Experience shows that audio recording requires careful attention to the room, microphone, and computer in use. Best results occur by running audio sound checks in advance of a session using all the same equipment and in the room where you will be recording with the SnapKast Recorder. You will best served by performing one or two very fast audio tests along with some possible configuration tweaks -- this can usually be accomplished in less than a minute.
Here are some issues that you should consider when recording:
Ambient room noise (e.g. room air conditioning or fans)
Laptop built-in mic issues:
may produce low quality recordings
only records someone who is close to the mic
Most desktop computers do not come with a mic. You may buy a low cost desktop mic for under $20 at any computer store.
Feedback: a high pitch tone that is audible at times is likely due to having your computer speakers on while recording, i.e. the voice is also output to the speakers, causing the speaker sound to feed into the mic again and a feedback loop is produced. This can be eliminated by muting or turning off your speakers while you record.
If the room is noisy or the person presenting will wander from the computer, then a wireless lavalier mic with the receiver wired to the mic input on the computer works best. In some cases, e.g. large rooms, 2 lavaliers are appropriate: one for the room PA system and one for the computer. We've had good experience with this wireless lavalier kit from Shure which can bought for under $400 (note: less expensive units are available sometimes with lower audio quality or less durability):
Shure Presenter UT14/84 wireless UHF mic kit (note: these kits come in varying frequencies; when ordering more than one kit, buy each one with a different frequency to avoid contention).
It's good practice to have the presenter repeat questions or discussion so the audio recording captures the conversations. The alternative is to use a smart audio room with distributed mics, but these are uncommon.
Many mics use batteries. It's a good idea to have a few spare batteries on hand.
Here's a sequence of steps for performing a quick recording test with your computer audio microphone and speakers before using the SnapKast Recorder to record a session.
Connect the microphone and speaker wires to your computer.
For Windows computers test a recording with the Sound Recorder. Use any of these methods to launch the Sound Recorder:
These Windows menus: Start > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recorder
If you are on the Record tab in the SnapKast MediaCenter, then simply click the "Mic Test" button.
If you are on the Audio tab in the SnapKast MediaCenter Options dialog, then simply click on the "Mic Test" button.
In the Sound Recorder click on the red circle and talk into the microphone, click the black square to stop, and then the black triangle to play back the recording.
If the volume is not loud enough, then launch the Recording Control: M/p>
In the Record tab in the SnapKast MediaCenter click on the "Recording Volume" button.
Click on Advanced under Microphone (may need
Options > Advanced Controls).
Under Other Controls you may want to check
1 Mic Boost.
Vista: Click on the Recording tab. Select the proper microphone. Click the Properties button. Click on the Levels tab. Adjust the Microphone and Microphone Boost sliders.
Exit these windows and you're ready to test again.
Once the audio levels work well with the Sound Recorder you are ready to test with the SnapKast Recorder. Simply launch the Recorder and start recording a session (either blank slides or PowerPoint is fine). As you speak you should see a volume meter near the top left of the Recorder window. As long as the meter is showing movement, the audio is likely fine (note: every computer audio levels seem to vary). Stop the Recorder session, format and play the session.