– My new tool

For my telephone interview with physician/author Danielle Ofri, I used my new tape recorder and telephone pickup.

Olympus recorder and telephone pickup

I recommend both: the Olympus WS-331M digital voice recorder (about $100) and the Olympus TP7 telephone pickup (about $20). The pickup is neat. It plugs into the mic jack of the tape recorder, and then the ear bud goes in the interviewer’s ear. As I listened to Danielle, the ear bud recorded what I heard in my ear, or Danielle’s voice, and the recorder’s external mic captured my voice.

On my sister Sally’s recommendation, I used Express Scribe v 5.02 from NCH Software (free) to play back the audio file as I transcribed it. First, I connected the recorder’s USB terminal to my Mac’s USB port and saved the .WMA file on my desktop. Then I imported the .WMA file into Express Scribe, which allowed for lots of control (speed, volume, start, stop, ff, etc.) as I listened to the file, re-listened to passages, and typed.

Olympus recorder, with USB terminal exposed, and telephone pickup

I actually bought the recorder to tape some interviews I’m doing with students for a teaching-related research study. For that recording situation, nothing more than the recorder and a list of questions are needed. I followed the same procedure for transferring the .WMA files to my MAC, for later transcription.

The only accessory that could improve this experience of recording and transcribing is a foot pedal to control the playback of the recording. I did designate a few hot keys in Express Scribe to speed the frequent stopping and restarting of the playback, but a foot pedal would have saved even more time and hand motions.

A few weeks ago I was a beginner at the recorded interview. This nifty little setup made me feel like a pro.


Post script: I almost called this post “My new gun,” as an homage to a great, yet little-seen Diane Lane film called… My New Gun (1992). Marcia recommended it to me years ago. It’s a stealth surprise: weird, suspenseful, sexy.

3 thoughts on “– My new tool

  1. Oooh…phone pickup…*want*. This is great, Jane–can’t wait until I teach my introduction to folklore class again, and need to make equipment recommendations for the fieldwork project. There are always a few students who have to do their interviews by phone, and this is *way* more sophisticated than the fly-by-night method I usually recommend (put your interviewee on speakerphone and plunk a recorder down next to the tinny speaker).

    And Express Scribe is new to me, too–I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: - Bought back my own time « Leaf – Stitch – Word

  3. Pingback: Art and method of the interview | leaf – stitch – word

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