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How do I record meetings and interviews to PC/Mac

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

In my offices, I need to record interviews and some meetings. I've not been happy with my portable recorders (Sony ICD-UX81F) mainly because the mic seems to pick up everything like people tapping the meeting table, but voices seem unclear specially those further away from the recorder itself. I don't know much about recording but I suspect it has something to do with the quality of the microphones (tiny) and the way the recorder encodes the sound into mp3 files may be. Sound levels from different people in the same small meeting room seems quite different in terms of volume - someone will be too quiet and some will be too loud, for example. 

 

So my questions are

Would I get a better recording using a 'real' microphone?

What type of microphone do I need?

How do I get the recorded sound into my notebook? (instead of into a recorder and then into my notebook)

What software do I need? (I'm not thinking about mixing or editing or anything, may be cutting parts of it out to reduce the file size etc.)

What hardware do I need? (mic, some kind of microphone->usb thing?)

 

I'd prefer to use some kind of box set on a desk to using a microphone on a stand or something too elaborate if possible. Telling people we're recording them gets them nervous enough!

 

Any advice/experience would be much appreciated!

 

C


Edited by x838nwy - 1/16/14 at 3:47am
post #2 of 7

Q: Would I get a better recording using a 'real' microphone?
A: Of course, especially when you pull out a shure or audio technica like a boss

Q: What type of microphone do I need?
A: Actually any kind of working microphone will be good enough, since you're recording an old person that gives you work and trouble so its really doesn't matter.

Q: How do I get the recorded sound into my notebook?

A: I am not sure about Mac (I'm a PC user), but on the PC, there are build in recording device called sound recorder. It uses the crappy but good enough build in microphones. Since you are familiar with tiny recorders, you should understand how to use it.

 

Q: What software do I need?
A: You want a pair of scissors?! Then check this out!!! http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Audacity is a totally free software to record and edit sounds. A lot of low level musicians used it. It is for WINDOWS, MAC, GNU/LINUX, and other operating systems.

Q: What hardware do I need?

A: Since the invention of skype, every laptop has a microphone. So, if you have a laptop with recording software, it will be good enough.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2015071 View Post
 

Q: Would I get a better recording using a 'real' microphone?
A: Of course, especially when you pull out a shure or audio technica like a boss

Q: What type of microphone do I need?
A: Actually any kind of working microphone will be good enough, since you're recording an old person that gives you work and trouble so its really doesn't matter.

Q: How do I get the recorded sound into my notebook?

A: I am not sure about Mac (I'm a PC user), but on the PC, there are build in recording device called sound recorder. It uses the crappy but good enough build in microphones. Since you are familiar with tiny recorders, you should understand how to use it.

 

Q: What software do I need?
A: You want a pair of scissors?! Then check this out!!! http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Audacity is a totally free software to record and edit sounds. A lot of low level musicians used it. It is for WINDOWS, MAC, GNU/LINUX, and other operating systems.

Q: What hardware do I need?

A: Since the invention of skype, every laptop has a microphone. So, if you have a laptop with recording software, it will be good enough.

 

Thanks, dude :)

 

I am the old dude interviewing people actually :bigsmile_face: trying to record onto the computer mic is a bit disappointing as it records much better from the side facing the computer but not so good the other...

 

One question though, most microphones I find tend to have a 1/4" jack at the end. Can I just get a 1/4" to 1/8" adaptor and plug it into my computer?

 

What would be the advantage of using something like a CEntance Micport or a usb mic?

 

Thanks again :)

post #4 of 7
Unfortunetly my microphone knowlege is noobish. But what i know about jacks are they will do the job no matter what size it is, just like our... Forget it. Anyways any kind of plugs would finish the job, but i would like a proper microphone with 1/4" or 1/8" for quality. (Especially gold plated)
post #5 of 7
Are you recording a single person or a roomful of people? If it is a roomful, then the right answer is to use an automixer and multiple mics, like one of these: http://www.shure.com/americas/products/mixers-dsp/scm820-digital-intellimix-automatic-mixer together with a bunch of microphones.

However, that is going to cost you some serious money.

If you need to only record 1-3 people all seated fairly close together, then you could either use a small, inexpensive mixer with a USB interface, like this: http://www.guitarcenter.com/PreSonus-AudioBox-USB-2X2-USB-Recording-System-104841978-i1388074.gc with a couple of decent quality microphones.

Or, if you are recording only one or two people, then you might be able to use a USB mic, like this: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Blue-Snowball-USB-Microphone-103647319-i1127343.gc or http://www.guitarcenter.com/CAD-U7-USB-Desktop-Boundary-Microphone-105144141-i1399955.gc

The key is to get the mic away from the laptop's fan and close enough to the people speaking. I'm afraid you will never be able to deal with the combination of people close and far away from the same microphone - the best you would be able to do is find a middle setting that would let you hear the far speaker without being blasted by the close speaker. Business people that refuse to speak into the microphone are the bane of the conference room audio technician.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys!
Just to clarify - i'm looking at 2-5 people but they might be sitting quite far apart. I think a "mixer with a usb interface" might be a way forward. I'll take a look at the what's possible.
post #7 of 7
The big difference between the inexpensive USB mic interfaces and the automixers is the "auto" part. With a product like the the Shure automixer, the system automatically applies echo & feedback cancellation and mutes the microphones other than the one closest to the person speaking. They are made for this type of application so you don't need someone twiddling knobs while the the meeting is happening.
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