Are you wondering how to go record high-quality audio? You may think it’s as simple as buying an expensive microphone and diving in but there’s a lot more to it than that. There are many choices to make and steps to take to ensure that your audio recording is high quality and brings value to your project. Throughout this guide, we’ll share all you need to know about audio recording. Let’s start with some basics.
What is high-quality audio?
High-quality audio is best described as audio that sounds natural; as if the listener and the speaker are in the same room. In a high-quality audio recording, you will not hear hums, hisses, microphone handling sounds, plosives, foreign noises (ie a leafblower or footsteps), or overly processed effects.
The different ways to record audio
There is not just one way to capture excellent audio recordings. There are many tools and software options for recording audio. Let’s take a look at 4 different ways to record audio.
Recording directly into audio editing software
If your audio recording will feature only one voice from one location, this is a great option. Setup for this method is straightforward, requiring nothing more than plugging in your USB mic and ensuring it is properly selected in the settings.
Recording via video conferencing software
Meet and Zoom aren’t only for hosting e-meetings! You can easily record audio through these programs if you plan to have multiple voices involved from various locations. It is important to note though that because these platforms were designed for video conferencing first, the quality of the audio recording may be less than ideal.
Recording via a remote recording platform
Designed specifically for remote audio recording, these platforms allow for high-quality audio to be captured from multiple participants while also offering video capability so that you can see who you are talking to. Some platforms allow for the video to be recorded as well, but not all offer this.
Recording on a portable recording device
The final option we’ll share is to record audio on a portable recording device. If you want the flexibility of being able to record with other people at your home base or on location, this is a great tool for you. These audio recording devices are easy to travel with and some models can also be used as an audio interface.
How to choose the right microphone
Choosing the right microphone is a key factor in recording great audio – especially if you plan to record audio on your computer. Built-in computer microphones are typically of a lower quality than those found in modern smartphones. Still, luckily there are plenty of options for fantastic external microphones for use in recording top-quality audio.
The classic “on stage” mic you would associate with a vocalist or stand-up comedian is a dynamic microphone. Their inner workings consist of coil and magnets which are quite durable making them a travel-friendly option. Dynamic mics are great for recording in noisy environments and there are effective options available that cost around $100 USD.
A condenser microphone is a common choice for audio recording and is significantly more sensitive to smaller vibrations. These mics use capacitor plates rather than coil and magnets and tend to be very effective at capturing vocal subtleties.
These are currently the least common type of microphone but were used extensively in the early years of audio recording for broadcasting. Their delicate functionality relies on a conductive ribbon between two electromagnetic poles to respond to a sound source. These mics work well for recording two people speaking, because of their bi-directional polar pattern.
How to record audio on my computer?
If you choose to record audio from your computer, there are many options you can choose from. Most of these options depend on the Operating System (OS) you use; Windows or Mac. Two of the most popular options for recording audio using a computer are QuickTime Player on Mac and Voice Recorder on Windows 10.
How to record audio on Mac
Your Mac does have a built-in microphone, but as we mentioned above it is often worthwhile to record audio using an external mic instead for a higher quality result. QuickTime Player is a simple tool to use, with an intuitive interface. Follow these steps to use this program to record audio on your Mac:
- Open Quicktime Player
- Click File and then New Audio Recording
- Make sure that the correct microphone and quality settings are in place using the Options popup menu. Remember that the higher the quality, the larger the resulting files will be.
- Ensure the volume is set properly for your audio recording
- Use the red circle to begin recording audio and the grey square to stop.
- Save your work
- Edit the audio recording using functions like split, rearrange, and trim
How to record audio on Windows 10
Your Windows 10 computer comes equipped with free audio recording software called Voice Recorder. If you haven’t already, download the audio recording software from the Microsoft Store.
- Launch Voice Recorder
- Click the microphone icon to begin recording
- Use the standard pause and stop icons as needed to complete your audio recording
- Use the icons near the bottom of your app window to trim or share as needed
Audiate is an audio recording and editing software that works with both Mac and Windows systems. You can download your 30 Day trial here.
How to record audio on my phone?
If you choose to record audio on your phone there are many options to choose from, and once again these options depend on the OS your phone runs on. Below we will cover recording audio on android and recording audio on an iPhone.
How to record audio on Android
There is no one standard set of Apps that is relevant across all Android phones, so you will need to do a little digging to find the best fit for you and your device – there’s no one size fits for how to record audio on Android. As a first step, search your installed apps using keywords like “voice recorder” “memo” or “notes”.
If nothing suitable appears, head to the Google Play Store and use the same terms to identify an audio recording software that will meet your needs. You will find that most of the options available use the standard symbols for Record and Stop, and are relatively intuitive.
How to record audio on iPhone
Every iPhone comes with a built-in voice recorder! To record audio on your iPhone, you will need to open the Voice Memos App. Tapping the red “record” button will start your recording and the red “stop” button will end it. Once you’ve completed your recording press “done” and then name and save your file. Once that is complete you can even share or airdrop your audio file right from the iPhone’s voice recorder app to the device you will use for editing.
Tips to record great audio
No matter what audio recording software or audio recording hardware you have, there is no substitute for setting yourself and your space up intentionally to achieve great audio. Here are some additional tips to help make sure that your audio recording turns out great.
Silence everything else
Of course you know you need to record in a quiet space, but there’s more to that than just closing the door and silencing your notifications. Before you start recording sit in the space and really listen. Can you hear a fan whirring? Do you notice when the furnace or A/C kicks on? Do you hear footsteps or pet tags jingling from outside your door? Consider things like rustling papers, and ice cubes in a glass as well.
All of these seemingly small background noises can easily be picked up and heard by your audio recording software and can create unnecessary editing time or distractions for your listeners.
Put your phone on airplane mode
That’s right, it’s not enough just to silence your phone’s notifications. Your phone emits signals when receiving calls or messages, initiating searches or performing background functions that your ear may not perceive.
However imperceptible they are to you, the signals can be picked up by your audio recording equipment and show up in your recording. Putting your phone on airplane mode in addition to silencing notifications is a simple and effective way to eliminate this.
If you’re hearing an echo on your audio recording, there are some steps you can take to reduce that. Echo happens when the sound you are making bounces off of the hard surfaces around you and gets picked up multiple times by your audio recording equipment. In order to reduce this, you can use acoustic foam or sound-dampening panels, but there are less expensive options as well.
Adding books, curtains, or area rugs is quite an effective way to minimize echo using things you already have on hand, and if you’re really in a pinch, sitting underneath a blanket is surprisingly effective – this can be a great option if you want to record audio on your iPhone on the go!
Get close to the sound
Don’t shy away from the mic! We talked above about getting your audio recording space as quiet as possible. This tip is a way for you to minimize the impact of those sounds you can’t completely eliminate.
Speaking as close to the mic as possible reduces the potential that you’ll hear rogue noises when you listen back in your audio recording software. When you get close to the mic you can reduce its sensitivity settings, making it less likely for ambient and unanticipated noises to make their way to your audio recording.
Control your breathing
Your breath is, essentially, the wind that you do not want your microphone to pick up. While barely perceptible in an in-person conversation, breath sounds are more pronounced in audio recordings and can drastically reduce the quality of your audio.
If you’ve ever been on the phone with someone walking outside on a windy day you can understand why! The sound which is barely perceptible to the naked ear is significantly enhanced when it comes through a microphone. Be conscious of the timing of your breathing. Try things like turning your face away from the mic or pulling away slightly each time you take a breath.
Find a great place to record
Many of these tips for recording great audio, whether on an iPhone, Mac, or another device, can be taken care of by being very conscious of your location choice. The space in which you perform your audio recording can make a huge difference to the quality of audio you are able to produce.
Choosing a space that doesn’t have a lot of hard surfaces that will create echoes reduces the amount of time and energy required in softening the space. A small carpeted room with curtains and bookshelves is a much better option than an expansive space with hardwood flooring and desks and bare walls. Using a closet can actually be quite effective for achieving high-quality audio recordings!
How to remove background noise from your recording
Even when you follow all of the tips and suggestions we’ve provided, it’s difficult to eliminate all background noise unless you’re recording in a professional sound booth. This is problematic because background noise is the biggest offender for videos with audio – it can be the thing that makes or breaks your final product, so it is essential to get rid of it. You can do this before or after you start recording.
How to remove background noise before you start recording
One way to remove background noise before your audio recording begins is to use a tool like Krisp. If you are recording audio on a Mac or on a PC, Krisp can be used as a filter along with the audio recording software you are recording with. The noise canceling tool can reduce the effect of sudden loud noises like a dog barking in the background as well as eliminate the chatter and buzz of a busy office.
With this tool you don’t need to have a fancy microphone or a perfectly curated space – its echo cancellation feature helps create perfectly clear, echo-free audio even if you choose to record in the bathroom!
How to remove background noise after you record
Even if you aren’t able to eliminate background noise before recording, you can take care of it after the fact. If you are working solely with audio you can export your tracks into Audiate but if you are working with audio and video, your best bet is a tool that allows both audio and video editing.
Camtasia is an excellent option for this and it has a built-in noise removal feature so it’s easy to reduce your audio recording’s background noise! Download your free trial here and follow these steps to remove the background noise from your audio recording:
- In Camtasia, click Properties
- Select Analyze – this automates the noise removal process. At present, this function is exclusively for use with Windows, but if you are working with audio on a Mac you can manually adjust the Sensitivity levels to get the desired effect.
Camtasia allows for editing audio and video right in the timeline so there is no need for importing and exporting through multiple systems – it’s quick and easy to make changes!
Whether your project involves exclusively audio content or is an audio-visual masterpiece, the quality of your audio recording is crucial to its success.
The good news is that you have all the power necessary to create excellent results whether you are recording audio on a computer or iPhone, in a quiet dedicated space, or in a busy office. With just a little bit of prep work and some robust easy-to-use tools in your pocket, you will be creating incredible content in no time.