I’m hoping to generate some sharing of ideas for digitally recording interviews. There may be some different technologies and approaches that could otherwise be overlooked. I’m interested in your thoughts for recording of the following scenarios:

1. Face-to-face, individual
2. Face-to-face, group
3. Telephone, individual
4. Online, individual
5. Online, group

Please share about devices, microphones, connections to telephone, software, apps, etc. One suggestion today from @JaneDavis13 on Twitter was SoundNote as an iPad app. That made me think of LiveScribe, introduced to me some time ago by @mkooleady. While I currently use a MacBook Pro and iPhone, I have my wife’s iPad available. Don’t be afraid to suggest Windows or cross-platform solutions. Thanks.


  1. Claire Bradley

    You can record Skype sessions. There are also devices you can buy which will record telephone calls – cant remember who makes them, but you’d probably track them down via Google. For one- to-one interviews I find my iPhone is fine. I also used to use a Samsung Mp3 player/recorder with an external Sony mic for focus groups. For larger groups it’s a good plan to have two devices recording in different positions, to ensure you can pick up everyone’s comments. The recordings picked up by FlipCams are also not bad quality. Another tip is to make sure the recording mic is nearer the interviewee(s) rather than the interviewer, otherwise you’ll pick up the questions better than the responses – obvious, but not always done!

  2. Paige Cuffe

    Have used Sound recorder in Windows for face to face 1:1. Simple, hassle free, reliable. Simply put my laptop on the other end of the long table so we forgot about it. No microphone or anything else needed. Lovely clarity on playback.

    On iPad simple recording using QuickVoice used 1:1, including with speakerphone on telephone conversations. Again, few clicks and it’s ready, good clarity and volume on playback. Large files so may limit email.

    Have used Sound Recorder Android app in group tutorial, left on desk to capture ‘thinking aloud’ and discussion in collaborative activity. Loud enough to capture conversations that were conducted where participants were sitting on opposite sides of the room, but multiple voices difficult to distinguish when more then 2 talking simultaneously. Ease of use good. Small size of smartphone used made it very ‘invisible’ and kept desk space clear.

    Am now planning experimenting with Soundpaper.

  3. Hi Tony
    I used a Sony digital recorder with a speaker phone during my telephone interviews and sadly got an annoying background hum. I was subsequently advised to purchase an external mike and the background noise disappeared – the quality was good. This background hum also appeared in my face-to-face interviews so an external mike seems to be a needed addition.

  4. Hi everyone,

    @stuberry: The background hum (if around 50Hz or 60Hz) might result of using a different phase potential in the electricity grid.

    In my view it is quite easy to record individuals face-to-face or everything that happens online (e.g. Skype recording, web meeting software etc.). The difficulty is mainly to record face-2-face groups because you need some suitable hardware.

    We use a professional but very reasonably priced USB microphone for group talks (AT2020), which works really well. When we record live with cameras, we also use a mixer (e.g. Roland V-4) and record directly on harddisk.

    Regarding streaming, we have also once set up a wiki: http://wiki.international-cv.net/index.php?title=Conference_Streaming_Solutions_Manual

    Hope that helps somehow.

  5. Thanks for the comments to-date everyone. When I was checking out the AT2020 mentioned by Rolf, it reminded me that a source may be the audio department of a music store.

    Rolf, or anyone, may I confirm that a condenser mic is recommended over a dynamic mic?

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