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Audio Transcription

It is always advisable to get an interview or a dictation recorded using digital recorders to improve the sound quality, which can later assist in transcription.

Here we will have a look at some popular Digital Recording Devices:

The Zoom H4 Handy recorder is considered by many experts as the best audio recording equipment in the market today. The Zoom H4 Handy Digital Recorder fits in your palm and is ideal for recording interviews, podcasts, business meetings, lectures and seminars. The H4 allows you to record 24-bit/96 kHz digital audio in MP3 format with bitrates up to 320kbps. The H4 is the only portable digital recorder that also serves as your USB audio interface, allowing direct audio recording to your computer. The H4 also provides four hours of continuous recording operation from 2 AA batteries. Priced at just under $500, it may be expensive for the occasional user but can be a real asset to a professional with regular recording needs.


Olympus is a leading provider for digital voice recorders. The devices that have the potential of recording 'Type-1' audio for interview transcription are Olympus-WS 100, WS-200S, WS-300M, WS-310M, or WS320M. These models are more affordable and do not compromise on quality either.

You can either buy a WS-300M or WS-310M, the difference between the two models is only in the capacity. The WS-300M can record 8.75 hours of audio where as the WS-310M can record 17.5 hours of audio, and they are priced under $200.

Any device that records in the DSS or DVF format is not recommended, the audio quality in such formats is not of high standards, and therefore will not qualify for 'Category A' billing. The audio in Olympus records in the WMA format, which is of the highest quality.

Microphone Specifications:

It is recommended that you use an external microphone to improve the sound quality of the recording, as the built-in microphones of most of the recording devices are not as sensitive as the external ones. Regardless of what device is used for recording audio, a good quality directional microphone can always improve the quality of the audio captured.

The Sony ECM-MS907 Stereo Microphone is a perfect choice for interviews as it gives you the option to select how directional the microphone need to be. It has the option to be 'tight' for single person interviews and 'open' for groups. It is recommend using the 90deg setting for most interviews. This will help reduce extraneous noise. It is priced around $80 to $100.

Another good choice for a video camera microphone is the Sennheiser MKE300. It costs about $180 and can be mounted directly onto most consumer video cameras and is considered a shotgun microphone (highly directional).

Audio-Technica AT4073A - Shotgun Condenser Microphone is an outstanding dialogue microphone that is preferred by professionals. It is an excellent microphone for on-camera work and long distance audio. Priced at just over $500, it is more expensive than other mics but with the Audio-Technica AT4073A, you will get value for money.

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