If you are thinking of buying a spy camera, you’ll obviously want to know if it records sound.
I’ve researched this question online and can confirm that the vast majority (approximately 90%) of spy cameras do record sound. It’s probably easier to assume that the spy camera will record sound rather than specifically ask if it does.
NOTE: There are certain parts of the world where it is illegal to record spy footage with sound (more on this later)
If you assume the spy camera will record sound, the question then becomes how to get the best quality sound? From my experience, the audio quality on spy cameras is not as good as you might wish.
What’s The Quality Of Spy Camera Sound (Audio)?
When I researched the question of whether spy cameras also record audio, I kept seeing that people complained that the audio quality is not very good.
This is not a great surprise! And here’s why:
It’s because of where the microphone is typically positioned in relation to the sound.
If you’re using a spy watch, your mouth (and the subjects voice) will be several feet away from the tiny microphone.
Here’s my watch cam as an example:
Notice the small microphone highlighted on my spy watch camera
Now imagine you are using the spy watch camera to covertly record your conversation with someone.
The subject will probably be about 2-3 feet away. This means the audio may be a little faint and muffled.
How to get great sound quality from your spy camera
The solution is to do some post production editing of the sound file.
This might sound complicated but it really isn’t.
Fortunately, I’ve broken it all down for you.
The Most Common Spy Cameras (That Record Sound)
DVR Spy cameras
These are the most common of the all in one spy cameras.
DVR stands for digital video recorder. What this means is that all of the facilities of the spy camera are contained within the spy camera unit.
In 90% of cases this includes the camera, the microphone (for recording audio) and the battery.
A typical mini DVR setup
DVR spy cameras come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can get watch cameras, pinhole spy cameras, gum cameras..Even cameras disguised as a water bottle.
All of them have the camera, microphone and battery built in. In other words, everything you need to capture pictures, video and audio.
Another DVR camera – my spy watch camera
Legality Of Recording Audio With A Spy Camera
There are certain parts of the USA where it is illegal to record audio using any kind of camera (including a spy camera) without the subjects consent.
The law governing recording audio without consent is United States Code, Title 18, Section 2510. This law bascially means:
Certain states forbid recoding audio of another person without their consent.
Other states allowing recording audio of another person without their consent.
If you want to use a spy camera and record audio of another person without there knowledge, you will be breaking the law in 13 US states. These are listed below:
US States Where It Is Illegal To Record Audio Without The Subjects Consent:
- New Hampshire
In every other state in the US it is OK to record audio as long as 1 person involved in the conversation gives permission. If you are using a spy camera with audio, you will obviously give permission since you are the person recording!
It’s not really a valid concern to worry that your spy camera won’t be capable of recording sound.
The real concern is how good the quality will be of the recorded sound file.
Do check out my guide to getting the best audio from your spy camera, and you won’t go far wrong.