Good audio is very important for audio transcription success. You may be one of the best instructional designers who come up with the best engaging process available, but the sessions will definitely fall apart when the audio quality is wanting.
We have looked at why it sometimes makes sense to think about spending money on professional narration earlier. This is a good option when money is not a problem. The problem is that most people’s cupboards are empty just like Old Mother Hubbard. When you want to do the narration on your own or you are working with a limited budget, you can use some of the tips found below to get the best job is done. This time round we will look into the recording environment and the microphone. From here, we will plunge into some of the methods that can be used to achieve great sound narration.
1. Get a high quality microphone
You get value for money spent on sound equipment when it comes to the quality of the chosen microphones. To get great audio quality, you have to buy a good microphone. This however does not mean that you should go for expensive microphones; there are many times I have had to go for store-bought microphones which do not have brand names, because the companies I was working for did not have a lot of money to spend on sound equipment. They usually worked out okay especially when I followed the tips below:
Nonetheless, the truth remains that there will be a noticeable difference when the narration that has been recorded with a high quality and low quality microphones are compared. However, the perks that come with going for store-bought microphones is that a lot of money does not have to be spent and with proper use the quality of the recorded sound will be stellar. My Samsin desktop mic and the Plantronics headset have worked successfully. In my opinion, Blue Snowball mic looks great and has good reviews from people I know have used it.
I personally prefer a desktop mic, because it allows me to have more control over the quality of the audio. In addition to this, I find the idea of sharing a headset mic quite gross but that is just how I look at things. There are some people who grew up in the 60’s and don’t have a problem sharing the mic.
When selecting a microphone, it is always best to go for the unidirectional mic. This records the sound from a single direction. This is a great option especially for narration as it will only pick up sound from the narrator, thus you will not receive lots of ambient noise.
Recently, I bought the Samson Go Mic and am in love with it. Audio quality is simply amazing. It goes for only $50 and I can record uni or omni directianl as it has 3 way record switch. It is worth the price. I did a few tests for Go Mic. I came up with a number of demos that differentiate a desktop mic and headset.
2. Maintain a steady environment
There are recording studios where sound can be controlled but this is only in an ideal world. However you might not have the skills to ask your boss to get the studio as asking him to part with $5 for a stock image is really hard. This means that you will have to think outside the box when recording.
Controlling the recording environment means that you will get better audio quality. One sure way is to have a consistent routine when recording. It is quite obvious that there are some times when you might have to take re-takes. You are able to match the quality of the audio by maintain the same procedures and environment.
- Try using the same room, microphone and computer settings.
- Measure the recording distance when using a desktop microphone meaning it is advisable to use a stand so that the same height is used all the time you are recording.
- A screen can be used to get rid of the popping p’s that are present in most amateur recordings. You can make a personal one with little cost and no time.
3. Eliminate as much ambiance noise as possiblef
Getting rid of the noise is very important unless you belong to the Quiet Riot group. This is because to get complete silence is very hard. This becomes very clear when you start to listen to the recording and get all sorts of noises. There are some companies that will pipe in white noise so that it is easier to concentrate as there will be less distraction from the surrounding conversations.
Either way, you want to eliminate the noise that you can control.
- Turn off air conditioners and fans. Unplug machines in the office.
- Direct the machine away from the computer when looking for a place to put it. You might not notice but the computer emits lots of fans noises. This is the fan hat keeps the machine cool and not celebrations for you.
- Put a silence sign on the door. Ask people around you to be quiet. You can get a plane with a banner that instructs people to keep it down to fly around the office. Do whatever it takes to make sure the place is quiet. The Hume technique can be used when all others fail. It is an effective yet subtle way but it put the point across.
4. Make the sounds damp
The walls in a recording studio are designed in such a way that they absorb the sounds. You can try and do something similar to this. Cubicle walls are designed to absorb the waves in addition to getting the life from you dry bones. In fact i use my small cubicle that has been set up in the home office for recording and it has pleased me so far.
We have made a storage closet to be a makeshift recording room once. Rails were placed on the walls and blankets hang from it. This also helped in case we got stuck in the building for a long time.
There are some people who have used curtains and a PVC pip frame to make a portable studio. The frame could be assembled quickly and shower curtain rings were used to put up the curtains.
A portable sound booth can also be made. When you are not too sure of the knife handling skills it is better to purchase a Porta Booth.
Always remember that you are not an audio expert who is producing sound for Hollywood productions but for quality audio transcription process. But it is vital to learn about ways of recording and audio to do a great job. The post is a good beginning. More on Audio recording tips