Let me add about lav mics, that people being interviewed for oral histories tend not to sit still.
They tend to talk with their hands. They tend to get tired and slump in their chair, they may get up
and stretch their legs during a long interview. They may get up to make a point or demonstrate
something. All of this is hazardous to clip-on mics. The more I think about it, the less I like it.
Table-sitting mics (above the table, preferably on a towel or something else to absorb table
resonances) are butt-simple and highly effective, even more so with the proliferation of small
electret crossed pairs on low-priced digital recorders, and plug-in units for iPhones.
One thing I haven't mentioned before is that we should encourage the recordists to monitor their
recordings, at least at the beginning, to make sure all is working well. I realize that the
interview subject may be intimidated by somone wearing headphones and that the recordist may find
asking questions while wearing headphones to be disconcerting, so I don't say they need to keep the
headphones on the whole time. Again, what we want to facilitate is the most natural and comfortable
kind of conversation.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 4:53 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Asch vs Lomax
> Hi Richard:
> I'm suggesting "we" as in audio engineers might do anything we want, but most of the people out
> there making field recordings don't have access to things like external mics, so we should focus
> on what they are actually using. We in the audio community need to get our head around the local
> public librarian interviewing old folks in her community. She's likely to be somewhat technophobic
> and likely to have a very small budget for this. Making her life as simple as possible yet
> steering her toward making excellent recordings with the tools she has needs to be our goal. And
> by the way, "she" could just as easily be a he, a librarian or an amateur historian or a retired
> person wanting to stay active in the community (I've heard numerous examples of these three kinds
> of recordists of oral histories, so I would say they are somewhat of an archetype).
> That said, those plug-in iPhone mics massively improve the quality of recorded audio and should be
> recommended, with the caveat that not all civilians will properly attach them or keep them
> properly attached while they make the recording, so this is somewhat risky. Also, the recording
> apps are no always as easy to use as the point-and-go camera (some of these mics do not work with
> the built-in camera apps). Also, I don't think there are many of these mics for Samsung phones,
> most of them that I've seen appear to be iPhone-centric.
> No amateur recordist I've ever met wants to deal with clipping on lav mics, so I could call that a
> non-starter except among audio professionals. Plus, improperly applied lav mics sound terrible --
> and scruffing and bumping happens all the time with professionally-applied lav mics on TV. I never
> use those things, for anything.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 4:25 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Asch vs Lomax
>> Hi, Tom,
>> Are you suggesting that we should avoid any external mics? What about lavaliere mics?
>> For the iPhone, iPad, or certain iPods, one might consider this:
>> Flat on the table with a bit of a foam pad, aligned so one mic is aimed at the interviewer and
>> the other at the interviewee.
>> 44.1/24 or 48/24 (preferred).
>> On 2014-09-08 3:57 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> Guys, while of interest to audio engineers with a mic cabinet, this kind
>>> of discussion is of no use to most people out there today collecting
>>> oral histories. What is of interest is, where do I put this little
>>> digital recorder? What's a good volume level to set on it? What are all
>>> these format choices and what should I choose? Real basic stuff for
>>> civilians, not esoteric audio engineer talk. Most recorders out there
>>> today are low-end digital flash recorders or, more common, iPhones and
>>> Samsung phones. So how can we raise the bar on what people capture with
>>> those things?
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.