iRest Teacher Resources: Audio & Recording Devices


The information on this page contains reflections of experiences and suggestions from Will Huss, who has been responsible for recording Richard's events for years. The iRest Institute (IRI) neither officially recommends nor offers support for the use of any of the products mentioned in the discussion. This information is offered here only as ideas and suggestions - a jumping off point in your exploration of what recording devices may suit your particular needs.

Audio and Recording Devices at a glance:

Audio Recording Devices used at iRest Trainings and Retreats

Richard currently uses a Countryman E6i over-the-ear (head-worn) mic. (More about that below). As a less expensive alternative, Richard finds the Olympus DS-71 useful as it has a sensitive mic that picks up all the voices in the room (e.g. audience discussion) and can easily convert files into MP3's.

Initially we used a lavalier (also called a lav.or lapel mic) which clips to clothing in the chest area. There are several reputable brands of lavs including Sure, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and others. The problem we found with the lav. is that when the presenter turns his/her head left, right, up, or down it changed the distance between mouth and the lav. which changed the volume of the voice on the recording. Other problems we found with the (Sennheiser) lav. that we used was that it was prone to cause feed-back (the loud screechy sound that sometimes comes out of speakers) when the presenter walked in front of the speakers, and that clothing and long hair tended to rub on the lav. making unwanted shwoushy noises on the recordings.

Several year ago we up-graded to a Countryman E6i over-the-ear (head-worn) mic. Because it attaches to the head, it stays a consistent distance from the mouth helping to ensure even record volume. We have found the E6i is much less prone to feed-back, and it is (more) out of the way of clothing and long hair. Long dangly earrings though, can hit the E6i and make unwanted clanky noises on the recording. The Countryman E6i mic (alone w/out recorder) retails for approx. $565. But keep in mind, it is considered to be one of the best over-the-ear mics in the qualified/unqualified dual and non-dual universe! :) It can be bought through for approx. $310. I expect it can be found on-line for even less.Anchor

Guiding Questions: What kind of recording device do you plan on using?

  1. Do you plan to record your iRest classes live?
  2. Do you plan to be able to record questions from your classes?
  3. How big are your classes?
  4. Do you plan to make recordings of your practices in the privacy of your own home and NOT live?
  5. Do you plan to record dyad sessions?

The recording device I use at Richard's events, and for my own classes and dyads, is an Olympus DS-50. It is called a personal (hand-held) digital recorder. It is no longer manufactured, but was replaced by the Olympus DS-71. Check it out at for approx. $250.

You can find the DS-71 cheaper elsewhere but offers great lifetime tech support with the purchase price of the unit which is particularly helpful to the techno-newbie. And it comes packaged with a reasonably good lav, a carrying pouch and simple-to-use editing software. So you wouldn't have to buy a separate mic until perhaps later, when/if ever you feel the need to up-grade. As far as what do I recommend?

If you have the $$, by all means, get an over-the-ear mic because they are, in my experience, less fussy to use than lavs. But if your buget is on the tighter side, you can still get good results with a lav -- you just need to be mindful of clothing, hair, how you turn you head, and where you're standing if you are using speakers to amplify your voice into the room. BTW, You don't have to have amplification if you're simply recording.

Re: Recording Devices Cont'd: The Countryman E6i does not require phantom power. So, this is good news in that the E6i can plug directly into a hand-held digital recorder using a standard 1/8" mini-jack like found on the Olympus DS-50 (that I use), the Zoom recorders and many if not all others. For anyone in the market for an E6i there are a few things to consider:

  1. What kind of plug should my E6i have? Probably an 1/8" mini-plug -- but check to see what kind of jack is on the recording device you'll be plugging you mic into.
  2. What length of boom? For all iRest use, I recommend going with the the long boom.
  3. Omni-directional or uni-directional? Go with the omni-directional.

So, the burning question that may be arising for you right now may be, "Why should I go to the trouble and expense of buying an external mic when my recorder already has one built in?" The simple answer is that maybe you shouldn't!

Depending on your needs you may get an adequate, perhaps even a more than adequate recording using the built-in mic. I find I get a substantially better recording when I use a E6i w/ my 'handheld' than when I use it's built-in mic. The E6i helps to attenuate the sound of my voice bouncing off the hard surfaces of the (typical yoga) room, as well as ambient sounds that may be present like the cycling on and off of mechanical equipment, air blowing through a/c vents, the tic and hum of ceiling fans, the buzz of fluorescent lighting, sounds from students (snoring coughing sneezing), ringing phones from adjacent rooms, and a variety of outside sounds filtering through windows, etc.

In an iRest practice (and in life itself -- not that there's a difference between the two) all these sounds are simply objects arising in awareness to be welcomed. Neither good nor bad. The question comes down to, "What quality (a purely subjective preference) do I (not that there is really such thing as an 'I' beyond the chemical movement in the mind 'we' called thought) intend to make??" :)

w/ So Much Fun and Love,
William -- Anchor

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about Audio Devices email us.

Questions: The problem I ran into was that if the recording was mono, when students played it back on an iPod the sound came out of only one ear bud. They found that distracting. Using the adapter I was able to fix the problem. I didn't even know there was one because I would check my recordings on the computer..and everything there sounded OK. I'd rather listen to Richard on the iPod! So, it took my students to point out the problem to me.

Answer: I use a Zoom H2 which is very high quality. Zit even does surround sound. Stereo is good for music. But do you really need stereo for voice, since your voice is mono?

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