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I want to record conversations made with remote relatives over the internet (or possibly over the phone), to preserve their stories for future generations. I'd like to save disk space, not storing quality that was never there to begin with, and I'd like to preserve audio quality, not introducing artifacts that aren't in the original recording.

By way of analogy, if a conversation were a graphics file, originally transmitted as a JPEG, I don't want to store it as an uncompressed TIFF, for that would be wasteful, but I also don't want to de-code it and then re-encode it as a JPEG either, for that would lose quality.

I was surprised when I tried a Skype recording program, and tried to record video with it, that it complained that my computer wasn't fast enough. I realized it was transcoding the video on the fly -- and I thought, "This is ridiculous; the video was compressed before transmission; it should store the compressed data stream". [I suspect now that due to the plug-in nature of the program, it never gets to see the raw data stream, and encoding the video received is the best it can do.]

One feature I really did like is that this program would save the audio for both sides in separate tracks, allowing for the possibility of normalizing the audio on both sides (thus avoiding the sound of a recording where one person is too quiet and the other is too loud).

I hope to archive the data for future use, in high quality, such that it could be, say, edited into podcast episodes or burned onto CDs or DVDs. (I recognize that no video call over the internet is going to be DVD quality!)

Requirements:

  • records the audio streams in the same quality as they were transmitted over the internet (maintaining quality and minimizing storage space)
  • it must be possible to extract the audio from both sides separately
  • must be future proof, so that people 100 years from now could also extract the data. [ex. data is saved in standard formats, or source is available to extract data from the archive]

Desirable:

  • I can easily place calls to non-technical people. [If it works with software they have, such as a WebRTC-capable browser, or FaceTime, or Skype, or a telephone, or if they can easily install an application to use it, so much the better]
  • video is an option
  • it'd be super nice if third parties could use the system and record their calls too [ex. if I could host it on a server somewhere]
  • inexpensive :-)

Permissable:

  • software for Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS. (Linux is preferred for a server; MacOS is preferred for a local client).
  • data saved into one big file for the conversation, or into several files

Not permissible:

  • ad-supported software
  • data stored on someone else's servers
0

Not sure if this suits your needs, but I've been happy with the WebEx recording feature. After I've downloaded the recording, I delete it from the cloud.

It works best if both people install the software.

You don't have to have a video connection. You can use the telephone for your audio if you wish. Just make sure you dial in according to the dialing instructions.

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