Open-source way to record phone calls?
February 20, 2008 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Open-source way to record phone calls?

Would like to be able to record phone calls on my PC. Already got it wired up to the phone line/handset, and was able to successfully use the 30-day trial of CallCorder. But it's $50 and buggy and frankly, I don't think it's worth the price. Isn't there an open-source way to do this?

(Aside #1: Yes, I know about the legal issues. I'm a writer, and it's for interview purposes, with full disclosure.)

(Aside #2: If anybody has a Grand Central invite they want to share, I'd happily take it. Looks like that's a good solution, but it's a closed beta.)
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I used the TRX recorder for the same purposes and was generally very happy with it. It's very simple (which makes it better than the bloated CallCorder imo), and free.

You don't say how you wired your phone to your computer. If you're just using the line in or the mic in, I think you can record the sound with the standard Windows sound recorder. Just grab the sound from the audio card.

If you're splitting the actual phone line, TRX is probably your best choice.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:35 AM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, line from the wall goes into the modem; line goes out from the modem to the handset.
posted by jbickers at 4:46 AM on February 20, 2008

I had this problem yesterday at work: check out

When you register a "drop", you get a phone number with an extension. If you call the number and enter the extension, it will start recording after the beep. After you hang up, the recording will show up as an MP3 in your "drop." You can download it as an MP3 or play it from the web.
posted by yellowbkpk at 4:55 AM on February 20, 2008

Then I'd go with TRX recorder. When you record, pay attention to an audible "click" on your line: that's a sign you're recording. If at any time during your conversation you hear another of those "clicks", check the program to see if it's still recording. Some of these programs (CallCorder too) sometimes drop the recording for some reason.
posted by NekulturnY at 5:49 AM on February 20, 2008

I'll mefi mail you a grand central invite
posted by jrishel at 5:54 AM on February 20, 2008

You could also use SkypeIn with recording software. I've recorded many calls like this.
posted by bprater at 6:17 AM on February 20, 2008

jrishel, jbickers has already been taken care of wrt GC.
posted by the dief at 7:21 AM on February 20, 2008

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your issue, but you can buy a phone tap for like $10 or so at Radioshack. There are two kinds. One has a suction cup that attaches to your handset (works surprisingly well), the other actually connects to the phone line (works even better). Just connect that headphone-style jack that comes out of either to the "audio in" port on your computer and record. You can use the windows recording program for this if you want, or you can use something more advanced like Audacity (which is free and open source) or GarageBand. It should be a very very simple process.

Your audio will be telephone-quality (both ends of the conversation will sound like they went through aphone line), but unless you're broadcasting, that won't be an issue.
posted by YoungAmerican at 11:04 AM on February 20, 2008

I should clarify that neither of those phone taps works on a cell phone.
posted by YoungAmerican at 11:05 AM on February 20, 2008

Radio Shack also has a "Wireless Phone Recording Controller". It's not wireless... but it can be used with cell phone headsets (and headsets for other phones/systems). It plugs into your computer's microphone thingy, and you can record using Audacity. Works like a charm.

Probably not the best solution if you record every single call but it's good for periodic recording.
posted by powpow at 11:31 AM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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