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I have a H4n recorder connected to my land-line phone in order to conduct overseas interviews. I have the volume set on 'Rec level Auto' the problem is my voice volume is fine but the person on the other end their voice is very soft

How can I increase the volume of the person I am interviewing with out increasing my own voice?

  • How did you connect your recorder to your land-line phone ? It might be that you are only recording your own phone microphone, not the sound coming from the remote phone, and having some of the remote sound only because of crosstalk. – audionuma Aug 3 '15 at 7:23
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You need something to separate the send audio (you) from the received audio (the person being interviewed). This is done with a "hybrid" adapter. For example a device like the JK Audio Autohybrid. It provides a way to record only the received audio and a way to feed audio into the phone line.

Ref: http://www.jkaudio.com/autohybrid.htm

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I've had a similar experience. When recording a telephone conversation my voice would be so loud so as to distort, while the other party would be recorded too softly.

How do you connect the recorder to the phone? Are you using an RJ11 to tele adapter?

The solution in my case turned out to be actually modifying the phone adapter by installing a resistive voltage divider network on the outgoing line, thus lowering the volume of my voice but keeping the incoming signal level intact. If this seems like a complicated solution I suggest trying another telephone to see if it outputs a lower signal.

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When recording a phone interview, you almost always have to set the recording level for the loudest of the two voices, and then use a dynamics compressor/limiter to get the perceived volume of the two voices to match. I believe there is a dynamics compressor/limiter in your H4N — it’s been a while since I owned one.

Also ask them to speak directly into their phone, and ask them to try to speak as though they were speaking to you in the room they are in. Sometimes people tend to speak in an intimate, right-next-to-your-ear fashion on the phone that is hard to record.

One tip is to listen through the recorder. Don’t listen to the landline handset. Then you can move away from the microphone a bit (as long as the person on the other end can hear you) and increase the recording gain to capture more of the other person, and then engage the dynamics compressor/limiter which will bring the volume of the lowest voice up to where the highest voice is. This also has the benefit of enabling you to monitor what the recorder is actually hearing as you conduct the interview.

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