How to Optimize Audio Quality for Transcription

By: Verbit Editorial

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Audio quality is the single most important factor for accurate transcription. Poor quality could result in errors or inaudible sections, decreasing the precision of the record. This also affects turnaround time and, in turn, cost.

Optimize the audio quality of your recordings and save time and money by following these 12 tips:

1. Pay attention to room acoustics

Keep in mind that large empty rooms tend to produce echoes, which decrease sound quality.  

2. Place microphones strategically throughout the room 

Making sure there are microphones in all key locations helps to ensure that all relevant spoken words are captured on the recording.

3. Place your microphone close to the speaker

The best spot is either directly below or to the side of the speaker’s mouth.

4.  Test your microphone or recording device

Conducting a trial run helps prevent any issues, while also allowing for better determination of the sound quality and the ideal spot for microphone placement.

5. Limit background noise & overlapping conversation

If there are multiple speakers being recorded, make sure each person speaks one at a time. Limit unnecessary noise as much as possible to ensure clarity  

6. Have speakers introduce themselves

Having participants introduce themselves at the beginning of the recording ensures that all speakers can be properly identified in the transcript

7. Repeat questions or important statements

This helps to ensure that nothing critical is missed on the recording and, consequently, in the transcript.

8. Create a consistent environment

For repeated recordings in the same location, try to recreate the same conditions so that the audio quality remains consistent in all sessions.

9. Record in the M4A file format

This format is ideal as it produces a high-quality sound file that is also small. MP3 and WAV format are also good choices.

10. Monitor input volume as you record

Make sure you stay in the ideal “green zone”. Deviating could mean that the volume is too high or too low, both of which negatively affect audio quality.

11. Use an audio limiter

This compresses noise into a particular decibel range so that the audio is not too loud or too soft.

12. Enhance audio with a sound editor

There are many options available, including reducing background noise, canceling echo, adjusting pitch, providing a volume boost, and more

Although a top quality transcription service will handle files with difficult audio and still deliver high accuracy and quick turnaround, following these best practices helps make the process smooth for customers and solution-providers alike.