Whether you’re a journalist or a focus group leader, having clear recordings of interviews is important to your job. Learning how to make an audio recording clearer is critical in ensuring that you don’t miss any important detail.
Now, when the audio is filled with garbled voices or background noise, you end up gathering inaccurate quotes. It can be frustrating to find out that your great interview conversation was recorded poorly.
So, in this post, we are going to share some useful tips on how to make an audio recording clearer.
Choose the Right Device for Recording Audio
The first thing you need to do is invest in the right audio recording device. Your setup will depend on your situation. However, in general, your basic audio recording kit should include:
- A digital recording device for capturing audio – your laptop or smartphone will suffice if you’re on a budget.
- An external microphone – ideally, every person in the conversation should have one.
- A headphone splitter – this allows you to use one input for multiple 3.5mm output jacks.
This basic setup allows each participant to have a microphone. You can connect their mics to the headphone splitter. However, if more than two people are talking, you may need a splitter with multiple inputs.
You can connect the output of the splitter to your digital recording device. Doing so will allow the device to capture all the conversation’s audio simultaneously.
What to Consider When Selecting a Microphone
Once you start learning how to make an audio recording clearer, you will discover that there are plenty of microphone options on the market. As we’ve said, your choice will depend on your recording needs and budget. Here are some options:
- Lavalier mic – This is a small microphone that you can clip onto the person. A lavalier mic is also ideal for conversations or interviews with multiple speakers.
- Shotgun mic – This is a stationary mic that allows you to capture audio from a distance. If you’re interviewing one person and they’re in the same position the whole time, this is the ideal option. An example would be podcasts where the speakers never leave their position.
- Handheld mic – This is a microphone that someone has to hold. A handheld mic is ideal only when one person will be talking at a time.
What to Consider When Recording Conversations
Once you’ve completed your recording kit, you have to begin preparing for the interview. Of course, the clarity of your speech will play a crucial role in the final result when you’re learning how to make an audio recording clearer. However, when you speak too loudly, you might cause distortion in the recording. Now, if you’re too quiet, the device might not catch your voice at all. So, you should determine the perfect volume for your recording.
Your voice should ideally register at around -10 db to -20 db. Remember that there will be some distortion once you go above -6 db. As a result, it will be difficult to distinguish what the speaker is saying in the recording.
You can check the volume by connecting the microphone to your laptop. We recommend downloading a free audio recording program like Audacity. Tools like this ensure that you get the audio levels right, especially when you’re learning how to make an audio recording clearer. Audacity also allows you to see the recording volume in real-time. Don’t forget to run tests to determine the ideal speaking volume in your recording.
Tips on Positioning the Microphone
Another thing to consider when learning how to make an audio recording clearer is the position of the microphone. When you place it too close to the mouth, the recording will pick up a lot of unnecessary sounds. Meanwhile, if it’s too far, the speaker will sound like they’re talking from a distance.
Ideally, the microphone should be positioned about 6 to 12 inches away from the mouth of the speaker. You can place it slightly below their chin because this is the area where the sound projects the clearest. Now, use a crocodile clip if you’re attaching the mic on clothing. This will prevent the device from brushing against fabric which causes distortion in the audio.
Tips on Making the Speaker’s Voice Clearer
When you’re learning how to make an audio recording clearer, you also need to consider the way you speak. So, here are some tips that can improve your tone:
Perform Vocal Warmups
Read the interview script out loud before the session. This will allow you to warm up your voice and find the right combination of projection, volume, and speaking pace.
Be Aware of Your Posture
While some interviews can be relaxed, you should still be wary of your posture. Having a good posture allows you to control your breath effectively. As a result, you can speak in a clearer and stronger tone. This may not seem much, but this is an important step in learning how to make an audio recording clearer.
Have a Drink Within Your Reach
During the interview, you should keep yourself hydrated. You can have a hot or room temperature drink close to you. What’s important is you prevent your mouth from getting dry. Otherwise, you’ll end up making popping, clicking, and smacking noises.
Enunciate the Vowels and Consonants Clearly
Speaking into a microphone is not as natural as talking to another person. So, to make sure that everything you say in your audio recording is understandable, you should enunciate the vowel and consonants clearly. Even if you’re holding a casual interview, you shouldn’t speak so quickly that the words slur together. However, you shouldn’t talk so slowly that the listener falls asleep. This is just one of the prerequisites in learning how to make an audio recording clearer.
Review the Interview Script
It’s easy to write a concise, informative, and compelling interview question. However, things are different once you read it out loud. To avoid stuttering during the interview, you should review the script beforehand and see where the challenges would be. Find ways to make those difficult sections easier. You can break up a hard section by inserting pauses. If it’s permitted, you can modify sentences or words to make them easier to read.
Write Notes on the Interview Script
Part of learning how to make an audio recording clearer is finding ways to improve how you speak. While going through the interview script, you should have a pencil or a highlighter with you. This way, you can easily mark where you will pause or change your tone for emphasis. Your goal should be to ensure that your speaking voice sounds comfortable, natural, and appropriate for the situation.
How to Lower Background Noise in Your Audio Recording
We’ve shared tips on how you can prepare your setup for clear audio recording. However, some unexpected things can happen. You may have chosen the best place for recording, but you still need to consider your equipment. What’s more, need to know how to remove background noise.
We’ve already mentioned selecting the right microphone. If you’re specifically aiming to reduce background noise, a dynamic microphone would be the ideal option. This mic tends to pick up a limited range of sounds. So, it can cut out deep pulsing or annoying squeals that is not in a human voice’s frequency.
You can also invest in an acoustic screen that you can place in front of the microphone. This piece of equipment can block out lower-level background noise.
Another thing you can do is remind the subjects to avoid chewing gum, drinking, or eating during the interview. These actions make sounds that the microphones can easily pick up. If they can’t avoid having side conversations, remind them to keep them at a minimum.
How to Choose the Best Place for Recording
When learning how to make an audio recording clearer, you also need to prepare the location. One of the best ways to avoid having annoying background noise during interviews is by choosing the ideal place to record. If you can choose the interview location, select an isolated room with soft furnishings and carpets that can absorb echoes.
Now, if you’re not in totally in control of the interview location, you can hang curtains on the windows or cover the floor with a rug. You should also avoid places where you can hear voices from another room, noise from the HVAC system, or road traffic. The sounds coming from these may not hurt your ears, but they can harm your audio recordings.
How to Remove Audio Static
You should have a dry run before the actual interview. Now, if you hear a lot of static in the audio, check your connections. Make sure that all the mic lines are connected properly. If the jack is not plugged all the way, there will be static in the audio.
Another reason why you’re hearing static is that you’ve plugged the jack into the wrong hole. When this happens, you’ll hear a range of distortion. If you’re still struggling to identify the problem, then you should check other pieces of equipment. Try testing new gear to see if replacing the bad device can fix the audio static.
Have Comprehensive Interview Materials Today
Learning how to make an audio recording clearer is one thing, but ensuring you have all the interview materials you need is a different ballpark. It’s quite easy to find the right equipment, choose an ideal recording location, and speak clearly into a microphone. However, you still need to make sure that you have supporting resources for your interviews.
As such, we recommend taking advantage of GoTranscript’s transcription services. Our transcripts are 100% generated by humans. So, you can ensure that you’ll get accurate content for your interview recordings.