Best Way To Add Audio Recording To CCTV System.

Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone here had some suggestions for the best way to add audio to a survelliance system. I have never done audio with any of my CCTV installs. I have a customer that has a 1500 sq ft store that they want to monitor with audio and video. I am installing 6 cameras to cover the video. The DVR I will be using has 4 audio inputs. Can anyone recommend mics and ideal placement for them to get good audio. Placing the mics near the cameras doesnt seem ideal to me. Thanks in advance for the help.

"Can anyone recommend mics and ideal placement for them to get good audio.Placing the mics near the cameras doesnt seem ideal to me."

Hi Keith,

Where are the cameras relative to the people whose speech you want to record? Are the cameras 12 feet high and 20 feet away or are they a few feet away?

I'll let others respond with recommendations, some background posts:


I dont have alot of details on this job yet. A previous customer called me today and asked me when could I get it done. The job is about three hours away so would like to complete it without doing a preinspection of the site. The cameras will most likely be about 9 ft high. Im not sure about placement yet. Just trying to get some ideas so I can order the correct mics and hopefully build the system on site. Is that wishful thinking?

This is a great customer. Price is never an issue.

John thanks for the links. My answer may be right there!


I took a look at the post you reference and they all seem to talk about running the mics directly to the cameras themselves. The install I plan to do will be analog and I was thinking of running the audio to the DVR itself. I have never tried to capture audio before so please correct me if that is the wrong approach.


From my days in support with a primarily analog integrator, the reason that most run the mic cabling along with the camera's cables is because it is way easier to do it that way. Both the camera and the mic need a power source (generally placed at or near the DVR location, and running cables to each component is easier when these components can share cable runs (or siamese cabling can be used that basically fuses the different cables (power, audio, video) together into 'one' cable.

Like these:

NOTE: This type of 'pre-terminated' cabling is generally scoffed at by 'professional' installers (though it works fine for small count jobs). It is being used as a visual reference.


I also recommend LouRoe microphones. For their products, you would run 2-conductor shielded cable back to a base station located near the NVR and simple RCA (phono) patch cables from the base station to the "line ins" on the DVR. The base station sends power down the cable and audio back up it. No need for separate power for the microphones.

One thing to be aware of with most microphones for video surveillance, including LouRoe's, is that they tend to be omnidirectional - which means they pick up sound from all forward directions. If they are placed in an area where there is a lot of background noise, that is what they will pick up. This makes them somewhat impractical in noisy environments and requires a site survey to determine best placement and even type.

Another thing you should check is the local laws regarding audio recording. These vary from state to state and sometimes even from municipality to municipality. At the very least, the store will probably need to display sign(s) warning that audio is being recorded.

Who is ultimately responisble if the law states he needs to display signs. As the installer if I notify him of the legal requirements am I responsible if he doesnt follow it. I get the feeling this guy doesnt plan to display any signs. Maybe for video but not audio.

I would think that if he requested installation of audio recording devices on his P.O., assuming there even is a P.O. which isn't clear, and you advise him that he should make sure he isn't contravening any laws that might apply with regards to their use before you go ahead and install them, preferably in writing even if its an email, the burden will on him to make sure he is abiding by any laws that may apply if he tells you to go ahead and perform the installation the way it was originally requested from you, but just to be safe, I would still go ahead and research the topic for the jurisdiction if I were you.

If anything, it will enable you to better inform your clients if you get other similiar requests in the future.

Don't look now.... but we just agreed on something Alain! :)

Note: I still would never recommend he installs anything he knows himself to be illegal - or he will be a participating defendant in any wiretapping lawsuit filed against this customer.

I guess there really is a first for everything. ;)

The customer can do whatever he wants to do... just make sure you are covered. I would have a talk with the customer about exactly what the local laws are regarding audio recording in his municipality - then have him sign a document stating that you just had this conversation.

I once had a customer who wanted covert audio surveillance in his three insurance stores. Not to record customer transactions though... he wanted to hear what his exclusively female, almost as exclusively hot, employees said about him when he wasn't on site.

This is not legal in my state and I told him so. Because I felt his initial request to be somewhat slimy, I created just such a document and made him sign it.

Note: I fully assumed that he would install covert audio anyway... so I pointed him to the LouRoe site. My job is to educate my customer, not to be my customers nanny. :)

You made advice like this:
"Note: I still would never recommend he installs anything he knows himself to be illegal"

But you don't take the same
"This is not legal in my state and I told him so."

It sound like you are talking out of two sides of your face.
Why does Keith have to be a "customers nanny" if you won't?

Mr. Gligorich,

You are taking two separate references of mine - to two different things - and combining them into an equation that is not valid.

I made advice like this:

STATEMENT 1: "Note: I still would never recommend he installs anything he knows himself to be illegal"

He in my sentence above refers to the gentleman who originally posted this thread - Mr. Keith Fraley (HE is the 'integrator')

Based on your 'talking out of two sides of my face' comment, you appear to believe that this next comment contradicts the very sage advice from my first statement:

STATEMENT 2: "This is not legal in my state and I told him so."

Him is my old customer when I was the integrator trunkslammer. (Him is the end user).


You see? In both cases, my advice is for the integrator to not install illegal covert audio surveillance.

Because if they do, they could potentially be joined up in any lawsuit that arises from them installing it for their customer.

I was speaking to Mr. Bolduc in my first statement, and I was referring to the one point of his advice that I did not agree with - advising the integrator in this thread (Mr. Fraley) to install covert audio surveillance for his customer when he (Mr. Fraley) knows this to be illegal.

My 2nd statement above was referring to what I had done (as the integrator) when dealing with a customer who I felt would most likely do it himself anyway.


These two statements do not contradict each other. Only one side of my face was required.

Way to save face!

Mr. Marty, thanks of your reply, It was educational. The hypocricsy of your advice though still remains. You advice Keith to not install because its illegal. Then in your case, a client tells you he is planning for something illegal, so you write a document detailing your knowledge of the law regarding audio.
And then with full knowledge of intent of the perpetrator and of clear written knowledge of the law you "educate" your customer on where one should obtain the finest microphones, aka exhibit A.
In your country that makes you an "accessory before the fact",

"A person who aids, abets or encourages another to commit a crime but who is not present at the scene. An accessory before the fact, like an accomplice may be held criminally liable to the same extent as the principal."
Unless you wish to argue you don't aid your customers.

If the enraged OJ told you of his murderous plans, would you think it ok to tell him where to get the sharpest knives?

I'm not sure how I could make my position any more clear. Quite possibly the problem lies not in my explanation, but in your lack of comprehension.

I would normally reply with further clarification to your erroneous comments - as I love to debate legal points.

However, I have completely lost interest in what you are saying.

I comprehend you calling me stupid and I probably can be, but even an idiot like me can see that:

You helped someone planning to commit a crime.
You knew it.

Well, now, that's an interesting notion. Has anyone ever been prosecuted, or even charged, with selling microphones?

Quite possibly, But I'm not sure you really wanted an answer.

The first comment to disparage the intelligence level of any party in this string was this:

"It sound like you are talking out of two sides of your face."

You said that.

I called you stupid? Wrong - I refuted your statement.

You continued to ignore (or fail to comprehend) the intent of my comments to advance your agenda to inflame this discussion (for some reason), by responding to my clarification with more gibberish about me being an 'accessory after the fact'.

If your comment had any merit, I would have debated legal theory with you. But it didn't.

Ari's Point: It is not illegal to sell microphones... even in/to jurisdictions where covert audio surveillance is not legal. I would go further. It is not even illegal to install a microphone in such an area. It is just illegal to use that microphone covertly.

What the customer does - on his own - after being informed of the legalities of doing such a thing, and after signing a document stating they have been advised of this information - now places the 'intent' directly onto the shoulders of the customer - and protects the integrator from being enjoined in any lawsuit.

You can debate the morality of my advising the customer where to buy the best microphones that would be illegal to install and use covertly. But stating that I am making two disparate recommendations is wrong.

Which leads me to think that I was right all along after you began slinging mud with your 'two sides of my face' comment:

Carl's point (verbatim): "Apples and oranges. Methinks you are just attempting to inflame the discussion."

I take blame for the first provocation to you, Marty and my negative energy that kept it ongoing. I see that by your post amount number that you are a very high member and I should not have been bold at you like that.
I know the reason for my quick, jerky reaction was I think due to culture and my ignorance so let me introduce myself, I am Tedor (Ted) Gligorich, an evangelical from Belgrade, Serbia (Yugoslavia).
When I first read your commentary I felt I was riding an ethical rollacoaster and reeling at it, here is why so that you can know that Im not just starting fires to start them firing.
1. You said something about "exclusively female, almost as exclusively hot" employees.
That seemed kinda a lustful thing for a man to say and at the same time not nice to whoever the not hot one(s) were. This must just be a culture difference that Ill get used to.
2. Then it seemed that you were totally repulsed at the thought of someone (slimy) trying to take advantage of the admittedly hot (mostly) employees. That seemed an about turn of face to righteousness and I was thrown.
3. Then after document signing (which seemed implausible to me since how could you 'make' someone sign something saying that they knew what they were doing was illegal, and then not even do the work?), and then you seemed to turn again and not defend the virtue of the women of who you just championed by your mic suggestion.

So thats the honest to God truth of it.
So i didnt know the right way to say it and im sorry, i have now been informed to my chagrin that the expression is 'both sides of the mouth', but anyway it doesnt mean disparaging intelligence, just saying one thing and doing something else. But now I know it was just good humor, so dont hold it against me, ok, friends? :)


No worries. :) I appreciate your insight, and in light of your peace offering I will apologize for being a douchebag (that's an american euphemism for a pretentious blowhard).

I like to imagine myself a comedian, so sometimes I will use a phrase or term merely for affect.... this can sometimes have the unintended consequence of pissing people off who don't 'get' my bizarre brand of comedy. :)

Also, I have a real weakness for debating obscure points. It's kind of annoying - even to me.

Please do not take my comments too seriously. And when you read my stuff and wonder if I am joking.... I probably am.

My inner child likes to be outside more often than not... :)

Next time you are in Belgrade ring me up, I know couple of 'exclusive' clubs that can introduce you to our, ah, 'culture' (euphemastically?).

*How come it shows the lifeguard is blowing picture after we made peace post?

Marty Major, I indeed want to revoke my doubting statements before, now I came across this post which explains that it was at the same moment you were installing video that you were asked then to add audio. Which makes good reason why he would have to sign, otherwise no video for him!

Now I don't want you to think I am opening up a bag of worms with you, but was wondered about this word 'scumbaggery' because I think I can use it. But I thought it might be a type-of-graphical error, its not in my student dictionary, should it be 'scumbuggery' instead like a little mini 007 bug recorder? Here is what you said:

I was so concerned with his scumbaggery that I made him sign a document I created stating that we had our little discussion and that audio installation was not a part of the install.

thx, T.G.

scumbaggery (uncountable)

  1. (slang) The behaviour of a scumbag

All right, cut it out, everyone. There is no reason to charge anyone with a crime here, unless you're the fashion police.

Disagreement is welcome. Even heated disagreement is useful, and much can be learned from it. Turning this into a blood feud, however, will not benefit the membership.

I'm sure everyone understands. If not, email me at:

Does your whistel mean everyone out of pool (no post), or just no more diving in shallow end (respectful post only)?

Posting is appreciated.

Members should just steer clear of personal attacks and name calling. So standard rules of conduct for any web forum.

Apples and oranges. Methinks you are just attempting to inflame the discussion.

Every Louroe product comes with notification stickers in the box. I'd simply ask the customer where he wants to place the stickers, not ask him whether he wants to place the stickers. If he doesn't, then he'll stop you, at which point you tell him, okay, but here's the stickers that came in the box, and document the fact that you were paid extra to install microphones. You don't want to get stuck holding the bag, like this guy.

Hi all,

Not to digress from the OP's topic too much but out of curiosity, if the RFP requires audio recording capability but does not indicate how it is going to be used (legally, illegally,...), what is the liability of the installer? Is it up to the installer to make sure that the client uses the installation only within legal parameters, e.g. put up signage, getting consent, etc. which is usually the scope of another trade?

What about the DVR/Recording manufacturer that enables their products to record audio without knowing how the end user is going to use it? Or the camera manufacturers that have built in mics/audio input? I see disclaimers like "Audio recording without consent is illegal in certain jurisdictions. [Manufacturer] assumes no liability for use of its products that does not conform with local laws." Why can't installers?

Many high end cameras have a built in mic/audio input and many NVR/DVRs have audio recording capability. Even without enabling them at installation, who's to say the end user won't click on that check box to start recording audio?

To stay on OP's topic, it doesn't sound like this installation is a high end installation. Simple and inexpensive solutions like the Lorex ACCMIC1 allows you to place the Mic at your preferred location, separate from the camera.

As for ideal placement, you'd want the microphone as close as possible to the source audio the client wants to hear. The place being a store, there will be a lot of ambient noise and may require a more high end mic/recorder that can eliminate background noise. This can also be done in post processing.

Hope this helps.

"Audio recording without consent is illegal in certain jurisdictions. [Manufacturer] assumes no liability for use of its products that does not conform with local laws." Why can't installers?"

Because installers are the documented experts.

Because the customer is paying a premium (over the cost of equipment) for this expertise.

Because the installer has an obligation to protect their customers from potential litigation.

Because the customer has an expectation that the expert they hired to install and configure their systems would explain to them what they can, and can not, do with it according to local laws so they can protect themselves.


I cover this topic with our integrator partners each and every certification class I give. I do this because it is important for them to understand this potential liability.

Exporting functionality/privileges is another thing that falls into this category.... imo, integrators simply must have a documented conversation with their customers regarding anything that can potentially cause harm to the customer if used contrary to documented policy. To not have this protection - for both you and your customer - is more risk than should be accepted - by both you and your customer.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and the above is not legal advice.

If you knowingly install something that is illegal it doesn't matter in a court of law how many times you explained it to the customer and anything you may draft up for him to sign won't hold up either. If there are supposed to be signs posted you better do it yourself and take pictures to show it was done properly because if push came to shove and for some reason there is some legal trouble they'll be coming for you too. If they don't like it have them hire a trunk slammer that doesn't care either way. Lawyers are expensive.