Tuesday, 20 June 2017

What is the best Equipment for recording EVP?

What is the best Equipment for recording EVP? 

If you are interested in the paranormal and have seen the ghost hunting TV shows, you would know straight away what an EVP is, but if you haven’t had an interest, it stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

 It is believed by most ghost hunters that EVP are the voices of the dead. Sceptics believe it is actually noises that we give meaning too (Apophenia[i]), they often point to the fact that the same people will not hear the same thing, unless one person states what they are hearing, then 90% of the time, both will hear the same thing after that time.
The sceptics do not consider the tireless work of Parapsychologist KonstantÄ«ns Raudive, who in the 1970’s spent many hours in his laboratory experimenting with EVP in closed, scientific conditions, logging various voices through his experiments.

The debate about EVP, like many things in the paranormal continues to this day, but I digress!
With all things in paranormal evidence gathering one needs to keep “evidence” in its purest form. In photography and videography this is referred to as a RAW Image File – which is basically a file that the camera has yet to process into a “standard saving format" such as TIFF or JPEG. Raw files are basically the exact image the camera sensor sees, before the computer inside process’s it and turns it into a JPEG or other files format

Audio formats s also have a variation of Raw files (lossless audio) known as WAV which stands for WAVE AUDIO FILE FORMAT - WAV is the Microsoft version of this format, Apple Macs use AIFF format (FLAC, and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec, used by iTunes) are other types of Lossless audio)

Wav. is the recording in its rawest digital form and is usually uncompressed audio recordings. This format is easily compressed into other formats such as MP3, but as with all compression, will lose some audio quality with the filtering that compression causes.

One disadvantage of the WAV file is its large size, which is due to the rawness of the audio. Many recorders limit this to a 4-gigabyte chunk, which is equivalent to about 6.8 hours of CD quality audio.
Sony Sound Forge uses a 64bit recording option allowing for greater audio sample quality.
Mp3 was devised by the Moving Picture Experts Group or “MPEG” as most people know them. MP3 uses the “Lossy compression algorithm” to encode and compress data, this causes a significant loss of data to make file sizes smaller and easier to transfer. 
Advantages of MP3 are the ability to split and “album-wrap” audio files and the ability to upscale or downsize a file format and audio quality – however neither of these are useful to the paranormal investigator.

Essentially what we are looking for is to keep our EVP files as raw as possible for ourselves and other investigators, as well as audio specialists to be able to evaluate what we have captured in its purest digital form. MP3 format does not allow us to do this, thus the WAV files format is a much more useful tool – the only downside being when one tries to make a video of their EVP capture, some video editing programs use MP3 encoding as standard and therefore the audio quality will drop in the video.

 This can also apply to uploads to some social network sites and site similar to Youtube. 

Voice Recorders utilising WAV recording include (but not limited tošŸ˜Š
Zoom H1 Handy Recorder (the same model I used on Haunting: Australia)
Tascam DR-05 mk2 Linear PCM Field Recorder
Olympus LS-14 Linear PCM Digital Voice Recorder
Roland R-05 Studio WAVE/MP3 Recorder
Sony PCM-M10

Don’t be disheartened if you cannot afford a top of the range voice recorder, at the end of the day most modern phones will do the job just as well. They may not record in WAV. But that shouldn’t stop you at least trying to record an EVP session – heck, back in the early days of EVP, people were using real-real tape recorders, I even have a cassette recorder in my equipment bag and have recorded decent EVP session on it.

 Saying that though, if you are trying to hold your EVP session up to scientific scrutiny, then its best to use a high end, stereo recorder with WAV. Capabilities. It is also crucial you have at least one video camera locked off on a tripod filming you and your surrounding while you record – film using a visible time stamp that is synchronised with your watch. When you start your EVP session read the time out loud.

 Why is this crucial? The video will show any movements you make, it will also record background noise, or any noises you make subconsciously. In your EVP review, note how many minutes/ seconds from stating the time you hear anything you think might be an EVP, then go to your video and double check that it is not you moving about, or something else you haven’t accounted for!

There are many audio programs for editing your audio such as:
Sony Soundforge
Acoustica Digital Audio Editor
And a ton of others!

Good luck on your next EVP session, and say hi to the spirits for me!

[i] Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.