The ability to make clear audio recordings has never been easier, with today’s audio recorders having solved many of the problems of earlier audio recording technology. However, that doesn’t mean you still don’t have to take some basic precautions to ensure you are getting the best quality sound you can get.
Always Test First
It’s amazing how many people just start recording without bothering to test the equipment first. A simple blunder like accidentally lowering the mic volume or turning on an unwanted special effect like the echo chamber can cause you to lose or ruin an important recording. Just saying “testing, one, two, three” is all you need to do to make sure everything is in proper working order.
Eliminate Background Noise
When we listen to something, our minds focus on what we want to hear. Audio recording equipment doesn’t do that, it just records the sounds in the air at the volume they are being created. The result can be a lot of distracting, even overbearing sounds that make your recording hard to hear. Beware of mechanical noises you usually ignore, like dish washers, heaters, people talking in the other room. Sometimes, you may inadvertently make your own distracting sounds by moving your chair, handling papers or absently tapping a table. Make sure that only the sounds you want are being made.
Use a Good Microphone
The microphones that come built into most computers are okay, but for really clear sound you want an external mic of high quality. The recorder can only record what the microphone captures, so make sure it is equal to the task. Microphones that plug into a USB port are best because you can use them with more kinds of digital audio recorders.
Where you place the microphone can have a major impact on sound quality. In general, a microphone should always be about a foot away from the mouth of the person speaking. Also, remember to check your settings so that the microphone’s internal volume is at the right level. Avoid serious embarrassment by checking to be sure that the mic is plugged in!
Have a Plan
The best audio recording sessions are those that have been carefully planned in advance. Excellence, in recording or anything else, is seldom by accident. Pay attention to basic details and you will hear the difference.