An Overview of Audio Surveillance Equipment

By December 15, 2015Surveillance

One of the most powerful tools at an investigator’s disposal is audio surveillance equipment. From the most basic tape recorder to high-tech gadgets like directional microphones and smartphone recorders, private investigators have all kinds of audio surveillance devices at their disposal. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most popular technology on the market.

audio surveillance

Telephone Recording Interface

An oldie but a goodie, this little recorder can be hooked into a phone line to record any conversations that take place. This is your basic “wiretap” technology. You can use it on your own phone to record people who are talking to you. You can also use these audio surveillance systems to listen in on someone else’s phone, but be careful, unless you’re law enforcement and you have a warrant, it might be illegal!

Directional Microphone

Another classic, the directional microphone looks like a tiny satellite dish hooked up to a pair of headphones and it’s one of the most basic pieces of remote audio surveillance equipment. It’s the audio equivalent of a telescopic lens, allowing you to listen to far away sounds by pointing your mic directly at them.

Smartphone Recorder

The new kid on the block of audio surveillance systems, this little guy will hook right up to your smartphone to record any conversation you have over it. It might seem like the next technological step from the telephone recording interface, but these audio surveillance devices have to be plugged in directly to the phone. They’re small enough to carry around easily, but big enough that you’ll definitely notice.

Amplification Ear Muffs

These special earmuffs are one of the more interesting audio surveillance systems available. They simultaneously amplify distant sounds while protecting your ears from loud background noises, making them ideal for remote audio surveillance. Amplification ear muffs can be used to listen to a quiet conversation from far away while muffling interfering sounds like traffic noises. You can adjust the listening frequency to pick up specific sounds while muting others. Some models even come with directional sound identification so that you can pinpoint which direction the sounds you’re listening to are coming from.

Audio Triggered Conversation Recorder

This is just like a normal audio recorder, but it’s triggered by sound. Even the most high end recorders will eventually run out of battery life or storage capacity. This gadget deals with that problem by remaining in standby until a there’s a noise to record. This way you can record for much longer, and you won’t be stuck fast forwarding through hours of silence to get to the parts you need to hear, making it one of the best audio surveillance devices to buy if you can afford it.


Along with video surveillance devices, these tools make up some of the most powerful weapons in a private investigator’s arsenal!

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