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Professional or Amateur Audio Surveillance

Adrian Mudd   May 14, 2013

Whether you are engaged in covert surveillance on a professional or amateur capacity audio recorders will always still feature heavily. Audio surveillance is one of the oldest forms of technical evidence gathering and covert devices of this type just get better

The concept of the hidden recording device has been around for many decades and sits under the banner of covert surveillance. Covert means the device is hidden and its existence not intended to be known by the object of the surveillance whether that be a single target or a group. Whilst the days of the parabolic microphone also known as umbrella microphones are not over they have been superseded at street level for the miniature and therefore easily hidden voice recorders.

Audio Surveillance & Hiding all the Equipment

Hiding equipment is easy if a surveillance is unaware of themselves as an objective of surveillance however this situation can change at any point. It is therefore key that accessibility to the intended target is managed appropriately and intelligent selections made from the wide variety of ingenious methods currently used to disguise a recording device. Another issue is how to effectively and unobtrusively record sound in a manner which makes effective use of the scanner resource. Naturally no recording device has a never ending storage facility and therefore a remote trigger mechanism has become an essential piece of kit for the quality audio bug although this is not always a requirement. This is because each surveillance operation will be entirely unique and therefore require individual planning.

Fortunately key pieces of surveillance equipment can be used in varying scenarios reducing the need for massive amounts of equipment by the professional or developing investigator. A general member of the public may have only experienced covert audio devices through the medium of television and film and usually in an unrealistic situation such as a miniature camera and audio transmitter strapped to the back of an insect although this is not an impossible situation. The licensed investigator will possess more detailed knowledge beginning with the types of activation they will require for each assignment. Audio recording can be initiated manually either with immediate effect or with a delay timer or by using a trigger device which can be a programmed timer or some other functionality. The trigger is very often sound itself after all trip wires would not be appropriate and light beams or similar whilst useful would only be required in extreme high security or high value conditions. Yet these provisions are available for those in need of such technology.

Acoustic surveillance is slowly developing into a form of modern art as those who have passed the screening clearance to gain access to providers of such equipment proudly show off their latest acquisitions or weigh up their investment versus need ratios. There is no doubt that surveillance technologies continue to advance and this is particularly the case in the field of miniaturisation, but the really clever advancements will be those that allow the surveillance professional to effectively patrol their assignments whilst recovering data and equipment safely and in good time.