Way back in the year 2003, we created a product on Valentine’s Day. It was called “Website Secrets”. And it was recorded without any fancy recording equipment at all. All we had on hand was a tiny dictaphone and antiquated technology that didn’t even understand an increasingly popular format called mp3. So can you go forward in time and still use a dictaphone today?
The answer is yes—and no
It depends on where you’re using the equipment. If you’re using it indoors like we did, then it’s still possible to use a dictaphone. But if you’re using it on location (at a workshop or a live event) then it requires a lot more than just a dictaphone. But first, let’s look at indoor recording. In most cases your dictaphone will record with a simple REC button (that’s the record button). That’s not the button you want to press.
If you do press that button you’ll get a lot of room noise
Instead what you really want is a lapel microphone attached to your blouse/shirt so that you can get the maximum quality of your voice and cut off as much sound from the room. These lapel microphones are available everywhere, and are surprisingly good quality for not very high prices. Of course you have to do your due diligence, because you can get a lapel mic for as little as $4 (might cost you more for shipping—heh, heh) and then some that cost $40 (and are a whole lot better)
Here’s the $25 model for instance…
And since 2003, the dictaphones have gotten a lot smarter too
Most of them will export in mp3, so you don’t have to fiddle around and convert files like we had to at the time. Armed with this tiny device, you can quite quickly record events at your home/office, and also if needed at live events. As you’ve probably worked out from the tone of this article, it’s not the best solution ever, but it’s way, way better than doing nothing. Most people will do nothing, because they think it’s too hard. Well nothing is nothing. And this is something.
Which brings us back to Website Secrets
The product that was recorded in audio and text made us well over $50,000 over the years, even though we recorded it just once. Remember it was recorded with the technology that existed in 2003. And the mics that existed in 2003. Till the year 2010, this product was still selling, till we pulled it off the market to upgrade the sound quality.
So what’s the moral of the story?
If you don’t have fancy equipment, start somewhere. And a digital recorder with a reasonable quality lavalier microphone won’t give you the recording quality from Carnegie Hall, but it will give you more than acceptable, even good quality recording. As a bonus some of the lavaliers have quite long wires which means you can use them for video recordings (both indoors and outdoors).
But can’t you just record with the in-built mic itself?
No. No. And no. The inbuilt mic will make you sound as if you’re in the shower. It’s all very fine if you’re out for a jog and recording some ideas on the in-built mic. But if you want if a slightly presentable sound, you’re going to need a lavalier microphone. And yes, even an $4 mic will be better than the in-built mic. Marginally better, but better.
So there you have it—the simplest recording device of all
All you have to do is plug in the lavalier mic (you’ll find the slot, you’re smart enough) and then it’s safe to hit the REC key and record away. The unobtrusive lavalier tucked just right next to the lapel will record your voice, and minimise the room sounds, making your voice dominant. And because most of these recorders can record for 50-60 hours at a stretch, you can turn hit the REC button long before you get up to speak. That way you won’t fumble for the buttons at the very last minute (just make sure you have new alkaline batteries, and you should be good to go).
It’s easy to want fancy recorders.
We’ll get to the fancy recorders shortly. But for starters, a non-fancy one will do 70% of the job for you. And do it well. So if you want to get started, well get started. And record away.