Monday, October 24, 2005

Creating digital audio

Because of a current project, I posted a question to the Archives-L discussion list asking for recommendations on equipment to use in recording audio (oral histories) for use on the Internet. The people on Archives-L are always helpful and so I received several e-mails and two phone calls! Below is a quick summary of the information I have received (that covers more than just the equipment), which may be useful to you:
  • IC Recorder ICD-ST25 Stereo
  • Marantz PMD 670 or 660
  • There's a system that uses the PC (laptop) for storing the audio as it is recording.
  • Digital recorders can be very expensive, but so can be converting analog to digital.
  • Consider if transcription will be necessary.
  • Get a signed release form from the interviewee.
  • Consider something like Adobe Audition to edit the audio.
  • Article -- Digital Recording: Here to Stay.
  • Article -- The Holy Grail of Digital Recording.
  • Digital Audio Best Practices, Version 1.2, (link deleted, see below)

Update (12/6/2005): The Digital Audio Best Practices were updated in November 2005. Version 2.0 is available at


Anonymous said...

Hi Jill -- just FYI, the CDP's digital audio best practices are under review and we hope to have version 2.0 available by the end of the year. Look for it at

Best, Mark

Mark Shelstad
University of Wyoming

Anonymous said...


Last week, I read an article in the October 2005 issue of Electronic Music magazine that deals with digital field recorders. The Marantz machine you cited is a good one; I used to use the analog version of that machine way back when I was working in the media services field.

I don't believe the Electronic Musician article is available for free on the Web, and it may not be available via database. (I believe you can access the magazine's archives via Nexis.) The magazine, however, is readily available from most stores that have a good periodicals/serials section. Bird Library also may have a subscription.

Additionally, I'd talk to the folks at SU's Belfer Audio Laboratory (, as they deal with digital audio and audio conversions a lot, I think.

The critically important thing missing from your list is a good microphone. For interviews where the person is seated and not moving around much, a lavalier mic may work for your needs. If you want more info, I can help you choose a good rig that will serve you well.