When you talk over a conventional land-line phone (and many cellphones), the sound that you hear in your earpiece contains the caller’s voice, plus a portion of your own voice mixed in (at “telephone quality”). It’s this “telephone quality” version of your voice that is the main focus of attention in phone hybrid equipment.
If there were no hybrid, one channel of your mixer would contain your voice at full studio quality. Meanwhile, another channel would contain the phone caller at phone quality, plus your voice at phone quality.
When the two versions of your voice (studio quality and phone quality) are mixed together, a distorted sound will result, as well as odd peaks and nulls at various frequencies.
Not only that… the low-quality version of your voice (the part we don’t want) is much LOUDER than the caller (that we do want). This makes it extremely difficult to mix the voices appropriately, since your voice is on both channels, and the caller is way too quiet.
The objective is to eliminate the poor-quality version of the talent voice. We want only the caller’s voice, with no trace of the talent voice. This is what hybrids attempt to do. As you might guess, low-cost hybrids don’t achieve this as well as the pricier ones. For under $200, analog hybrids like AUTOHYBRID and TT1 do a fair job. There is still a certain amount of low-quality talent voice remaining, still noticeable under the full-quality voice.
Digital hybrids like HOST, DH20, and HX-1 can almost completely eliminate the talent’s voice from the caller audio. They start around $500, and go up from there. Digital hybrids are the standard for broadcast-quality telephone calls.
Here is a link to our selection of telephone hybrids. As usual, each model will have its own unique assortment of features.
Analog hybrids will work fine for situations where audio is simply being sent down the phone line, or being received from the phone, with no 2-way conversation. However, if your need is for simultaneous 2-way conversation (like a phone interview), you should be looking at digital hybrids.