a conference line with recording capabilities. I use ReadyTalk for any interviews with multiple parties, and they have a record option if you need it. I’m not sure of the cost though. It might be worth it in cases where you really need the recording.
    I also like to record when interviewing non-native English speakers for case studies. I may not understand every word during the call, so the backup recording really helps.

  6. Stephanie Hepburn says:

    I am conducting an interview on Friday and am going to try Recordiapro (https://recordiapro.com/).
    I will let you know if it works well or not. It seems a bit pricey. However, all of the reviews of the product say it is great. We will see.

  7. Tess Wittler says:

    Hi Casey,
    I use the Olympus TP7. I hook the jack into my digital recorder, and stick the ear bud/microphone in my ear. Because I am often asked to do interviews “on the fly” I find this to work out really well – no matter if I am on my land-line (preferred) or on the cell phone (sitting in a parking lot before heading into an event – yes, that’s happened a few times). I got it at Radio Shack for less than $20.