(Don’t) try this at home! The effects of recording devices and software on phonetic analysis
Chelsea Sanker, Sarah Babinski, Roslyn Burns, Marisha Evans, Juhyae Kim, Slater Smith, Natalie Weber, Claire Bowern
June 2021

Because of restrictions on in-person research due to Covid-19, researchers are now relying on remotely recorded data to a much greater extent than has been typical in previous work. Given the change in methodology, it is important to know how remote recording might alter the acoustic signal, either based on different recording devices used by participants and consultants recording themselves or based on video-conferencing software used to make interactive recordings. This study investigates audio signal fidelity across different in-person recording equipment and remote recording software when compared to a solid-state digital recording device that is representative of the standard used in-person for elicitation and fieldwork. We show that the choice of equipment and software can have a large effect on acoustic measurements, including measurements of frequency, duration, and noise. The issues do not just reflect decreased reliability of measurements; some measurements are systematically shifted in particular recording conditions. These results show the importance of carefully considering and documenting equipment choices. In particular, any cross-linguistic or cross-speaker comparison needs to account for possible effects of differences in which devices or software platforms were used.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005748
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: forthcoming, Language
keywords: fieldwork, software, phonetics, compression, contrast maintenance, contrast measurement, language documentation, syntax, phonology
previous versions: v3 [June 2021]
v2 [February 2021]
v1 [February 2021]
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