Is Audacity right for me?

Dear Friends–

Is Audacity the right program for me to use? I want to record 2-3 telephone meeting with my clients per week, have that audio go into my computer and from there be able to email the audio to my client. (I have Windows xp.) I haven’t installed the program yet. I looked at your screen shots and there is a lot of stuff there (to, sigh, learn, I guess). I don’t need a lot of fancy features.
Elaine Douglass

Why don’t you just try it? (it’s free: )
How do you intend getting the audio into the computer? (That’s likely to be the hardest part of the task)

How do I intend getting the audio into my computer? With a wire from my phone into the computer. That’s the easy part.
Why don’t I just try it (Audacity)? Because there is a great deal of time and effort involved in these things. It seems to me if I just describe (which I did) the use I need a program for, you folks who know the program can tell me right off if I should use Audacity.
Elaine Douglass

Most telephones do not have an audio signal output. Do you have some special kind of telephone?

Are you wanting to record both sides of the conversation? Do both sides of the conversation come out of that “wire”?

What part of the computer will you plug the “wire” into? Does the “wire” require a microphone input on the computer or a “line level” input on the computer? Does your computer have the required type of input?

Have you tested the “wire” connection? If so, how did you test it and does it work?

If all of the above works, then recording with Audacity is likely to be quite easy and straightforward.

Guys, I’ve been doing this for years. By “this,” I mean recording phone conversations with my clients–onto a cassette tape. Ordinary land line telephone. I use a $2.95 Radio Shack wire which plugs into my phone and into the tape recorder. Kapish? And yes, it records “both sides” of the conversation.
Now, I am told, all I have to do is plug the wire not into the tape recorder, but into my computer. My computer, I am told, is a digital recorder. Fine. But I need a program. Get Audacity, I am told. Kapish?
So back to my original question. Is Audacity the right program for what I need to do? I notice where you said it “is likely to be quite easy and straightforward.” People always say that. My experience is it take about 2 weeks working with a program to get it to work, and in my case I have to bring in a computer technician because I don’t have any knack or instinct for computer matters.
Elaine Douglass

The cable that goes into the tape recorder may have a 2.5mm plug. What you want to do is connect from the headphones out or line out of the cassette player (which will probably require a 6.3 mm - 1/4 inch plug) to line-in (blue) of the computer (which will require a 3.5 mm - 1/8 inch plug). So you will almost certainly have to buy a cable to join the cassette player to the computer.

Once you have done that, you can use just about any recording program. If you want to use Audacity, see:


for help.

Note that audio recordings can take a lot of space on the computer. You can only e-mail very small files because your internet provider probably won’t allow large files to be sent.

So you have to export the recording from Audacity as an MP3 which will be a small file. To export as MP3 you will have to install the optional LAME library following the steps at .

When you File > Export and choose “MP3 Files”, you should click the “Options…” button and change the bit rate to a low rate like 16 kbps. This will make the file as small as possible. You will lose quality, but it should not matter too much because the conversation will not be high quality audio to begin with.