I am involved in both rescuing, transferring and digitizing recordings new and old, and recording spoken word and music in a variety of settings.
I’m unfamiliar with the area of lingistisc as it is involved with recording, but here is my response:
Having equipment capable of “high quality” should be a given in any recording environment or situation. Over the past 100 years, the “state of the art” has steadlily improved. It is rather amazing to read about acoustic 78s records being A/B’d against a live orchestra and being praised as incredibly lifelike, whereas today it sounds hopelessly crude!
I remember as a budding engineer the transitions from decent quality home reel to reel recorders to more convenient cassettes and then to DAT digital recordings… (leaving out professional studio recorders for the moment). In every case, the most important factor was the microphones and preamp/mixer/amplifiers use as input sources, modified by the placement and the sound out in front of the mic. A great mic two feet away from a voice will have more of the room than a close mic, but a mic too close to the mouth will pick up breaths, mouth noise, and so on. There is a happy medium we all strive for. A cheap cassette sitting on a table is NOT a high quality source, but it can work in a quiet room with good speakers…
I imagine in the linguistic world there might be a dearth of experience and knowledge about placement as referenced above. My wife does transcription, typing the words from a spoken recording, and one of the worst examples of this was an interview where the setting was a noisy restaurant, the interviewer blew on the mic and saw it was recording, them placed it on the back of the booth behind the two voices, where is picked up the kitchen and the crowd beautifully, but hardly any of the interview. That is extreme but it happens!
The mention of a “Rode” mic is essentially irrelevant (Rode makes a wide variety of mics) - I have had good quality microphones reanging from a $17 Sony in 1966 to multi-thousand dollar mics in studios and live recordings. It is independent of the brand - there are good mics from many manufacturers. One ought to never specify a brand over a type of mic. Price has a good bit to do with it, but not everything!
In my work recording audiobooks and radio interviews, we evolved from radio studios with fully professional ($2,000) mic, through remote recordings on hundred dollar mics to (good) cassette recorders to using top quality film sound recorders (NAGRA and Sound Devices), and a variety of mic types. At one point, we discovered the dependable placement using headset mics, like you see on TED talks and such - and we also found that $17 headset mics perform as well (and more reliably) as $600 Countryman headmics! One key to this is that they stay one inch from the mouth and off to the side so no breath pops…
All this might be a diversion, as you ask about terminology. What I would like to see is well-recorded audio on high quality equipment with qualified personnel doing it! And a profesioonal will al;ways monitor “end of chain” so they know it sounds good and was actually recorded! That’s hard in the digital realm, where you can’t hear the result until you play it back…
Also, there is a huge difference between describing the quality of a recording you are presented with, and instructing your people on how the MAKE good recordings!
I hope this helps… It was fun to write, hope it isn’t just a rant.
PS - “High Fidelity” refers more to music and playback than recording spoken word, so I would avoid the term.
> On Nov 21, 2020, at 1:37 AM, Hugh Paterson III <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In the academic literature (of linguistics) I often read about the
> necessity to record with "high-quality recordings..." and what they
> often mean is all based on technical parameters. For instance using a røde
> mic, and recording to .wav format at something like 48khz/24bit.
> My perspective, and I think some on this list would agree, is that
> technical settings on hardware by themselves do not make a "high-quality
> recording". My interpretation is that "quality" involves so much more in
> terms of sound engineering, such as mic placement, levels like gain (noise
> to signal ratio) etc, and composition of the content.
> So I am writing a brief squib on this issue, and I would like to
> terminologically make a distinction between a "High quality recording" and
> a "a well recorded recording". I am wondering if I should contrast the
> concepts of "High quality recording" and "High fidelity recording"? What do
> you think? Do these terms adequately capture the contrast? Are there other
> terms that should be used?
> all the best,
> - Hugh