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Audio-recording equipment, software, tools and tutorials

January 3, 2012

Tags: analog, audio, digital, formats, media, microphone, oral history, recording, tutorials

Newcomers to interviewing often ask about audio equipment, software, tools and tutorials for interviewing and editing. Here are a couple dozen links to resources I've found useful:
• Audio Tools (Transom Tools, a showcase and workshop for New Public Radio)
• The Basics (Jay Allison on recording in audio for public radio, Transom Tools)
• The B&H Handheld Digital Audio Recorders Buyer's Guide (Sam Mallery). Some advise going to this website, calling B&H (The Professional's Source 800.606.6969 or 212.444.6615), and letting one of their knowledgeable sales people help you decide what to buy. Another good source of audio gear: BSW (800.426.8434).
• Oral History Tutorial (Matrix, Audio-Tech, somewhat technical -- to help researchers implement several important aspects of audio technology in the field, studio, and research lab)
• Digital Oral History Workshop (Baylor University's online guide to principles in selecting and using digital equipment and software for recording, preserving, and disseminating oral history)
• BBC Advanced Audio Tips(for radio, but with applications for personal history interviewing). NEW (for students): Hands on History: A Guide to Oral History (download free PDF). The Hands on History videos appear not to be accessible in U.S. but some of the how-to-build-a-castle type instructions are.
• Family Oral History Using Digital Tools. Technical whiz kid Susan Kitchens reviews equipment and, as a consultant, can help you with technical questions. Of particular use may be this series: From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 1 - Audio into Audacity; Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level; Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD and Part 4 (Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks, "to come").
• Glossary of audio terms(Atlantic Technology -- check out their Learning Center)
• Portable Digital Recorder Comparison (Transom.org, fall 2009)
• How to Find an Audio Recorder That's Right for You (Dan Curtis, personal historian)
• Field Recording in the Digital Age and Guide to audio recording equipment (Andy Kolovos, Vermont Folklife Center). See also his list of retired equipment, mostly analog
• Mindy McAdams No-Fear Guide to Multimedia Skills (with links to equipment, resources) and Part 2 of the quick-and-easy guide to audio editing
• Audio technology tutorial (Historical Voices, somewhat technical, not entirely up-to-date, but useful)
• Oral History Association on Technology
• Recording Phone Calls (Jeff Towne, 2-26-09). The excellent Transom.org (for National Public Radio) offers advice non-NPR people can use. There are reviews and advice here on Analog Phone Couplers and Hybrids, Digital Hybrids, Cell Phone Taps, Skype and Computer-based Telephony, etc. Not Advice for Dummies! Someone recommended to me the Olympus TP-7 telephone recording device ($14.95) for use with my Olympus recorder. Search for "telephone recording device" at Amazon, B&H, or other vendor sites and you'll find many options.
• How to Record Skype Conversations: Tools, Resources, Tips (Digital Inspiration 6-07-06)
• Soundslides (a rapid production tool for still image and audio Web presentations)
• Richard Hess's Media Formats and Resources (tape and magnetic media), Digital Audio resources), and his tips and notes -- pretty technical.
• Acoustic primer (this one's for listening to music)
• Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes (PDF)
• Remote Recording Survival Guide (Tom Lopez, Transom.org, 6-1-02, on the equipment you'll need if traveling to record at remote locations)
• Location Sound: The Basics and Beyond (Dan Brockett, on Ken Stone site, 10-21-02).
• Choosing the Right Microphone:An Overview of Popular Short Shotgun, Supercardioid, Hypercardiod and Cardioid Microphones (Dan Brockett, on Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website, 1-7-08).
• Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use? (Dan Brockett, Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website, 4-7-08)
Superfast Guide to Audio Editing(Audacity) Download it and print it out.
• Audacity: download for free here (it's a free cross-platform sound editor). (Have old cassette tapes you want to transfer to your computer? You may be able to do so through Audacity, with a line cord connected from a tape player.)
• Your Inside Source . Order Larry Jordan's free monthly newsletter to learn about mastering Final Cut Studio and Digital Media. See his helpful Editing Resource Library.
• Switch Audio File Converter Software (convert or compress sound files from one format to another within minutes of downloading)
• Audio file types (FileInfo.com -- an alphabetically organized (by extension) key to compressed and uncompressed audio formats). Here's another such list: File-extensions.org.

This is not enough? You'll find more links here:
• Mastering equipment, software, and other tools for interviewing, writing, editing, designing, and creating multimedia (Writers and Editors site)
This information is also posted here on the Telling Your Story page of my Pat McNees site. I have provided little information about working with video and in multimedia, but will eventually post links to helpful sites for video novices.

Comments

  1. January 4, 2012 1:46 AM EST
    Thanks Pat for providing a comprehensive resource on the latest and greatest in this specialised field.
    - Annie Payne

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