Audio Recording

Why is it important to create a professional-sounding audio?

As transcriptionists, we prepare the back-end of the product, the transcript. You, the client, are prepare the front-end, the audio. It is our responsibility to ensure that we capture what we hear accurately. It cannot be stressed enough on how important it is that the audio recordings be as clear as possible.

Whether you’re dictating individually, one-on-one interviews, or in groups, the most important thing to remember is the location of recording.

Tip #1: Hand-Held Recorders

A hand-held recorder is primarily used for individual dictating. It can be purchased at any electronic store such as Staples or Best Buy. I suggest trying several models. Get a feel for how it fits in your hand and how easy it is for you to use it. They range in price so feel how it fits in your hand, how heavy it is and how accessible the controls are. Also, verify if the recorder also has an AC adapter. If it does, you may want to consider this in your decision-making as you will save on battery purchases. Keep extra batteries on-hand at time of dictating so as not to interrupt your flow.

Of note: Batteries have expiry dates with a lifespan of four years.

Tip #2: Professional Audio/Visual Company

Why Use An A/V Company?

An A/V company provides the latest audio visual equipment and highly skilled staff to ensure your event is technologically trouble-free. They can create a standalone audio conference systems that ensures every voice is heard loud and clear in conjunction with high-definition video/data projection.

Services provided include: Audio/visual and computer rental, staging, audience response and multi-microphone discussion systems, webcasting, digital services and presentation management. (upon request, a list of companies can be provided)

Why Is This Important for Transcribing?

Good quality audio = accurate transcript.

Can I Use My Hand-held Recorder To Transcribe A Focus Group?

You can use this method of recording for small groups of six (6) around a small table and only if you have an external mic. (this mic is available at no charge from Flying Fingers)

Tip #3: Individual & One-on-One Interviews

In a business environment, an office or boardroom is ideal. If interviewing outside this setting, be cognizant of your surroundings.

Avoid Interviewing:

  • In a public forum such as restaurants and open areas where extraneous background noise will compromise the recording.
  • With an open window or where fans may be running in a room.
  • Where multiple distractions are present, such as, in a personal setting.

A controlled environment is essential.


Even though this is a great medium for interviewing, it can be tricky. I recommend using an external mic on the hand-held recorder placed by the computer speaker.

For better quality audio recordings, Call Recorder from ecamm is recommended.  Here is the link.


Conducting an interview via this method is not recommended. Be aware the hand-held recorder may not pick up the interviewee clearly. If this situation is unavoidable, setup the external mic by the landline.

Cell Phone:

This method is also not recommended. Please see Speakerphone notation.

Tip #4: Breakout Groups

It is essential to have the A/V company place a microphone at each table. This will ensure, the discussion is captured.

Of note: Depending on how many tables are in the room, they should be separated enough of a distance to avoid crosstalk from the adjoining tables.

Moderator Versus Free-Flowing Discussion

Ideally, the use of a moderator to help facilitate the discussion is preferred.

Why is this so important?

  • A moderator structures the flow of the discussion and dialogue.
  • A moderator allows each individual to complete their thought.
  • The use of a moderator avoids crosstalk.

A free-flowing discussion is not recommended. Participants speaking simultaneously means

the non-capture of ideas/opinions.

Tip #5: Conference/Meetings

Speaker at Podium

A hand-held recorder should suffice.

Interactive Speaker

If a speaker engages the participants by moving around, he/she will require a lapel mic. See Tip #2.

Tip #6: Testing of Recorder

Before beginning any recording, there are a few things to remember:

  1. Put fresh batteries in the recorder.
  2. If you have an AC adapter, make sure the table is close to the outlet to ensure it doesn’t get unplugged by accident.
  3. Put the volume on the highest level.
  4. Do a test with the interviewee before beginning the interview. Make certain the recorder captures each of you clearly and loudly. If the playback is unclear, make the necessary adjustments with the interviewee. Do a follow-up test. Of note: Be cognizant if this happens in the interview. You may need to prompt the interviewee now and again.

What Digital Extensions Can Be Sent?


How Do I Send Audios?

Audios can be sent via:

  • E-mail
  • FTP
  • SecureDoc
  • Dropbox
  • Secure Server
  • Mail
  • Courier