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[TUT] Recording phone calls on Smartphones

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By Menneisyys, XDA Ad-Free Retired Moderator on 18th August 2007, 10:07 AM
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I’ve reviewed ViTO SoundExplorer, the big brother (and, to some degree, a predecessor) of VITO Technology’s new title in the Windows Mobile Audio Recording Bible, the definite resource of EVERYTHING audio recording-related. In the meantime, ViTO has also come out a specialized version of SoundExplorer, targeting the folks that would prefer making quick voice notes (or, for that matter, record any kind of audio at high quality) and / or record phone calls.

While most Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC Phone Edition (in the new, WM6 parlance, “Windows Mobile Professional”; from now on, I refer to them as “PPC PE” devices) models aren’t capable of making quality phone call recordings, some (not very common) PPC PE models have no problems at recording.

With the “little brother”, the MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) platform, the situation is far better about the half of the current models allow for recording phone calls, even the pretty new, cheap and recommended HTC Oxygen (aka Orange SPV C100, HTC S310). Unfortunately, some other models, for example, the otherwise HIGHLY recommended HTC Vox (aka HTC S710, Orange SPV E650) do NOT support call recording. (Just ignore if somebody states the opposite – unfortunately, many people just don’t know what they speak about when talking about call recording quality. My measurements are VERY reliable as I do all of them on MY devices and, therefore, my info isn’t based on hearsay.)

Please see the article Windows Mobile device manufacturers & Microsoft, we DO need phone recording capabilities!, paying special attention to following the links; particularly the PPCT one – it explains EVERYTHING about all these questions.

Other call recording apps

Up until recently, the only really useful call recorder application had been the free PMRecorder. While having its share of problems (the need for using a third-party tool to convert its output to be playable with any other tool; the need to manually start it before automatic call recording and the fact that it runs as a process, which can easily result in its purging from memory; the lack of sophisticated audio codecs like MP3 or Speex), it’s an excellent and reliable tool really worth checking out; particularly if you’re into free and/or Smartphone-compliant apps.

Then came the beta versions of the forthcoming Resco Audio Recorder 4, which, while keeping (and, Speex-wise, even enhancing) its really great codecs, added call (auto)recording support. It’s a really excellent app well worth giving a try. Its three major problems are only the following:
  1. no Smartphone-compliance as of yet (YES, I’ve tried even on my WM6 QVGA HTC Vox)
  2. its MP3 encoder is really bad and should never be used
  3. the Speex encoder (the best encoder for voice storage, memory usage / quality-wise) uses a lot of CPU time. This means you MUST overclock your slower (for example, 195/200 MHz TI OMAP-based) devices so that it can work OK. And, even at running your TI OMAP device at 273 MHz, you will encounter occassional stuttering when playing back the recording.

Finally arrived VITO AudioNotes 1.3, which, while keeping its excellent MP3 encoder (it’s capable of making really QUALITY recordings even at 64 kbps, unlike Resco Audio Recorder, which is unable to make quality recordings at any bit speed), added the necessary framework (autostart, storing caller / callee ID / number, the date etc) needed for call recording.

Getting, using

Get it from HERE. Note that the PPC (PE) and the Smartphone versions are exactly the same and are interchangeable. Install, start.

To enable call recording, go to Menu / Recording and tick in “Calls autorecord”. If you have a PPC PE / Smartphone not supporting direct call recording, you may also want to tick in “Speakerphone” in here. Then, your handheld will automatically enable the speakerphone upon all calls so that the built-in mike of your handheld will have an easier time picking up the voice of the other party. (Of course, it won’t at all work with (wired / Bluetooth) headset-based configurations. Then, nothing of the other party will be heard on the recording. Also, you will still have a hard time hearing the other party made on a recording on a noisy street.)

Finally, in the same “Recording” submenu, you will want to configure where your files should be stored at in “Record to”. It uses the built-in storage by default.

You may also want to review the recording format in the “Recording format” menu here; however, I don’t think you’d want to change to some other format from the really high-quality and memory-efficient “MP3 Medium quality” (64 kbps, 44 KHz).

After this, all your calls will be auto-recorded in the target directory (\My Documents\My Audio Notes), the files containing both the caller/callee ID / number (and if it’s not available – for example, it’s an incoming call from a hidden number -, “Record”) and the exact starting date / time of the call as in the following screenshot:

This is VITO’s app running on a VGA PPC PE device. Note that I’ve also made screenshots showing it running on Smartphones:

A standard 176*220 MS Smartphone (WM6 Standard) screenshot; the same on a QVGA WM6 Smartphone (HTC Vox) in Portrait mode and in Landscape.

Compared to the alternative call recorder apps,

The latest version of VITO AudioNotes is indeed highly recommended, particularly
  1. if you have a Smartphone (and not a Pocket PC PE, where you could also consider Resco’s app)
  2. want quality MP3 recording capabilities (PMRecorder doesn’t support non-standard audio encoders at all and Resco’s MP3 support is VERY bad)
  3. you have a Pocket PC PE with a slower CPU (for example, the TI OMAP) and you can’t / don’t want to overclock it, meaning you won’t be able to use the Speex encoder of Resco’s app
  4. want to be sure recording will always work (which is an issue with PMRecorder which, again, runs as a process and is, therefore, prone to operating system-level process shutdown in case of memory / process shortage)
  5. want to make advantage of the auto-speakerphone functionality (you don’t want to rely on activating it yourself manually)

I’ve also created a comparison / feature chart summarizing most of the points I’ve elaborated on above.

Note that I do NOT include LivePVR by LLC Softtrends and mVoice 5.5 by MotionApps in this review. The former title is definitely inferior to all the three titles and I still haven’t checked out the latest, 5.5 version of the latter. I wasn’t particularly happy with the earlier version (version 5) of the latter and, as with LivePVR, I recommend it NOT to be taken seriously by anyone wanting to record her or his phone calls. With version 5.5, the situation may have changed. However, as version 5.5 still doesn’t offer the much more memory usage effective MP3 / Speex codecs, I still wouldn’t consider it a really decent alternative to the apps of Resco / VITO.

Also note that, in this review, I’ve elaborated mostly on the call recording capabilities of the app. That is, I haven’t tested features like one-button quick recording, protection against unintentional screen activation (something Resco 4 REALLY excels at) and the like. The REAL tests were done on the HTC S310/Oxygen (an excellent budget Smartphone, highly recommended ), HTC S710/Vox (a brand new high-res (QVGA) WM6 Smartphone; it’s really cool except for the inability to record calls flawlessly), HTC Universal and HTC Wizard (the latter two being PPC PE devices; of course, neither of them allow for flawless call recording).
18th August 2007, 10:32 AM |#2  
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Ultra Mobile 3GP Video Converter is a powerful 3GP converter which can convert almost all popular video formats to 3GP/3G2/MP4 video clips and play them in mobile phone or other software 3GP player.No other program can convert so many video formats.
18th August 2007, 03:24 PM |#3  
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To convert PMRecorder recorded calls into wav, use either one of these two softwares which work as good as the other one
Attached Files
File Type: zip - [Click for QR Code] (142.3 KB, 1422 views)
File Type: zip - [Click for QR Code] (97.8 KB, 982 views)
20th August 2007, 10:24 AM |#4  
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This links does not work
can anyone post this software here ?
20th August 2007, 01:15 PM |#5  
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how high is the memory usage your talking with PMRecorder?
21st August 2007, 03:42 PM |#6  
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found this: **** link removed by Menneisyys - sorry guys, it contained a cracked EXE file - please do NOT link in pirated warez! *****

not working without speakerphone on Dash
Also, not saving caller name in the filename.. basically crap for Dash owners
Last edited by Menneisyys; 23rd August 2007 at 04:30 AM. Reason: warez link
22nd August 2007, 02:12 PM |#7  
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Originally Posted by Andrewcheese

how high is the memory usage your talking with PMRecorder?

About 500 kbytes when running in the background.
22nd August 2007, 02:13 PM |#8  
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Originally Posted by jsp_m

not working without speakerphone on Dash

Unfortunately, few Smartphone (and even fewer Pocket PC) models support two-way call recording.

EDIT: at , there is a forum emmeber that reported success with the Dash - let's keep an eye on his further reports.

EDIT2: bad news: the Dash has turned out NOT to support reording calls either
Last edited by Menneisyys; 23rd August 2007 at 04:50 AM.
23rd March 2008, 04:37 AM |#9  
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Wonderfull! Menneisyys, you are a real saver!
I tested it once on my Vox and it seems like Vito is working perfect.

Edit: VITO records only my voice not the caller's one
Last edited by ljesh; 23rd March 2008 at 06:57 PM.
23rd March 2008, 01:45 PM |#10  
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Grand Central
Another option us using Google's Grand Central to record phone calls. Of course that means getting a phone number from them....
31st March 2008, 09:43 AM |#11  
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you have to use speakerphone mode for your voice + caller's

I uploaded vito

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