Outside of marketing research, music is my passion. More specifically, music production. I love it. Production allows me to be creative, nerd-out on the latest gadgets, and be very noisy all at the same time.
I’ve always been looking for a way to merge my professional life with my hobby but I never could quite get the two things to vibe. One the one hand you got data, reports, suits and ties but on the other you’ve got beats, synthesizers, jeans and Daft Punk t-shirts. Those two worlds share very little in common. Or so I thought.
Last year, I sent a recording of a focus group off to get transcribed. When I received the transcription, I was disappointed to see several key sections were inaudible. In the qualitative world, when audio is missing, data is missing.
This experience resulted in a fundamental question – how can we prevent missing data? The answer had been sitting under my nose for the past 25 years – we’ll apply professional music production techniques to all our qualitative recordings!
We use some serious audio know-how and tech gear to achieve crystal clear recordings, and the results have been spectacular. No more dropped audio, no more distracting background noise, and no more mumblers and shouters.
This is great news for our clients and not just because they are getting the best quality data. Clients like to listen to research as it gives them vital insight into the mind of their customers. The technical processing of the research interviews and focus groups makes their listening experience exceptional for several reasons:
No matter how near or far a participant is from a microphone, we can volume-match. The quiet and loud people are equal, which leads to no more infuriating gaps in transcriptions. It is also great for clients who like to listen to the research as they no longer have to constantly adjust the volume. There’s nothing worse than turning the recording all the way up to listen to a soft-spoken respondent only to have your eardrums blasted out a second later when a loud respondent starts talking. We can eliminate the wild dynamics.
It’s amazing how you can be out in the field recording in-depth interviews and not notice the extremely loud air conditioning unit 5 feet away. That used to kill a recording. Now, using noise-reduction processing, we can separate the background noise from the conversation and remove it.
Sometimes technology and interview conditions fail us. For example, in focus groups, the table often gets knocked rendering a loud “boom” on the recording which overpowers the conversation. Sometimes static or poor mic connections obscure what is being said. We can recover the audio and repair the bad passages.
On a personal level, I’m really excited that we can offer these services to our clients. The service has allowed us to expand our offerings not just in audio, but also video reports, too. In fact, I even wrote and produced a custom piece of music to accompany a video report thus completing the circle of my two passions!
If you have some dodgy research recordings, or any audio for that matter, just drop us a line!
Posted by EvolveKev
Kevin is all about research. Qualitative, quantitative, UX, you name it. When he's not researching, he's to be found laying down beats in his studio and hanging out with his dogs (and wife). Woof.