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Sample Recordings in Different Environments

A couple of years ago, our Audio Recording Tips post offered information on factors that influence the quality of your recording. Today we have some sample clips produced in different environments, so you can hear for yourself.

Podcast Quality

Podcast quality audio doesn't have to come from a studio

This is the goal!

You don’t have to have a recording studio or professional equipment to produce high quality audio, but you do need a quiet room and adequate mic(s). Avoid ambient noises and make sure everyone is individually mic’d or close enough to the recording device to be clearly heard.

Podcast quality audio sample:

Keyboard Clicks

Taking notes on a computer while recording an interview can cause distracting foreground noise

Even in a quiet room, watch out for small noises like table bumps, pen tapping, and keyboard clicks. These types of sounds aren’t always noticeable to those present, but are often disproportionately loud on a recording, and can make the audio more difficult to transcribe.

The key clicks in this sample are audible but not overpowering. Depending the type of keyboard and the location of the microphone or recording device, they can be much louder!

Audio sample with keyboard clicks:


Climate control systems can interfere with your recording

Is your office building conspiring against your audio quality?

Like keyboard clicks, the hum of a heater, air conditioner, or fan may be easy to overlook to at the time a recording is made. However, depending on the placement of the recording device, HVAC systems can add foreground or background noise that muffles or even overpowers the voices on the recording.

Audio sample with HVAC:

Restaurant or Cafe

A restaurant is an enjoyable place to meet, but not the best choice if you're recording

A restaurant, cafe, or bar can be a pleasant place to hold a meeting or interview, but it is rarely a suitable recording environment. In addition to general background noise, interruption by servers, and the occasional sentence spoken with mouth full, the recording device is often set on the table, closer to the clink of utensils than to the speakers.

Audio sample recorded in a restaurant:

City Street

Recording on a city street is a recipe for background noise and interruption

“On the Street” interviews are a useful technique for gathering information and testimonials, but actually recording in an outdoor environment all but guarantees background noise, interruptions, and often wind on the mic. These factors are distracting at best, and can easily overpower the speech entirely.

Audio sample recorded in a city environment:

Frequency Too Low

Too low a frequency can make it sound like you recorded under water

Regardless of where you make your recording, be sure to check the settings on your recording app or device to make sure you have an adequate sampling rate, also known as frequency.

A frequency of 44.1 kHz (44,100 cycles per second) is ideal. It is high enough to provide good quality audio, but not so high that it needlessly increases file size. MP3 files are usually encoded at this rate.

If your sampling rate is too low, the audio can become distorted when we process it for transcription. A rate of 8 kHz (8,000 cycles per second) is particularly problematic, and will tend to give your audio a warbly, “underwater” sound after processing.

Give it a try!

Once you’ve made your recording, it’s time to get it transcribed. Choose from our affordable Budget transcription, or use our 1-Week or 1-Day transcription services to get your text back more quickly. If you have an ongoing need, check out our Transcription as a Service site, WatchingWords.