Audio master

One of the things I absolutely love about my job, is that there’s always something new to learn, or to tinker with, in order to solve a problem. Today, it was audio.

You see, a couple of days ago, I was charged with finding a solution for someone who wanted to record day-long meetings. It didn’t have to be high-quality audio, just enough so that someone who wasn’t going to be there could pick up and listen to parts of it. Since we have a whole bunch of Olympus Digital recorders, this seemed like the logical thing to do. So we grabbed one of those and an extended microphone. I then gave the woman in charge of this expedition some basic instructions on how to use the recorder, etc.

Yesterday’s meeting ran into a bit of a snag. It seems that when they broke for lunch, no one turned the recorder off. It just kept right on recording while people ate their lunches and talked about sports, the weather, what was in their boxed lunch, etc.

Late yesterday, she called to ask if we could edit that out somehow. I said yes, not entirely sure how I was going to do it, but sure we could find some way. I remembered all the podcasters talking about using Audacity on Windows for free, and decided to give that a try. Sure enough, and after much hit and miss trying to figure out where lunch started and ended, we got it edited out and wound up with a nice .wav file for the morning session, and another for the afternoon.

One thing I did notice though, recording the typical conference-table meeting is a bit of a mess. We got a decent recording of the meeting but without any special audio equipment, the mic picks up all the side chatter, rustling of papers, etc. It’s really difficult to follow what’s going on. We had a hard enough time figuring out when they broke for lunch, let alone listening to all 4 hours at a time of the session! Of course, we also had no idea what the topic of discussion was either, so maybe it wouldn’t be as difficult if you knew what to expect.

I’m not an audio expert by any means, (That’s why I’ve never really been interested in starting a podcast.) but I do have access to one of those recorders, maybe I should start learning more about it so we won’t have to spend so much time on trial and error the next time?

tags: Audacity, OlympusDSSRecorder

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  1. Should have used Onenote to record the meeting – I’m trying to find a cheap usb mic I can attach to the laptop unobtrusively to record meetings and presentations.
    It used to work (badly) with the built in mic but something made it stopped working at the technet event

  2. Andy, if the firm owned a copy of OneNote that wouldn’t be a bad idea. But I think the only copy in the building is the one I bring in on my laptop, and I wasn’t inclined to let someone else use it for a couple of days.

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