Date icon10 November 2021

CCTV Camera Sound Recording

For many businesses, CCTV cameras are an important part of their commercial security system which helps keep their staff and business safe. An essential role of this system is ensuring you’re getting the best security by positioning all cameras in the best way, experiencing the best camera quality, and for some business owners, being able to record sound as well as video.

But can your current CCTV cameras record sound, and what do audio recordings mean for your business?  

Can I record sound on CCTV cameras?

Yes, as long as you have the right camera. Most CCTV cameras can record sound either through an integrated microphone or have an input for an external microphone.  

What are the different types of CCTV sound recordings?

There are two ways in which a CCTV camera records sounds; Analog CCTV and IP Camera Systems.

Analog CCTV

Analog CCTV means that any sound is directly fed into the digital video recorder (DVR) from the microphone through analogue signal transmission. The DVR then digitalises the signal so you can listen to the recording.

IP Camera Systems

On the other hand, IP Camera Systems do not require a DVR to digitalise the sound. Instead, the microphone and camera communicate via a digitalised audio file which is then broadcasted to a network video recorder (NVR).

Sometimes IP Cameras are preferred as they don’t need a separate recording device which means they offer great flexibility for installation and are suitable for a range of environments.  

How do I know if a camera is audio ready?

If you’re looking to purchase, or have purchased your own CCTV cameras and wish to know if they record audio, there are a few easy ways of doing so:

  • Look at the product webpage and specifications to see if audio recording capabilities are listed.
  • If you already have the CCTV camera, look to see if you can see a small hole that generally indicates the microphone, or see if there is input at the back for microphones.
  • Take a test recording of yourself speaking and see if the CCTV camera picks up the sound.
  • Contact the camera supplier and ask!  

What are the benefits of CCTV audio?

Although CCTV surveillance systems do a great job of protecting your place of site or property, added layers of security can help give you peace of mind. Audio enabled CCTV helps with that and you can benefit from:

  • Enhancing security. Not only will your CCTV system allow you to feel safe and secure when away from your business, but with the addition of audio recordings, you will have that added layer of security. Being able to hear what someone causing destruction or theft can also benefit any investigation.
  • Lesser blind spots. With any surveillance system, there is likely to be some sort of blind spot, either temporary or permanent. Having sound recordings can give you an idea of any activity within that space by listening to the background noise and any speech.
  • Provides more information. If trespassers or thieves cover their faces whilst carrying out illegal activity, it can hamper an investigation. However, with added audio, they may say something which helps give their identity away.  

It’s great seeing something happening – would it be better if you can speak through the camera?

Many CCTV camera manufactures have started to expand their ranges, from simple systems to those with more features, including built in speakers and microphones. These speakers allow for users to communicate with people they can see on the security systems.

For commercial properties, tannoys and audio are particularly useful. Acting as a preventative measure, the integration can allow operators to broadcast pre-recorded audio files or real time audio to warn off potential criminals when an intruder alert is triggered. Like the domestic models, they can be used inside and outside and allow for business owners to talk to anyone on their cameras. They can be used in a variety of situations including business entrances, cash registers and warehouses, and offer 24/7 protection.  

If I record audio with my CCTV cameras, do I have any legal obligations?

With any commercial CCTV system, there are always legal considerations you must think about, and recording audio is the same. In the UK, CCTV recordings are covered by the Data Protection Act and enforced by the Information Commissions Office (ICO).

Because of this, there are several legal obligations that come with both operating a CCTV system and recording the audio, including:

  • Conversations between members of the public cannot be recorded. There are some limited exceptions to this, but where audio is recorded, it must be for a purpose.
  • Commercial properties must register with the ICO as a CCTV operator, as well as state the purpose of the system.
  • As part of registering with the ICO, businesses also need to pay a data protection fee depending on the business size and turnover.
  • Signs must be clearly mounted and positioned which clearly state that CCTV surveillance and audio recording is in operation.
  • Ensure all footage is kept securely and isn’t kept for longer than necessary (often 31 days).
  • Don’t install surveillance cameras in private places, such as toilets.

If you’re in doubt about your current CCTV system or audio recording setup, always speak to a professional who will be able to guide you through the process and laws.  

Find out more

At TouchStar ATC, our experts believe in a completely bespoke approach to CCTV cameras and surveillance systems.

We’ve been supplying bespoke security solutions to businesses across a variety of sectors including retail for more than 30 years. Our experts are on hand and more than happy to assist you in choosing the right system to suit your organisation. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.      



Lynden Jones TouchStar ATC Managing Director

Lynden joined Touchstar ATC (formally Feedback Data) in a sales role for Access Control in 2010.  Prior to joining the company, Lynden held both Production and Account Manager roles, gaining wide technical and commercial experience within the electronics market.  

In 2013 Lynden was promoted to Sales Director and in 2017 he took overall responsibility of the business as Managing Director.As well as running Touchstar ATC, Lynden still remains extremely active in the sales and key account management aspects of the business. When not involved in the business, Lynden is a keen performance car enthusiast.