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A Guide to Microphones

Having the right microphone or microphones for your interviews can really improve the quality of your audio recordings. Here is a quick reference guide to some of the different types of microphone, to ensure that you select the best microphone according to your needs.

Transcription City Guide To Microphones
Getting the right microphone!


Omnidirectional Microphones

This type of microphone picks up noise from all directions, so if you intend to use one microphone for multiple speakers, this is probably the best choice. Please ensure that you keep background noise to an absolute minimum if using this type of microphone for your interview recordings and bear in mind that this is generally for those on a tight budget, as using multiple microphones is a better option in terms of sound quality.

Unidirectional Microphones

This type of microphone picks up only the noise in front (one example is a shotgun microphone). This type of microphone is ideal if you can provide one for each speaker and will generally produce a very good recording. It is not suitable for use alone for multiple speaker interviews

Bidirectional Microphones

This type of microphone picks up sound from two sides; so either the front and back or left and right. This type of microphone must be positioned correctly and is designed for recording one to one interviews.

Lavalier Microphone (or lapel microphone)

This type of microphone is very small and can be attached to clothing making it almost invisible. This type of microphone is ideal for making video with superior sound and is obviously limited to one per person.

Microphone Array

This allows for the connection of multiple microphones. This is ideal for focus groups and seminars. Please ensure that you purchase microphones and recording equipment that are compatible.

Pop filter

This is a sound filter, which is either placed over a microphone or in front of a microphone to reduce those “popping” sounds that are sometimes made when speaking and also helps to protect the microphone against damage from saliva.

Additional recommendations

Limit Background Noise. No matter how efficient your recording equipment is, if you have excessive background noise, your recording will be substandard. To reduce this risk please ensure that you make your recording in a quiet environment, that you only allow one speaker at a time and that you do not provide too many distractions during recordings such as food, drinks and mobile phones!


Wearing headphones during a recording gives you the opportunity to check for unwanted noise such as hissing, feedback and microphone pops. It also means that you can check that everyone can be heard and that the audio generally sounds good.

Do your research

Although we can provide you with general information on the best type of recording equipment for your needs, it is always best to consult with recording device manufacturers, who will have much more specific information and recommendations for your needs.


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Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant. View all posts by Samantha