Need Help to Record from Home Telephone to PC

Hello, first post so treat me gently please! Running Audacity under Ubuntu 12.04. I have also just got one of the Re-Tell 157 units with which to record phone calls. I CAN but only seem able to record MY voice NOT the other party. Did the OP in sort this out I wonder?

That link points to my post where I tell you how I got the Olympus microphone to work (second post). I use that regularly and it’s pretty much set and forget. If you remember not to talk over or interrupt the guest, you can put the show together later. I use it for note-taking, but there’s no reason not to do an interview that way.

It works particularly well if you have a volume control on your handset like I do. It works with cellphones, too, sometimes better.

I haven’t actually tried this, but you can use Chris’s Compressor in post production to level out the voices.

I have four of the common “telephone recorders” and they’re all terrible. Long list of problems. They are trying to step in to replace Broadcast Hybrids which can cost multiple hundreds of dollars.


My Mac doesn’t have a Mic-In, so I needed the little USB audio adapter.


My problem is that on playback I’m only getting my side of the conversation…maybe I should try a different telephone with the Re-Tell 157?

Re-Tell 157

I can’t find the instructions on-line. Can you point me to a web site where I can download them?

Using these instructions here:

Page 4 applies I assume.

I’m using this telephone with the unpluggable handset and I’ve put the 157 unit between the handset and telephone “base”.

The phone isn’t on speakerphone. I then plug the 3.5mm plug of the 157 into the MIC socket on my laptop. The 157 is set to RECORD rather than play.

I assume the 157 should “pick up” from the 4 cores coming from the handset and pass BOTH sides to the MIC socket for recording (by Audacity)?

Maybe the 157 is duff? I have another couple of different telephones to try it on.

Thanks for looking.

I need to come back to this.

Yes, those are the most likely to work. They use the network (phone company terminology) inside phone to split the voices, and yes, I would expect that to work, except mine didn’t because of severe hum and buzz problems.

This was a sure bet when you had to rent the phone from the phone company because they all came from Western Electric or someplace like that. Now, anybody with a soldering iron and screw driver can make and sell a phone and it’s a much less sure thing that all the pieces work with each other.

The far side is always the worst problem with any capture system. That’s the delicate voice that’s come hundreds of miles from the other side of the country. Your local voice is nuclear powered compared to that.

I need to leave for a while.

You know while we mess with this, you could have had the Olympus microphone working already – with any phone.