Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device

Olympus TP-7 .jpeg Interviewing someone over the phone is never easy, and it is a task that has been made a bit more difficult since the switch to mobile phones. Where as with a landline you could use something like the previously reviewed Mini Phone Recorder, there are no simple bypasses for cellphones. I was originally hopeful when a previous reviewer devised a way to record cell phone interviews while wearing a hands free headset using parts found at Radioshack. But I wanted something simpler. With a little bit of research I discovered the Olympus TP-7; a miniature microphone that slips into your ear and plugs into your recording device (or computer) and enables easy recording of phone calls. At $11 it seemed like a low risk move to try one out.
Given its low cost, I didn't have any expectations in terms of audio quality, but was surprised to find that it was crystal clear (or as clear as a cell phone conversation normally is, clipping and all). While it's true my questions were louder than their answers the difference didn't hamper playback and transcription. Furthermore, the TP-7 is comfortable enough in-ear that I practically forgot it was there (just remember if you ever switch your phone to the other ear you have to move the microphone as well). The TP-7 comes with a bevy of plug adaptors, as well as different sized ear plugs for a comfortable fit. I have, in the past, tried Google Voice's recording services that only work on incoming calls to your Google Voice activated line (and also announce that the telephone call is being recorded due to varying state requirements). The recording quality is significantly worse compared to what my Olympus TP-7 and Olympus LS-10 produced, and the transcription (another feature offered by Google Voice) was laughable. Also, unlike the previously reviewed hands-free setup, the TP-7 has the added advantage of being a single piece of equipment that requires no extra cables or accessories, and is small enough to be carried around in my bag all day just in case I have to record a call on the road. If you ever have a need to record phone calls or interviews over the phone (mind you, legally) I can wholeheartedly recommend this tiny, lightweight but high quality in-ear microphone. -- Oliver Hulland Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device $11 Comment on this at Cool Tools. Or, submit a tool!


  1. These things are fantastic. Not having a pocket recorder dealie I run it into my netbook with Audacity running. Excellent quality. Unfortunately they apparently are illegal in Australia due to privacy laws. But you can’t really do a phone interview by telling the interviewee too hold up while you write down what they just said.

  2. Finally! Another soul with exactly my dilemma – and my solution as well. The TP-7 has done a great job for me as well, and I recommend it heartily to others.

    But there’s always a catch, en’t there? The TP-7 fits into my ear, which means I can’t use it with a bluetooth headset. That means I either have to use a speakerphone (which has all the intimacy of an announcement in an airport terminal) or I have to prop my cellphone up against my shoulder for, say, an hour.

    Any suggestions on recording calls in a way that is compatible with a bluetooth?

  3. Use Skype. The audio quality is superior if you can arrange skype-skype calls. It is still better than normal if you are calling Skype-landline. There are many add-on products that support full-quality recording of audio and or video.

  4. Man, just Skype the call and use the Call Recorder plug-in. Works like a charm.

    And learn to type really, really fast.

    When I worked for a newspaper I did phone interviews all the time without recording them. I got really good at jotting down quotes and notes.

    1. Agree fully with @alowishus, Skype and Call Recorder. Set to automatically record every incoming and outgoing Skype call … and never face the issue of wishing you’d done so after the fact. My Skype byline reads, “I record all calls for quality assurance and possible legal retribution”.

  5. I use Google Voice, which has a great call recording feature built in. Just press 4 during a call (inbound only, though), and you can later download the call as an mp3.

  6. If you’ve ever known the details of a story on which there is also a written piece, you’d not confuse the one with the other. The error rate is enormous. If you remember one solid fact and fake the rest, that’s par.

  7. So much for the usefulness of the walled garden.. There is a ton of Droid apps that do this, but they don’t all work across all models as some manufacturers have specifically designed their phones to circumvent such operation.

    Chances are you’ll find one that works on the marketplace. Trial & error is your friend.

  8. Just dug this up in a forum for the icrap users:

    How to record calls on iPhone:
    1. Be in call with person
    2. Hit the button to add a call (the +)
    3. Type in your phone number
    4. It will go strait to voicemail
    5. Once you here the beep, it will start recording
    6. When you hang up the call, you will get a voicemail of your recording


    No idea if it works, but it makes sense that it would.

    1. Back in the bad old days before the internet when I wrote for various free papers I’d have the second landline handset (look it up kids) in the other room lying next to a mike attached to a tape deck.

      Christ, what an asshole.


      If anyone’s interested I asked Radioshack, Olympus and the gang at Google Voice if they could confirm that Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh are uninsurable or that Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh are why people hate lawyers, or if Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh sacrifice kittehs.

      They said they couldn’t.

  9. All Nokia mobile phones (at least the one’s I’m familer with) can record a phone call.

    All you have to do is engage the mic-record *while the call is happening*.

    The person on the other end will hear a beep after every 30 seconds or so…. your phone call (both ways) will be recorded without the beep.

    There are also free apps (or pirated) available online for recording phone calls. It’s a common thing.

  10. I have one of these, and I use it to record audio when I’m shooting in-flight video. Fits nicely inside a David Clark headset. I could show you a boring video of myself flying a small single-engine airplane and talking about it (video recorded by my point-and-shoot camera suction-cupped to the window) but instead here’s something more fun. As you can see, the audio quality is indeed pretty great:

  11. What’s up with all the Skype recommendations? I signed up in preparation for a US-to-England interview, and called my sister as a test run. After weird pauses and cutouts impeded our conversation for about 3 minutes, she said, “Please, NEVER call me on this thing again.”

  12. After one too many Skype failures I found the Olympus TP-7 and it saved a lot of grief with its simplicity. I couldn’t get it to record directly into my MacBook so I assumed it needed phantom power so I patched it through a minidisc recorder. Having the minidisc backup has saved my bacon more than once when the inevitable Audacity crash happened.

    Using it mostly with an iPhone I’ve never has level issues and both sides of the conversation are at the same level.

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