recording voice mail to laptop

I am trying to record my voice mail to my laptop. I am using Audacity 2.0.3, ASUS laptop running windows 8.1, samsung galaxy 5 phone. When I record through the mic/headphones plug on the computer and the headphones jack on the phone, I can hear the message on the phone. The blue bars are moving, indicating sound is coming through, and the RIGHT side of the top is recording in RED. I saved the message in WAV format and MP3 format (after downloading the required software). During playback, I can’t hear anything, in either WAV or MP3 mode. Also, the left side (GREEN) is showing something, but nothing on the RED side. How do I fix, so I can capture my voice mail?
(FYI, I checked the connection cable using my car’s input and my IPod and everything was fine.)
Thanks for the guidance!

There should be a way to transfer the file via USB without “recording” it. You shouldn’t need any software for that, just copy the file to your hard drive. You’d have to check your phone’s documentation, or search online.

Then, you might have to change/convert the format, and Audacity might be able to do that depending on the format.

Do you see a waveform after recording? Can you hear anything when you play-back in Audacity before exporting to WAV/MP3?

The microphone input on your laptop is probably mono. If you configure Audacity for mono recording, you should only get one channel. When you play a mono file, it will play from both speakers. The voice mail will be mono too.

The mic input on a laptop/soundcard is not “correct” for recording a line-level or headphone signal. It should still record, but the sound may be distorted. It might be OK for a voicemail message, but it would be best to get a line-level interface, or use a desktop/tower computer with a regular soundcard with a line input.

Also, the left side (GREEN) is showing something, but nothing on the RED side.

What? If the meters (or just the right meter) is going “into the red”, that’s because you are sending a headphone signal into a very sensitive microphone-level input.

There is no “red side” and “green side” in Audacity. The meters should normally be green and the waveforms are blue.

I tried switching from the microphone cord to the USB input. Switched the levels around, still get a garbled replay. For “red” and “green”, I was referring to the input, shows “red” something is being captured. When i go to playback, the “green” side is active, but everything is garbled. I have tried saving as a WAV file, as well as an MP3 file (with the proper add on), still nothing. Any other ideas?

We never nailed down what you’re recording. What are you recording? Model numbers?


Yes. When you record something, the red recording meters pulse and bounce. When you play it back, the green meters bounce. If you’re too low, they bounce way on the left. If you’re too loud, they bounce all the way to the right (generally a bad idea).

Can you post a short section of your show? Garbling could be anything. Sometimes we can tell by listening.


I don’t know if voicemail messages left for you are actually stored on the Galaxy S5. You may have to install a recording app on the phone to record them as a file on the phone.

Once you have files on the phone itself, look in the Galaxy S5 manual at page 188 “Transferring files between the device and a computer”.

Otherwise make sure you are choosing the mic recording device in Audacity’s Device Toolbar . If you don’t see the mic recording device in Device Toolbar, go into Windows Sound ( ) and enable the mic then restart Audacity.

If that mic port is only either an input or output, you may need to unplug the cable before you can hear sound again on the computer. Look at the computer manual if you are unsure.


… but everything is garbled.

That’s progress! Before you couldn’t hear anything…

If it’s tool loud and badly distorted, but it still sounds like speech and you can understand what’s being said (or some of what’s being said), that’s probably regular-old clipping (overload distortion).

If you think it’s overload distortion, try turning-down the volume on the phone. The recording meter should show a good signal, but it should NOT “max out”.

The microphone input is expecting to see a signal that’s about 1/100th of a typical headphone-level signal. Like I said, the mic input might “work” but don’t expect good quality.

I tried switching from the microphone cord to the USB input. Switched the levels around, still get a garbled replay.

Hmmm… It’s kinda hard to believe you got the exact same results with USB and analog.

You don’t need Audacity for USB… Just copy the files to your hard drive and play them with Windows Media Player (if the format is compatible with WMP).