JP Metras Sports Museum Internship: Audio Recording

It has been a while since I last posted a blog.  In the last few weeks I have been running around London, Ontario with my recorder, conducting interviews with 10 very fascinating individuals involved in athletics at Western University.  In addition to setting up our new equipment, harassing our grant agency for money, organizing the interviews on the new database, I moved out of my basement apartment in London to a new, larger, basement in Hamilton where I will be living/working for the remainder of the summer.

Finding the Right Digital Audio Recorder

In the last post  we discussed the pros and cons of video recording oral histories.  Deciding my own skill set with video recording placed more weight on the con’s of this technology than the pro’s, I began researching audio recording equipment to get the project moving forward.  While there are multiple options for digital audio recorders, I found a few websites to be more than helpful in making an informed decision.

University of Kentucky, Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History

If you are not sure what type of audio recorder you need for your project I recommend checking out the online resources offered by the Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History. Dr. Doug Boyd, director of the Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History offers an excellent series of video reviews covering a number of popular field recorders being used by oral historians today.  For example:

Marantz PMD 671

Marantz PMD 661

Zoom H2

Tascam DR-100

Be sure to check out the website as Dr. Boyd also includes a great list of Pros and Cons for each recorder, as well as the type of memory used, the sample rate, bit depth, microphone input type, interface, as well as a variety of audio samples using different bit depths and internal or external mic options.

If all of these terms sound Greek to you, don’t worry. When you begin researching audio recorders, this recording terminology is an inevitable by-product.  And, if you are serious about Oral History, it is good to start speaking the language.

So what did we go with for our project?  Since I was familiar with the Marantz PMD 661 from my time at Baylor University, we decided to go with this recorder.  For just over $800 dollars we received the recorder, a carry case, and an additional 4GB SD Memory Card.  It’s worked great for all of our interviews, which will be the focus of the forthcoming blogs.  Stay tuned.


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