Recording Phone Conversations through handset or headphone

The organisation I work for is MAC based and I want to implement a call recording system that can record calls for durations of up to 1.5 hours. This will need to be recorded through the hand set or head sete and then saved to a file format that can be emailed. Does anyone know if audacity can facilitate this and if so how do I go about setting this up. I am not the most skilled person when it comes to this area, so as much information and help possible will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.


The only reliable way to implement something like that is a Broadcast Telephone Hybrid (call-in talk show) at multiple hundreds of dollars. I have two different Radio Shack “telephone recorder” devices and they’re useless, unstable or both.

There is one method that has very good success and that’s maintain a Skype account and have people call into that. Pamela Professional and Pamela Business Windows software will record the conversations do pretty much what you want. You can use Windows Total Recorder as well. All money-based, including an extended Skype account. I don’t think the free one will do this.

I don’t know of any way to manage that job on a Mac other than the Broadcast equipment.

Please note the cheap “Excalibur” unit about a third of the way down comes with a disclaimer:

This is not a telephone hybrid. It is not suitable for conversing with telephone callers on-air.


There are certainly ways to cheat.

Host the calls on a deskset telephone conference unit and place a computer microphone half-way between the telephone speaker and the human operator. Of course, you need to do this in a dead quiet room or studio. We do a version of this at work when we need to record multi-city conferences.

I have also used a tiny microphone in my ear. It picks up the handset speaker remarkably well and my voice is received through the telephone sidetone as well as transmission through the handset itself.


Thank you for response Koz,

Currently we have Plantronic headsets - is there the possibility that we can record through there?

The phone itself does record the call but it its too large to convert to an email format. Some how i need to get that recording off the phone and into an email format or look at a software that can also record the phone conversation and then save on a hard drive.

I am sure there has to be something out there!!

I also need to solve this by Thursday!

I am really lost as to what i should do

There is no “email format.” Email will attach anything that fits in the size limitations of the provider. I think last time I looked, Yahoo Mail has a 20MB attachment limit. You could not convert the sound to anything but simply divide it up into 19MB segments and ship them one by one.

The phone took care of most of the work for you. What kind of phone is it? What kind of sound format? How do you know it’s too big?


The phone system we have is made by Samsung. It has a call recording functionality where the call is recorded and stored on the handset itself.
Currently we have a function that will then email that recording to the designated employee in a wav file format, but only if it is under 10 minutes. When the call is over 10minutes (which most of the sales calls are) it emails an error message stating that the call is over ten minutes and no sound can be heard at all.

I need to find a way to get these lengthy call recordings off the phone and onto a computer.

Would a soft phone application work?

If you are working for a company, are they not prepared to fund this?

Most companies providing telephone lines provide telephone recording (or third party companies will) at a price. See for a third party service.

NCH has lots of telephone to computer recording programs:

but how many handsets do you want to service and have all your handsets got telephone to computer adaptors? That’s what you need ( ).

But if your handsets have adaptors there is no reason you cannot use Audacity to record. You will need one computer for each adaptor.


Thank you Gale,

I appreciate your comment, it is very helpful. I have just spoken to the lovely telephone guys who set up our system and they have said that i can use the plantronics head set into the USB port of the lap top and then use audacity to record the call.

Hopefully I can find an IT person to set this up and test it and in fact that this method works.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their responses, your help has made my job much less stressful and allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone

Your welcome, but you can do that when it starts working. Typical Voice over Internet Protocol systems do not get along with Audacity. You get only one side of the conversation but not both. Did you get his/her name? There may be special software provisions needed to make this work.

You definitely can’t go with “I heard someone got this running at the last place we worked.” We field questions like this all the time and it’s right up there with the woman who put her poodle in the microwave. Urban Legends.


As Koz said, not without special software or routing before it gets to Audacity.

A USB headset will let Audacity record the voice of the person wearing the headset. It will not record the other party because a USB headset is its own computer recording device. Unlike sound devices built into the computer, USB headsets do not come with any way of recording sound playing through the headset.

With a wired headset that connected to the audio in and audio out of the computer, then you could record both sides of the call - if your computer sound device let you play the headset mic through the headset and if it let you record computer playback.