Recording interviews with a laptop

  pegangray 20:55 16 Mar 2007

In the course of my hobby I have interviews with people that last about 1 hour and up to now I have recorded the conversations on a cassette recorder. I am now finding that cassette recorders are going out of use and I need to record to MP3 and CD . The question is can I use a laptop computer to do this in a reliable and easy way? Then the person can take a copy of the conversation with them. What would I need in the way of software to accomplish this need and also what would be a good laptop to do it with? If I use an external usb sound card, can I just plug a microphone into it to record on to the hard drive?

I hope some one may have a few ideas.

Regards pegangray

  SANTOS7 21:15 16 Mar 2007

click here audio interfaces like the one in the link may be the answer to your question.

You will then need to select a good mic thats compatible.

  SANTOS7 21:15 16 Mar 2007

click here

Sorry try this link..

  anchor 11:52 17 Mar 2007

My wife recently bought this one. May be of interest if you wish to stay with ordinary cassettes.

click here

  Forum Editor 12:04 17 Mar 2007

is that blanks cassettes will become increasingly hard to obtain. Many retailers no longer stock them, and less than 4% of all music is sold in cassette form.

It's a pity in a way, because cassettes have some advantages over CDs - they can hold more music, for example.

A hand-held cassette recorder is an indispensable tool for interviewers, and the one in anchor's link is a very good example.

  anchor 16:34 17 Mar 2007

I was in a branch of Maplin today and saw packs of 10 TDK C90 tapes for £6.99.

click here

The "£1 shops" in my area also keep them in stock.

My wife is delighted with her Sony TCM450DV.

  dukeboxhero 20:43 17 Mar 2007

if you want to use your laptop for this then you need somthing like this
click here
plug in microphone change drop down munu to line in press rec then export as wav then you can burn it to cd

  dukeboxhero 20:49 17 Mar 2007

should have said change dropdown to microphone

  Simsy 21:27 17 Mar 2007

however, that you will end up with a big file if you record an hour... Imagine how you'd feel if you finished the interview and the application crashed during the saving process!

I'm not saying it would, but depending on the other demands on your hardware this could be an issue....

The precautions I'd take would be;

Have no other applications running, AT ALL... That includes AV and firewall... turn them off.

Lots of RAM and free disc space.

Unless you need stereo, record in mono.

For speech you can record at a sample rate of 32k with no loss of quality.

Save initialy as an mp3 file... you will not loose quality with speech.

Whenever practical, stop and save during a natural break in the interview

All the above will help to make the saved file(s) smaller, and quicker to save, with less likelyhood of crashing.

Oh... and I'd make a backup recording on another medium, such as tape/minidisc if at all possible!

Audacity, as per the link from dukeboxhero, is an excellent, free, tool for doing the job on a PC.

Good luck,



  pegangray 17:48 18 Mar 2007

Thank you all for your suggestions I do appreciate your help. I shall investigate all the options

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

WPA2 hack: How secure is your Wi-Fi?

Add Depth Of Field to a photo using Tilt Shift Blur in Photoshop

iPhone tips & tricks

Les meilleures tablettes 2017