What's the easiest way to record a phone conversation?

I have used Audacity on some minor projects and I appreciate all the work that was put into creating this program.

But I have tried several times to record a phone call and nothing seems to work.

I connect a phone line from the wall jack of my landline to my computer modem and then select “Phone” in the Input selector on the main Audacity page. But when I select Record, nothing happens, just a flat line. When a conversation starts, the flat line remains and doesn’t change. I don’t care much about quality as long as I can hear the conversation.

What else do I have to do to record a telephone call? If the “Phone” input is NOT for the modem phone jack, then what is it for?

I realize that this is a basic question. However, I searched the Audacity Help file and I could find no mention or explanation of the purpose of the “Phone” input. I also searched this forum but many of the comments seem to assume buying extra equipment which I’m not familiar with and would like to avoid if possible. So, what’s the easiest and simplest way of recording a telephone conversation with Audacity?

Thanks in advance for any advice and suggestions.

By far the easiest way to record both sides of the conversation on a phone call is to use a speakerphone in a quiet room. Place a production microphone next to the speakerphone device and jocky volumes and positioning until both sides, local and far, sound OK. I think my desk telephone–with speaker built in–cost $30 at the drug store.

If you have a PC, there is a Mic-In somewhere on the computer. Plug a 3013 microphone from Radio Shack in ($24) and go.


All other solutions for this have severe problems. The ones that work the way you’re expecting cost multiple hundreds. You do have a PC, right?

Oh, and the “Phone” connection on your computer is so the computer can communicate with another computer using special screams and squeals. Spoken words don’t go through that connector.