Essential Equipment to Record the Highest Quality Audio Possible

Essential Equipment to Record the Highest Quality Audio Possible
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


You are in the middle of transcribing an audio file and the task has been a breeze so far. But then a loud noise that cuts off the speaker’s sentence and, for seconds, you entirely miss what is being said. The results: ‘Unintelligible’ and ‘Inaudible’ dot most of the transcription done.

Poor quality audios are a challenge for transcriptionists and for business owners that need audio files transcribed.

So what does quality audio sound like?

The audio should sound natural, as if the listener is there with the interviewee. If the audio is a podcast or conference recording, it should be clear as though you are in the room with the podcaster/ participants. If you hear a buzz, hum, echoes (also known as room reflections), foreign noises (such as keyboard clicks or animal sounds), mic bumps, or ‘plosives’--the sound made from speaking consonants (“b” sounds “p”) into a mic, then the audio quality is poor.


A good microphone is crucial to a high-quality audio recording. We recommend the Audio-Technica ATR2100. This USB microphone reduces picking up foreign sounds from the sides or behind the speaker.

You can get the mic on Amazon together with a pop filter (a screen found in front or around a microphone that eliminates ‘plosives’) and a mic stand and less than $100. When you buy the mic, simply plug it directly into your computer, link it to your recording software and you are good to go. The Audio-Technica ATR2100 microphone can be used without a preamp or mixer. The XLR output can be used with a mixer if you prefer it that way.

The Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 Dynamic Vocal microphone is another microphone we recommend. You can have those plosive/pop and breath noises reduced for that cheaper price. Its cardioid capture pattern makes it excellent in feedback rejection and separates sound sources.

Portable Digital Voice Recorder

While you may think that your phone or laptop qualifies as a voice recorder, it has many limitations. For one, your phone and laptop capture audio well only when it is close to the interviewee. Any incoming text to your phone would interrupt the recording. Computer glitches can ruin your recording sessions which is why having an external microphone is important.

Finally, for the best portable audio recorder for business professionals, you should check the TASCAM DR-05. This microphone is highly recommended because it is easy to use and has a stereo-depth recording.

The TASCAM DR-05 records in WAV or MP3 format and saves the audio in a micro SD/SDHC media. You can get this recorder for about $100 at many online stores.


So, why shouldn’t you use phone earphones for recording? Well, earphones are okay for recording but headphones are better.

Recording headphones have noise-canceling options and audio monitoring. The audio-monitoring capability allows an interviewer to adjust the quality of sound in real time.

The Bose Quiet Comfort 25 has a feature that allows you to filter off environmental noises and monitor sound levels. With this headphone, you are guaranteed exceptional sound quality at an affordable price. You cannot go wrong with this headphone which is recommended for transcription and other recording works.

The Bose Quiet Comfort 35 is a newer updated model of the Comfort 25. This new headphone has been given great reviews by podcasters and voice-over recorders.

Remote Audio Recording

Portable voice recorders, microphones and headphones are essential for in-person interviews. However, there are times when you may need to conduct an interview remotely. In these cases, specialist service providers or recording software will help you achieve that high audio quality.

For remote interviews, you’ll want to use apps that record with multiple tracks to keep each voice/speaker separate. One of these apps is Easy2Transcribe from GMR Transcription.

With Easy2Transcribe, you can record and save the audio. The app does not have to be used with any software or plugins as it works via your web browser. You don’t need to use any third party plugins to get an extra recording track for a guest.

Bottom Line

You should invest in audio equipment that will capture high-quality recordings and can give better results for your audio transcription services needs. When recording audio, your goal is to engage your listener.

Related post: Transcription Services Essentials

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc an Orange County, California based company that has been providing accurate and affordable transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost ten years now and has helped the company grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.