If IVR-only (a 1x0 PBX), you can use just a special “voice MODEM” card called X100P (or many of its clones, such as a Motorola SM56). Such sells for under US$20. But if you need to record a conversation between live parties, the person picking up a phone needs an interface. That requires a 1x1 PBX. (Asterisk is a PBX, no matter what )
You have two basic choices. If you still want to use X100P or clone, you’ll need a hardware IP phone, a software IP phone (soft phone), or an alalogue telephone adapter (ATA) plus your old analogue phone. A hard IP phone starts at US$100, an ATA starts at US$50.
Another choice is to use a special telephony card that includes both an FXO interface (for the line) and an FXS interface (for the analogue phone). This could be a Digium TDM400P (TDM11B has the minimum configuration you need) or a similar card from another vendor. This configuration costs about US$180 to US$220. Of course you can use a Digium card configured with just one FXO (about US$100) instead of an X100P. The quality is better.
I think most U.S. vendors ship to Canada directly. Or you can search the Web for a local vendor.
I further conclude that HW interface is set for Digium products/clones (fair enough) and that I should not dick around with other hardware
Finally, FXO + FXS (i.e TDM400 with FXO+FXS module) is my best be to achieve satisfactry results (I asume phone pick-up signal to start recording live conversation is not going to be a problem with this HW)
Your response is a most satisfying welcome to the world of *
PS I was going to start with a trixbox to test the IVR * waters. Any problem with that ? or better recommendation ?
Depending on your comfort level with config files. If you are familiar with some soft phone (or hard IP phone) and comfortable with the concept of PBX “applications”, playing with TrixBox can help you get started. If your application is very straight forward like you described, you may even use TrixBox down the road.
There are lots of opinions about the merits of add-ons/packages around Asterisk. By the end of day, it’s all about application. I played with TrixBox for half a day and couldn’t figure out what it did for me, partly because I had no idea about a PBX. (And this after working in depth with some sophisticated telephony and VoIP systems ) Then I picked up some Internet documentation and the free Oreilley book about Asterisk - they all discuss vanilla, and started building config files by adapting textbook examples. (Not the sample configs.) This actually eased my learning curve.
Months after, I looked at TrixBox again and it made more sense. But I still couldn’t figure out what it does for me, largely because my application is too complicated. I still use config files today, resisting the lure of AEL, the “language-like” Asterisk language.