Voice Recording: How To Record Anything, Anywhere

by : Adrian Adams

The most important aspect of recording voice is your equipment and how it's used. Despite all the software that exists today to clean up audio, nothing will beat a quality recording. If you're planning on recording lectures or meetings on a regular basis, it's recommended that you invest in a good microphone and a quality recording device.

Sound's first point of contact is going to be with your microphone, so the type of mic that you use and where you place it are both important. Different microphones yield different results. If you're on a budget, you should purchase the type of microphone best suited to your everyday needs. Remember, a cheaper well-placed mic will sound better than a poorly placed expensive one.

There are two main types of microphones, condensers and dynamics. A condenser microphone uses something called phantom power to amplify sound and is often considered better at picking up live sound, especially from a distance. That said, your recorder needs to be capable of providing phantom power. Most sound cards aren't capable of this, but you can purchase condenser microphones that use battery or USB power.

A dynamic microphone is usually more standard and less expensive, but can have trouble picking up quieter sounds.

One more choice you'll face is whether you want an omnidirectional or unidirectional microphone. Dollar for dollar, omni mics will usually offer better quality, but they do pick up background and room sound. If it's within your budget, the best setup for voice recording is one unidirectional microphone per person.

If you can, try experimenting with different microphone placements throughout the room in which you'll be recording. If you're unable to do this, try to place the microphone as close to your speaker as possible. Avoid laying your microphone or recorder directly on a table. Otherwise, you could pick up the sounds of papers shuffling, hands hitting the table, or the scratches of pens as others take notes.

If you're recording directly into a computer, you can use the recording software included with your operating system. You may also want to consider the free and simple open source program called Audacity. It's a very basic recording and audio editing program well suited to beginners.

When purchasing a mobile recording device, it's important to consider sound quality. Consumer products range from inexpensive memo-recorders to professional quality devices that can cost between $400 to $1000. You'll often find that you get what you pay for. If you're using your recording to simply playback to yourself, you can get away with a less expensive model, but if you plan on posting your recordings on-line or sharing them professionally, you should consider more higher-end models like the Marantz PMD-660 or the Edirol R-09.