Best Way(s) to Record Telephone Interviews

“Hi Isaac, what would be the best way to record telephone or Skype interviews? I’m interviewing busy business people who have agreed to telephone and Skype interviews.” Louise The best way to record telephone interviews, that’s tough question. But I’ll attempt to answer it; this might turn out to be a long read. Bear with me. For Skype interviews, I’ve penned a great post, with a walk-through video. If you have any questions on recording Skype interviews, please leave them on that post and I’ll get back to you. For this post, we are going to focus on telephone interviews: mainly cell phones and “old skool” phones. There’re lots of different phone models, but majority are either corded or wireless. And here we are talking about the transmission of the data, not the hardware. Because that’s the key feature that determines recorded phone interviews sound quality. Let’s begin with wireless phones. Recording Cell Phone Interviews… Continue reading…

Audio-Technica ATR-3350iS Lav Mic Review

Audio-Technica ATR-3350iS Lav Mic Review

This is probably the hardest review I’ve ever had to write. And that’s because the ATR 3350is features are a double edged sword; good and bad. Regardless of its shortcomings, I do like this microphone and do recommend it as one of the best clip-on microphone for interviews. Why, the awesome sound, and that’s the main reason we buy microphones. I was really impressed with the sound that you get from the Audio-Technica ATR-3350is Lav Mic. Summary: Audio-Technica ATR-3350iS Lav Mic Review  The Good and the Bad: terminated with a 3.5mm TRS mic plug. 20ft cord and 1.5v LR44 button sized battery module, makes this a bulky lavalier microphone. Very good full, rich sound, once you add a bit of gain to it. Verdict: 20ft cord is great if you need it, cumbersome is you don’t. A low sensitivity mic, it does need a decent amount of gain. Works very well with the Sony ICD… Continue reading…

Best Clip-on Microphone for Interviews

Best Clip-on Microphone for Interviews--$2 Lav Mic

Most digital recorders work great for recording research interviews, expect when you’re in a noisy environment. I just penned a #howto record interviews in a noisy location, and on this post I’ll share the 3 features of any perfect clip on mic for interviews and then I’ll my top 3 recommendations for the best clip-on mic for interviews. Why use a clip-on mic to record your research interviews in a noisy environment? Proximity. By having a microphone closer to the source or the sound, your mouth, the background noise (cars, fans, noisy neighbors etc) will not overpower your respondent’s voice. The resultant interview recording will be clear and easily transcribable. Summary: Best Clip-on Microphone for Interviews Giant Squid Lav Mic: works very well with the Sony ICD ux-560. 6ft cord, not too short, not too long: perfect. TRS 3.5mm plug. Easy to use. Sturdy build. Full, rich awesome sound; not the tiny sound that characterizes… Continue reading…

Giant Squid Lav Mic Review

Giant Squid clip on mic

Confession. I am a utilitarian. I had the pleasure of reading J.S. Mill, “On Liberty” in my late teens and it made a huge impression. Utilitarian principles guide my epistemology and tend to seep into my reviews of products; I try to answer the question “what’s its use?” And the Giant Squid lavalier microphone is a utilitarian masterpiece. We all use products that try to do many things, have a multitude of features; all bells and whistles, but are terrible at performing the basic task they were made for. But the Giant Squid lav mic does one thing, record external audio into a digital recorder, and does it exceptionally well. Summary: Giant Squid Lav Mic Review The good: you get a full, rich awesome sound; not the tiny sound that characterizes lavalier microphones. 6ft cord, not too short, not too long: perfect. Easy to use. Sturdy build. The Bad: the form windshield keeps falling off.… Continue reading…

How to Record Interviews in a Noisy Location

How to record interviews in a noisy location

What gives transcribers nightmares? = Research interviews and focus groups recorded in a noisy location. And that’s because researchers expect us to perform miracles and turn poorly recorded data into immaculate transcripts. We don’t like disappointing our clients, but we’re not magicians! More importantly, is a concern for the validity and reliability of data collected; recording high quality audio not only allows your transcriber to have a good night sleep (lol), but also improves your research’s trustworthiness. That’s the main reason I blog: to assist researchers collect better qualitative data and make their research project a success. Yes, I’d appreciate it if you’d hire us to transcribe your interviews and focus groups, but that’s secondary. I want you to record valid and reliable data. A few tips on recording interviews in a noisy environment. Please Don’t The first tip may seem counterintuitive: don’t record your research interviews in a noisy location. This is one tip… Continue reading…

Zoom H1n Review

Zoom H1n Review

A few years back I bought the Zoom H1. After a couple of days using it, I returned it (amazon return policy is awesome!). Last month, I bought the Zoom H1n – the newer/better(?) version of the H1. And I’m going to keep it and recommend it for researchers. In this review, I let you know why. Summary: Zoom H1n Review The good: very good recorded sound. Lots of recording versatility – 96 kHz 24 bit wav. 5v plug in power, you can power this recorder using the USB and use it as a USB microphone. The bad: no internal memory. Max 32GB micro SD card external memory. Cannot recharge batteries, 10 hours battery life. Verdict: great for recording interviews in quiet locations, using lav microphones, focus group discussions with the ME33 boundary mic. Definitely best recorder for powering ME33 boundary microphones. Buy the Zoom H1n from Amazon. The Zoom H1n is an entry level… Continue reading…

Olympus ME33 Review

Daisy Chaining 6 Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphones

The Olympus ME33 boundary microphone is the mic that I recommend for recording medium and large focus group discussions. There are several reasons why, and I’ll touch on them later on in this review, but first a couple of suggestions. If you are looking to record focus groups, meetings or conferences in a boardroom setting, I recommend you also read this post on how to record focus groups and this post on choosing a recorder for focus group discussions. Those two posts have lots of tips that’ll help you capture great sound in a boardroom setting. Summary: Olympus ME33 Boundary Microphone Review The Good: you can connect up to 6 mics. Captures very little background noise; but captures distant voices very well. Sleek, attractive design. The Bad: only works with digital recorders with plug-in power (1.5v-5v). Verdict: these microphones are perfect for recording audio in large meeting or conference rooms. Also great for recording focus… Continue reading…

Sony ICD-PX470 Review

Sony ICD PX470 Review

Let me begin with a caveat. I am an Olympus fan. I really do like their digital voice recorders. But the recent Sony models are making me re-evaluate that. The Sony ICD-PX470 has become my default backup recorder – and I have a lots of recorders. In this review of the Sony ICD-PX470 I’ll try and explain why I rate this recorder so highly. Summary: Review of Sony ICD-PX470 Pros: records very good sound; high sensitivity with low background noise. Can record in 16bit 44.1 kHz wav format. 9 different mic sensitivity settings. Cons: Can’t recharge batteries. 32GB max expendable memory. No back-light. Verdict: Great budget recorder. If you are looking for excellent recorder on a budget, this recorder is perfect. Buy it now from amazon, you won’t be disappointed. Sony ICD-PX470 Specifications I got my Sony ICD-PX470 a couple of months ago and been using it to record interviews and I’ve been impressed. Here’s… Continue reading…

Olympus WS-853 Review

Olympus WS-853 Review

3 years after I bought the Olympus WS-853, I write a review! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to pen this review. Not for the lack of desire – just been bogged down with other “stuff”. But, due to public demand, I’m going to be writing a lot more in-depth product reviews. And if you’re a researcher and appreciate them, please leave a comment below! If my memory serves me right, I first bought this recorder because it had a USB direct connection to my PC, easy copying of files to PC and mac (no need for software), and its ability to recharge batteries. However, these are standard features in most digital voice recorders worth buying in 2018. Summary: Olympus WS-853 Review The Good: comes with 8GB internal memory (impressive!), rechargeable NiMH batteries and a kickstand (reduces “table noise”). Captures very little background noise. The Bad: max MP3 128 kbps recording mode… Continue reading…

Sony ICD-ux560 Review

If you are regular reader of our (excellent?) blog, you’ll have noticed that I recommend the Sony ICD-ux560 as the best recorder for recording interviews, lectures, and small focus group discussions. While I highlight the key features of the Sony ICD-ux560 and give reasons as to why I recommend it, I’ve never done an in-depth review of the Sony ICD-ux560 digital recorder. So, here we go. With the ICD-ux560, Sony made a few bold (risky) changes from their previous digital recorders. I remember my first impression of this recorder: it’s very thin and lightweight. Photos of this recorder do not reflect how light it feels on your hand and its low profile. How did Sony achieve this? Summary: Sony ICD-ux560 Review Pros: very lightweight; powers up instantly; amazing sound; records in LPCM format; 3.5mm mic input with plug-in power; clear, sharp, and crisp LCD screen. Cons: built in battery; only 4GB built in memory; screen… Continue reading…