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Sound Recording Made Easy with these Tips

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 6/2/2011

Good sound recording should not be the sole province of professionals with sophisticated equipment. You can undertake quality sound recording with these tips which would help you to save time, effort and even keep you away from running foul of the law.

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    Here are tips to keep in mind before you undertake your next sound recording project.

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    Microphone

    Compromise on the microphone and you’ll end up with poor quality sound which may spoil your whole sound recording project. Get the best quality microphone you could afford. For instance, if you’re going to record voice in your home studio, you would want to use a USB microphone which promises the best quality voice recording although it would cost you more.

    Check out this article if you’re unsure as to the types of microphone available out there.

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    Go Digital

    Digital recording hardware and software are affordable these days and offer you the flexibility and ease of use and are essentially timesavers when it comes to post production work. Having a relatively new computer means you’re equipped with a digital sound recorder.

    Also if you’re recording voice, there are many options in terms of digital voice recorders which are easy to use and are affordable.

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    Use Computers

    Computers have simplified the process of sound recording tremendously. In these days of affordable and powerful laptop computers, you can easily record sound outdoors. Laptop computers are becoming lighter and offer much storage space for your sound recordings. Even if you think a laptop computer is too bulky to be carried around, you can use a netbook which is extra portable.

    Computers come with sound recording programs preinstalled. If that doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can always install a powerful free program like Audacity.

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    Audio Editing Software

    To get the best out of your sound recording project, you would have to familiarize yourself with the main features of your audio editing software. This way you could remove unwanted background noise and periods of silence which inevitably creeps into any audio recording project. Most of the time, you end up saving the trouble of having to rerecord sound. No budget for audio editing software? Download Audacity and you’re in business.

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    Advanced Audio Editing

    Don’t stop once you’ve mastered basic audio editing. You should continue your learning and explore advanced features that come with your program. Learning them will help you prepare for all kind of sound recording situations. For example, you will know how to iron out an echo problem in a speech recorded in a public hall.

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    Recording Formats

    As a digital audio practitioner, you must familiarize yourself with audio file formats. If these formats are available to you via your recording device, try them all out and decide which format is suitable for which occasion. Otherwise, go with MP3. It’s a format that’s supported by all audio editing applications.

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    Audio File Size

    High quality audio recording means large file sizes. Although you would not have problems with storage space in these days of generous hard disk space, you would need to learn how to control file size without compromising on quality when it comes to specific occasions. For example, you would want to look for the lowest file size that would not compromise quality if you’re going to upload to the Internet.

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    File ID Habit

    Chances are you would be doing more than the occasional sound recording. You may end up with dozens of sound recording clips. To easily access them in future, you could do well to enter the necessary file information for future reference, especially if you’re going to use a mobile MP3 device to playback such files. The ID3 tag editor would do a good job in providing the necessary information for your MP3 files.

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    Audio Introduction

    While the file ID may help you differentiate one audio file from another, it may not help you identify the contents, especially if it’s a long recording of various subjects. So, it would be wise to have an audio introduction at the beginning of the clip explaining the contents of the recording clip. Just speak a few sentences about the contents of an audio clip if the ID information alone isn’t sufficient to identify the clip.

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    Copyright Issues

    If you’re recording a public speech or a lecture, make sure you have the necessary clearance from the content owner before distributing the recording to the public or uploading it to the web. Otherwise, you risk the owner coming after you with a copyright claim which would be like throwing a spanner in the works especially if you’ve used the recording for a completed project. So, be careful here.

    Article information based on writer’s experience with sound recording. Additional information gleaned from Recording on a Budget: How to Make Great Audio Recordings Without Breaking the Bank.