I did a search and saw that there has already been a discussion on phone patches awhile ago, but I though I would revisit the topic and see what everyone else is using, has had good luck with (good connection, clear audio, playback capabilities) and whatever other information you can give me would be great.
So far, I have heard the most about JK Audio Phone Patches and that using Skype is a great way to set up a phone patch. What are people's takes on these two set ups?
I work on a Mac and use an Apogee Duet and for now am just using a hands-free device with my cell phone should I need a phone patch. This works great for getting direction from the client/producer/director, but does not work so great when they want to hear the audio back. So, it is time for me to upgrade. I think I may be in need of purchasing a mixer as well (rather than using the Duet) so that I can hook a phone patch up properly.
Thanks so much,
Judy Fossum VoiceOvers
I'm using Skype for my phone patch now, though I used to have a JKAudio unit. It's just way easier to me. HOWEVER...you mentioned you are using an Apogee interface. Skype has a way of messing with the input volume on the Maestro app that sets the input and output levels for the interface. (I have an Apogee ONE.) Skype will auto-adjust the volume unless you disable it in one the program's files. I can track down the how-to if you'd like, but I basically googled "skype disable auto gain" or something like that. The ONE has been great with Skype since I tweaked that file.
We tried a JK Audio hybrid phone patch, it was nearly useless. Then we tried a higher end one I think it was Gentner or something. Completely useless.
George Whitam suggested Skype and it worked but was kind of buggy. So we got an IPad for SKYPE so it would be separate from the recording computer. We have used it on several sessions and it works great. We pay a small fee I think its 60 a year so we can call the client's phone from Skype.
When not a being used as a phone patch the Ipad is for reading longer scripts so we don't have to print them, and its an extra monitor when we need that. My Dad thought Ipads were toys but I got him to get it and it really worked out great.
An excellent justification of an iPad. :) I like it!
I have a phonepatch but I find that clients who want to direct nearly always opt for Skype. Skype does provide much better audio both ways, but along with Anthony I was driven mad by it messing with my record levels. I, too, got the code from Skype to try and disable the auto level. It went on messing with my Mac, so I called Skype who said it is a known issue and they 'are working on it'. I think we shall all have to work on them!
What I do now is comparable to Alexis: a spare pc dedicated to Skype, with a listen feed into my headphones and a send feed from the studio mic pre. I don't give the client a send feed from the track replay because of delay, though I might have to if they want playback. Why is life so complicated? To break the hum loop you can get when you link computers, I use dimestore car-audio isolation transformers - perfectly adequate for this purpose.
I hear that some performers simply use a speakerphone to take direction, and that it works fine, but how do they stop line noises creeping into their mic?
Anthony, Alexis and Howard,
Thank you, thank you! Your information is greatly appreciated and so very helpful in regards to tech stuff, what works, what doesn't, equipment. Great stuff. So I am thinking that Skype is most definitely the way to go and with a few tweaks and getting things set up I should be able to get everything to work. In the phone patch sessions I have had thus far, they have always wanted play backs so I I am thinking that an iPad purchase may be in the works quite soon. Thank you all for taking the time to write and for your help and expertise.
Have a great weekend,
Hey it's good it helps - these sessions are great for sharing tips. I have a query for you, Alexis, if you are there: how do you hear what your Skype iPad is saying to you in a session? Through the internal speaker? Earbud? Direct connection?
Skype users - good news! Many of us are inconvenienced, to say the least, by Skype's auto gain control playing around with our recording levels and having no option in the recent versions to turn it off.
Following emails to and fro since December, and abortive attempts to use an XML patch they provided, I am glad to say Skype have just emailed me to say the next version, in a few weeks, addresses the issue.
Howard Ellison (Devon, UK)
That is super news, Howard. Thanks for the update!