Microphone Quality and Position.
The absolute key to getting a usable recording is using microphones that are close to the person talking.
Sitting a recorder in the middle of a room can mean problems and unusable recordings. For example, lots of background noise, faint speakers at the back of the room etc.
Recording Format & Settings.
Remember to record in either .wav or .mp3 format as this is used by most transcription software. Some recording equipment have their own formats, however these can end up in large files, making it hard to send the recordings. Remember to turn off “noise reduction” settings. These often do not work and make the recording more difficult to hear.
Remember to control the background noise – choose an area that is closed off from external sound. Not a cafe, or public space. If you have limited choice, then we recommend getting the microphones as close to the speaker/s as possible. This may mean investing in lapel microphones, along with a microphone splitter to allow input for two mics see.
You may need to control the people talking – especially in groups, as people can end up talking over one another. The moderator/facilitator needs to lay the ground rules and control the situation in order to get an accurate recording.
Recording Interviews and Focus Groups. We have seen great success using ZOOM products. We highly recommend the ZOOM H1 for interviews and small groups. Focus group recording equipment – use multiple microphones to positioned to capture everyone speaking. The ZOOM H2n Conference and Focus Group Recorder
Recording conferences, lectures, and question and answer sessions. For this you will most probably need multiple microphones, as speakers are more likely to be in different areas of a room. We recommend a base unit like the ZOOM H2n. This unit enables extra external mics to be plugged into the base unit. If you are recording a question & answer session we recommend a roving wireless mic system.
Using Mobile Phones (as backup). We do see a lot of people using their phones to try and record. Although this is possible – they are simply not designed to do this. We do recommend that you use your phone as a backup recorder, just in case the primary device fails. Remember – in a lot of cases it’s a “one shot” situation. If you miss it – if the recording is unclear or the recorder fails, then the opportunity is missed.