Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Input Devices Businesses Data Storage IT

Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet? 85

Posted by timothy
from the wait-til-the-parrot-union-finds-out-about-this dept.
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?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet?

Comments Filter:
  • by maweki (999634) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:33AM (#41069387) Homepage
    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.
    • 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

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:39AM (#41069455) Homepage Journal

      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?

      • by maweki (999634)
        Would have suggested that right away but didn't know whether it packs enough bang.
        • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:54AM (#41069631) Homepage Journal

          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...

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            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 (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:45AM (#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.

      • by jeffmeden (135043) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:53AM (#41069619) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • by todrules (882424)

          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.

      • 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.

    • by Brandano (1192819)
      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.
  • 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.

  • To the googles! (Score:3, Informative)

    by characterZer0 (138196) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:39AM (#41069445)
    • by tscheez (71929)

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

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:39AM (#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.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:42AM (#41069485) Homepage

    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.

    • 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.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        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...

    • 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.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      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.
    • 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 inpu

    • by martinX (672498)

      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

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        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.

  • 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.
  • Voip Phone. Networked intercoms. There are plenty of these.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    • by tgd (2822)

      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.

  • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:49AM (#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.

  • by PSVMOrnot (885854) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:50AM (#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.

    • by Lumpio- (986581)
      Handwriting? Surely you meant typing.
      • by PSVMOrnot (885854)

        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).

  • by vlm (69642)

    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 quarte

    • 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 th

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @12:10PM (#41069891) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • 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 r

  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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].

  • by ljw1004 (764174)

    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 ne

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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?

  • Multicast!

  • 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.

  • >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 me
    • 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.

  • K.I.S.S
  • by dousette (562546) <dave.dousette@org> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @10:28PM (#41077321) Homepage
    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.

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

Working...