Tape is the most common medium used to record phone calls. Similar to an old-fashioned answering machine, tape recorders attached to your home phone system can efficiently record conversations without the need for much technological understanding. This option may not work well for a business setting, because it does require the ability to store the tapes for an extended period. It can work for surveillance needs, provided the recorder is portable and the tapes are not too cumbersome.
PC Integrated recording devices, like tape recorders, are quite inexpensive and require little technological know-how to operate. These work particularly well for businesses, because they record not only the conversation, but also information like the date, telephone number, and even the duration of the call. If multiple users will be using the recorder at the same time or you need to do live call monitoring, consider connecting the system to your network or even using the Internet.
Proprietary hardware recording devices are quite varied in the size and scope that they offer. These are stand-alone units with their own proprietary software that can record hundreds of calls. Sometimes they have additional features, such as the ability to analyze voice patterns and integrate calls into databases. These are primarily used by businesses. They can be somewhat expensive to maintain, as parts and services are primarily offered through the original product manufacturer.
Self-contained call recorders are portable recording devices that operate silently while making a record of the call. They work much like a tape recorder, but with better quality and less background noise. This type of recorder is the primary option used for surveillance purposes for people who must move around in their line of work.
Multi-user systems must be centrally located and can record calls from multiple users at the same time. This is the most expensive type of device used to record calls. These are designed for business uses and have their own hard drives in which to record the calls, which can then be transferred to CD for the business to use. The main benefit of this type of recorder is the fact that it can record a huge volume of calls, but lack of portability makes it a poor choice for surveillance needs.
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