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Monday August 26, 2002 
 

Dear Coach:

Do you know how to tape your TeleClasses and other calls, and in doing so, create a source of passive revenue for your coaching practice?

Most successful coaches don't rely only upon 1-1 or group coaching for their livelihood. They have arranged for several other sources of revenue -- some completely passive and some semi-passive -- that they use to fund their savin
gs plans and to even out the ebb and flow of revenue from 1-1 or group clients. 

This issue of Today's Coach features a lesson from the Certified Cyber ecourse from CoachVille, on the topic of How to Audio tape a TeleClass (assuming full permission from participants). It comes complete with step-by-step directions and photos so you can quickly learn how to record calls digitally (as opposed to using a tape recorder.)  By picking up this cyberskill, you'll be able to post your own audio recordings to your website for your clients -- just like what CoachVille does for its members!  The Certified Cyber ecourse includes 49 other cyber tips such as this, and is one of soon-to-be 79+ items that is included in the CoachVille membership...

Also in today's issue is a sponsor announcement from Client Compass, formerly Intentional Coach Software, which includes several special offers only for Today's Coach readers...see below for details.

My best to you,

Andrea Lee
GM, CoachVille
 

 

 

 


certified cyber course | beta edition | about course/website

Cyber Skill #19
Audio taping a TeleClass or conference call


Cassette Tape Recording Introduction

Assuming that you have full permission from all participants on a call, here's how to record the call to a standard cassette recorder. We've now added the steps on how to record a call digitally as an add on to this lesson - keep reading.

What are the laws concerning taping phone calls?
For a "Guide to Taping Phone Conversations in the 50 States and D.C." |here.


Step 1
Buy a special adapter
HelloDirect.com sells an adapter for less than $50.  It's item #3698 but isn't visible on their website, but if you call them at 1-800-HI-HELLO and ask for this product, they'll ship it to you.


Step 2
Connect the adapter between your telephone and cassette recorder.
One end of the adapter fits into your phone and the other end plugs into the MIC or LINE-IN micro jack of your cassette recorder.  (Make certain you have/buy a cassette recorder that HAS a MIC or LINE-IN micro jack.  Some don't -- all they have is that built-in microphone.  Radio Shack sells a simple cassette recorder with a LINE-IN jack for less than $50.)


Step 3
When the call has started, push the record button on your cassette recorder.
Your cassette recorder now picks up both sides of the conversation, but your voice (when you're speaking on the call) will be about twice as loud as everyone else's so either hold the phone away from your mouth, or speak softly to equalize.  One way around this problem when calling into a conferencing bridge is to use two phones -- one for speaking and other for recording.  (Using an extension line doesn't work very well.)


Remember, it is generally illegal to record a call without the full knowledge and express permission of everyone on that call.  


Notes
1.  There is supposed to be a way to connect your phone to your computer and record directly onto your hard drive as a .wav file, but whenever I've tried this, I got a bad hum. If you've had better luck, please email me with how you got this to work.  (thomas@thomasleonard.com

2.  There is a product for $199 from RadioShack.com called the Soft Call Recorder which is a mini hard drive that records the call onto its mini hard drive.  There are cables that connect it with your computer and the specs say you can save/transfer the audio file to your computer's hard drive and/or burn it to a CD, but I've never tried it and the catalog doesn't say which format the audio file is in.

3. Radio Shack also has a product similar to Hello Direct's connector, called Telephone Recording Control, Radio Shack part number 43-228 for about $20.  You may order this online at http://www.radioshack.com or call 1.800.843.7422 to order.


Other Options
1. Once you've taped the call on your cassette recorder, you can then plug that machine into your computer and play the tape into RealProducer (from real.com).  RealProducer 'captures' the cassette as it plays and converts that into a RealAudio file which you can then uploaded to a web server that plays RealAudio files should you want folks at your website to be able to hear this taped call.
 

Digital Recording Introduction
If you're looking to record a conference call digitally (vs using a tape recorder), then this next section is for you.  The advantages of recording digitally are both quality of the finished product as well as the convenience and time savings, especially if you want to convert the recording to a RealAudio or other file.  The equipment/process we describe below lets you record a call on an SmartMedia card which you can then insert into your computer, convert to a .wav file and then convert to a .rm (RealAudio/Media file), to a Windows Media File or to an mp3 file, all within minutes vs having to 'play' the traditional audio tape for an hour.  (Makes a big difference if you're doing several or many conversions.)  Most of you who are reading this probably will want to convert your audio file into RealAudio or similar so that you can post it to your website for folks to listen to your conference call/recording.  Just so you know, this is how we record some of our classes; the process works flawlessly, and it's pretty fast too.
 

Step 1
Buy a digital voice recorder.
A digital voice recorder will allow you to record a conversation over the telephone and then play that file back over your computer.
Olympus makes a nice one:

 

Olympus DM-1 Digital Voice & MP3 Recorder

Features:

  • DM-1 supports removable SmartMedia™ cards for recording of voice or music files
  • Built-in WOW™ sound system produces rich bass, clear three-dimensional sound
  • USB-compatible for quick and easy downloading of voice or music files
  • Can also download using PCMCIA
  • Two recording modes: SP mode and LP mode
  • Microphone Sensitivity Selector and Voice Activation modes allow for hands-free recording

You can comparison shop for the best price on this unit at http://www.nextag.com or here.

Setting up the recorder is fairly easy/straightforward. You will want to read/follow the setup instructions that come with the recorder. Specifically you will need to do the following:

  Learn how to put the memory card in (sensitive/careful)
  Learn how to plug in the power supply (it's on the side)
  Set the Micsens button to "Dict" (mic sensitivity)
  Set the VCVA button to "off"
  Learn how to turn the unit on (small button on the back: Power/Lock)
  Set the date and time

Note: There are plenty of other digital recorders in the market place. You might want to shop around and find the one best suited for your needs. Just type in digital recorders in a search engine and read up on the different model types/features.
 

Step 2
Purchase a Voice Leveler.
Without this device your voice will overpower the other callers on the call. Having an even voice level is essential for the comfort/usefulness to you listeners. It really matters. Buy this voice leveler.

TRX-20-35B Deluxe Telephone Recording Jack - (3.5mm Jack)

The TRX-20-35B Telephone Record Unit (specifically for 3.5mm mic inputs) adapts a recorder to both single or multi-line telephones. Simple and easy to use, this unit connects quickly between your telephone and handset providing crystal clear audio recordings. A modular connector simply plugs between handset cord and the telephone, and 3.5mm jack plugs into your recorder.

You can purchase the voice leveler | here.


Step 3
Connect the adapter between your telephone and cassette recorder.
One end of the adapter fits into your phone and the other end plugs into the MIC or LINE-IN micro jack of your cassette recorder. When it is all hooked it will look like this:


OR:

3 steps for installing the voice leveler
1.  Plug the voice leveler into the phone where your handset normally plugs in.
2.  Plug the phone handset into the voice leveler. (only one place to plug it in)
3.  The voice leveler has a cable that plugs into the digital recorder in the port called "mic" (microphone)


Step 4
Install the DSS Software
Insert the DSS Player 2000 software CD that came with the recorder, into your CD-ROM drive. The installer launches automatically. Follow the prompts thru the software.


Step 5
Connect Digital Recorder to Computer
Make sure you finish installing DSS Player 2000 before connecting the DS-2000. If you connect the DS-2000 before installing DSS Player 2000, the "Add New Hardware Wizard" dialog box will open. In this happens, click "Cancel" to exit the wizard and install DSS Player 2000 (step 4).

The power button for the recorder is on the back of the unit as well. Simply push the switch to the 'ON' position.

There are 2 ways of connecting your recorder to your computer. You can choose one method or the other (we recommend the USB connection).

USB Connection:

Note: Before connecting the USB cable to the DS-2000, make sure that the DS-2000 is in the stop mode, with its rear-panel POWER/LOCK switch ON and that the HOLD switch is not set to the HOLD position.

OR

Smart Media Connection:

Note: Please go out of your way to handle the Smart Media carefully.
Simply insert the Smart Media card into the recorder. Turn the recorder over, there is a picture of how to line up the Smart Media card to insert it properly.

Insert the Smart Media card into the recorder. You are now ready to start recording your calls.



Step 6
Record Conversation
When the call has started push the record button on your digital recorder. Your digital recorder now picks up both sides of the conversation. Don't forget to stop recording once the call is complete. Also, it's a good idea to state your name and the name of the class/purpose of the call as soon as you start the recorder. This will make it easy to identify your recordings later on.

Note: The number and length of calls you can record is based on the memory capacity of the memory disk you have. eg. The 32 MB memory disk can record 12 hours of call time.
 

Step 7
Download audio file (DSS) to your computer
Once you've taped the call on your digital voice recorder, you will need to then transfer that file from the recorder to your computer. There are 2 ways of doing this. Using the USB port that comes with the unit, or by using the SmartMedia card that comes with it. (if you purchase a different recorder this step may vary).

Launch the special software that come with your Olympus recorder. You can find this software (assuming you have installed it to your computer) by using the Start>Programs and finding it. (Olympus DSS Player 2000)

Find your recorded files by double clicking on the Device Manager (bottom right of screen), you should see the files you just recorded. They will show up in either the DSS-2000 folder (USB connection) or under Smart Media card (Smart Media connection). Either way, you can use the drop down on the menu bar and choose Upload DSS files. This will move all the audio files from the recorder to the computer. Any files stored in folder A in the recorder will move to folder A on your computer.

The files are named using this naming scheme: (you can/will want to rename your files later)

"User ID (first four letters) +Serial Number (four digits)"

The file type at this point, is only playable using the software that came with your Olympus digital recorder. You will need to convert that file to a .WAV file, and then convert the .WAV file to a REALAUDIO file before you can post it up on your website.


Step 8
Convert audio file from .DSS to .WAV
Now that the files are stored on your computers hard drive. You will need to convert them to a file format that is universally accepted/used by other pieces of software.

1. Find the file in the Download Tray (folder A) and highlight it (click on the file once) Then go to the File menu and click Convert to .WAV file.

2. It will then ask you where you want the file to be saved on your hard drive. Make note of the location you save the file or better yet, create a folder for all your sound files called AUDIO files or something similar.
 

Step 9
Convert audio file from .WAV to RealAudio (or MP3)
You will need a special piece of software to convert and compress the file from a .WAV file to a RealAudio file. The .WAV file is usually over 100 megs (one hour call) vs about 7 megs for a RealAudio file. Critical step for making these files manageable in size. We recommend you start/use RealProducer basic (free) but, there are many software choices out in the marketplace, with all types of features, etc.

Others to check out include:

Not sure if you should upgrade to RealProducer Plus? Here is a comparison chart:

RealProducer Plus & Basic Comparison:

BASIC MEDIA CONVERSION

Features

Plus

Basic

Creates RealAudio
High-clarity RealAudio lets you hear the natural and broadest range

X

X

Captures live to file
Record your live broadcast to a file for play back

X

X

SureStream™
RealSytem Producer Plus creates presentations that offer optimal user experience across the widest range of connection speeds

X
up to 8 target audiences

X
up to 2 target audien
ces

QUALITY/REACH OPTIMIZATION

Features

Plus

Basic

Edit RealMedia with graphical interface
Preview, cut, paste and edit properties with The RealMedia Editor

X

 

Bandwidth simulation

X

 


Each software package operates a tad differently, but essentially you open your .WAV file in the software package and then go to the File menu and choose SAVE AS and choose .rm (realaudio) file type. The software will then converts your .wav file to a .rm (realaudio) file. Simple as that!

For more detailed instruction on using RealProducer see CertifiedCyber lesson 32 Creating RealAudio Files http://www.certifiedcyber.com/32realaudiofiles.html.

Step 10
Serve it to your website
After you have converted/compressed your media file using one of the above software tools, you are ready to stream it to your webpage. Think of television and radio for your computer. The audio file is stored on a Streaming server, not your own server. Streaming is different from downloading in that playback starts immediately with just a mouse click for the viewer, and the large file is not saved to the viewer's computer. To do this you will need a streaming media account from a service provider, like http://www.playstream.com.

And/or ask your web hosting provider if they can STREAM RealAudio files (your host has to have the software to stream the realaudio file; if they don't, the visitor can DOWNLOAD the file and play it, but can't listen to it, (called streaming) in the process.

What are the benefits of placing my media files on a streaming server rather than a Web server?
The easiest way to explain this is to compare it to a car with an automatic transmission versus a manual transmission. Streaming servers are able to change data-transfer rates to the end user automatically during playback.

Thus, if network congestion arises during playback, streaming servers will accommodate this change in environment and "downshift" the data transfer rate to prevent the media from "rebuffering;" a term used to describe the pausing of player to collect more data before resuming playback. Should the network environment improve, the servers will shift the data transfer rate upward to improve playback quality.

Step 11
Upload your .rm file via FTP
Now that your recording has been done, you need to transfer the .rm file to either your webserver/isp or http://www.playstream.com.  Most ISPs will play your real media files, but make sure they offer that service in your price plan.
 

Step 12
Create a link from your web page to the realaudio file you just uploaded
You will be given exact instructions on how to do this from PlayStream or your ISP, but you are basically going to put a link on your webpage that will start the playing of the audio file. It will be a user friendly test description that is 'linked' behind the scenes to the file on the playstream server. All invisible to the end user, of course.

This is easy. It will look something like this:

http://playstream-real.com:8080/ramgen/thomasleonard/ColdCallingForCorpClients-1_10-10-2001-2.01-PM.rm 
Your link will be a lot shorter, probably.  There are 4 important sections of the link:

Section 1.  The first part of the web address of the server...
http://playstream-real.com
We use playstream.com for our hosting of real media files.

Section 2.  A special little command that will play the Real Media file...
:8080/ramgen/
This little command lets you bypass the cumbersome process of creating something called a ram file which is a pain.

Section 3.  The second part of the web address of the server...
thomasleonard/
in my case, it's my account name at playstream.com

Section 4.  The file name of the .rm file...
ColdCallingForCorpClients-1_10-10-2001-2.01-PM.rm
Your file name will probably be a lot shorter than this!  Just make sure it ends in .rm and you'll be fine.

When you're done, it may look something like this
Click here to hear my recent class
 

Step 13
Click play and enjoy your hard work!
You only have to go thru these steps once, and people will be able to listen to your recordings for a lifetime! Well worth the effort of getting a handle on this process.

Don't want to hassle with all this?
I have a company that has a system that calls into your bridge and records the call to our hard drive/server, converts the file into RealAudio and emails you with the URL/link to use at your site.  (We host the RealAudio file on our server.)  Cost is $69 an hour. Details at http://www.teleaudio.com
 


Was something not clear?  Was there a typo or other error?
This is the first time that the Certified Cyber Course is being delivered.  We are counting on you to help us perfect the tips in this course so that each is easily understood and free of cyber jargon.  We aren't able to provide 1-1 tech support, but we will post 'clarifications' several days after each of the Cyber Skills is broadcast.  Please email confusion-questions-corrections-improvements to support@coachville.comAgain, we won't reply to your email but it will be read and this course will be improved as a direct result of your assistance.


Copyright 2001 by CoachVille.com.  All rights reserved.  Forwarding/distribution permitted with full attribution/copyright and banner ads.  Licensing/use questions?

Certified Cyber is sponsored by

 

 

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