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Audio Recorders

Mark A. Sicoli, May 2010

Some notes on Basic Audio

Solid state digital recorders called PCM recorders are standard equipment (pulse code modulation refers to the way the audio signal is encoded digitally). The units can plug into a USB port to transfer the digital files to your computer’s hard drive. Even so I like to use a separate (inexpensive) card reader for transfering because the transfer rates are many times faster with a card reader.

Vermont Folklife Center Audio Suggestions

Andy Kovolos at the Vermont Folklife Center has an extensive discussion of different kinds of audio equipment at the Center’s website including the use of ipods and solid state memory recorders to record interviews, suggestions for suppliers and useful books and weblinks. Suggestions as of 2009-2010.

Link for Robin Shoaps’ Suggestions

All of Robin Shoaps 2007 suggestions can be found in the following document: Individual pieces of this can be found under the categories of material that they cover.

Suggestions for Makes and Models of Equipment

Robin Shoaps, March 2007 Makes and Models Digital audio recorders Olympus WS 300M series M-Audio Microtrak Edirol R9 Sony HD-MD Marantz PMD 660/670 Tascam HD P2 Video cameras Canon GL-2 Sony HDR HC1 or DCR VX2000 (both NTSC, for Europe, PAL may be more appropriate) A good very high quality camera, appropriate for visual anthropologists […]

Budgeting for Equipment

Robin Shoaps, March 2007

Writing a Budget

Don’t think in terms of “what’s the minimum I need in order to do my
project”—think about your ideal situation. My Wenner-Gren dissertation budget was
very bare-bones—apparently too much so, they asked me to revise it before I got the
grant. I ended up spending $8000 on equipment alone and used every bit of it!
Annotate your budget with short descriptions of what the equipment will be used for

Quantity of Recordings

Robin Shoaps, March 2007 A Note on Recording Quantity Dissertation fieldwork is a unique opportunity in the lives of most anthropologists. At virtually no other time in your career will you have the amount of time and lack of competing demands for such an extended period. Nor will you have as many opportunities to “cast […]

Video Equipment

Robin Shoaps, March 2007

Video Equipment Selection

There are many great, small digital cameras on the market,
for much more reasonable prices than in the past. You may even want to consider having
more than one, if you follow the methodological model above of having consultants have
their own equipment. In addition to the considerations above, for video you want to be
especially sensitive to visual quality, obviously.


Robin Shoaps, March 2007


At minimum you’ll need both a camera mounted mic and possibly wireless lapel
mics for video recording.

Wireless mics require two separate pieces of equipment. First, you need an amp that
plugs directly into your recording device. This receives the signal from the mics. The mics
(lapel or handheld) have a chip or attachment that sends a signal to the receiver.

Which Kind of Audio Recorder?

Robin Shoaps, March 2007 Audio Equipment Selection: What follows are general guidelines with the anticipated needs of linguistic anthropologists and their budgets in mind. In general, if you have more money to spend you will get higher quality audio (and video) recordings, but with the trade off of equipment size and complexity. Ultra pricey ($1000) […]