How do I use Skype as a Phone Patch with Pro Tools?

ISDN is a great facility for a voice over artist to have. If you want to record remotely to a studio somewhere else on the planet, it really is the way to go. Truth is that many radio and TV stations around the world won’t take a voiceover seriously unless he or she has ISDN.

Trouble is that it is an antiquated system that the majority of voice artists just wish would quietly die so we can all mourn and move on. It’s expensive to run and many artists rarely see the return on their investment, but without it, we may lose out on valuable opportunities.

But many corporate clients also want to give live direction to a recording, and if you’re working from a home studio, that’s not really going to work. There certainly are many solutions, and I’ve touched on many of them in the past, but today, I want to talk about the use of Skype.

I’m hoping that this blog will appeal to my many colleagues in the world of voice over, because when I tried looking up how to do this, I was most disappointed in what I found. So, if you’re using Pro Tools on a Mac and your hardware interface is the Digi 002, then this guide is for you, and the good news is, it really could not be simpler.

So first, you’re going to need 2 of these:

2014-10-16 17.20.12 Now let me start by saying that I am not a technical person but I believe they would be called photo to eighth inch jack cables, or Y cables if you’re feeling flash.

One pair is going to go into the monitor output points at the back with phono connectors:

 

 

 

And you’ll want to plug the red and whites into this port at the back:

2014-10-16 17.22.22

 

 

 

 

 

And take the other end and plug it into this port at the back of the iMac

2014-10-16 17.21.09 I’ll be honest with you, I’m really not 100% sure what this port is supposed to do, but in this instance it works, so let’s not mess with the magic!

Please note that this is not the headphone socket – we will be using that for the other connector, so hold on…

 

 

 

And the other connector goes into the headphone socket:

2014-10-16 17.21.29

Told you we’d get to it.

 

 

 

 

 

The other end plugs into these inputs at the back of the Digi002:

2014-10-16 17.24.30It’s marked ALT SRC INPUT and that’s important to remember, because you’re also going to want to press a button just next to the MONITOR LEVEL dial marked ALT SRC TO IN 7-8.

 

 

 

 

Just in case you’re someone who really prefers visual aids, it looks like this…

2014-10-16 17.25.01

OK, from a hardware perspective you’re all set. Next, open up Pro Tools and in your session, add one stereo track.

 

 

 

 

Set the input interface to #1/7-8, not the bridge, but the one that you see here:
2014-10-16 17.27.39

 

 

 

 

 

 

Record enable both your mic and the Skype track, then go ahead and make or receive your Skype call. In this set up, everything that the client says will be recorded on Audio 2 and I’ll just delete it later. The beauty of this set up versus using a phone earpiece, is that you can actually play back your last take to the client and they’ll hear it perfectly as the output from your Pro Tools session is being fed directly into the Skype call.

This set up works brilliantly, although make sure you have enough RAM in your machine to drive both processes. Before I installed my RAM, I once did an entire session over Skype only to find that Pro Tools had stopped recording half way though!

Enjoy.