Record NPR-quality audio from your travels

Kelsey Recording

I’m back on the World Vision Report this week with my piece about rescuing a bird in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

I’m especially excited about this  piece because it’s set to sounds I recorded with my mini-disc player I purchased before my 2007 trip.  I’m pretty much a beginner when it comes to recording audio, but the folks at the World Vision Report have been awesome and offered great advice.

The only other piece that features audio captured while traveling was my interview with Bibi Russell in Bangladesh.

Sometimes I record the essays at home using my mini-disc player, and other times they have me record at Indiana Public Radio’s studio on the Ball State campus.  Either way, I’m coached by a producer.  I have a way of dropping T’s and doing other lazy thing with this fat southern-ish tongue I have in my mouth.

If you’re interested in recording audio on your travels, I have this mini-disc recorder and this mic. is a great place to get started learning about the process.  They have a really great interview in which This American Life Host Ira Glass gives his radio Manifesto.  I use Audacity (it’s free!) to edit my audio. Mainly I just cut it and let the pros do all the fancy layering and other stuff.  The version of Audacity I use has a tendency to lock up, so I save often. I probably should download the latest one.

My biggest problem with recording is how the presence of a mic held in ones face changes their behavior.  Heck, sometimes I think my moleskine notebook gets in the way.  The best quotes and conversation always seem to take place when my hands are free and I’m focused on the person who I’m talking with 100%.  This is definitely something I’m going to have to get over.

If you want to hear more of my essays on the World Vision Report, here they are!

My flickr photo set from my escapades trying to Rescue the bird in Cambodia…

Toby says:

Thanks for sharing these recording tips, Kelsey! I have started using my iPhone to document all sorts of stuff (band recordings, song ideas, thoughts, etc.). The quality isn’t quite as good as what you would get with your device, but it works well in a bind.

joe says:

Good stuff. Shame I’d already read about it in the book, but good to hear the actual audio as well!

Do you know how does the quality compares to a DVR? I use a DVR for phone and in person interviews (for personal reference, not for radio). Although I’ve never yet had a need, there are high dollar mics that are compatible with my DVR.

Kelsey says:

Toby, I’ve wondered about using my iPhone with a good mic. Maybe that would make up for the lack of quality.

Joe, Thanks

Katrina, I think it depends on the compression of the DVR. Does yours have different settings? Mics obviously make a huge difference too.

Let your voice be heard!