How to record phone calls E-mail
Written by Chalupa   
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:50

One question I am periodically asked is, "So how do you record phone calls?" That's an excellent question. Let me start by telling you how we record face-to-face conversations.

I use an Olympus DS-40. I picked it up at the end of 2007 and haven't ever been disappointed. There are some newer, more fancy models available at Olympus, but I'm perfectly happy with what I have. If you were looking to purchase one though, I'd look at one of the newer models because they have upgraded features and are most likely cheaper. Here are some of the specs from Olympus' web site. Click here to see the entire listing -

  • 512MB of storage
  • High-sensitivity detachable stereo microphone
  • Three modes of microphone sensitivity to meet recording needs.
  • Several recording modes can be selected including stereo recording modes ST XQ or ST HQ, and three types of monaural recording modes including HQ, SP, and LP.
  • Five voice folders can save up to 200 messages per folder. Music, Podcast, and Audible folder are also available.
  • Built-in Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) function.
  • The Low Cut Filter minimizes air conditioner noise and other similar noises while recording.
  • Noise Cancel Function and Voice Filter Function cut noise and enable clear audio playback.
  • An optional remote control (RS29) can be attached to the recorder to control recording and stop functions.
  • Up to 32 hours of continuous operation with two AAA batteries.

This particular model is made for podcasting and the microphone works amazing well for what it is. The noise cancellation feature and recording sensitivity options really help getting the sound I need whether I'm inside, outside, in a crowd, or in perfect recording conditions. Not too long after purchasing the recorder, I purchased a specialized microphone from Olympus (TP-7 Telephone Recording Device) that is made for recording phone calls. This works with both cell phones and traditional phones, or "land lines" as I like to call them.  All you do is put the ear bud in your ear and hold your phone up to that same ear.  Definitely do a couple test calls before using it in a live situation.  You can plug this microphone into anything with a mini-plug or 1/8" jack on it.  You don't have to have an Olympus digital voice recorder like I use.

So that's pretty much it. After recording I do edit the audio using Audacity, a free piece of audio editing software. It may not be as user friendly as Garage Band or Adobe Audition, but I don't have to cough up hundreds of dollars for a license.

As a word of caution though, I'd be careful about buying something to record phone calls and playing CIA with it.  Some states have very strict laws about recording phone calls.  Be sure to check those out if you have any concerns.  The easiest way to take care of that problem is to just inform the other person you are recording the conversation.

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