I recently began reconfiguring the AutoAttendant feature of our Cisco UC540 Firewall/Router/PBX unit and found that it was really difficult to get a good recording as the only options are to do it via a handset or via the Cisco Configuration Assistant software using a microphone plugged in to the PC.
Any attempts to add a prepared WAV file directly failed as the format of the WAV file was wrong. I’ve since discovered that this is because Cisco units use an archaic 8-bit mono format that is woefully inadequate. It baffles me my they stick to this as it’s quite literally impossible to produce even an average sounding audio sample no matter what equipment you use.
The Correct Format
The exact format required by Cisco is an 8 Bit Mono CCITT u-Law formatted WAV file with a frequency of 8KHz.
This is format has a lower audio quality than the soundcard on my very first PC (20 years ago)! I can only assume this is a throw-back to some archaic chipset used by Cisco but I hope I’m wrong and its actually a software restriction as that leaves a possible software fix on the cards!
I tried lots of high quality audio editors but non could save in to a format with this level of quality (as its simply too poor for most purposes) but after much searching I finally discovered Switch Sound File Convertor Plus – a FREE for home use utility that does everything you need to convert the file to the appropriate format.
You can get the best out of your audio recording by normalizing the recording, running a noise reduction filter against it and tweaking the levels in an equalizer.
Fortunately for us, the same team that made the Switch Sound File Convertor Plus also have a wonderful sound editor called the WavePad Sound Editor that does all of the above and much more and even saves directly in to the format mentioned above ready for use on the Cisco UC500 units!
If you’ve got a Cisco unit that you are in charge of I really recommend keeping a copy of the CCNA Command Quick Reference kicking around – good to have in times of need!