Why Do You Need a Good Audio Recorder?

For years, journalists and photographers have used Soundslides to create compelling, emotionally-stimulating audio slideshows. Recently, we’ve had a hunch that Soundslides is also a good tool for promoting products – like books – where a video seems like overkill but a written description doesn’t really do enough.

To test this theory, we partnered with a children’s book publishing company called The Child’s World. We wanted to see if a Soundslides piece could help the company promote their books to teachers, librarians, and parents and if it could also, at the same time, train their sales staff to sell the books in person.

Excited to begin, I read through all of the books, wrote up a beautiful script listing the must-have benefits of the books, and set off to record the audio on my trusty little Sony ICS Recorder. (You can see where this is going, right?) After a bunch of takes, I finally had my audio dialed. I imported the .wav file into Audacity and then the editing slog began.

I tried to remove the noise (it had seemed quiet in the car!) and it just wouldn’t go away! And the noise was the least of my worries, my voice sounded “tinny” throughout the whole piece!

Lesson Learned – Once you have bad audio, there isn’t very much you can do to make it truly better. Audacity lets you apply some bandaids, but none of the quick fixes take the place of just doing it right in the first place. Listen for yourself, to see what I mean…

Bad Audio

Good Audio

What can you do to make sure bad audio doesn’t happen to you? The first thing you should do is invest in a good audio recorder. In this comparison, the first recording was made with a Sony ICS Recorder. The second recording was made with the Zoom H4N.


  1. Brian says:
    Posted 1 year ago

    I finally realized the value of using a good pair of over-the-ear headphones to monitor the sound before and sometimes during recording (or for review with a test recording). It is amazing how much noise you become aware of! Once you are aware of it, you can take steps to eliminate – or at least reduce – it before you begin your final production recording.

  2. Robert Lush says:
    Posted 1 year ago

    Useful comment and demonstration. I’ll follow up your lead on Zoom H4N and will look at details of the devices made by Roland and Tascam

  3. R.A. says:
    Posted 1 year ago

    For this demo to be effective, you need to have the level of the “bad” and “good” audio samples roughly matched. Right now, the second audio sample is much softer than the first one, which makes comparing audio quality difficult. This should be fixed–it is not that hard to do, even in Audacity.


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