A comparison of acoustic correlates of voice quality across different recording devices: a cautionary tale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a recent increase in speech research utilizing data recorded with participants' personal devices, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on face-toface interactions. This raises important questions about whether these recordings are comparable to those made in traditional lab-based settings. Some previous studies have compared the viability of recordings made with personal devices for the clinical evaluation of voice quality. However, these studies rely on simple statistical analyses and do not examine acoustic correlates of voice quality typically examined in the (socio-) phonetic literature (e.g. H1-H2). In this study, we compare recordings from a set of smartphones/laptops and a solid-state recorder to assess the reliability of a range of acoustic correlates of voice quality. The results show significant differences for many acoustic measures of voice quality across devices. Further exploratory analyses demonstrate that these differences are not simple offsets, but rather that their magnitude depends on the value of the measurement of interest. We therefore urge researchers to exercise caution when examining voice quality based on recordings made with participants' devices, particularly when interested in small effect sizes. We also call on the speech research community to investigate these issues more thoroughly.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINTERSPEECH 2021
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association
Place of PublicationBaixas, France
PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association (ISCA)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781713836902
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventINTERSPEECH (22nd : 2021) - Brno, Czech Republic
Duration: 30 Aug 20213 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH
ISSN (Print)2308-457X
ISSN (Electronic)1990-9772


ConferenceINTERSPEECH (22nd : 2021)
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • voice quality
  • non-modal phonation
  • creaky voice
  • COVID-19
  • home recordings
  • smartphone recordings
  • online research


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