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Thread: Recording outside voices and music

  1. #1

    Default Recording outside voices and music

    Hi all,

    Sorry to bother you. I am someone who bought my first house at the beginning of last year and the next door is council owned (semi). Unfortunately the nice lady next door died at the end of last year and the council have moved in neighbours from hell and me and the wife are going through utter terror with problems we have been having with the new tenants for the last 6 months. I am trying to build a case against said neighbours....the local councils environmental health team and enforcement officers are a joke for example they will only come out between 10pm - 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and it is our word against there's due to us being the only people it effects due to our location.....Anyway I am looking to install a microphone in my back garden in order to keep a log of the excessive music, shouting, swearing and abuse that I am hearing across my garden (some directed at my wife when she sits in the sun)

    I am going to have to somehow conceal the mic and have it so it records to a laptop of which sections can be sliced out and also contain date/time stamps. I am wondering if you have any ideas on a good mic that can pick up around 5 metres + and that can maybe be concealed within a wooden box with the front cut out so they cant look out there window or over there fence and see a accurate directional mic probably wont do the trick.

    Last edited by bowlingo; 06-08-2011 at 11:26 PM.

  2. #2


    Hi Alex,
    I can sympathise with your situation as we have had similar (off & on) for the past 15 years, however in our case the house next door is private let... so we threaten legal action on the owner (Not the Letting Agent).
    It works, and to date we have had 4 tenants given eviction order.

    First you should insist that the Environmental health get involved, it is their duty and responsibility to monitor the situation, and they should install audio monitoring devices.
    Also you must keep a detailed written record of all incidents, including photographs/video where appropriate that will be required in court.
    Unfortunately, when going through your local authority, there are no quick fixes or instant justice.
    One method i used was to mount a "Webcam" in a weatherproof plastic box outside my bedroom window, this was hidden by our Sky Sat dish and connected to a laptop.
    I used a program called "Gotcha", it will do everything you require and a trial version is available for you to test from Video Surveillance Motion Detection Software for the personal computer. Use with video surveillance cameras, video surveillance webcams, hidden cameras, and video surveillance infrared cameras.
    It is an American company and the cost of the single camera system software is $70.... i am sure you can fine free software to do the same thing.

    I also used a wireless/radio microphone kit that was available from several stalls at the local bootsales/openair markets for about 15-20.

    Hope this is of help, and good luck.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply Ian,

    Im going through the processes with the enviromental health and am filling in the diarys etc. When I first saw the intended tenants the first thing I did was buy a 4 way CCTV system which is covering our property connected to a DVR and on 24/7 record. I have also spent 1000 on soundproofing for the upstairs bedrooms of which share the partition wall of which has got rid of most of the screaming and shouting etc. On Saturday im getting a double glazed unit fitted inside my bedroom window reveal of which is basically a cut down patio door at a cost of around 500 fitted.

    Once the diarys have been given to the enviromental health team there is no certainty that they will consider it a nuisance and if they do they will put the noise monitoring system in for a week or two..what I didnt like the idea of is when the actual envoromental health officer mentioned 35+ decibels is classed as a nuisance (hes saying the europeans have passed some kind of act saying +35db is the point where someone cant sleep!) Its not the music level thats the main problem its the screaming and shouting at all hours and the house being used as the estate on the other side of the parks meeting point which generally means all sorts of filth are going in and out all day.

    What im looking for is a good quality mic that I will run speratly from a laptop in my lounge of which I will conceal in a 5 sided rectangular box with the front open so the only way they will see it is if they walk into my garden but if they look down from there windows they will see the top and if they look over the fence they will see the side...Once the noise logs have been submitted and the council inform them there is a problem with noise they will know its come from us so im looking to record the abuse they will start shouting across the garden and the shouting/screaming etc.

    So basically im looking for a good quality mic that I know is going to be able to pick up from say a 5m area.


  4. #4


    Hi Alex,
    there are directional microphones and the cost can run from a few pounds to hundreds, however i do not think that the quality is that important, as long as you can clearly here what is being said.
    As for the 35+db....That may be the EU limit set that can prevent sleep, but if you check with a solicitor i think you will find that under the UK law...
    A noise nuisance is regarded as any noise that prevents you from enjoying the comforts and privacy of your own home, that is obtrusive beyond normal domestic noise.

    The problem with councils is, they are always slow to act and in fear of tenants claiming victimisation... so require you to provide a clear cut guaranteed case, in reality, it is there way of shirking their responsibilities.
    As you have spent so much money on this, i would definitely go and see a solicitor for advice.
    In Scotland, the law is very much geared to help the victims, it's about time English law was changed to do the same.

    All the best,

  5. Default

    Hi, a battery powered handheld digital recorder like the H2 Zoom would do the trick. The size of a cell phone, it can be easily concealed and can record hours when set to record .mp3s. You easily place it between two bricks or on a rock with some leaves over it.

    It has phantom power so you can get a strong signal. This recorder is also sensitive in the midrange which is good for human voice.

    And, each recording is time stamped. When finished recording, you just plug it in USB to your computer and drag the files over.

    That's probably the easiest way to go instead of running cables etc which look suspicious.

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