Audacity cannot hear the audio from the cell phone

I downloaded Audacity, ran up to the store to get a cable, and came back to record my cell phone messages so I don’t lose my father (deceased) telling me he loves me. Audicy records but is not hearing the cell phone playing. Please help.
audio cable.jpg

There should be a way to copy the file from the phone to the computer digitally via USB. You may need to check your phone’s user manual or research online.

If you must make a digital-to-analog-to-digital recording, select the appropriate [u]Recording Device[/u] which should be line-in on a soundcard. The microphone input on a laptop (or soundcard) will also “work”, but it’s the wrong interface and you probably won’t get good quality.

If you have a laptop with only a mic input, you can get a USB audio interface with line inputs, such as the [u]Behringer UCA202[/u]. Note that this interface has RCA connectors, so you’d need different cables.

This demonstration video of using a cable to record cell phone messages onto the computer with Audacity

shows all I have to do is plug it in. I can get Audacity to run, but it cannot hear the phone playing in the mic jack in the front of my desktop. I followed the instructions on the video. This makes me think the cable she shows is not what I bought.

If you plug your headphones into the cell phone can you hear the messages?
Which version of Audacity do you have (look in “Help > About Audacity”) and which version of Windows?

I have gone to Radio Shack and come back with a second cable that does not allow Audacity to hear the cell phone.
cable pix second try.jpg

This makes me think the cable she shows is not what I bought.

What computer-input are you connected to? That cable should work with a regular line-input unless it’s broken. It should also work with a regular mic input (but with reduced quality).

If you have a laptop with one combination-connector for mic and headphones, you’ll need a special adapter cable. (Again, a mic-input is a bad match for a headphone output so don’t expect good quality.)

What version of Windows are you using? If you right-click the speaker/volume icon, you should be able to select and configure “recording devices”. There is usually a way to listen to that input (depending on your drivers). You may also have to open the Windows audio mixer to select/enable that input and turn-up it’s volume.

If you can hear the phone playing through your computer speakers you should be able to record it. (And you shouldn’t need Audacity to hear it.)

Windows has separate recording and playback “mixers”, so you don’t necessarily hear what you are recording, but if you can hear it, you know the sound is getting into your computer and it should be possible to record it.

cable pix second try.jpg
I bought another set of cables from Radio Shack this morning. It allows me to put the speakers into the back of the cable (piggyback) so I can hear the speakers too. The cell phone is playing through the speakers. It is not, however, reaching the audacity program.

Dell desktop running Windows 10. Just downloaded Audacity last night so it should be the current one. Audacity’s line runs across the screen in record mode, but there is no waveform (squiggles) showing at all. Playback is silent because there is no waveform to play. I can hear the cell phone playing the message, even out of the speakers, but Audacity cannot hear it.

Audacity 2.1.1

What he said. If the voice is coming out of the laptop speakers, then it’s in the computer and we just have to convince Audacity to record it.

You change Audacity’s recording pathways with the Device Toolbar. What does yours say?

Any luck with doing this in software?


It allows me to put the speakers into the back of the cable (piggyback) so I can hear the speakers too.

Does “piggyback” mean you’ve got the speakers directly connected to the phone, bypassing the computer? That would prove you’re getting a signal out of the phone (good!!!) but it doesn’t prove you getting sound into the computer.

Dell desktop running Windows 10.

And, you’re plugged into line-in (usually blue)? And, you’ve selected line-in as your source for Audacity?

If your computer came with Windows 10 you should be fine. But, some people have upgraded and then had trouble with their audio drivers. But at this point, I’m still assuming you’ve just got a configuration problem… You didn’t tell us what computer input you’re connected to, you haven’t confirmed that Windows can “see” the connection, and you haven’t confirmed that Audacity is set-up to record from that connection.

I had wasted hours and bought two sets of cables. I just looked on youtube longer and found this guy:

I used the voice software resident on my desktop, along with the radio shack cable, and downloded all the voice mails onto my desktop.

…and downloded all the voice mails onto my desktop.


Now, copy the file to a CD so you have a “permanent” archive (or copy it to a couple of CDs so you’ll have a backup). :wink:

…I had a hard-drive die just before Thanksgiving and I lost a couple of files that weren’t backed-up. There was nothing super-critical on that machine (my audio/video computer) but I do want to re-create those files and it’s going to take a LOT of time.

…and bought two sets of cables.

It never hurts to have extra cables! I’ve got a box-full of various audio cables and adapters.