Friday, June 8, 2012

Digital Voice Recorders and Ghost Hunting

One question I am asked a lot is “What digital voice recorder is best to use when trying to capture EVP’s?” 

Any basic recorder will capture EVP’s—this even includes analog recorders. But if you want a good quality recording a digital recorder is your best bet. 

The Constantino’s were asked this question at a conference I attended. Their response was basically that any recorder works. But they suggested the use of digital recorders as well.

The reason that ghost hunters should use digital recorders over analog recorders is simple—analog recorders often pick up their own internal workings so the sound quality of the recordings you capture on this type of equipment often is contaminated. 

Having said this I do have a more traditional recorder app on my phone called “Tape Machine”. There have been times when I have used this app when I didn’t have a digital hand held recorder handy—and I have picked up some good recordings on it.

Here is the link for the Tape Machine App.

Another type of voice recorder you should avoid using is a “voice activated” one. The reason for this is because since they don’t turn on until noise occurs they miss the first few seconds of the occurrence. Considering EVP’s are often short in duration this can mean not picking up an important part.

Even though most recorders will pick up EVP’s I do have some suggestions if you intend on sharing these recordings. 

A must is to have a handheld voice recorder that has a computer interface. A digital voice recorder that has a UBS port allows the user to upload their recordings to a computer. This is important because this provides a way to save parts of recordings to a CD as opposed to keeping them on a recorder that will be erased and reused. 

But I have to admit here that the Class A EVP’s I have captured I tend to keep on the original recorder as well—so I have proof I have not enhanced them in some way.

Another reason a UBS port is handy is because it allows the user to upload interesting recordings they capture onto a computer so they can put them into a program like Audacity or WordPad.  

A sound editor allows the user to clip out parts of their recording without keeping hours of recordings that have nothing of interest on them. Sound editors also allow the user to turn the volume up etc., which helps the investigator determine what is actually being said.

Two good digital voice recorders on the market are Sony and Olympus. 

The investigator can’t go wrong using these two brands—they come in a variety of models. Look for ones that have buttons, for off/on, volume etc. that can be easily found and seen in the dark. 

The more expensive models have backlit displays. I have worked with investigators that use Tascams *—they have come down in price over the years. They used to be around $300 but these days you can find a good one for around $150.00. 

One downside to Tascams is you can only listen to them, live or playback, with headphones. On the other hand, if you have the headphones on during the time a ghost speaks or makes noise you can hear it in real time or as it happens. Tascams have very good sound quality.

Here is the link for Sweetwater. This company has a nice selection of Tascams and other high end recorders.

*  The Tascams I am referring to are handheld ones—not the big soundboards used in recording studios.


The Anonymous Blogger said...

Wow this is such a cool looking blog :) Great job!

Virginia Lamkin said...

Thanks but what I focus upon and what fascinates me most are the ghosts.

Local Post said...

I just recently completely 6 months of testing & reviewing over a dozen recorders, old & new models & brands, & transferring their files to Computer, I found that 3.5mm wire, gives you closer to 100% of the original recording than USB, USB actually lost small bits & pieces of some of the transfers, so do not use USB to transfer.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Interesting. I'll have to check this out.