How to Record a Phone Call
I need to record phone calls for some interviews I will be doing. I know there are some gadgets you can connect to your phone, but I'm thinking that a software solution will work better for voice recording. What do you recommend?
Recording a Phone Call
If you have an important phone call coming up, you may want to record it for transcription or later review. There are many ways to record phone calls, no matter what kind of phone you use. Let's start with some free and inexpensive call-recording solutions that use the popular Skype phone software.
Audacity is a free, open source program for recording and editing sounds. It comes in versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Audacity has been around for many years, and has been used successfully to record calls placed via the Skype VoIP service. The program is more of a general-purpose audio editor than a specific phone call recording app, but the trick is to tell Audacity to use the "What U Hear" option, which records whatever is being played through the speakers. It works great on Windows XP, but Win7 users may have to finagle a few settings to get it working. Search for "audacity windows 7 what u hear" and you'll find detailed instructions.
Pamela for Skype is a Windows app written especially for Skype. It not only records voice conversations, but also video and chat sessions. The free version of Pamela records only the first 15 minutes of a Skype call. You must pay a registration fee of about $25 for the unrestricted Pro version.
MP3 Skype Recorder is a totally free Skype recording solution for Windows. (The Microsoft .NET Framework must also be installed.) This program is "set it and forget it." Once installed and activated, it sits invisibly in the system tray, automatically recording any type of Skype call. It can even record multiple simultaneous calls, saving them to separate MP3 files.
Recording Calls with Smartphones and Landlines
The iPhone does not come with call-recording functionality, but there are apps for that. The iPhone Recorder by Retronyms is one example. It can record inbound and outbound calls, and voice memos. The resulting audio file can be forwarded via email easily.
Android-based call recording apps are plentiful. The xPro Call Recorder Widget is an easy-to-use solution that costs only 99 cents. However, it must be used in speakerphone mode to record both sides of a conversation. Record My Call is a free app for Android phones that records both incoming and outgoing calls. Its author recommends using it on speakerphone for better recording quality. Both can be found in the Android Market.
Google Voice does call recording with some advantages and disadvantages. Google Voice is free and platform-independent, so you can use it with your PC, iPhone, Android smartphone, landline, or any other type of phone. However, you must obtain a Google Voice phone number, and you can only place outbound calls. When the recording function is activated, an automated notice is spoken to all call participants that the call is being recorded.
There's a reason for that... Recording a phone conversation without the knowledge and consent of all participants is illegal in some jurisdictions. But in other jurisdictions, only one party's consent is required; that could be you, the recorder. Google plays it safe by notifying all parties.
Cogi is a Web-based service that records and even transcribes phone calls placed from any type of phone or softphone. However, the Cogi customer must initiate the call by dialing a Cogi access number, then dialing the number(s) of other participants. It's free to try for 30 days, and monthly service plans start at just $4.95.
And yes, there are still hardware call recording devices. One of the least expensive and highest rated is the Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device. The TP7 costs under $20, works with cell phones and landlines, and records both sides of a conversation onto a tape or digital audio recorder.
Do you have something to say about recording phone calls? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Apr 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- How to Record a Phone Call (Posted: 13 Apr 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved