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Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the wait-til-the-parrot-union-finds-out-about-this dept.

Input Devices 85

dousette writes "I have been tasked with modernizing our company's board room. Replacing the overhead projector with a more modern LCD projector is a no-brainer, speakers are easy enough to wire off of the HDMI projector, but one of the requirements that has me stumped is the recording of minutes. The existing system uses wired microphones connected to a cassette player, and what I would love to replace this with are some sort of Ethernet microphone that could stream directly to a Windows file share. Does such an animal exist? Do you have any other suggestions for the room that I might be missing?" So if you wanted to bypass a stand-alone system, how would you go about dumping audio straight to your network?

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Overthinking things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069369)

Does the conference room not have a conference phone in it?

BOFH (3, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41071177)

Cat5 and newer has an 'extra' twisted pair in each cable.

Just disconnect the extra pair from behind the wall panal and solder a condenser mic across the leads. Do it to all the conference rooms and offices in the executive suite. When you need to hear what they are plotting and planning you go into the wiring closet and listen.

None of the suits will notice their network is only 10Mbps.

Credit where it's due. The BOFH did this many years ago, back when his column was funny.

Re:BOFH (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#41071265)

Credit where it's due. The BOFH did this many years ago, back when his column was funny.

You forgot weekly as well.

Mini-PC and pulseaudio (3, Interesting)

maweki (999634) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069387)

As far as I know, you could put a linux-box there with pulseaudio and make the input device network-available. You could record then with any pulseaudio-system anywhere.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069443)

just about any version of hooking a PC to the Sound System and having that box flip the file to wherever you need should work

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069455)

As far as I know, you could put a linux-box there with pulseaudio and make the input device network-available. You could record then with any pulseaudio-system anywhere.

This, this, this.

Raspberry Pi, anyone?

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

maweki (999634) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069511)

Would have suggested that right away but didn't know whether it packs enough bang.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069631)

Would have suggested that right away but didn't know whether it packs enough bang.

Me either, but I did find a discussion thread where some fellas managed to get pulseaudio running w/ VLC [stackexchange.com] Of course, that's only playback...

Since we're just talking about simple voice recording, surely the hardware requirements would be minimal? I mean, if 12k is good enough for phone conversations...

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073961)

I mean, if 12k is good enough for phone conversations...

8k is good enough for phone conversations. The bandpass of a standard phone line is rated at 300-3000Hz. The lowest non-aliasing sample rate would be 6000 samples per second.

The standard digital phone rate was 8000 sps. You'll find this encoded in T1 specs, and various other hardware from the 70s and 80s.

Components (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41072421)

For video, I am using an Optoma ML500. I would not use any other laser or lcd projector at this point.

For audio, I use an Olympus digital recorder on a rubber pad. It can record many hours of audio before it fills up. It shows up as a USB stick when you plug it in, and is compatible with Linux. Then, I use Audacity to remove noise, and the quality is really great. Sony has a nice recorder too, but I won't do business with them after the GeoHot fiasco.

Recording to a server is a possiblity, and I use it with WebEx, but I would not install it in a room. I would not have a room based setup for direct recording for two reasons; portability and security. Imagine a situation where someone starts an unauthorized (and possibly illegal) recording. Or, perhaps, they access a previous recording on a network share. Maybe someone forgot to stop recording and the party that uses the room next does not know that it is on. This could sink a company.

IANAL, but like to make sure that I record consent from all parties before continuing, and provide a copy to all parties upon conclusion. You may have to consult your lawyer before implementation.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069527)

Careful, you might not want the boardroom audio available to all.

The safest path might be to replace the tape deck with a solid state recorder with removable storage. I've hooked ours up to an iPod in the past.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069619)

Careful, you might not want the boardroom audio available to all.

The safest path might be to replace the tape deck with a solid state recorder with removable storage. I've hooked ours up to an iPod in the past.

This. I would suggest keeping the Mics (they probably have good placement and superior audio) and feeding them into a small digital recorder that someone has the responsibility of starting/stopping/uploading. This way only the activity that is supposed to be recorded, retransmitted, etc. is actually done since a human needs to handle the movement of the information. Try to automate it and get it wrong (even on accident,) and you could find yourself looking for a new job at best, and looking out from a jail cell at worst.

My first thought was some sort of remote-controlled mic system that took cues from an Exchange server managing meeting resource events. That way the file would automatically be generated for each meeting that was scheduled, and saved accordingly. That would be awesome until someone scheduled an off the record meeting and found out only later that the whole thing was recorded and stashed on the intranet where who knows who has access to it.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (2)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#41072309)

you could find yourself looking for a new job at best, and looking out from a shallow grave in the middle of nowhere at worst.

FTFY.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

Ponder Stibions (962426) | more than 2 years ago | (#41072155)

We have a (very nice) audio recorder which is about the size of a walkman and records to SD card in MP3 or WAV formats when the big red button is pressed.
We use it for recordings where qulity is important so have a high end one, (Roland I think the brand is) but actually there are dictaphones which record to SD cards which will probably cover your use.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41072455)

I highly recommend against removing the tape recorder.

I've had solid state devices randomly fail and you have nothing, at least with a broken tape machine you get a garbled tape that you can usually have your secretarial staff respool and force the high school intern hopeful to listen to and figure out.

That said, solid state recorders have been great to me except when they completely die for no apparent reason.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073311)

If it is mission-critical it would be trivial to split the microphone wire and record through two devices.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075711)

If it is mission critical, buy two. Instructions read "Hit record on both devices" "Hit stop on both devices." Mission critical usually means you have a budget of more than $200.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075749)

Exactly - hell, if it is mission critical you probably want redundant microphones.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41072621)

You had better make sure everyone knows about it and agrees to be recorded. In most states recording a conversation is a felony without the other party knowing and agreeing to it, and no it doesn't have to be over a phone. A meeting is not a public setting and there is an expectation of privacy. Me, I would tell you to go to hell. You are a lacky for the big boss who is just covering his ass when the shit hits the fan, and/or looking for reasons to fire people because they said an "inappropriate" word. Are you in training to wear jackboots? Why would you even go along with this too? If your boss wants to be there and listen, then he needs to get his butt there. If he can't be there and can't trust anyone without all conversations being recorded, refer to my first comment about being a lacky.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073285)

In most states recording a conversation is a felony without the other party knowing and agreeing to it

If by most, you mean "twelve": California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069915)

Why the focus on pulseaudio? One source, an external button to start/stop (repurpose the power button for this, ha-ha), dump the audio encoded and named for location and time stamp. No need for the pile of stinking polished turd that is pulseaudio.

Re:Mini-PC and pulseaudio (1)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41072729)

I think using the pulseaudio network streaming in this case is probably overkill. If the audio does not need to be monitored in realtime you can just record it to a network share with any sort of audio recording software. Even just plain arecord from alsa-utils.

Why ethernet mic? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069425)

Use bluetooth, Connect to any networked machine within range. Or if a laptop is there, use its built in mic. You can grab the Audio with Audacity.

Re:Why ethernet mic? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073723)

Right, because your boss is going to be thrilled that any teenager in the parking lot with a bluetooth adapter can listen in on their upcoming merger information...

Re:Why ethernet mic? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073929)

Right, because bluetooth has that kind of range, and all business meetings are held in the parking lot.

Re:Why ethernet mic? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#41104203)

Directional antennas are a remarkable thing.

To the googles! (2, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069445)

Re:To the googles! (2)

tscheez (71929) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069491)

I know you were being a smart ass, but that Marantz (result #2) is a nice unit.

Re:To the googles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069547)

You know lmgtfy only really works as a joke if there are useful results when you do it, right? I tried your suggestion and the first link is for logging radio station broadcasts, and the rest were irrelevant. All of which makes you look a bit smug and really not very helpful.

Who takes the minutes? (3, Interesting)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069449)

Do you just dump the audio archives somewhere for hypothetical later retrieval (which isn't really "minutes"), or is somebody tasked with creating the actual minutes from the recordings after the meeting? Having a person writing up the minutes as the meeting progresses is generally a better idea in my experience. Then it's just normal document editing.

Re:Who takes the minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069637)

This: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-ICD-SX712-Digital-Flash-Recorder/dp/B004M8ST2W/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1345567928&sr=1-6 [amazon.com] paired with Dragon Naturally speaking and no one needs to write up minutes and that person can actually contribute to the meeting instead of concentrating on a task. There will still be some document editing involved though.

Re:Who takes the minutes? (3, Insightful)

hesiod (111176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070429)

The auto-transcribed document wouldn't be able to identify who is speaking at any given time.

Re:Who takes the minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41072449)

Minutes include agenda, attendance, handouts, etc. That stuff is not captured just from voice transcription, along with the other problems mentioned.

I install that solution all the time. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069485)

http://www.amazon.com/Marantz-PMD580-Rack-Mount-CompactFlash-Recorder/dp/B0017OM6JQ [amazon.com]

we install them all the time.

And yes it's the only real solution, if they balk at the price, they really dont want to do what you are asking, hook up a Laptop and press record if they are too cheap to buy the real tool for the job.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069731)

Try to be serious. It is not even close to "the only real solution", The only reason to go with it would be not knowing how to instal and configure linux on one of the used 80486 based machines that everyone keeps trying to unload for free because nobody wants them anymore. In fact, if you came to me and proposed that solution to accomplish such a mundane task your days working for me would be very limited indeed.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41070373)

Oh no! I'm going to get fired from my job in this guy's parent's basement. Oh the humiliation!!!

Re:I install that solution all the time. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41071055)

but but but it's rackmounted MARANTZ!! MARANTZ I TELL YOU! you know it'll be perfect when they start recording their company bands tracks in there.

and what they really need and want is just a flash based replacement for the cassette recorder. if it's a company that could do better things with the 1000 bucks they don't need the marantz and if they're big enough for price to not matter they're going to have meetings there that they don't want recorded to the intranet...

Re:I install that solution all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41071193)

If your company frets over $1000 then it has major financial issues. Most companies spend more than that on toilet paper in a month. You sound like some dipshit MBA that pinches pennies in areas where they shouldn't for solutions that end up being more costly in the long term.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41071283)

If I made stupid statements like that I'd post as an AC too.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41082603)

You are funny, come back when you have a real commercial solution and not some duct tape together system that will not run for 5 years without service or maintenance that any executive can easily use.

You seem to not have any clue as to how to do real professional system installs in a Board room. Let me guess, you also use a Harmony remote for the "automation" as well.

Last Board room I designed and programmed was $45,000 in AV gear and we installed a 120" TV instead of a Projector and screen. The wood table was TWICE as much as the AV install. Board room is for installing real products that work 100% of the time. Like JLB speakers, not radio shack or best buy home garbage. Crestron or AMX control to make it brain dead simple to use, not garbage from Smarthome. And real professional amplifiers, HDCP certified presentation switchers, instead of Monoprice garbage.

Please leave professional AV to us experts, It's cute you dabble in it, but your TV is not a "home theater" and you really have no idea as to what is used in professional installations.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#41083111)

"Last Board room I designed and programmed was $45,000"

You obviously have no idea about audio, or how to meet requirements. I would love to see the face of your boss when you tell him that you are thinking of replacing a microphone and cassette recorder with a $45,000 solution.

" The existing system uses wired microphones connected to a cassette player, and what I would love to replace this with are some sort of Ethernet microphone that could stream directly to a Windows file share."

If you had read the actual requirements you would realize how ridiculous you are, but let's not let the facts get in the way of a really lame posturing attempt. Exactly what bandwidth do you think you need to capture to facilitate the process of allowing a secretary to transcribe meeting minutes? Exactly how complicated do you think it is to capture that audio and copy it to a Windows file share?

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069815)

What do you think of using something like a Zoom H4N or R16 instead? They are significantly less expensive, can be moved more easily if needed, and make very nice recordings. No live streaming capability in either, but the audio records to an SD card, and can be uploaded from there or read through a USB interface.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070383)

Because the question asker specifically asked for a network recorder?

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 2 years ago | (#41081527)

Okay, that's reasonable.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069847)

I was expecting that link to point to a $50k unit since you implied that someone might balk at the price. You are right. $1300 is borderline consumer level pricing and the company may just spend more in labor discussing whether to buy than they would in the actual cost of the unit.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

MattCohn.com (555899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070583)

I came to post this same link. This will automatically save files to a network share or record them on to a removable compact flash card, making it easier to use and more versatile than a home-grown general purpose computer solution. It can be easily wired with remote start/stop and status indication. It can work manually, based on the faceplate controls, remote contact start/stop, or web-based UI, or automatically based on a schedule. It has both consumer and professional, analog and digital audio inputs and outputs. It's a sturdy, slim, quiet, rack-mounted solution.

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 2 years ago | (#41074029)

Another vote for the Marantz. I have just arranged a boardroom's AV installation, and this was the only bullet-proof (idiot-proof) system. It's rack-mounted (i.e. invisible), controllable from the AMX touch panel and integrated into the whole system. The secretary can hit 'record' at the start and 'stop' at the end without leaving her seat and it all happens magically. The AV fitout is about $90 000 installed so the Marantz - while not cheap - is just a tiny part of it.

Like the other guy said, if they can't afford it, they don't really want it.

Now if Lumpy could recommend something idiot-proof and AMX-controllable for me to record the visuals from the matrix switcher I'd be happy...

Re:I install that solution all the time. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#41082653)

AMX compatable? nope. the only HDMI recorder that exists is the CAPTURE-HD from crestron. But it requires a special device in front of it to strip out HDCP so that it does not lock up when a Windows 8 laptop is used and HDCP is enforced.

I really wish a recorder existed that was generic and either Rs232 or Tcp controlled, but right now Crestron holds the bag on that one.

Revolabs (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069553)

You could try the Revolabs xTag USB [revolabs.com] and your favorite capture software. We use them connected directly to an amp since we don't record but the base has a mini-USB plug for just what your are needing to do.

Simple (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069557)

Voip Phone. Networked intercoms. There are plenty of these.

Why ditch the mics? (1)

chazchaz101 (871891) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069563)

If the current mics are giving you decent audio, it would be way simpler just to either connect them to the sound in on an existing computer, or if there isn't already going to be something always on, you could set up a plug computer which could easily upload the recordings, or perhaps even host them its self. Something like the SheevaPlug [globalscal...logies.com] should be more than enough.

We use GoToMeeting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069577)

We use GoToMeeting to record this stuff. Mind you, every time we need to record something, we also happen to have stakeholders from other offices calling in for the meeting. If everyone is present in the same room, then G2M would add an extra, unnecessary, layer.

Re:We use GoToMeeting (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069643)

We use GoToMeeting to record this stuff. Mind you, every time we need to record something, we also happen to have stakeholders from other offices calling in for the meeting. If everyone is present in the same room, then G2M would add an extra, unnecessary, layer.

Yes and no. Depends on what else is going on. A audio or video conferencing solution can be a far better option if you're doing things like showing a PowerPoint or want to record the video as well. I've recorded plenty of meetings where everyone was local just because I wanted to have a digital whiteboard or a slide deck recorded with the audio.

audio is hard video is easy (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069581)

audio is hard video is easy

There's numerous "security" solutions for recording video including movement detector systems.

disk space is cheap enough you should just record 1 hour chunks constantly and recycle as the disk fills.

Its technically possible but I strongly recommend against the whole idea... You're going to completely freak people out about creepers having nothing to downloading meetings solely to watch the hotties and borderline paranoids who watch too much CSI and 24 are going to think terrorists are going to hack in and destroy everyone or sell all your top secret ideas to the Chinese "Can you believe he went on record in a video file that we use GIT to store our source code? What if the Chinese or terrorists found out?". Wait till the first time a supervisor takes an employee in there for a "private disciplinary discussion" and it gets uploaded to youtube and the company and/or supvr gets sued (perhaps a setup?). Its just a terrible, awful idea full of negative outcome in exchange for basically nothing positive.

The worst part is only two groups are going to really know how it works... the IT guys who don't really want to become the AV guys for wanna be actors, and the bad guys doing something nefarious.

Probably the most intelligent and cheapest idea is anyone who's stuck writing meeting minutes gets to use the record app on their iphone/android phone. For the cost of an exotic security or AV system you could probably buy every admin assistant a smart phone and service for a couple years.

Write & scan (plus the oblig Raspberry Pi comm (3, Informative)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069587)

To get the obligatory Raspberry Pi out of the way: Hook up a microphone to a Raspberry Pi, and have that record/dump onto your local network fileshare.

On a more serious note though, it should be the job of someone in the meeting to take the minutes. It'll all well and good to have an automated system recording audio of the thing for future reference, but it is much better to have someone taking down the key points manually. Not only do you have a backup incase of failure of your system, but you also have a summary with the most important points which is much easier to skim over and extract information from.

If you combine handwritten notes with a document scanner in the room you can have a system to scan, archive and distribute a copy of the minutes almost instantly. Alternatively the minutes could be typed onto a netbook/small laptop and that document emailed round.

Re:Write & scan (plus the oblig Raspberry Pi c (1)

Lumpio- (986581) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069843)

Handwriting? Surely you meant typing.

Re:Write & scan (plus the oblig Raspberry Pi c (1)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070993)

Handwriting? Surely you meant typing.

Well, yeah, but I am also taking into account meetings where that may not be practical, such as those involving lots of diagrams/mathematical equations or those which refer to a hard copy document (which could then also be scanned).

I use Total Recorder (Sound Only) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069663)

It captures everything in the room, and everything on Skype, goes directly to *.mp3. http://www.totalrecorder.com/

One big point: Be sure to use a "boundary" microphone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZM_%28microphone%29): It avoids all the background moving, rustling, etc., giving you clear and useful recordings.

I put the software and mic on a laptop and put the mic in the center of the table. I've had to go back and find out the "exact wording" of a decision, and this is the right toolkit.

Why (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069725)

An excellent business-type question is what do you expect to accomplish?

Will anyone use the minutes, for anything, ever?

In 20 years I've never used meeting minutes or seen them used by anyone else. For anything. Agendas, yes. Personal "post it note to myself" type stuff, yes. Personal post it notes to follow up with X regarding his assignment, yes. But generic meeting minutes? Never. Not once.

If you're trying to "prove" and document a meeting happened for a bean counting metric of meetings per quarter or something, you can use a calendaring app and/or agendas to "prove" it. Or signed statements. Or just fire people who can't be trusted.

If you've trying to document merely to "look more professional" its cheaper to enforce a minimal dress code (ties for all, no jeans, something like that)

If you're trying to make people self-censor, perhaps sex harassment or reduce honesty or something, just have HR provide some training classes and/or wait for them to slip up in email then fire them. There's cheaper ways to intimidate than an elaborate AV recording system.

From an expense standpoint, assuming they're used, is the probably very high cost of this "system" lower than the expense of not having it?

Re:Why (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#41071689)

Where I work, "minutes" usually just consist of 2 lists: actions, and decisions. Both are used after the meeting (especially actions).

From an expense standpoint, assuming they're used, is the probably very high cost of this "system" lower than the expense of not having it?

Let me turn that around. If you almost never use detailed minutes of any meeting, but cannot be sure that you won't need them for that one occasion, then recording them is an excellent idea. Per meeting, you get to record and store the meeting essentially for free. Record the audio, don't do anything to it, and store it securely, labelled in a way that you can find it easily (meeting topic, room, date). It'll be there in case it is needed later, and it will free up the participants from making detailed notes "just in case".

Use Netviewer (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069739)

Have a laptop running with a decent microphone, which you can pick up from Radio Shack for 20$. Have something running like GoTomeeting or Netviewer
http://www.netviewer.com/en/ [netviewer.com]

Where you can record the audio and video of the meeting directly to a file, which can be saved on your laptop or to a folder on your network. I've done this many times for conference calls. Works great.

Wow. Just about any solution would be better. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069805)

Okay, since this is minutes and not just some random broadcast, you will want to make sure that the audio and any future video/etc will be in sync.

This can be done via timecode, so that you record the time sync information at the time of recording, or you can old-school it and do the clap/sync method, noting the time.

If you want to JUST record it, then a straight up HD audio recorder will be fine. If you want to be able to stream it for replay or for archiving/redistribution in an automated fashion, you'll want to invest in either building out a small audio server(PC/MAC/etc), or bring someone in to design and build it.

If you have global offices/etc, you might want to consider using an online/cloud data store so you only need to upload once and not saturate your main office pipes. If you have data center space... you might still want to store it in the cloud, so you don't affect your normal business, if someone gets download happen. Amazon has the option of storing streamable content on their S3 and edge network services for very affordable prices(with a small enough audience/budget/etc.)

I strongly recommend time encoding, as if they are wanting audio now, you might as well build a system that can support video and subtitles/etc. down the line. Just saying.

Analog or Digital? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41069857)

I'm not sure what you're really trying to do.

There are three main solutions:
1. Capture the Audio on the computer doing the projection
2. Capture the Audio at the projector
3. Capture the Audio in the room.

For 1. Regardless of the operating system, you can simply invoke the internal loopback mechanism, plug the microphones into the computer, select "What U Hear" in the mixer recording, and hit record. Bonus, you can do this if it's video capturing the presentation too. Tradeoff : more powerful system required.
For 2. Plug in a Coax/Optical cable off the audio-out from the projector (or speaker system) and record it using any DAT, or another computer/laptop (this is perfectly doable on a mac, which comes with optical SPDIF's)
For 3. Just get a omidirectional microphone, put it in the middle of the room, record on anything that you can plug it into. USB versions can be purchased that can be recorded directly to a computer.

Nothing is operating system centric.

Lync Online (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069887)

If an meeting is configured as a Lync Online meeting I know that any sort of audio/video can easily be recorded by using the start and stop recording features in Lync. Those generally do get stored on a users local laptop instead of in a central location though.

if you want it on a torrent, yeah, go for it (3, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#41069891)

because if it's on a machine accessable to The Connected Internet, and anybody who wants to punk or bleed you wants it, they'll find a way to it.

there's still such a thing as a microcassette recorder, and such a thing as a digital recorder, that you can start, set next to the conferencing phone, and have a clerk type up. not all technology needs to migrate to the cloud by 5 pm today.

marantz recording system pmd580 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41070287)

In our meeting room we just replaced our old tape recorder with a PMD580 digital recording system. http://usa.d-mpro.com/us/denon/Products/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=AudioRecordingandPlayback&SubCatId=SolidStateAudioRecorders&ProductId=PMD580
It records about 70 hours on a 4GB CF card of 128bit mono. Use a high quality name brand CF card for reliability. We have it setup to dump the recordings to a windows 2008 r2 server when the user stops recording. In the morning I rename the file and am done. It works really well.
We have a Crestron MPC-M5 control programmed to interface with it. It has 10 buttons on it of which we are only using 3 (record, pause, stop). We chose to keep the room control system (projector controls, lights, speaker volume, etc) separate from the recording system. We did not want to take the chance that someone accidentally presses the wrong button and stops the recording while trying to lower the projector or change the speaker volume. http://www.crestron.com/resources/product_and_programming_resources/catalogs_and_brochures/online_catalog/default.asp?cat=3&subcat=1330&id=1892

Do you have a phone conferencing system? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070333)

Does your company use an audio conferencing (phone) system? Either internally or from an external provider (like webex)? If so just have someone use that facility, plus those can usually record any slides/applications/desktops that are shared in the meeting as well.

Otherwise you'll have a solution that is unique to one room, which seems like nothing more than a glorified tape recorder, and if someone is dialed into the meeting, while everyone else is sitting in the room, that one person's voice won't be recorded.

RecordPad is my choice (1)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070427)

I did similar research for nearly-automated audio recording of our church sermons. I wanted to make it super-simple to minimize the added workload on our not-so-computer-savvy Sunday helpers.

I finally settled on using RecordPad from NCH Software, installed on a dedicated and inexpensive laptop, and set to load automatically when Windows launches.
http://www.nch.com.au/recordpad/index.html [nch.com.au]

After using it for about a year, I'm VERY happy.

RecordPad is not too expensive (about $40) and it is VERY easy to use. It can record to most common audio file formats. Once you've got it configured, it's just one button to start/stop the recording, using the default settings. It auto-names the recordings with configurable tags. As soon as recording is completed, it can also be set to upload the resulting audio file to via FTP to any site you designate.

In our case, for privacy purposes, we upload to a protected folder, and we then manually move the recordings to the main audio folder. But if the recording is not suitable for public distribution (like telling a sensitive story about a church member - or in the case at hand, discussing sensitive boardroom business) we simply leave it in the protected folder, where it's still accessible to staff.

One thing about NCH software can be either highly annoying or highly desirable - they have a very slick install-on-demand setup. Everything installs as a limited-function demo, so if you ask to try something it is very quickly available without any installers or messy configuration. NCH offers several useful companions to RecordPad such as a fairly easy and intuitive audio editing program, a recording library program, etc. This may be valuable if you want easy tools to go along with the basic recording functions.

I have no connection to NCH - I'm just a very satisfied customer and think this is a particularly handy solution to nearly-automatic record-and-upload requirements.

overly complex solutions... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070521)

You already have a projector, and presumably a laptop or PC to run it when someone does not bring their own device. One or two omnidirectional mics with mute buttons, and a script or app to run it all. Perhaps Audacity. All on the existing PC in the room, and mutable by anyone at the table. YOu could also perhaps rig a light or an icon on the projected image to indicate recording is on with the right scripts.

Richard Nixon would approve! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070555)

After all, digital audio makes it much easier to erase a few minutes' worth of incriminating evidence, all without having to do the Rose Mary Stretch [wikimedia.org] .

fageorZ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41070587)

Problem; a few all servers. Com1ng the latest Netcraft it. Its mission is racist? How is We'll be able to All servers. Coming paranoid conspiracy

Lync (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070841)

We moved our (50-person) family business over to Office365 and use MS Lync. The meeting organizer creates an "online meeting" in addition to the physical meeting, and runs Lync on his/her laptop. Click the Record button, and it saves all the powerpoints+IMs+audio that comes from the meeting. (this requires the microphones to be plugged in of course). There are options to have to save them on a central facility but I never figured that out -- we just save them locally, and upload to a sharepoint site when needed.

Projector? (0)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070867)

How quaint.

Our meeting rooms are getting giant flat screen TVs clamped or bolted to the ends of the conference tables. SO much better than squinting at a screen projection from some projector with a bulb way past its prime.

TurboMeeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41070897)

RHub ( http://www.rhubcom.com/ ) has cheap online meeting appliances that are essentially a Webex or GoToMeeting solution hosted internally. You can do screen share and video conferences, but more importantly, you can record the audio / video and have the meeting host save it to a file.

I'm not a sales guy, but we have one used internally for a couple of dozen meetings daily.

audacity plus USB microphone? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#41070989)

Not knowing the details of your video conferencing set-up, the very first thing that comes to mind is buying a USB-powered microphone (like one of these [musiciansfriend.com] ) and running Audacity or other recording software on a PC, which could save to a file on the network. However, I'd probably also take a good look at recording through the video conferencing equipment itself -- I'd imagine that it could do this natively.

another grade 3 question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41071137)

Seriously folks. You are all smart, do some googling and figure this grade 3 IT shit out for yourselves.

VoIP - leverage your PBX recording facilities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41071585)

VoIP - leverage your PBX recording facilities.

Asterisk, FreeSwitch, and even the commercial VOIP guys all support recording conversations. Avaya does, as an example.

Heck, your PBX may already be recording every call and storing them for a week.

After all, when was the last time any meeting was held that didn't include a conference bridge for call-in attendees?

One word for you: (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#41072653)

Multicast!

Cheap Ethernet webcam would do (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073579)

Certain Ethernet webcams could do that. They can also be multi-purpose if you want (video conferencing) - streaming is easy, I use VLC from the command line with a small script that breaks it in chunks of 30 minutes on one of the servers to stream video (w/o audio but it could include audio) to a network share.

You do NOT put the recodings on the net (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#41073803)

>So if you wanted to bypass a stand-alone system, how would you go about dumping audio straight to your network? You do NOT put boardroom meeting recordings on a network share..

Discussions in a boardroom are supposed to be confidential and available only to those designated. If you put those on a network share they are simply not confidential anymore. Too many sources for error. Too easy to be tempted by others to listen.

Simply replace the cassette recorder with a solid state recorder where the memory chips can be easily removed (several suggestions in the discussion). Then the person responsible for the recordings can physically secure them.

If you want to go low tech, get a Zoom H2n and out it on a small mike stand in the middle of the table. Then the person responsible for the recordings can physically secure it and the recordings. It has 4 mics, so it will give a pretty decent recording (there are other brands, but I have seen this one in use).

Re:You do NOT put the recodings on the net (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#41074645)

Discussions in a boardroom are supposed to be confidential and available only to those designated. If you put those on a network share they are simply not confidential anymore.

You need to stop giving read privileges to Everyone.

Barix InStreamer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075477)

Try the Barix Instreamer.

http://www.barix.com

Business Conference Call Lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076553)

Outsource vs. do-it-yourself. Buy vs. Build. If you choose the former, contact a telco to setup a series of business conference lines. Dial-in to them every meeting and have the conference line record said meeting. Recording is accessible by the meeting chair. In larger conference rooms, the telco should provide a "main" phone to dial-in and several smaller microphones spread throughout the room.

I realize this isn't "straight to the network" as the OP requested, but I think the business side of the house would be more in agreement to this than a technical solution only a handful of people would understand and have to call the helpdesk if something messed up. YMMV on the actual cost, but worth looking into.

Just and idea.. (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076871)

K.I.S.S

More information (3)

dousette (562546) | more than 2 years ago | (#41077321)

Thanks for all the helpful comments (even you, "let me google that for you" guy)!

We have a requirement that all board meetings have to be recorded for two reasons -- one, so the minutes can be derived from the recording, and two, open records requests by the public to hear the meeting audio. Recordings have to be kept for a certain period, and I was hoping to automate the boxes and boxes of old tapes we have sitting around (by keeping X previous recordings and dropping the oldest ones automatically when their expiration date comes).

Before "let me google that for you" guy Googled it for me I read an article on doing this with Pulseaudio, but I am more in the market for a commercial solution for capturing and streaming the audio. It has to work every time without technical assistance, and while there are some areas where I am comfortable rolling my own solution, this is not one of them. Now, for the receiving piece running on a server in the datacenter I am open to a more customized solution.

I found a product from Barix called the Exstreamer 500 for about $600 at Pro Audio Gear [proaudio.com] . Does anyone have any experience with Barix devices? It appears that it can either stream the audio over a built-in Shoutcast server or record directly to a USB key. If streaming over a private VLAN to a non-internet-connected server is deemed too risky by mgmt, then at the very least the recordings could be uploaded from the USB key (maybe along with the manual transcription and/or minutes) after the meeting.

Thanks again for all your suggestions! I knew someone out there had to have done this before me.
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