Recording phone conversations

Recording phone conversations

Pros and cons of the Recorder iPhone App

It's been a while since I've had to record a phone call for work -- several years, in fact.  So when I found out this week that I was going to have to do so, I wondered: Could there be a better way than using my old digital voice recorder?

The voice recorder was a purchase quite a few years ago, when I had to do my first interview for an article I was writing.  It's been a great thing to have, but for phone interviews I had to use a converter so that it would record both sides of the conversation, and it tended to make the sound quality of the call rather fuzzy.  Or I could use the recorder by itself and put the call on speaker, but I usually feel that doesn't work very well, either -- and when my husband is home I don't really like putting calls on speaker.

But all that was before I got an iPhone.  Surely, I thought, there is a better way to record calls now!  I quickly realized the iPhone's Voice Memo software wouldn't record phone calls, so I started looking at apps -- and found that most of them required you to also have a call open to another number, which you merged with the call you wanted to record.  That seemed rather complicated to me, so I opted for the Recorder app, which connects to the recording center in-app (but only allows you to record outgoing calls as a result).

The app itself is only 99 cents -- but you do have to pay for time before you can record any calls.  The developers say this is because they work directly with the phone company.  Prices are $1.99 for one hour, or $12.99 for eight hours -- obviously you save money by buying a larger block of time, but it expires after one year, so is really only for people who record calls frequently.

The call quality was great, and the recordings are crystal-clear.  They download into the app once you end the call, and then you can sync your phone wirelessly to your computer in order to download the files.  The biggest complaint I had was the delay -- there was about a one-second delay between when someone said something, and the person on the other end heard it, probably because it had to go through the call recording center first.  This means that sometimes I found myself and the person I was interviewing both trying to speak at the same time.  When I was being a better listener than a talker, and let the other person just talk, this wasn't a huge problem, but when the conversation included more back-and-forth this got dicey.

I probably would still use the app again, and I'll recommend it as a nice alternative to using a voice recorder, but hopefully someone will eventually come out with a better alternative that has less of a delay!