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Thread: How to save answering machine message?

  1. #1
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    How to save answering machine message?

    Can anyone tell me how to permanently save a message from a digital
    (tapeless) answering machine? It is an AT&T 1720.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  2. #2
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    Karl Kassel?

  3. #3
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    Record you playing it with your videocam

  4. #4
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    It is the only recording of the person's voice that I know of.
    It is also the last communication from that person before she died.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    Can anyone tell me how to permanently save a message from a digital
    (tapeless) answering machine? It is an AT&T 1720.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Hmmm... I would think that the answering machine lacks any connections for downloading or audio output, so unless you hack something up, you will probably have to record the playback itself by holding a recording device close to it. There are many recording devices you could use, perhaps you have an MP3 player with a voice recording function, or can use your computer to do it.

  6. #6
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    It has to have phone line jacks. There are devices designed to listen in on phone conversations, recording sound straight from the phone lines. The police might be the only people authorized to own them, though, but maybe you could borrow their services, particularly if there's a legal case involved.

    Otherwise, unless it has any other jacks, you'd just need to get a recorder with a microphone and hold it near the speaker while playing the message back. Digital recorders can be bought at some drug stores for under $10.

  7. #7
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    If you're at all electronically inclined, you could build a resistor pad.

    At it's simplest, just connect a one channel's leads to a stereo mini-plug (to plug into your sound card's microphone jack) across the the speaker terminals of your answering machine, BUT WAIT! You'll need to add a 1k ohm variable resistor between one of the speaker terminals and the lead going to the mini-plug.

    Set your computer to record, mic volume at max. Set the variable resistor to maximum resistance (use an ohmmeter). Set the volume on the answering machine to normal.

    Hit play, then use the variable resist to adjust the volume as it's fed into the microphone.

    Once you get the volume set right, record it.

    It works quite well - I've recorded a number of messages off my answering machine in this manner.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root
    It is the only recording of the person's voice that I know of.
    It is also the last communication from that person before she died.
    That sounds like a sad task.

    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens
    If you're at all electronically inclined, you could build a resistor pad.
    Since the recording is irreplaceable, if you want to try anything similar to the technique mugaliens is suggesting, I'd recommend first going with the low tech method of just using some other recording device as you play it back. That way, if you make a foolish mistake (soldering iron in the wrong place or soemthing) and break the answering machine by trying to rig something up that will get you higher fidelity, you'll at least have something.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  9. #9
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    Most answering machines can play back a message over the phone system, so that you can call in to get your messages. Perhaps you could do this with a cell phone or other device that has a line-level output (to drive a headset, say) and record it from there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    It is the only recording of the person's voice that I know of.
    It is also the last communication from that person before she died.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Jeff, I am not inclined in any way to help you. I just wanted to say that I am sorry for your loss. If you need an ear, feel free to PM.

  11. #11
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    She was a friend of my mother's since they were in school together.
    A few months ago she vanished. Phone was no longer in service.
    No Christmas card from her. I couldn't find any news about her online.
    Then she phoned to say hi, and tell my mom that she was in a
    nursing home. Before my mom could reply to her recorded message,
    her obituary was in the paper. (People my parent's age seemingly
    get the newspaper mainly for the obituaries.)

    Donnie, that sounds like a very good idea that I can try. It would be
    nice to be able to copy the digital data, though.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Last edited by Jeff Root; 2009-Mar-10 at 08:33 AM. Reason: minor typo
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  12. #12
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    Twenty years ago, a guy I used to work with in Colorado was biking around the country, as was his wont, and he called and left a message he was headed to South Carolina and left a phone number. He would have taken a side trip to visit had I been home. A couple weeks later, friends in Colorado called to say he'd been hit by an auto in Florida. I called his friends' house in SC to let them know what had happened. I still have the answering machine tape.

  13. #13
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    Jeff that really is sad. My heart goes out to you and your mother. For the record, I think that is a beautiful idea, if I had any voice recordings of friends that I have lost, I would want to do the same. I hope it was painless.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    It is the only recording of the person's voice that I know of.
    It is also the last communication from that person before she died.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    I know exactly how you feel. My wife died 6 weeks ago and her voice was on the answering service at the Qwest local telephone exchange. I had to give up that service and I knew that I would lose her voice. I was listening to it every day until it was taken off-line.

    I should have at least held a voice recorder up to the earphone of a telephone receiver to capture *any* quality of recording.

    (T_T)

    Tom, in Albuquerque

    .

  15. #15
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    Many Walmarts still sell an inexpensive mini-cassette audio recorder. I bought one so I could record telephone messages and keep them stored on a cassette.

    I just hold the microphone up to the answering machine speaker.

  16. #16
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    tlbs101 - I am sorry to hear of your loss.

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