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Voice recording for Dummies

by MissWeava / February 15, 2007 2:24 AM PST

Hi there,

I'm sure this has been covered a number of times, so apologies, but I'd really appreciate input on the following:

My mother, who is not very tech savvy or concerned with the latest gadgetry , iTunes etc. would like a simple, small device that she can use to record classes that she gives at decent enough quality to be able to make an Audio CD, as well as stream on the net.

The device would need to be small, simple to use, easy to interface with her PC or my Dad's Mac (in case she wants to do basic editing), and able to record/store about 15 hours of audio between downloads.

The classes she would be recording are herself, talking, and about 20-40 students in a medium/large sized room, but not a cavernous lecture hall.

She would like it to be an MP3 player as opposed to a dedicated voice recorder, but again, she isn't concerned with all the latest bells and whistles that would appeal to a younger user.


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The number one area is that microphone quality.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 15, 2007 2:42 AM PST
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Voice recording cont'd...
by MissWeava / February 15, 2007 3:22 AM PST

Thanks Bob. I'm a Mac person myself, so predisposed to liking iPods. But my mother works on a PC, and she doesn't own any MP3 players currently, so the question is should she go for an iPod with attachement, an iRiver, a Creative Zen or a dedicated Olympus-style voice recorder. I'm thinking the dedicated voice recorders result in lower quality recordings, so I"m trying to steer her to one of the other options, but I have no experience recording voice on any of these devices, so it's hard to compare.

The other issue is how easily the device wll interface with her computer, and a Mac. I know iPods work smoothly, but have no experience with the others.

Anyone out there with this kind of comparative experience?

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iPods work fine with PCs.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 15, 2007 3:34 AM PST

That's fairly well known but if you need to see me write so then there it is.

As to the others, all have that issue of mic and mic placement. No one wins on that. Voice recorders are viable but the saving grace can be the cost. Remember that a "voice recorder" is likely to exhibit that fine issue of microphone placement issues. For great recordings you need the mic in the right place.


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Use an external mic
by kishoor / February 16, 2007 8:07 PM PST

An external microphone will make the whole setup more bulky but'll solve any microphone placement issues and will most likely improve sound quality. You can use a microphone with any device that supports line-in recording (which includes the newer iPod add-ons), only make sure the microphone doesn't need a phantom power source (which unfortunately rules out most cheap ones). The problem with recording lectures, however, will be recording the students. If she needs that, it might be more problematic, since that means the micrphone (whether internal or external) will have to catch a large area.

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