Whether you’re recording music or interviews, sound quality is paramount.  Furthermore, it’s much easier to fix sound quality issues beforehand than later.

So, since precaution is better than cure, let’s jump into ways you can ensure you won’t have to record the same audio again.

Silence!

silence

Try to soundproof your interview room as much as possible.  Close all the windows and doors if there’s noise outside.  Public places like malls, restaurants or cafeterias are terrible choices for recording your interviews, especially if it’s important to capture everything that’s said.

Oftentimes there’s so much ambient noise (cutlery clanging, music, chit chat etc.) that it’s almost impossible to discern the interviewer and participant.

Best way to remedy that?  Choose a quiet place; like a corner office, a quiet bench at a park, your house, the participant’s house, etc.

Keep the Microphone Close

This one is a no-brainer, yet so many people forget about this.  No matter how advanced microphone technology becomes, you’re always going to get the best results the closer you are to the microphone.

record interviews in a quiet place

So, if you’re interviewing one person, don’t keep the microphone next to yourself.  It should be as close to the participant/interviewee as possible.  Your questions can be inaudible, it doesn’t matter since you have the list already.  But it’s paramount that you record the participant’s answers clearly.

If you’re doing a focus group interview, keep the microphone in the center of a preferably small table and ask the participants not to talk over each other.

Use the Best Recording Equipment Possible

Since digital audio recorders were introduced, they’ve changed the landscape of journalism and academic research.

Compared to cassette tape recorders or CD recorders (blimey!), digital recorders are so hassle free.  On top of vastly better sound quality, you get compact size and reusable storage.  Just copy your recordings to another device.

Then came smartphones, and with the help of voice recording apps, you can combine your phone with a digital recorder for free, or for a fraction of the cost.

Recording your interviews digitally also ensures that you’ll get the best possible sound quality.  Mostly because digital recorders have highly sensitive, professional grade microphones and the latest software.

You can connect an external mic to your smartphone for better clarity too.

If you are going to be recording interviews on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to invest in a digital recorder.  Below are some of the market leading digital recorders that we recommend.

Best Digital Recorders 2020

1. Tascam DR-05X (2019)

how to record audio for best sound quality, tascam dr-05x

Price:  $89 on Amazon.com