Recommend a digital recorder that can also record phone calls.
August 2, 2004 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a digital voice recorder that can also be hooked up to a phone to record calls/interviews?
posted by gottabefunky to Technology (14 answers total)
The best digital voice recorder I've ever found is the no longer being manufactured Sony ICD-MS1. In fact, it's so great I have two (and they're not cheap)--as I thought I'd lost mine and after 3 days of looking, gave up and bought another on eBay and then promptly found mine. (However, I'm now prepared if I ever really lose one.)

As to the telephone thing... not sure about that. It does have a mic in so I assume you can just plug one of those suction cup mics into it. (I use my answering machine to record calls.)

If you're doing non-telephone interviews, I guarantee you'd be happy with this. I've had mine about 3 ft from my subject in a very noisy restaurant (music and other people) and gotten great quality sound on it. The voice activation sensor is also fantastic.

I have a 128mb Memory Stick in my main one and it holds several hours of recording and has almost unlimited (namable) folders.

If you want one, lock an email search on eBay and you'll be notified in a week or so. They come up there often and I've seen them go everywhere from $35 (no manual, box, etc.) to $140 (box, software for pc (i don't use it), etc.).
posted by dobbs at 8:58 AM on August 2, 2004

An alternate strategy you might consider (which I have used to record hours of telephone conferences) is to get a speaker phone and put the mic of whatever recorder you use close to the speaker.
posted by carter at 9:16 AM on August 2, 2004

Isn't this illegal?
posted by pieoverdone at 9:27 AM on August 2, 2004

What good timing.

Check out Engadget today.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:31 AM on August 2, 2004

Isn't this illegal?

Not if the person is aware you're taping them. The poster said it was for interviews which would lead me to believe the caller is expecting it to be recorded.
posted by dobbs at 9:41 AM on August 2, 2004

Only if the other party doesn't consent, I think, pieoverdone. State laws may vary.
posted by armage at 9:41 AM on August 2, 2004

Don't go the rubber suction-cup mic route; the quality is poor and you worry about it falling off. Instead, cough up a (very) few dollars more and get a control like this that plugs into the handset line and your recording device (requires a 1/8" mic jack). Trust me.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:58 AM on August 2, 2004

Handy guide to telephone-taping law, by state

I've had some luck with the Archos Jukebox, though the software is sorta finicky.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:00 AM on August 2, 2004

And keep it away from power lines. They buzz.
posted by inksyndicate at 10:01 AM on August 2, 2004

Response by poster: Yea, it's for legitimate interviews. I also take notes on the road using a digital voice recorder (kicks the @#$ out of pad & paper, long as the batteries last). I'm wondering if there's some gadget that can do both. That Radio Shack gadget looks like it'd do the trick with a digital recorder that has a mic jack.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:50 AM on August 2, 2004

G.B.F., that's what I do. The only thing that sucks is if the system crashes.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:12 AM on August 2, 2004

I've used both digital and analog (cassette tape) audio recorders with a radio shack connector identical to the one linked above. It has worked extremely well for five or so years.

Something to consider: with adapters from Griffin or Belkin you can use an iPod as a voice recorder (I do). You'll need yet another adapter for a straight up mini jack connection (as the above from Radio shack uses) which would bring you up to three total. BUT, if you're using it for professional reasons, this should allow you to write off the cost of the entire iPod.
posted by emptyage at 3:38 PM on August 2, 2004

GBFunky: "I also take notes on the road using a digital voice recorder (kicks the @#$ out of pad & paper, long as the batteries last)."

Which digital voice recorder do you like for the road?
posted by mecran01 at 4:07 PM on August 2, 2004

I use this doohickey with an elcheapo mini-cassette recorder. If you have a phone with standard mini-phone-headset jacks, the kind common on cell phones, this will allow you to record from wireless phones and cells. Believe me, for phone interviews, you want this, and you want the headset.

The widget uses 2 AAA batteries and has a one-way cutoff so you can get permission before you cut the subject in, as does the POTS-jacked item listed earlier.

Since the audio out of the device is a standard 1/4" I have used it to run into a standard shoebox cassette recorder, the mini recorder, and directly into the mic port on my G4.

What does this mean to your original question?

Any digital voice recorder with a 1/4" mic in can get clean phone recordings, as noted above.

I earlier asked about a cell phone with inbuilt recording, and found there are a number that offer it. But I found none that offered me a good enough unified gadget to price ration to slim down my pile of devices.
posted by mwhybark at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2004

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