Cheryl Beer

Cheryl Beer
Award Winning Singer/Songwriter & Author

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Top Tips for Recording Dementia Friendly Environmental Sound

Recording Fact Sheet: Sound Memories Radio

It’s so lovely that people have been sending in sound recordings to be included in our Dementia Friendly, Environmental Sound Map

When we are making dementia friendly recordings at Sound Memories Radio, we have to make sure that the sound is what we call ‘clean’ or ‘pure’ that is, without background noise. 

If you want to join in recording for us, here are a few of my Top Tips. If you follow them, it is more likely that your recording will be included.

   1. Whatever you are using to record, you are better to put it down somewhere so that it does not pick up the sound of your hands or the crinkle of your coat or your footsteps, breath, sneeze, sniff … etc

  2. Try to be sure that everyone with you (including the dog) knows that you are recording and ask them kindly to be quiet. Even if they tip toe around in the background, the sound may be picked up by someone with hyperacusis, a sound distortion commonly experienced by people who are in the later stages of dementia.

3. Make sure there is no background traffic noise; the worst culprit for this is the road noise in the distance because although you might think ‘Oh that’s not very loud,’ to someone with hyperacusis, it may well end up being louder than your birdsong, river, sea etc. 

4. Listen back to your recordings as a tester and try a few times is the best. Rivers are very difficult to capture unless you are up close to them. Off course, be careful not to fall in or drop your phone. (Bit of essential Health and Safety there) 

5. Record for @ 3 or 4 minutes. This is why it is good to put your recording equipment down safe, because even light things get heavy after a while.

6. Try using your voice recorder on your phone. This is much easier for me to use. If you send me a video it creates an awful lot of work for me because I have to take the sound off your video through my mixing desk in my upstairs studio and then upload it to my computer, whereas when it is sent as an audio file, I can use it as it is. 

7. Please inbox your audio files to me, Cheryl Beer, via the Sound Memories Radio Group Page on facebook. 

8. If you really like contributing and are likely to do it on an ongoing basis, you might like to think about investing in a Tascam hand held recorder. This is what I use. It has 2 mics and picks up good surround sound for a relatively cheap piece of kit. But, buy a new one, is my advice, so you know there are no issues with it. I have been using these for years and to my mind, simple is the best option. There is one with a 4 track recorder, you don’t need that because you are capturing real, authentic sound, so just get the one track version which comes in at @ £75. That may sound like a alot but mine has lasted for years and I use it for loads of things. 

Oh and the other great thing that I nearly forgot, is that you can buy a sound excluder for it, which is a fluffy microphone shield. It comes with a sponge one but the fluffy ones are better. That way you are less likely to get that horrible wind noise.

9. If you do buy a tascam make sure you press record. I know that sound obvious, but when you press record once, it flashes but is not recording. It’s a chance for you to test the sound levels and adjust them. Then set up the recorder and press record the second time, being sure to keep very still and quiet. 

10. And finally, I think it’s wonderful that you want to help us. Thank you so much but if your recordings are not used, it will be because of the sound quality and not the beautiful gesture you have made. 

11. PS: When you send me your recordings, please tell me what you have recorded and where, so that I can tell those that are listening and it will be nice to put your name too, so that people know who has kindly helped us.

I think that's everything but if something else pops to mind, I will come back and edit this page ... and likewise, if you have any questions just pop along to the group page. Right, I'm off out in the sun to make the most of the woods.

  Thank you once again, for helping me to bring the outdoors to those who are no longer able to go outside.

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