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Audio Recording At Home

Created by Dr. Alice Lynn McMichael & Updated by J. Andrella and Daniel Fandino
Maintained by LEADR under the direction of Alice Lynn McMichael

Last Updated: 6/7/2021


LEADR and many other labs stopped circulating equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many students to have to use equipment from home to record audio for their digital research projects. In response, we put together some suggestions for recording audio at home. Specifically, we address tips are for recording audio at home for class assignments or podcasts.

Best Practice

Not everyone has a soundproof space at home, but some small adjustments can help with quality audio recording. Aim for quality, not perfection.


You will need some kind of headphones or earbuds and a microphone (which can be found in a laptop or phone, or as a separate piece of equipment that you plug into your computer). Do a test run with your equipment and space and listen to it before doing any interviews. Make sure the equipment is functioning properly, the sound is being recorded, and you are familiar with how to save and export files.

Choose your recording device depending on how many people are being recorded and the type of equipment you have available. Some microphones (such as the one built into a laptop) record all the surrounding sound in an area, which can be good if you are recording a small group or want to record the atmosphere in a space. However, this can also result in a lot of background noise. Other microphones pick up sound from one specific direction (similar to speaking into a phone). Some microphones will let you choose the direction or directions of the incoming sound.

Microphones that are plugged into your computer (such as in a USB port) can often be used to record directly into Audacity software for editing. Battery powered microphones usually have an SD card that you would use to transfer the data to a laptop for editing. Some phone apps have editing capabilities, but you may need to export the sound file for editing.


These are a few examples of microphones that LEADR staff members have tested at various price points to show the wide variety and options available. Hand held recording devices or phone apps may require you to export the audio file or use an SD card to transfer the data for editing.


Always make a copy of your original file before editing your audio recording. LEADR supports Audacity software for editing audio on a computer. Check out our LEADR guide for some tips on how to use this software.

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