Question: I'm using a digital audio recorder to record podcasts with my students, but I'm picking up way too much background noise. How can I capture better audio?
The IT Guy says:
Digital audio recorders are a great way to record podcasts. You can take them on fieldtrips, outside, or anywhere you want. It's also nice not to be tethered to the computer for your recording, leaving it free for other uses until you upload the audio for final editing. Depending on the quality of recording you want to do, you can purchase models from under $50 up to the multiple hundreds. Higher-end models will record in stereo and store higher quality sound files. However, for classroom podcasts, you can probably do just fine with lower and mid-range devices.
However, there is a trick to getting good audio. Don't use the built-in microphone. It's designed to work well in a meeting or lecture hall, meaning it will pick up as much sound from as many directions as possible. The technical term for it is an "omnidirectional microphone." What you want is a unidirectional or cardioid microphone, You should be able to find good microphones for podcasting at your local electronics or video store for $30 or less.. Bring your digital audio player with you so the clerk gives you a microphone with the right kind of connector!
Once you have the mic, practice using it. You'll want to hold it about six inches away from the person speaking, and not right in front of their mouth. (You want to avoid having the P and S sounds blow on the microphone,) If your model allows it, use headphones while recording to hear exactly what you're capturing!
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