Digital answering machine recommendations
January 9, 2004 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Digital answering machine recommendations? [More inside]

Every few years for what seems like a decade, I go down to the electronics store and peruse the stand-alone (without phones) digital answering machines. Every few years I say to myself, surely by now SOMEONE has developed a machine that takes advantage of advances in digital recording since 1970.

But no. AT&T, Sony, Panasonic... they have lots of cools bells and whistles, but the sound quality is terrible. Digital sound technology has improved dramatically in every other market but this one. WHY?!

The last time I checked was about a year ago. I'm afraid to go back because I might snap-off and start swinging them around my head. For the love of Pete, is there anyone manufacturing a digital answering machine that actually sounds good?

I feel better now. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
posted by squirrel to Shopping (4 answers total)
Do you leave your computer on 24/7? Make use of that modem in your computer and get some answering machine software.
posted by Hackworth at 2:27 PM on January 9, 2004

I have to agree with you squirrel they suck big time. I have been working on a project to build a dedicated answering machine that is connected to the LAN and sends off the messages as a .wav to my email. But it is not easy finding decent voice modems and the whole thing is a big pain, I'd much rather just buy it. Nothing available *sigh*. The answering machine needs to be Tivod.
posted by stbalbach at 3:20 PM on January 9, 2004

The AT&T digital answering machine I had before I got my current Panasonic cordless system (with integrated answerer) was great. I got it a long time ago, in the mid-90s at least. The integrated one in the Panasonic is also perfectly satisfactory.

In short, every digital answering machine I've ever owned has been great -- all two of them. I had no idea there was an epidemic of suckiness among them, including among a brand I like just fine.

You're never going to get great sound quality, of course. It's going to be limited to the quality of the original source, which is after all a telephone call. Telephone calls suck for fidelity.
posted by kindall at 3:01 AM on January 10, 2004

I guess I'm a bit of an audiophile, kindall. I have a deep aversion to the sound of audio "pixelation," which is the aural equivalent of really crappy jpegs. It's not that I can't understand the messages at all... I just don't know why the sound quality isn't even as good as cassette tape.

If I were 15% smarter (or 90% more motivated) I would just get a voice modem and a digital voice recorder and make my own.
posted by squirrel at 1:33 PM on January 10, 2004

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