Submitting Sound Recordings to Roberts Online
We welcome all sound recording submissions. In addition to typical vocalisations, we are looking for geographic variation and vocal repertoire. Notes on locality, date or season, time of day and observations on behaviour will be useful. There are a number of recording techniques available and these are discussed below.
Please use the following checklist for submission of sound recordings.
- 1. Prepare the sound recordings for submission
Sound recordings will be most useful if they have been digitally transferred to computer and are submitted as computer files, either WAV, MP3 or WMA. MP3 and WMA files should be saved at 'cd-quality' or better (128kbps 44.1kHZ, 16 bit, mono or stereo). E-mail files should not exceed 1MB in file size. If you do e-mail large files, please do so one at a time. Larger WAV files and CD-audio recordings may be submitted on disc. If you have old recordings that need transferring to digital format, you will find some suggestions below.
- 2. Name and Caption the sounds.
Please provide details with each sound so that we may caption and acknowledge your contribution. Captions should include species name, subject caption, locality, and recordists name. You may choose to edit the file name as the caption, or provide a list of sounds and their captions. When e-mailing, please include the filename and captions in the text of the e-mail.
- 3. Your details and agreement
Please include the following text with your submission.
List of sounds and captions:
Sound1 - species - subject - locality - recordist
Sound2 - species - subject - locality - recordist
Sound3 - species - subject - locality - recordist
Sound4 - species - subject - locality - recordist
I hereby agree to the above sounds being used for the Roberts Online and Roberts 7 Multimedia publications.
Signature or e-mail signature.
Please email all sound contributions to
There are a number of recording techniques available, ranging from pdas and dictaphone devices, through digital video cameras, to dedicated digital recorders and shotgun microphones. Tape and cassette recorders are no longer readily available, while MP3 players are generally designed for playing and not recording.
PDAs and Dictaphone devices
These are probably the most easily accessible recording devices. Whilst the recordings will not be great quality, if you are close enough the recordings can be useful enough to illustrate a sound. Unfortunately none of these units accept an extension microphone.
is a hand-held computer (HP iPAQ or similar) that has a dictaphone capability. To begin recording, check if your PDA has a recording button on the side of the unit. If not, go to Start > Programs > Notes > Menu > View Recording Toolbar. There will be a red button for starting the voice recorder. This control bar also has stop and play functions. To improve the quality of recording, go to System > Input > Options > Voice Recording Format and select [22,050Hz 16 Bit Mono (43 KB/s)]. The go to Start > System > iPAQ Audio > Automatic Gain control > Disable and set the Microphone Gain to the highest option. Check the pda for the position of the microphone (sometimes a hole in the side, or behind the centre button). You can run a voice test (testing 123....) and turn the pda over and around to find the position of the loudest recording. That's the side you point towards the sound.
are highly variable, so please consult the manual to get the highest quality and loudest possible recording. If possible, try to switch off automatic gain control and set the recording level to maximum.
Once you have a recording, connect the unit to your PC and transfer the files. Depending on the size of files, these can be e-mailed or sent on disc. If you are proficient on computer, find a sound editing program and trim the sound files to the piece that represents the repertoire you wish to submit. Please do not try to 'clean up' the sound as this often degrades the sound. We have expert techniques for this should it be necessary.
Digital Video Cameras
This is an easy way to own a digital tape recorder, with the added bonus that you can film the bird and its behaviour at the same time. Digital cameras obviously record at digital quality, usually to tape, but also to DVD and memory card. There are usually recording quality options of 32KHz and 48KHZ. Select 48KHz if it is available. All cameras will have a reasonable quality built-in microphone, and some will have the option of an external microphone input. When transferring recordings from camera to computer, note that you can transfer either video or sound only. Connect to your PC with the provided cables, play back a recording, and record to hard drive using a sound editing program.
Dedicated Digital Recorders
There are a wide range of options for digital recorders. Prices range from R3000 upwards. Please contact
Shotgun microphones are long tube microphones that selectively pick up the sound in the direction the microphone is pointed.
They still pick up background sounds, and nearby loud sounds will overpower a distant softer sound. Wind is also a problem.
But they do work reasonably well, and have a greater sensitivity to distant sounds than standard microphones. Prices range from R3000 upwards. Please contact
Sound Editor Programs
A basic free program is available from