how to record a lecture(bit off topic!)

Hi someone has asked me how to record some lectures at a bible school which they can burn to CD. So I thought wireless Lavalier mic fed to mic pre (ideally with compressor and Eq) recorded on laptop running Audacity.
Has anyone any practical experience of this and suggestions for makes of Mic and preamp. This is on a lowish budget.

Thanks in advance Nick

What you mention there is a very good way of doing it.
btw is the same mic going to drive the “house speakers” ?
You gonna run that from the line out of the laptop ?

In recording speach, you’ll find that a little effort goes a long way.
It need to be easy to listen to, and there’s no need to make it sound awesome (unless you want to put a little bit of compression on to make the dynamics more ‘even’)

Get the microphone close to the source and record.
Do a little bit of compression, normalise and burn to CD…

Hope I’m not missing something.


Keep in mind that many classrooms are quite reverberant, so that the critical distance (the distance at which the reverberation is louder than the original signal) can be pretty short. Reverberation in this case is your enemy. A podium with a decent mic made for speech like an sm7, or an sm 57 (on the preseident’s podium for how many years?) is the way to go IMHO, a lavalier can work but you’d want it to be omni to avoid off axis coloration, me thinks. Since you will be recording digitally use the compressor for limiting only, and do EQ and compression to the recorded signal.

Nick, you do not make clear whether or not the lecturer will be wearing the lavalier microphone; if so, then the above advices should give you a good starting point. But if you are the one holding the mic, a lavalier may not do - they tend to be designed to work best with a source fairly close, for obvious reasons. If that is the case, you might be better served buying, borrowing, or renting a shotgun style mic. Short of that, any decent omni would be your best bet, preferrably held away from your desktop. Or another idea might be a boundary mic, like a Shure 181. These are great at picking up speech without getting too much room reverberation.

On the other hand, I have heard many perfectly understandable lectures recorded with only a $19.99(US) Radio Shack cassette deck with a $5 extension mic (to avoid picking up the noise of the cassette’s transport mechanism and motor which you get with the built in microphone).

Good luck!

'til next time;
Tony W