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Is Your Voice Recorder Smarter Than You?

Audio Recordas. Ammirite?


For our Media tutorial this week we were let loose onto the streets of Melbourne with a Zoom H2n. For those of you who are wondering – no this is not an influenza virus, it is in fact a voice recorder microphone. Coming from the background of video production the my idea of of these products is to have them close to your subject capturing audio up front. The video and audio can then be synced up in post production and you will have a nice crisp audio track.


The zoom h2n however pointed something out to me… no. it did not sprout hands and start pointing, but using it drew my awareness to a very interesting point – The world is noisy. We had discussed in class that theres something known as a signal-noise ratio, this is effectively the amount of wanted sound to the amount of unwanted sound. Once you put the headphones on and listen to the recorder you will notice that it picks up all sorts of sound with no bias – you take off the headphones and can hardly hear anything. It goes to show how the human brain and ear has been trained and conditioned to ignore certain sounds and focus on others. For example, have you ever looked across a crowd and focused on a random persons mouth moments – suddenly you will start to hear what they are saying and everything else will become background noise. In the same way Its almost impossible to listen to the conversation your friends are having and what the people behind you are talking about at the same time.


The audio recorder has none of these problems – it is not intelligent, it picks up all noise without bias. Thus, when you listen to the sound produced we can hear all sorts of unwanted noise and see our world much more objectively.



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