People who study EVP use several types of devices to record the sounds. They may use old-fashioned cassette or reel-to-reel recorders or more modern digital recorders. Most researchers say the cost of the recorder is unimportant -- that inexpensive recorders work just as well as expensive ones.
They attach an external microphone to the recorder, one with a long enough cord so that it avoids picking up the sound of the tape recorder itself. The external microphone also enables the researcher to record his or her thoughts while the process is underway. Headphones are often used because many of the voices are soft and difficult to hear otherwise.
Jennifer Lauer, director and founder of the Southern Wisconsin Paranormal Research Group, is called on regularly by companies and homeowners to document paranormal activity. She describes the recording process her team uses:
We'll go out to the location and we'll interview the witnesses and find out what is going on -- what they're seeing and hearing. We'll also take equipment readings to make sure what they're sensing isn't an electromagnetic field or radio waves. We record EVP in two different ways, depending on what type of haunting it seems to be ... EVP can be a residual type of energy. It can be a clip that happened at one time and replays itself like a movie. If it's a residual haunting, we let the tape recorder go in the room to see if we pick up anything. With an intelligent haunting [meaning that an actual spirit is present], we would ask questions because we know we would get answers ... We sit down in a group of four to six people. We put the tape recorder in a central location between all of us. We proceed to one by one ask a question to whatever is in the room. After our question, we leave about 20 seconds of airtime for the question to be answered, and then the next person will ask a question.