Different Telephone Recording Devices

As you consider purchasing a telephone recorder for your home, office or business location, it’s useful to understand the different types of devices available, their features and limitations, and how they should affect your decision to buy.

We’ll start with the most well-known and simplest type of telephone recorder – the cassette telephone recorder. These models are common among newspaper reporters and call center supervisors alike. They’re relatively uncomplicated and easy to use, operating like a VHS recorder that allows users to record and store phone conversations on small tapes that can then be extracted and stored separately, and played back on the same recording device or other tape player. Tapes can also be converted to digital files via audio conversion hardware or software platforms, although users that want to digitize tapes will typically just buy a digital telephone recorder to begin with.

Some larger businesses with ample room for research and development expenditures sometimes develop their own proprietary telephone recorder hardware and software. Developed in-house or through an exclusive third party manufacturer, these types of telephone recorders are customized to fit the business or operational environment in which they are to be used. Some are made to handle only a few calls at a time, while others – for instance, those built to handle a 500 seat call center – can record, store, sort, mark, file, analyze and transfer hundreds of conversations simultaneously. The drawbacks to these types of telephone recorders can be their relative level of complexity – lots of moving parts and fragile components, as well as costs of repair and upgrade, since so much of their operating structure is tailored for use in a specific business setting.

PC-integrated telephone recorders are more and more popular among businesses and individuals. They are known for their affordability, adaptability (their PC compatibility makes them an option for anyone with a desktop or laptop PC – open to tens of millions of consumers), and ease of use. Like all digital telephone recorders, PC models can toggle seamlessly between playback, storage and retrieval features, allowing users to perform a range of tasks. Some PC integrated models allow for local storage of all recorded files, while others use your computer’s hard drive for storage. You should consider how much space your PC has available before you purchase your PC-integrated telephone recorder. As well, like many PC software applications, issues needing repair can often take longer to troubleshoot and ultimately fix. Buyers and users should keep this in mind, too.

Another category of telephone recorders are self-contained recorders. These are affordable, mobile and very user friendly. Their form factors are generally compact in nature, similar to a cell phone or PDA device. In fact, many cellular models today are manufactured with self-contained telephone recording features. Regardless whether they’re stand alone units or integrated with a handset, self-contained telephone recorders allow for Caller Id display, digital recording and playback, and voice-to-text transcriptions. Their small size and quiet nature make them great for personal use, even if you’re not on business. In fact, whether you are using one for work or leisure, you can count on peerless audio quality and beep-free recording from these telephone recorder devices.

Similar in functionality to proprietary telephone recording models, Multi-User telephone recording systems are self-contained and centrally located recorders made for multiple users. They are manufactured and sold as platforms conducive for recording large amounts of call activity. Operators are able to utilize these systems’ internal hard drive for storage. Individual files can be sorted and copied onto CDs, Flash Drives or other portable storage devices. Generally, multi-user telephone recording systems are much more expensive than any of their counterparts simply because they are complex enough to handle hundreds and thousands of calls and operational tasks at any one time.

  • Plantronics
  • GN Netcom
  • VXI
  • Polycom
  • ClearOne
  • Avaya
  • Jabra
  • Sonexis
  • Clarity
  • Nortel
  • Cisco


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