How to get the best quality audio recording for transcription
A ton of our transcription clients pay extra to get bad quality audio files transcribed. Not that we’re complaining about getting paid extra! But we know how crucial saving money can be for someone, regardless of their financial status. Quality of an audio recording can be bad due to a number of reasons, namely background noise, crosstalk, static and ambient noise, faint voice, speaker too far from the microphone, Godzilla vs King Kong etc. Anyway, we hope this post can help you record better quality interviews. Which in turn will help a transcription service such as ours, give you 100% accurate transcripts faster, and at a nominal cost to you. You will save time AND money. Below we illustrate some key points you should keep in mind while recording your interviews:
Buy a good quality digital recorder/smartphone app
- If you’re a journalist or someone who records interviews on a regular basis, buy a digital recorder.
- Don’t skimp on quality and get the best one you can get.
- Better recorders are generally more expensive, but also have a wide range of features.
- If you don’t record interviews regularly, and have a smartphone, get a good recording app.
- For a simple recording app, any of the free ones would do.
- To have more control over your recordings, paid apps are the way to go.
- Try to not record interviews in a coffee shop, restaurant or a bar, if you can. It will be a headache for everyone.
- Always record in a quiet room where it’s only you and the interviewees without much background noise or disturbance.
- If you’ve got to treat them, order some coffee and donuts. 🙂
- A sound-proofed room would be ideal.
- If the meeting place can’t be helped, find a quiet corner/spot, preferably a table away from the music.
- Avoid sitting in the middle of a large group of people, unless you want the bragging of nearby college jocks in your transcripts too. 🙂
Stay close to the microphone
- Keep the microphone as close to the interviewees as possible.
- Make sure to bring the mic closer to your mouth when asking questions.
- If it’s a restaurant or a public place, make sure to keep the microphone closer.
- If there’s a lot of background/ambient and chit-chat noise, talk louder into the mic.
- Many recorders have a mic indicator, keep an eye on that.
If surroundings can’t be helped, speak slower
Speak at a comfortable pace, and enunciate louder: ask the interviewee to do the same. Clear audio and good pace of talking result in much better quality and accurate transcripts. Slow pace is not really required for accurate transcription. But if there is background ambient noise, it’s easier for a transcriber to discern what is being said.
Choose the best quality recording format
While MP3 is our format of choice, you should choose whichever format is suggested as best by your digital recorder or recording app. Lossy formats reduce the sound quality to save space. With internet speeds getting better and better, you don’t have to worry about uploading large files on our website. Below you can find more info about our transcription services.