Different Types of Red Boxing


If you can’t afford to make a nice tone dialer red box or you don’t have any soldering experience, then you might want to try using a tape recorder or walkman as a red box. There are several different ways to record the tones.

XI. I Put the Red Box Tones on Tape. It Does not Work. Why not?

If only the construction of a Red Box could be as simple as using

a mini-tape recorder to record the tones off of your SB. Unfortunately,

this will not work due to the fact that tape recorders are Analog and not

Digital. As a result, when one tries to record the tones onto a tape, they

will become too distorted and will no longer work. The reason the Hallmark

Recordable Card Red Box works is because it uses a Digital means of recording

the tones. Thus, if the sound volume is set right on the computer when

playing the tones, they will not be distorted while recording.


1. The easiest way for a novice to record tones is to put them on your answering machine. Hopefully your answering machine is of fair quality and uses standard sized tapes. Turn on your machine & go find a Bell/GTE pay phone. Call your house and after the beep, deposit about $3.00 worth of quarters. After you hang up, all the quarters should come back. Now go home and you’ve got red box tones on your answering machine.

2. Radio Shack sells two types of telephone recording devices. One is a suction cup that sticks onto the back of your phone’s handset and records the conversation. These cost about $4. (Those are also sold at Sears) The other is an automatic conversation recorder which costs $15 and plugs directly into the modular jack on your phone and into the “mic” jack on your tape recorder. Buy one of these.

Use the same method as recording them onto your answering machine, but you’ll have to have a friend pick up your phone at home and start the tape recorder. Then you deposit the $3. You could also use the suction cup to call a pay phone right next to another pay phone and do it all yourself.

3. Record the tones directly from your computer’s sound blaster card. You can use the sound file called quarter.mp3 to do this. Hook a cable from your sound blaster’s “headphones” or “out” jack into your tape recorder’s “mic” jack. Play the quarter sound about 20 times into your tape recorder. Experiment with sound levels so that the tones aren’t distorted but are loud enough to hear. (right click on the QUARTER.VOC to download it)



These days you can walk into any department store or even grocery stores and find endless red boxing possibilities. Everything you see has a sound chip in it. Here are just a few more ideas to look for:

Memo Minders: These voice reminders can record tones and are extremely small. You can either buy one that fits in your pocket or you can buy one that fits on your key chain. In case you’re surrounded by telco security, the F.B.I., local police and AT&T’s top officials while you’re at a pay phone, you can easily press the “MEMO ERASE” button to get rid of the evidence, though the police might shoot you when they see you go for the erase button.

Picture Frames: Yes, talking picture frames. You can usually find these in the larger gift-type stores such as JC Penny and Sears. These picture frames have a small speaker hidden on the front next to a button that you press to hear a personalized message from whoever is in the picture. When you press the button on the demo frame in the store, you usually hear a bunch of cursing from little kids messing around with it. The sound quality is usually good, but the price isn’t. I’ve only seen them for around $50.

Voice Organizers: You can find these at Office Depot and Office Max. They’re just like the little pocket computer organizers but instead of using a keyboard to store items, you use your voice. Then you flip through the database, find the file you want and press play. This is useful to store different groups of coins in seperate memory locations. Such as $1.00, 25 cents, or $2.95. These are expensive but slowly going down in price.

Toys: Go into the toy isle and you’ll find plenty of toys that allow you to record messages into them. Since these are toys, though, the sound quality isn’t usually the greatest. One of the better toys is called the Yak Bak which records sounds and plays sound effects. There are a million different varieties of Yak Bak’s, but look for the basic, original Yak Bak because it’s cheapest, doesn’t have a distortion feature and lets you move a switch to lock your sound in to avoid accidental erasure.


Hallmark has these greeting cards that actually let you record a message for your loved ones so when grandma opens the card she hears your voice saying, “Merry Christmas, Grandma Edna!” Then Grandma Edna will drop the card in horror, thinking that she’s gone completely nuts and probably die of a heart attack.

The first thing you should do after you’ve shoplifted a few of these cards is flip the card over and check for the Hallmark logo. Then smile to yourself and feel all warm inside. (Don’t you hate those cheesey commercials?)

Hallmark cards are popular for red boxing because of their high-quality sound and extremely compact size once you’ve ripped all the card and plastic away. You can record your red box tones on this chip and then conceal the whole mess anywhere you want and you’ll have a tiny red box to use. If you want, you can even replace the microphone with an input jack to help your tones record better.

You can also replace the switches and hide it just about anywhere. Imagine a red box Marlboro box or a pack of gum or you could even sew it into the sleve of your jacket. The possibilities are endless.

Rumor has it that most gift shops have quit selling these cards. If the gift shop is out of them, look around at other stores. They’re out there somewhere.

The PC Sound Blaster Red Box:

There’s quite a few programs for your IBM computer now that will immitate red box tones as well as the tones for other boxes. Here’s how you can use your PC to red box.

1. Disconnect your PC, monitor, sound blaster, speakers, modem (if you’re red boxing to a data line), and red boxing program and carry it all over to the nearest 7-Eleven.

2. At most of the 7-Eleven’s I’ve been at, there’s an AC outlet somewhere outside of the store. Plug all of your equipment in and turn it on. If there’s no outside outlet, then ask the cashier if you can borrow their orange extension cord for a little while, explaining the you’re from the Pay Phone Repair Department. To make it more believable, wear a shirt that says, “Pay Phone Repair Department.”

3. After you have all of your equipment set up and Blue Beep running, pick up the phone and dial 1+AREA CODE+NUMBER. When it asks you to deposit your money, hit the 25 cents key on your program and hold the speakers up to the pay phone’s mouthpiece. Continue this until you’ve put in enough money.

4. If it’s a data transmission, quickly attach your accoustic coupler and run your Q-Modem program and try and connect before it hangs up. Note that you will have to call back this system every 1 minute as the pay phone mutes your sound while the “money” you put in registers. This happens a minute into the conversation.

5. You probably won’t get past step one because once you set up all that equipment on the sidewalk, one of the pan handlers, winos or drug dealers that always hang out in front of the store will stab you so they can go pawn your computer and come back to buy some MD 20/20. But at least you felt like Kevin Mitnick there for awhile, eh?

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