BlueKeeper: A Bluetooth Phone-Tapping Powerhouse

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A couple of months ago, a B&H Insights reader posted a comment in the B&H Guide to Telephone Interviews article, asking how to tap an iPhone. The product the reader was inquiring about, the JK Audio CellTap, turned out to be incompatible with the iPhone. However, the JK Audio BlueKeeper works like a charm for tapping the iPhone and any Bluetooth headset-enabled device.


The way the BlueKeeper works is fairly straight forward. Instead of using a Bluetooth headset, your phone connects wirelessly to the Bluekeeper. Because there is no headset involved, you need to connect a microphone and a pair of headphones to the BlueKeeper. One advantage of this is that the external microphone will greatly improve the audio quality of your voice. Plus, if your headphones are any good, chances are you'll be able to hear the caller much better than you would have otherwise.

In order to record the conversation, you will need to connect a recording device to the BlueKeeper. If you have audio-recording software, you can connect the BlueKeeper to the inputs of a computer. There are numerous outputs on the BlueKeeper that make it easy to connect it to external equipment. If your recording device features a line level stereo mini-plug input (found on many portable digital recorders like the Zoom H4n, Edirol R-09HR, etc), you can use the line-level stereo mini output on the BlueKeeper.

If you're connecting the BlueKeeper to a computer that only has a mono mini-plug mic input, there's a dedicated output for this as well. The mono mini-plug output combines the caller's voice, your voice and any audio that the line level input is receiving. The BlueKeeper features a stereo line level mini-plug input, which enables you to do many things. You can connect an audio player to this input (such as an iPod) and pipe recorded material into the phone conversation. You can also connect a mixer to enable more microphones to be used in the recorded conversation.

A table stand for a microphone is a useful accessory for the BlueKeeper.

You can also connect the outputs of the BlueKeeper to a powered speaker or PA system for meetings or presentations. The caller's voice has its own dedicated XLR output on the rear of the unit, which makes it easy to connect it to recording equipment or other gear. So if you're looking for a way to tap into your phone to record interviews for podcasting, business purposes or journalism, the BlueKeeper may be your best bet.

If you have any questions about recording telephone interviews, we encourage you to post them in the Comments section of this post!

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Just don't forget to say "This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes" before you start...

So, there is simply no simple & 'portable' solution (a-la JK Audio CellTap) to recording calls from the iPhone to a device such as the Edirol R-09HR ???

gamincurieux wrote:

So, there is simply no simple & 'portable' solution (a-la JK Audio CellTap) to recording calls from the iPhone to a device such as the Edirol R-09HR ???

Yes, you can use the JK Audio CellTap with an iPhone, but there are some caveats. You need to use a compatible analog headset (not bluetooth). When I say "headset," I mean that they must have a built-in microphone designed for speaking on the phone. A regular pair of headphones won't work.

And... even though you're going to be wearing a headset, the recorder that you plug the output of the CellTap into will only record the caller's voice, not yours. Why? Most mobile phones lack a feature called "Side Tone." Side tone sends a little bit of your own voice to your phone's earpiece, so you can hear a little bit of yourself in the phone when you speak to someone. It makes the phone call seem more natural, and it also makes you speak less loudly (because you can actually hear yourself barking into the phone). I really, really, really, really wish all mobile phones had side tone, and lots of it.