What kind of digital recorder should I use to recording my interview, meeting, or focus group?
We typically recommend Olympus brand digital voice recorders, but most any modern, stereo digital recorder used in a quiet environment will produce high quality results. Be sure to select a recorder that offers a cable, USB, or WIFI “out” feature that allows you to transfer your recordings to a computer for storage and upload.
Where should I place my recorder?
It may sound obvious, but as close to the person(s) being interviewed as possible! Unfortunately, on occasion we receive audio recordings where the person conducting the interview has placed the recorder closer to themselves than their subject(s), and while transcribing questions is important, it is more likely a subject's answers that you are eager to capture. This is especially important for focus groups, as while moderators typically speak very clearly, participants may be soft-spoken or speak over each other.
What else should I do to ensure a good recording?
Try to record in a room with minimal ambient noise (no fans or loud air conditioners, etc.), or if in a restaurant or public setting, away from unrelated side conversations, machines, or street noise. Place your recorder face up on a soft surface like a mat or piece of clothing, to minimize recording loud table knocks or chair scrapes. Use the highest audio fidelity settings possible! Unless your meeting is scheduled to last dozens of hours, most modern recorders can record on a “high quality” setting for an extended period of time.