How do I record high quality internal audio?

Internal audio recording refers to capturing audio inside a controlled environment like a studio or audio booth, as opposed to recording audio in a live setting. High quality internal audio is extremely important for several reasons:

First, clear audio allows for accurate transcription and editing. Muffled or distorted audio can be difficult to understand and time-consuming to transcribe or edit (Dinmore, 2019).

Second, high quality internal audio ensures your content sounds professional. Audiences expect clean, clear audio that is pleasant to listen to. Low quality audio reflects poorly.

Finally, quality audio captures nuance, emotion, and emphasis effectively. It provides an optimal listening experience and accurately conveys the meaning behind the words.

To record high quality internal audio, some basic equipment is required: a microphone, audio interface, cables, headphones or monitors, and recording software. The key factors are selecting the right microphone for the situation and setting proper gain levels. This outline will explore equipment selection and setup in more detail.

Microphone Types

There are several main types of microphones to consider for recording high-quality internal audio:

Dynamic Microphones are rugged, versatile, can handle high volume levels, and don’t require external phantom power. They have a limited frequency response and are good for loud sources like drums and vocals. Examples include the Shure SM57 and SM58.

Condenser Microphones are more sensitive and have a fuller frequency response capture more detail. But they require phantom power and are more delicate. Common for studio vocals, acoustic instruments, and speech. Examples are the Neumann U87 and Rode NT1.

Omnidirectional Microphones pick up sound equally from all directions. They provide a natural room ambience but may pick up unwanted sounds. Cardioid Microphones are more directional and isolate the sound source better.

Lavalier Microphones clip onto clothing for hands-free use. Smaller element provides more focused sound. Shotgun Microphones are highly directional for picking up sound from a distance.

Consider factors like frequency response, polar pattern, sensitivity, and power requirements when selecting the right mic for your needs.

Microphone Selection

Choosing the correct microphone for your situation is crucial for capturing high quality audio recordings. Consider the following factors when selecting a microphone:

Type of vocals or instruments you want to record – Dynamic, condenser, and ribbon mics all have strengths for different sound sources. Condenser mics tend to be more detailed and can capture subtleties, making them great for vocals, acoustic guitars, and drum overheads. Dynamic mics handle loud volumes well, so they work for guitar amps, drums, and live performances. Ribbon mics have a smooth, natural tone that excels on vocals and acoustic instruments.

Recording environment – If recording in an untreated room, a dynamic mic may be better at rejecting ambient noise and room reverberation. Condenser mics need sound isolation to capture clean audio.

Background noise – Condenser mics pick up more background noise than dynamic mics. Make sure the location has low noise during recording.

Proximity effect – Some mics exaggerate bass frequencies when sound sources get very close. This proximity effect can be desired for some male vocals and instruments like kick drum and electric guitar amps. It should be avoided for acoustic instruments.

Budget – Dynamic mics tend to be more affordable while large diaphragm condensers are an investment. Research options to get the best mic for your budget.

Picking the right mic for your particular situation will allow you to capture great sounding audio from the start, making mixing and post-production much easier. See this guide for more tips on selecting a vocal microphone.

Microphone Placement

Proper microphone placement is critical for capturing high quality audio recordings. The position and angle of the microphone in relation to the sound source can significantly impact the tone, clarity, and isolation of the recording. There are some key techniques to keep in mind:

Distance from the source – Generally, larger diaphragm condenser microphones should be positioned anywhere from 6 inches to several feet away from the source, while dynamic microphones are better suited for very close mic’ing from just an inch or two away. Finding the optimal distance for the microphone and source will provide a balance of direct sound and ambient room tone.

Angle – Angling the microphone can change the balance of frequencies and tone. Aiming the mic directly at the center of the sound source will provide a balanced tone. Angling off-center will pick up more high frequencies on the angled side. Pointing above or below the source will capture more lows or highs respectively.

Room acoustics – The sound of the room is also captured by the microphone, so placement should factor in the room’s acoustics. Away from walls reduces boominess, while corners can enhance low frequencies. The optimal spot is usually where the source sounds most clear while minimizing unwanted room reflections.

Some useful techniques highlighted in this Sweetwater article and Shure’s microphone techniques PDF are overhead miking, XY stereo technique, and using multiple mics to separately capture different instruments in an ensemble.

Audio Interfaces

When it comes to recording high quality audio, the audio interface is a critical piece of gear. Audio interfaces allow you to connect microphones, instruments, and other audio gear to your computer for recording and processing. There are a few key factors to consider when selecting an audio interface:

External preamps vs. built-in: Many higher-end interfaces allow you to connect external preamps, which can provide cleaner gain staging and amplification compared to built-in preamps. This helps capture the highest audio quality from microphones and instruments before the signal reaches your computer. Some popular external preamp options are units from brands like Warm Audio, Golden Age, and ART.

XLR vs USB: Ideally you want an interface with XLR inputs, as these balanced connections provide better quality than USB when working with microphones and instruments. However, USB connectivity offers convenience for certain applications.

Latency: Lower latency means you can monitor audio inputs with minimal delay. Interfaces with direct monitoring capabilities allow you to monitor inputs with near zero latency. Look for sub-10ms latency ratings.

Sample rate/bit depth: Aim for interfaces capable of up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. This provides headroom for excellent dynamic range.

Headroom: Having ample headroom above your average input levels prevents signal clipping and distortion. Pro interfaces often have +4dBu to +24dBu or more of headroom.

Overall, focus on an interface appropriate for your needs that offers clean preamps, low latency monitoring, and high resolution conversion. Some popular options are the Universal Audio Apollo Twin, Audient ID4, and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

Cables and Power

When it comes to cables for internal audio recording, the main types are XLR, TRS, and TS. XLR cables are balanced, meaning they use three wires to transmit the audio signal. This helps reduce noise and interference. TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) and TS (Tip, Sleeve) cables are unbalanced and use two or one wire respectively. Balanced XLR cables are preferable for microphones and line-level connections to help maintain a strong, clean signal over longer cable runs (

Most professional microphones require phantom power, which provides power over the same XLR cable that carries the audio signal. This allows condenser microphones to operate without the need for a separate power supply. Dynamic microphones do not need phantom power, and batteries are often used instead for power. When using battery-powered microphones, make sure to use fresh batteries and check levels to avoid distortion or signal loss (

Gain Staging

Proper gain staging involves setting gain and levels at each point in your recording signal chain to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio and avoid clipping (Reference 1). The key is to maximize signal levels without allowing peaks to exceed 0 dBFS. Gain staging starts with proper gain structure – setting input gain on microphones and preamps high enough to minimize noise, but not so high that it leads to clipping. Most interfaces have pads that attenuate the signal by -10 or -20 dB; use these if needed to prevent clipping without having to turn down preamp gain too much (Reference 2).

Next, adjust each gain stage while recording to get your peaks around -12 to -6 dBFS. This leaves sufficient headroom for any additional boosts during mixing. Use metering to keep an eye on levels and your noise floor. With optimal gain staging, you’ll achieve a good signal-to-noise ratio and preserve dynamic range. This results in a clean recording with minimal noise and no distortion.


Proper monitoring is essential for recording high quality audio internally. You need to be able to hear what you are recording accurately in order to make adjustments and get the best sound. There are two main options for monitoring audio – headphones and studio monitors.

Headphones are more common for internal recording situations. They allow you to hear exactly what is being recorded without any room ambiance. Closed-back headphones block external sounds and provide isolation. Open-back headphones provide a more natural, speaker-like sound but allow some external sound to bleed in. Make sure your headphones are high quality and fit well.

Studio monitors are speakers designed for audio work. They provide a more natural listening experience than headphones. However, you need a treated room with good acoustics to get an accurate representation of your audio. Monitors let you hear how your audio sounds in a real-world playback scenario. You’ll need an audio interface with multiple outputs for monitor listening.

No matter what monitoring solution you use, checking phase is important. This means listening to each channel separately to make sure the left and right are aligned. Mono your mix and listen on a single speaker to check balance. You want a neutral listening environment, not one overly bright or muddy. Proper monitoring ensures you can accurately judge and adjust your audio quality while recording.

“How to Properly Monitor Audio for Better Sounding Video.” Videomaker, 16 Aug. 2020,


When recording internal audio, you have the choice between recording in multitrack or 2-track. Multitrack recording allows you to record each element of your audio on separate tracks. This gives you more flexibility and control during post-production mixing and editing. 2-track recording puts all the audio on a stereo left and right track. This method is more simple but offers less flexibility. Consider your needs when choosing between multitrack and 2-track.

Make sure to record about 30 seconds of room tone at the beginning and end of each recording session. Room tone is the ambient sound of the room when nothing is being recorded. This provides useful audio to fill gaps or mixer issues in post-production.

Always make backup recordings as audio problems can happen. Save copies of your files in at least two places to avoid losing good takes.

Properly label all your files with metadata like date, location, talent name, take numbers, etc. Well organized files will save you lots of time later.

For more tips on recording high quality internal audio, check out these useful resources:

[Descript article on audio quality](

[Techsmith guide to great audio](


The post-production stage is when all of the recorded audio tracks get assembled, polished and enhanced into the final mix. This involves several steps:

Editing: The different audio tracks are edited together in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Unwanted portions are removed, fades and crossfades are applied between clips, and arrangement decisions are made to tell the story. Editing helps clean up any flaws or mistakes in the raw recordings.

Mixing: The levels of the different tracks are balanced and blended to create a cohesive mix. Equalization and panning can be used to make space for each element. Compression helps control dynamics. Reverb may be added to glue things together. The goal is to produce a professional-sounding mix.

EQ: Equalization allows boosting or attenuating frequencies to shape the tone of a track. This helps remove muddiness, harshness, or other undesired qualities. Careful EQ can make tracks sit better together in the mix.

Compression: Compressors reduce the dynamic range of audio, controlling peak levels and raising lower levels. This creates more consistent volume and density. Compression glues elements together and adds punch.

Noise Reduction: Tools like noise gates can reduce background noise like hiss or rumble. De-essers target harsh sibilance. Unwanted frequencies can be surgically reduced. This cleans up the mix.

Mastering: The final stage polishes the stereo mix through subtle EQ, compression and limiting. This makes the track broadcast-ready. Professional mastering engineers can bring additional expertise and an objective ear.

Meticulous editing, mixing and processing is vital for professional post-production. Taking the time to finesse all aspects of the audio ensures the end result sounds polished, balanced and refined.

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