You can whip out your digital voice recorder in any situation and get it to remember everything from a quick memo to an idea for a song. Whether your recording meetings, interviews or lectures, these little devices let you focus all your attention on what’s being said; you can make notes later when you play back the audio.

Sometimes the microphones on our dictaphones seem to pick up more of the background noise than speech. Most of the time this isn’t so much of a problem, but it can be really frustrating to transcribe a meeting when all you can hear is echo and the hum of an electric light.

The good news is there are a number of ways you can improve the sound from your dictaphone - even on files you’ve already recorded. Here’s a simple guide to hearing the still, small, voice beneath the crashing thunder.

The Knowhow

Dictaphone settings:

  • Most dictaphones allow you to record in High and Low quality modes. The high quality mode will improve the audio, but will reduce the maximum recording time.

External microphones:

  • You can connect an external microphone to most voice recorders.
  • Cardioid microphones pick up sound from one direction only - These are useful for interviews.
  • Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from all around. A good use for these is a round-table meeting.
  • Place your microphone and recording device as close to the subject as possible for the best quality audio.

Before recording:

  • Make sure your recording device and microphone have new batteries in.
  • Check the sound recording level and adjust if you need to, if your device allows you to.

After recording:

  • Backup your recording to a computer as soon as you can.
  • Audio editing software, such as the free package Audacity, will let you remove some background noises and adjust the sound level so it is easier to hear.

We hope that clears things up a bit. Recordings without hiss or buzz are much easier on the ears.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.

Updated On:

Oct 18, 2011

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