Recording Cell Phone Conversations Fairs Difficult

Last weekend, Toby Joe and I spent hours trying to figure out a way to record cell phone conversations for a project I am currently working on. We knew we needed a recording device, a cell phone that isn’t dependent entirely on Bluetooth (which is what I have), and a splitter to run one cord from the phone to the recording device and one to an ear piece so I could hear and speak at the same time.

Now, one might think that recording a cell phone conversation would be easy given modern day technology. I mean, we’re attempting human face transplants, men are living in space, and Michael Jackson is walking free. But it’s not that easy. And it’s downright impossible if you have a Bluetooth enabled device such as the Razr like I have. Impossible.

We researched everything. We tried pairing up my Razr, its wireless ear piece and the xhead recording software. That didn’t work. The computer could recognize them both at one time, but they couldn’t talk to one another if that was the case. So, basically, you could record your own voice via your ear piece but NOT while on the phone. Why anyone would want to do this, or need to do this is unknown to me at this time. But I’m sure there’s a need for everything.

We also tried pairing an Griffin iTalk – iPod Voice Recorder with Toby’s cell phone, my iPod, an earpiece and a splitter. This proved most interesting.

This not did this technique NOT work, but it completely destroyed my iPod. As I tried to record a conversation from my cell phone to Toby’s, I noticed that my iPod battery went from completely filled up to nearly dead in a matter of 15 seconds. “Huh. That’s odd.” I thought to myself. “Recording something on an iPod must take an awful lot of processing power.”

Wrong. It was literally frying the poor bastards brain. And I think, though I can’t be sure, it was doing so because it was trying to send and record and receive in one continuos loop. But I can’t be sure of that because I’m a moron when it comes to this sort of thing.

This is the second iPod in 1.5 years I have destroyed in some totally random manner. The first one met its demise on a treadmill, this one, via the hand of a voice recording device. My luck with these bitches is really awful.

Or maybe this is iGod’s way of handing me a Nano. Either way, I am now using Toby Joe’s shuffle. It works. I can’t complain. I haven’t destroyed it yet, that’s something.

In the end, I purchased this wireless phone recording controller and a Olympus Digital Voice Recorder. I hook Toby Joe’s phone up to the controller, the headpiece to that and the recorder as well. This way, I am able to hear, talk and record at the same time. The only annoying this is, it’s not in stereo. But I am told this is something I can change once we begin editing.

Sometimes, modern day technology is much more difficult than its acclaimed simplicity.

As an aside, I’m happy to say that the interviews are moving along quite nicely. I received more names over the weekend, thank you all. I’m still looking for more names on the list. If you know of anyone please drop me a line.

It’s been an amazing week and I can’t wait to write more about it. I’m learning about myself, some of the people who read my site (I gotta tell you, it’s amazing putting voices behind the folks who contacted me, truly amazing), and the answers to many of the questions I set out in search of. To the folks who have helped me and continue to do so; I am forever grateful.


  1. I seem to remember my Father recording conversations with my Nana, when I was young. We were here and she was in Wales and I guess we wanted to “capture the moment”. He had a suction cup thingy he just stuck on the back of the earpiece. Weird.


  2. sian, we almost went that route. Thing is, we don’t have a landline. I almost called to have one installed. I was that desperate. :]
    The good thing about using a cell phone is that I can do it from work over lunch, etc. So I really wanted to make that happen. Thank goodness, it’s working now.


  3. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool. I thought that maybe my dad was a spy!!


  4. Was the phone red? In my fantasy, it’s red.


  5. goodness! Glad you got that working! And glad you’re loving the fam!!!!!


  6. Hi,

    What names are you still looking for? I know a few of them on your list but….I live in the UAE. I know two edna’s here both filipina. And believe me we hear a lot of names here that we wouldn’t hear back home. I know some other names to closer to you as well.

    Anyway if you could tell us what names you still needed maybe I could help.



  7. Meghan, I could use an Edna. I am looking for many, actually. I have about half, I think. but not everyone has committed just yet. Will you send me an email? (If yours is a part of this post, I will have Toby Joe dig it out for me as it’s not visible to me.)


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