It’s a serious issue in contemporary journalism: how do you record phone interviews while using a headset?
Radio Shack sells a nice, cheap device (the previously reviewed Mini-Phone Recorder) that interrupts the cord that goes from the handset to the phone, which works well when you’re using the handset. But when I do interviews by phone, I like to type a rough transcript while I talk, and typing while clamping a handset to your ear with your shoulder can quickly get painful.
When I first confronted this problem earlier this year, I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for solutions. The ones I found were pretty unappetizing. The main technology on offer is a microphone that you stick in your ear, which seems both unpleasant and ineffective.
But then I encountered the good people at Sagebrush.com, who invented this elegant and inexpensive solution, which uses about $20 worth of stuff you can get from Radio Shack.
You need three items:
1. the Gold Series Y-Adapter, 3/32″ Stereo Jacks & 3/32″ Plug, which is item # 2264801 and costs $7;
2. a 1/8″ Stereo Jack to 3/32″ Stereo Plug Adapter, which is item # 2160379 and costs $6; and
3. a 12-Inch Shielded Stereo Audio Cable, which is item # 2265306 and costs $6.
The Y-Adapter splits the signal coming out of your phone’s headset jack. One line goes to the headset; the other goes to the recorder.
Arguably, this is more of a hack than a Cool Tool. But it works (as long as your phone has a headset jack). And it’s very portable: you can also use it on the road by plugging into a cell phone.