You Already Have A Phone Patch

Hey, there!

Sometimes, we make things a lot harder for ourselves than we need to.

Sometimes, the solution to our problem is right in front of our eyes.

Or, right in our ears.

First, let’s make sure we understand what a phone patch is, and what it does.

A phone patch is a device that connects, or patches, a phone line into a studio console so that the client, who might be in a remote location, can “listen in” on the voice session without being recorded by the engineer. They might just listen, they might offer direction, or they might be playing Words with Friends while pretending to care about the session.

You used to have to have a three- or four-thousand dollar piece of equipment hooked into an elaborate set of inputs and a muting system to accomplish this. And some studios still have that.

But you have a much simpler, much more elegant solution, sitting in your pocket, purse, pouch or desk.

Or in your ear.

You have a Bluetooth or wired headset for your cell phone, right? You do if you drive legally with a cell phone in California, and in a lot of other states.

That’s your phone patch.


If you use a mic without a set of headphones, just plug in your cellphone’s headset, wired or wireless and have the client call you at the appointed time of your session. When you talk into your studio mic, you’ll also be talking into your cell phone headset at the same time. And you’ll only be able to hear the client in your ear – the studio mic won’t pick up that sound.

And if you do use headphones, you can still do the same thing – just put the cell headset on first, then your monitoring headphones, making sure that the tip of the mic boom of the cell’s headset is exposed, or, if the headset’s mic is on the cord that leads to the phone, it’s not stuffed inside your headphone’s cups.

(Which really sounds dirty.)

And if you use earbuds, just use one, and use the headset in the other ear.

And that’s it! And it actually sounds better than the old phone patch – with no muting needed.

As usual, enjoy. And if you’re looking for the cell headset I use, here it is: the Plantronics Discovery 975, the very best Bluetooth headset on the market. A link:

Hope this helps.


8 Responses to You Already Have A Phone Patch

  1. Andy Field June 22, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    I use Google Voice or Skype. That way the client is hearing me through the actual microphone that I’m using and I’m hearing the client in my existing headphones. No need for additional hardware at all! Technology is amazing, huh?

    • David H. Lawrence XVII June 22, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      That’s great, as long as there’s nothing of that Skype or Google Voice call being picked up by the mic – awesome!

    • Jonathan Strait November 17, 2019 at 11:45 am #

      I’m with you Andy! Google Voice is awesome and you can’t beat free!

      Thanks David!

  2. Cindy June 22, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Brilliant!! Thanks for this one!

  3. Robert Leach June 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Our “voice patch” is a dedicated Apogee Mic into a first gen. Ipad mini running Skype (with phone call upgrade). Unless the client is eating or has some other distraction going I have a small JBL speaker plugged into the Ipad. I like the direction to be on the recording so I or the client’s editor can hear which takes they liked and there is no confusion about what the direction or frequent line changes were. If the client has too much background, I either ask them to mute while my daughter is reading or use an ear bud instead of the speaker.

    My daughter has an ongoing job that is recorded like this and it works better than other commercial patch solutions I have tired. I found running Skype through the same computer that was recording sometimes caused problems. that is why I went with the Ipad Mini.

  4. Rich Masotti February 27, 2017 at 7:39 am #

    Thank you for all of the above!

  5. Tim Carter May 15, 2018 at 6:40 am #

    As usual, a workaround that’s practical. I love love love simple and practical solutions like this one. TNX David as we say in Morse.

  6. Blair May 16, 2018 at 8:55 am #

    Thank you David for helping us keep things simple and less expensive!

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