How Can I Record Phone Calls on My PC?

April 14, 2009

in applications,communication,computer hardware

by Gabe Goldberg

When calling businesses, it’s common to hear the announcement, “This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.” Everyone ignores or accepts the fact that a supervisor may listen in or evaluate the call after it’s finished.

But wouldn’t it be helpful to occasionally have access to a recorded call? For example, I might like to replay a complex call with a doctor, teacher, or lawyer, or I might refer back to a customer service call if I feel that promises haven’t been kept.

In the past, I’ve recorded calls by placing a recorder near a speakerphone but that’s usually less than satisfactory: recording quality suffers, the other party can tell they’re on a speaker, and the recording is hard to retain permanently or share with anyone because it’s stored on a handheld device.

Now I record calls as PC files, using elegant free software and a small telephone gadget. On my Windows XP system I installed Audacity; it’s great. Basic functions are easy to use without consulting the 100-plus page manual; in fact, I may never need to read it.

Six cheery buttons let me return to recording start, play, record, pause, stop, and skip to the end of a recording. Files can be created, edited, played, saved, and emailed. And if you’re ambitious, you can play sound engineer with sophisticated controls.

Record phone calls to PC with Audacity

Record phone calls to PC with Audacity

I have a Dynametric TLP-102 connected between my phone and the computer, and plugged into my PC’s microphone input, so I can start recording without
advance planning.

State laws govern recording phone calls. Some states allow recording calls if one party (presumably you know when you’re recording!) know the call is being recorded; other states require all parties on the call to be informed. A handy table of state rules summarizes notification requirements.

Gabe Goldberg (, a lifelong computer pro and technology communicator, has written three books and hundreds of articles for audiences including techies, baby boomers and senior citizens. He enjoys sharing tips and pointers that help people use and have fun with technology.