Tips: Improving your audio quality

Would your Audio Story sound better with higher-quality recordings? Here are some tips. (Photo via Pixabay)

This post is by TA David, with advice for improving your Draft Audio Story.

Your draft is completed, but now you realize there are some issues with background noise in one (or several) of your audio clips. What can be done about that?

There are several tools in the software that you can try to use, but they are often difficult to use, can make the audio quality worse, and are time consuming.

As annoying as it may sound, your TAs think the best option is to just rerecord the clip. That means getting access to your interviewee, redoing your narration, or going back to wherever you found background audio and trying again. In most cases, this is actually the simpler, faster, and more effective option.

So, here’s how to make sure you get the audio you want.

1. Brush up on the readings.

Yes, this is a half-answer, but there really is some good stuff in those.

2. Pick a location.

Look for a spot where you know if is going to be quiet during the recording. The dorms, during the day, are often pretty quiet (not so much in the evening). Also try the WSU library. You can reserve a study room to work in or find an out of the way corner. One of those tables right by the entrance probably is not idea because there will be a lot of food traffic. One other good option is classrooms in the afternoon or evening. Once classes are over, the main buildings are mostly empty but still open. Some of the lobby areas would likely work well.

3. Scope out the spot.

Double check a day before the recording to make sure it is empty, open, and quiet. Is it busy during that time of day? Will you be able to have access? Does your subject know how to find the location? Consider all these to reduce disruptions and maximize your recording time.

4. Create a space.

Move chairs and tables so that your mic is an idea distance from the speakers. Are there noisy fans that can be turned off or lights that buzz? Can a door be closed to reduce noise from the hallway? Are there papers that can rustle or chairs that squeak constantly? Limit these before you start recording for the best audio.

5. Try a test recording.

Leave your mic recording for a minute and try some test sentences and silence. Then listen to the recording and see if there are any issues. This is probably the most important step because the mic will pick up things you might not realize. Knowing early will help you reduce the frustration in the editing process.

It may seem like a lot, but following these steps will make your life a lot easier.

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