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).
> Done.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> 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.