Impatica Knowledgebase

KB-000284: Can you offer any microphone or audio recording advice?

The best thing we can recommend is to record audio with a good microphone in a quiet environment. 

Plantronics makes some decent headset/microphone combos (e.g. Plantronics Audio 90). You can get the Sony FV series vocal microphones for under $15 and those would be decent for computer recording purposes. Then, you can get into the Shure microphones in the $20-$50 range and up.

Generally, the microphone should be "unidirectional" (picks up sound in a single direction). "Omnidirectional" microphones pick up sounds from all directions, resulting in all noise in the room being recorded along with the voice. Most headset microphones will be unidirectional, whereas other free-standing computer mics are omnidirectional.

Position the microphone close to the person speaking (try 6 inches in front of the mouth). The exact distance will depend on how loudly the person speaks, the type of microphone, and the desired type of sound. You can also experiment with having the microphone in different positions relative to the mouth. For example, try positioning the mic directly in front of the mouth, below the mouth pointing up, above the mouth and nose, pointing down, to one side or other of the mouth, etc.

Most microphones will increase the level of bass frequencies when they are placed closer to the mouth. Close positioning will also increase the amount of detailed vocal sounds that are recorded. This can be a problem for such sounds as wind noises from the popping of "p" sounds and the sibilance of "s" sounds. Changing to a better microphone, or moving the microphone to a different location can help control these problems. Adding a nylon screen or foam mic head cover will cut down on these "pops" and "sss" sounds as well.

Presentations will be much easier for the listener to hear if all the words are spoken in a strong, consistent fashion, especially when converting the recorded output to an Internet audio format like ours. The dynamic range of Internet audio and other highly compressed files is very limited. Words that are suddenly very soft in a sentence may be lost in the translation.

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