The Magic of Sound

We may think recording audio is easy because most devices come with a mic built-in. However, we don’t consider things like quality, and impact. We highlight a few things in this blog you may want to consider when recording your own audio, to make sure you’re communicating at your best.

The Sound of Music

It’s hard to imagine but sound is created when air particles move and are condensed and retracted in specific ways. Musical instruments take advantage of this fact. Think about the hollow interior of a guitar chamber, a piano, or a drum. In each of these examples, a particular material is struck and the resulting reverberating sound is further moulded by the shape and material of the guitar, piano, or drum.

recording audio guitar

There’s no doubt about it –  sound spreads. The diagram below shows how speech is basically energy moving through the air, with one group of particles hitting another. We call this acoustical energy.

Sound Wave
Sound is created when energy moves through the air making the molecules condense and retract.

Sound Spreads

It is this spreading sound we’re capturing when we record audio. So where we position our microphone has a big impact on the quality of sound we capture.

Think about an omnidirectional mic of the type found in a smartphone. It’s designed to capture sound from all around, so when you’re holding it at arm’s length to film yourself, you’re still close enough to be heard by the mic, but the 50cm of air between your mouth and the mic will diffuse the sound.

mobile video recording without a mic
When there is a distance between the source of sound and the mic which captures it, the audio in the recording will sound diffused, and disruptive background sounds will be captured too.

The resulting sound captured by the mic on your phone will sound more diluted and of course, any background noise will also be captured making it difficult for the listener to pay attention to you.

Recording Audio

Of course, if you were to use a dedicated microphone close to the main source of audio, the resulting audio you capture will be cleaner of background noise, and your voice will sound more direct and present. Listen for your self with the audio test below. The recording directly compares an iPhone 7 audio recording with and without a microphone:

mobile video recording with a microphone
When the source of sound and the mic are close to each other, the audio in the recording will sound direct, and disruptive background sounds will be minimised. Listen to the audio clip to hear for yourself.

The bottom line is that it’s always better to use a mid-quality mic for video recording than non at all. Sign-up to our newsletter, using the link in the footer, to receive more #ProTips direct in your mailbox.