Hello everyone!

I have been a reporter for eight years but took a five-year break from it to pursue another career. Well, I'm back! I've since updated my software to Case Catalyst 8 and have a newer laptop, Dell. First depo, I noticed my audio sound was very poor. Almost sounds like someone was covering the mic (which was not the case). I have to keep listening to the audio over and over to figure out some spots. And sometimes, I could barely hear it. So I figured I hadn't used the mic in five years so I need a new one.

I purchased a new one through Martel. Same problem. Audio sound will start off fine, then something throws it off. There's no specific time it will happen. Could happen towards the beginning, middle or end and it will continue through the end of the transcript. Lately, though, it's happening by Page 2. The quality is actually getting worse & worse! Martel was no help. Stenograph was very little help. They suggested a few things but then he said that it may be a problem that nobody may be able to help me out with?? They both basically said "Don't know what to tell ya."

What could be throwing off the recording quality? Could something be running in the background that's interfering with it? I figure, who better to ask than other reporters? I'm in desperate need of correcting this problem. Any suggestions or advice is welcome! Thank you!!!

Views: 1120

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Stenocat suggests/recommends we set our recording quality on LOW, which makes zero sense to me, but it works. They tell a funny story about a blind test, but it's too late to find the humor tonight, but it's certainly worth a try. I confirmed that mine was actually set on "low" before writing this response, and sure enough, it is, and my audio is pretty good.

Also, I meant to offer my 2 cents on the faulty switch, too, because we've had some quirky things like that happen on almost-new computers. Maybe someone you know how the same software where you can try out your mic, settings, etc.? Again, just my opinion which may be worth as much as 2 pennies these days.

Best luck to you. Do know you're not alone out there. I, too, have had a trying year thus far when it comes to hardware/software issues. I guess they're not called "growing pains" for nothing, and the older we get, the more painful they seem to be.

You WILL figure it out. Worst-case scenario, you'll have a new laptop and be good to go for the next few years!

Take care.
Update: YEAY, YEAY, YEAY! I got my USB mic from Sound Professionals and I have used it twice already and it worked GREAT!! Excellent quality. On one of my depos, I sat way across the other end of the room from the witness and I could still hear her just fine whereas before, I would probably just hear dead air sitting that far away from the witness.

I took two depos today and I haven't checked if the audio worked okay, but I'm sure it did. I'm thrilled that I finally got to the bottom of this problem! So yes, it's true. The USB mic from Sound Professionals is the way to go with a problem like this. I paid half the price for this USB mic than what I paid for the Martel mic. And I could still use the Martel mic on this USB if I wanted to for better quality.

Thanks, everyone, for all your help in this matter! Now, I can start handing stuff to a scopist...woohoo! Have a nice weekend!
Good for you, Ann. I've been wanting to try a recommended mic from Sound Professionals, likely the same one, and so I'm glad to hear more positive things about it/them. Most of all, I'm glad you resolved your problem. I mean, isn't the work hard enough, time consuming enough, and stressful enough w/out these kinds of problems?

Take care.

I'm also having the same audio problem with the Martel mic. Do you the specific name and/or model number of the USB mic from Sound Professionals you bought? I really want to get the same one if you had great experience with it. I'd really appreciate it. I'm desperate to send all my work to a scopist as soon as I get this audio problem resovled.
Hello Sheila,

I know what you mean. I'm so relieved ever since I purchased the new mic. I love it!

Here's the link: http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-COURT-REPORT...

The mic looks a lot like the teal button holder for Case Catalyst. It's also half the price of the Martel mic.

Best of luck to you & let me know how it goes and if you like it. Have a great weekend!!
Great new mic, inexpensive also. It's call the microphone mouse and it picks up as well as my Martel USB mic, which cost much more. I picked two of them up off of Amazon for around $30 with shipping. I thought at the time that they'd be a great backup, but much better than I ever expected.
Hi Ann,

So I just got the USB mic today and tried it out at home recording from the TV. For some reason, the audio sounds very far away. I'm not sure is it because of the recording from TV as opposed to people speaking in conference room. But it doesn't sound up close like the Martel mic. One positive thing is it completely eliminates any background, crackling noise. Can you tell me if you tweak anything else to the recording sound to your computer or anything at all. When playing back, I can't hear anything without unplugging the mic first. I've even tried plugging the headphone directly to the mic to listen to playback, but nothing.
Sheila, I had to change my audio settings to select the USB mic to record, as opposed to Conexant or whatever you computer calls the built in microphone. There should be a couple of icons in the window under the sound settings for recording. Make sure you disable the built in micropohone. Then double clikc on the USB mic and check the sound level. For the playback, you have to switch it from USB back to Conexant. Again, double click on it, make sure it's enabled, and then check the playback level.

Hope this helps

Maybe I'm just really picky about sound quality, being used to the loud, clear, crisp sound I always got from my Sony cassette recorder and Sony Flat Mics. I, too, received my USB mic from Sound Professionals yesterday, the $79 one as opposed to the $59, as well as an additional mic I could run down the table as I'm so accustomed to doing.

Well, long story short, the quality wasn't any better than what I was able to get with 1 Sony Flat Mic plugged straight into my laptop, and then I found there to be a lot of background noise in comparison to the two. I was also disappointed that the microphone attaches directly into my laptop which would allow it to pick up fan noise, etc., not to mention that it would be down below the actual table on my laptop stand, closer to where I'm pounding away on my steno machine. (I'm sure I could have tried an adapter, but since the quality already wasn't there, I didn't bother looking into that.) I did like the no battery feature, though.

After more experimenting, again, I found using my small Sony ICD-SX57 digital tape recorder as a microphone -- yes, as a microphone using an extension wire, for lack of the correct term -- produced sound quality and sound volume far superior to any micorphone I've used to date. I can even plug my Sony Flat Mic into the Sony recorder if I want to have a microphone another 2 ft. down the table.

Might want to give that a try. I then have my audio synced w/ my steno in Stenocat, but I also have my audio backed up on the tape recorder. Now, if the tape recorder fails... well, let's not even go there. I need to get into the habit of paying more attention to my laptop screen anyway. I haven't tried this on a job yet, but I will first thing tomorrow morning. I'm still going to carry a microphone w/ me just in case.

I highly recommend anyone who's not getting the audio quality they prefer give this a try. If what I said was confusing or simply not clear, let me know, and I'll be happy to try explaining again.

Sheila, maybe I was confused. Do you have the Martel USB microphone that runs around $150 or the small USB attachment. I had the small USB and it was not at all effective. I have the more expensive version and it picks up conversation in the back of my very large courtroom. The Microphone Mouse is not quite as good, but far better than the USB I think you're talking about. I purchase mine from Sound Professionals and they have a really great support staff there.
Kathy, I've found that using the front jack to record in vista is it's own special issue. The USB has been great so far, both the Andrea and the IOGEAR. What software are you using?
Are you on Vista? There are some tricks to it. I found that with the Adrea mic, I could only play back the audio if it was plugged in. No idea why, but that was the issue. With the IOGEAR mouse, I haven't had that problem, but there are a few settings you have to tweak.


Latest Activity

Trustpoint.One and Tracy Cook Burwell are now friends
17 hours ago
Tracy Cook Burwell updated their profile
17 hours ago
Trustpoint.One joined Kelli Combs (admin)'s group
20 hours ago
Harman Singh commented on Kelli Combs (admin)'s group Proofreaders
Harman Singh joined Kelli Combs (admin)'s group
Kelli Combs (admin) left a comment for APEX COURT REPORTING
APEX COURT REPORTING joined Cassandra's group
APEX COURT REPORTING joined April Floyd's group
Sheri Abraham posted a status
"Can somebody give me guidance on how to prepare an ATF Admin hearing transcript? I have no idea what the title page would look like. TIA!"
Kelli Combs (admin) left a comment for Linda Troxel
Kelli Combs (admin) left a comment for Harman Singh
Kelli Combs (admin) commented on Kelli Combs (admin)'s group Eclipse Scopist (Send work request)

© 2022   Created by Kelli Combs (admin).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service