How to record Skype calls with TalkHelper on Windows

When it comes to free chats and phone calls, Skype is the leading platform. It offers strong and reliable VoIP services which include a lot of features, such as audio and video calls, group calls and even allows people to talk in their own, native language. But there is one feature which you can’t find and that is Skype call recorder on PC. Despite being a basic, highly useful tool, Skype didn’t implemented any recorder, which opened up the path for developers to come up with a lot of apps and add-ons for this feature.

Why would you want to record a Skype call anyway?

Before we dive into the pool of recorders, let’s talk a little about the importance of recording calls. Why would someone want to record Skype calls? There are many reasons why you could be thinking of this, from safety to preserving memories. Depending who you are talking to, you might want to remember what you’ve talked and the best way to do this is to record the call, as your memory might not be reliable. For example, when you have a chat with your boss or business partner, you want to remember exactly what you’ve talked and the only reliable way to do this is to record the call. You can return to it and check the exact words if you have doubts about something.

Secondly, you may want to record a call when talking to a friend who is giving you directions to go to a place or who is showing you his or her latest projects. If you are the proud grandmother or aunt you will want to record the first time you see your little niece or nephew.

P.S. There are many more reasons to record Skype calls, but we’re going to stop here and go ahead to see how can you record a call. Other type of calls you should be recording are interviews, podcasts and calls which include specific instructions, especially those which you might want to give to other people.

Get help and record your Skype calls

free Skype recorder

There are many software and apps which allow you to record your Skype calls and probably the most popular of them all is Free Video Recorder for Skype. This tool is brought to us all for free, by DVDVideoSoft, which is known for their free and easy to use tools, which range from audio-video tools, downloaders and many more.

The first benefit of the Free Video Recorder for Skype is its ease of use; even a beginner can use this Skype call recorder. Then, it is brought by one of the most popular companies which offers free tools, which means a lot of people will know about it and will think about it as their first option when it comes to recording calls on Skype.

The third reason for using Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is the lack of limitations.

How to use TalkHelper Video Call Recorder for Skype

TalkHelper video recorder for Skype

To start using the tool you need to download it from the official website and install it. During installation you can choose to install additional tools, if you want to; the software comes with adware tools, which you can choose not to install by clicking the “Custom Installation” option and uncheck the additional tools.

After the installation, start the TalkHelper Video Call Recorder for Skype, which will start Skype as well. If you’ve already launched Skype, you will have to restart, so the new tool will be able to function properly. When you have both the recorder and Skype opened, you will see the recording options on the main window. The interface is simple and easy to use, so you won’t have problems finding the recording options.

To start recording your Skype call, select which method you want to use by clicking on the burger menu under the “Recording mode”. You can choose to use the Skype call recorder to record only the audio or the entire video, with the audio part as well. Other options refer to which part of the call to record: you can record the other person’s content or both your and their content. Again, you can choose what to record, the video or only the audio.

After you’ve selected what you want to record, you can start the actual recording by clicking on the record button – the red dot button. TalkHelper’s Skype Call Recorder allows you to stop the recording by clicking on the stop button at any time.

All the calls you’ve recorded will be saved automatically by the computer: to find where the content is being stored you can simply click on “Show in folder” option, like you do with any saved file. This will open the recordings in their folder. You can also change where the recordings are saved by clicking on the Browse and selecting another folder.

How to get the best out of TalkHelper

Start to record on TalkHelper

Apart from simple recording, you can configure the tool to get the best when you record Skype calls. There are many options available, which you can find in the “Tools” menu, under “Options”. Under the Video Audio tab you will find useful options, which allow you to adjust the quality of the recordings. You can modify the bitrate, the resolution and the frame/sample rate depending on your needs.

Another great option you have with Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is to automate the recording process. To automatize the recording of your calls, you can click on Tools and select the Auto start. Now, each time when you have a Skype call, the tool will record it automatically. When you end the call, the recording will stop and will be saved to the specific directory.

If you are ready to quit using your regular iPhone recording or recorder by placing it next to the microphone, download a third party recorder and enjoy your free calls.

 

 

Olympus WS-321M Digital Voice Recorder Review

The Olympus WS-321M comes in two other models; a 512MB version for $99.00 and a 2GB version for $199.00. The one we are reviewing is the 1GB version which retails for $149.00.

What is cool about the WS-321M is that it also can play your music too. It can run on your computer via USB, can sync with Windows Media Player, and plays MP3 and WMA formats.

Whichever model you choose, there are some common features among them all. They all run on a single AAA battery. They can also run on recharcheable batteries.

The top of the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder has headphone and mic jacks. Your thumb controls the Stop, Record and Play buttons down the right hand side of the digital recorder. The left side of the device has a Hold switch, as well as a record setting that determines mic sensitivity where you can select MUSIC or VOICE recording. There is a round set of controls on the face of the recorder that contains your scrolling and selector controls. The OK/MENU button works as a play button. All in all, a very intuitive interface. When you want to connect the recorder to your PC just pop the back cover off and plug it into your USB connection.

olympus-vn-5200-pc-digital-voice-recorder

Transferring and Playing Music Files
You can store MP3s and WMA files on the recorder. Since it operates as a general storage device your PC will simply recognize it as another “drive” on your PC. So you can just drag and drop files over to the player. Since it also syncs with Windows Media you can also work with the device through the Windows Media Player interface. Personally I prefer the drag and drop method, but both methods work fine.

There is no playlist capability on the Olympus 321-M, but you can arrange songs by artist, album, genre, or whatever method you choose. There is a shuffle (random) mode.

Sound Quality
It’s not the most high fidelity sound on playback, but I imagine that is because the device is mainly a VOICE recorder. Bass can be a bit muddy and the highs can be a little thin. Some people claim the WOW effect and the onboard EQ cleans the sound up nicely, but I’m not sure I necessarily agree on that. But it’s totally great for podcasts, books on MP3, and even music for running or something like that. I would see this working great for doctors, writers, novelists, and maybe even journalists.

The microphone has two recording modes, conference and dictation. In “Conference” mode you get the premium amount of sensitivity and an omni directional mic pattern. This would be good for panel discussions, group meetings, seminares, and stuff like that. The “Dictation” mode is good for one on one discussions and personal dictation.

As mentioned at the start of the review, there is a mic jack on the top of the recorder and you can plug in an external mic for added control, sensitivity, and audio recording quality.

Real world tests showed impressive results in a crowded group office, and local town meeting. Background voices are generally picked up well and there isn’t a lot of hiss or extranneous ambient noise. These tests were done using the standard onboard microphone.

Sometimes audio can be hard to decipher on playback. If you find this is the case there are noise cancelling filters on board. Settings that can cut low and high frequencies and just give you the frequencies commonly associated with human voice. This is a great feature that can save recordings that might otherwise have been rendered useless and indecipherable. You can also place “markers” in recordings to bookmark certain spots in a long recording so that you can go back to it later.

There is also an “auto backspace review” feature that lets you play the last few seconds of audio again. This is great for transcribing interviews or conversations. This can be set to 1, 5, or 10 seconds.

While the 321 M is billed as an MP3 player AND recorder, it’s strength clearly lies in the digital voice recording features. While it can “do the job” as an MP3 player, it really shines in the recording area. If you are looking for a professional recorder, this could well be it.

Two new Olympus Digital Skype Voice Recorders – The VN Series

In August of this year (2008), Olympus announced the launch of two new Olympus digital Skype voice recorders – the VN-5000 and VN-5200 PCboth of these voice recorders carry twice the storage capacity of previous models. The VN-5200 PC is the industry’s most affordable Windows Media Audio (WMA) digital voice recorder at $59.99; and the VN-5000 can record an impressive 300 hours of audio. This is accomplished with 512MB of internal memory onboard and offer the following features: olympus-321-m-digital-voice-recorder1

VN-5000

  • 300 hours of recording time
  • Enhanced HQ & SP sound quality
  • 39 hours of battery life.

VN-5200 PC

  • 221 hours of recording time
  • USB 2.0 high-speed connectivity to your PC
  • USB Mass Storage Class Device
  • HQ, SP, & LP WMA monaural recording
  • 30 hours of battery life

The shape and size of the bodies are surprisingly natural for their size, and can easily slide into a front pocket and some lapel pockets. The LCD screens are large enough to read with ease. As usual, Olympus smartly provides the user with multiple recording options.

Like the WS-series, these devices are great for capturing lectures, interviews, random thoughts or a child’s first words.

Andy Flagg, an Olympus Sales and Marketing guy, provides some marketing technobabble on the new line in their latest press release:

“The last VN-Series call recorders doubled the recording time of their predecessors and we’ve increased it substantially again. Whether you use them to record your favorite candidate’s speech or a class lecture, the VN-5000 and VN-5200PC deliver superior sound quality and great ease of use with double the capacity of earlier models, so you can capture more of what you need.”

Olympus VN-Series Recording Modes
The modes are as follows: HQ mode or the SP and LP modes for extended recording. As is typical of Olympus, the default recording format is WMA, although not always typical in the VN series. In fact, the VN-5200 PC using WMA for recording and playback, actually makes it the first WMA-based digital audio recorder in the VN-Series.

The VN-Series also features the Variable Control Voice Actuator (VCVA) function, extending recording time by recording only when the microphone senses sound at the preset level. This function is a significant time-saver, reducing the need to fast-forward past pauses in conversation.

Sharing Digital Voice Recorder Audio
The VN-5200 PC uses a PC Link, which enables users to transfer audio files to pretty much any PC/MAC using an included USB cable. No software download is needed. The device is simply treated as a mass storage device. What’s cool is this enables users to connect to other computers quickly, and once downloaded, files can be archived or emailed to friends, family, Boing Boing, etc.

Options for Playing Back Files on your Digital Voice Recorder
This is the one feature I wish my WS-Series Digital Skype Voice Recorder had. The “Index Mark” setting allows you to pinpoint specific pieces of the audio per file to simplify future searches. The VN-5200 PC holds up to 16 Index Marks per file, while the VN-5000 can hold 10 per file. After you have captured a recording, the slow playback option allows recordings to be played at 25 percent slower than real time, which makes it easy to type along if you are transcribing a lecture or meeting notes. The is also a fast playback option, which is 50 percent faster than real time, so you can skip ahead to essential segments.

Stylish & Functional Design
Because you can slip them into your pocket easily, the VN-Series digital audio devices could be an ideal travel buddy. Both digital voice recorders have large, easy-to-read LCD screens (as mentioned earlier) that display file information, recording time and events.

File Management
The VN-Series digital audio devices deliver an easy-to-use interface that enables users to accurately organize digital files with unparalleled organization for meetings, dates and reminders. The VN-5000 has four folders (each holds 100 files) and the VN-5200 PC has five folders (each holds 200 files). The VN-5200 PC also includes multi-language support in English, French and Spanish.

Lasting Power, Lasting Value
The VN-Series digital devices allow for extended continuous operation (39 hours for the VN-5000 and 30 hours for the VN-5200 PC) made possible by the long battery life of two AAA batteries. The new devices also feature a one-year warranty.

Availability
The VN-5000 will be available in September 2008.
The VN-5200 PC will be available in November 2008.

U.S. Pricing
VN-5000 Digital Voice Recorder Estimated Street Price: $39.99 (U.S.)
VN-5200 PC Digital Voice Recorder Estimated Street Price: $59.99 (U.S.)

Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder Review

The DS-40 can be used as a digital voice recorder, a music player, an audiobook player, and a podcast player. It is a completely redesigned recorder meant as a higher middle grade voice recorder, presumably to eventually replace the WS-300 Series of recorders.

The Specs

Without the external microphone attached, the Olympus DS-40 Digital Voice Recorder is about the same size as the Olympus WS-321M. It is a bit heavier and thicker, but this is most likely attributed to the metal housing. This is in contrast to the WS-300 series which had plastic housings.

Also, unlike the WS-300 series, the Olympus DS-40 has a mini USB port that is covered with an attached plastic cover. The power switch is on the right side near the bottom, and has a power saving mode that will kick in if you forget to shut it off, which is great and saves a bunch of battery life. The power switch also works as a HOLD button to keep the DS-40 from randomly recording as it is jumbled around in your pocket or briefcase.

The Olympus DS-40 has a new layout that spaces the control buttons on the face in such a way that they are easy to use, whereas the 300 series were a little close together and you had to be very careful you knew what you were pressing. This was one of the only real complaints I had with my WS-311, so it’s definitely a welcome change.

The speaker emanates sound from the back of the device and is surprisingly loud.

As with all Olympus Digital Voice Recorders, the D-40 is recognized as a mass storage device that you just plug and play. Your computer will simply recognize it as another drive on your Mac or PC. It still drag the WMA (Windows Media Audio) files off the device and organize and rearrange them on your local machine.

Compared with the WS-300 series, you get a lot more options with how your microphones work. You get three settings (dictation, conference, lecture). Naturally with the different recording quality settings you have varying degrees of recording quality. the HQ mode (over 34 hours of record time) is quite sufficient for normal speech recording. The HQ frequency range is from 50 to 13000 Hz. The ST XQ mode produces very high quality recordings. This is a perfect recorder for rehearsals, jam sessions, and practice spaces.

If you are using this for dictation a lot, there are actually 16 different levels of voice-activated sensitivity so it can be customized to suit your voice.

MP3 Player

Olympus insists on making most of their new voice recorders double as MP3 players, and the Olympus DS-40is no exception. It also plays audio files from Audible.com which allows for additional control (i.e. bookmarking, fast and slow play, and book sections). It also plays WMA, MP3 Netlibrary audiobooks with the useful features of resume position on a power cycle, fast/slow play speed (digitally corrected – no chipmunk voices), fast forward / rewind over track gaps, and audible cue / review. The rewind over a track gap feature is important when a book is split over multiple tracks and you need to review a section you just listened to. If that section is near the end of the previous track, you would have a problem with Ipods and Zens. They both stop rewinding at the beginning of a track. There is no bookmarking with mp3 and wma tracks. You can set a temporary index mark with an mp3 or wma track. The mark goes away when you move to another track.

olympus-ds-40-digital-voice-recorder

Podcasts

The Olympus DS-40 also plays podcasts. With the enclosed software you can add URLS and subscribe to podcasts. You can also set other options, like download interval, when they should be deleted, and automatic updates when new podcasts become available.

Summary

Pros:

Compact size, great price/benefit ratio, extended battery life, sturdy metal housing, mini-USB connector, large informative backlit display, excellent quality voice recordings, voice activation feature for recording with sixteen sensitivity levels, dictation capabilities, external stereo microphone and input included , date & time stamped recordings, recognized as mass storage device for file/music transfers, and music/podcast player.

Cons:

A carrying case would be nice. WMA recording only. Back placement of the speaker. No on-device editing capability except for delete and move.

Which Olympus Digital Voice Recorder Is Right For You?

Prices for digital voice recorders, including Olympus, vary widely. Some can be under $50 and some can be as expensive as $400.

If you are only recording voice for notes and maybe dictation, a basic digital recorder will suffice. But if you want to create podcasts, or record songwriting ideas, you might want to consider something with a wider frequency range and a higher bitrate. Some of the more expensive models can reduce background noise, and will automatically save in a common format like MP3 or WMA. If you are someone that does medical transcription, there are certain models that use compression formats that allow the file you recorded to be even smaller. This is good if you have to email files back and forth between a doctor and transcriber.

We’ll talk for just a moment about analog. You can still obtain Olympus microcassette recorders, which are even less expensive than the cheapest digital recorders. Again, if you are just doing simple note taking or listening to a college lecture, these will more than suffice. In fact if you want to buy an analog voice recorder there are often many used and new ones for sale in our voice recorder store.

The downside of analog is maintaining and labeling tapes, as well as having to fast forward and rewind to find spots you need. So if you do a lot of recording the Olympus digital voice recorders are your best bet. I like them because I can organize files on my computer and quickly rename them and file them away for future use. That’s how I use it for my songwriting. Some of the higher end voice recorders even allow you to tag files with keywords and that way you can find files easier down the road. Because they are made for voice recording they usually are higher quality recordings. They won’t sound thin or flat like they would on a cell phone or using an iPod accessory or something.

One thing you might want to seriously consider is if the digital voice recorder allows you to choose various settings of bitrate quality. Think of it like in the old VCR days when you could record in SP, EP, etc. With VCR tapes you could record longer, but the quality was not as good (i.e. the colors became more muted and the audio sounded thinner).

The same is true with a digital voice recorder. Allowing you to change the settings on the recorder can often help you adjust to unexpected situations. Perhaps a lecture goes long. Perhaps there is a discussion after a presentation which you would like to record. On a lower bitrate setting you would be able to capture the conversation and take it back home for transcribing. If it only had one high rate setting you might miss out on saving important statements form a conversation. Some recorders will give you up to six levels of quality, though you’ll most commonly find two or three settings.

All Olympus digital voice recorders let you save your files to a computer. By allowing you to do that you have the capabilities of emailing them to associates, uploading them to a website, transcribing them, labeling them and filing them on your hard drive and any number of additional uses.

olympus-321-m-digital-voice-recorder1

The Lower End Digital Voice Recorders

If you are recording lectures in school, or recording interviews for a newspaper or media outlet, most of the time you can find a voice recorder that fits your needs for under $150.

One popular model is the Olympus 300 Series. Most of them are primarily voice recorders but also double as MP3 players. On this site, we have reviewed the WS-311M, the Olympus WS-321M (shown right), and the Olympus WS-320M.

Pretty much the only difference across each model is simply the amount of storage available. Most of the functionality is the same for each. All of the WS-300 series digital voice recorders have voice activation, so it will only record when people are speaking. This can save battery life as well as increase the amount of recording you can fit on one device.

You’re not allowed to edit files on any of the 300-series voice recorders, but you can move them over to your computer and manipulate the files in any number of free and low-priced audio editing programs. They export to your computer in WMA format which means they’ll work on any PC. You can also play them on Apple computers provided you have installed Windows Media Player for Mac.

New: Olympus upped the ante again. Check out our review of the Olympus VN 5200 PC

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