MacBook Voice Recording that's iPhone Playable?
January 12, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

What’s a good hardware/software solution to be able to record my voice with my MacBook Pro such that I’m able to playback on my iPhone?

I am studying for some professional exams and I'd like to record some of my notes/summaries/thoughts such that I can play them back on my iPhone while working out/driving/etc. The terms seem to general to get a good Google result, so I was hoping someone here had a thought as the best way and products to do this. An external mic sounds like a good idea from the information I have found, but haven't found any good recommendation for a certain one. And then, any thoughts on what software to use to record? Do I have to convert it somehow to play on the iPhone? I am willing to buy additional software. Basically, I'm looking for what hardware/software elements and process will allow me to succeed in my goals of recording myself speaking this information. Or better google words ;-)
posted by ewiley28 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Personally, I'd get an MP3 voice recorder, which saves the hassle of having to do this on the computer. Once you have recorded what you want, sync the device to your computer and import the MP3s to iTunes.

The easy alternative is to use Garageband, either with the built in mic or an external mic.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:00 AM on January 12, 2010

You shouldn't have a problem with using either GarageBand or the free Audacity. Just record using the built-in mic, save as an MP3, and load to your iPhone using iTunes. GarageBand even has an way way to export your sounds directly to your iTunes library.
posted by General Malaise at 8:14 AM on January 12, 2010

Best answer: Do I have to convert it somehow to play on the iPhone?

Depends on the recorder you use. Some simple ones will record straight to WAV or even MP3, which iTunes and the iPhone can handle. WAV files are uncompressed, however, and will be pretty large.

Using Garageband, per Admiral Haddock's suggestion, will let you easily edit your recordings to remove pauses, mistakes, interruptions, etc. It's kind of a complex piece of software, though, and definitely overkill for this purpose if you don't need to do a lot of editing.

A simpler program that will export the recording straight to iTunes in mp3 format would be Voice Recorder.

I would give Garageband a try and if you have to spend more than 10 minutes figuring it out, either buy a physical mp3 recorder or buy a simple program like Voice Recorder.
posted by jedicus at 8:15 AM on January 12, 2010

I did this last semester with GarageBand, exported the recorded lecture to .mp3, and then put that on my iPod. It worked fine, although I don't think it really helped, and I stopped doing it after about the third lecture.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:34 AM on January 12, 2010

Gah, there's an app built in to the iPhone called voice recorder!
posted by Aquaman at 8:39 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with Aquaman (don't get to say that often). Use the built in mic and record program on the iphone. If that is lacking here are a couple external mics you can attach to the phone to boost sound quality.

Mini Capsule Microphone


I have a habit of recording terrible Karaoke when I encounter it with the built in iphone mic and recorder app, and it usually sounds pretty good.
posted by travis08 at 9:14 AM on January 12, 2010

The Voice Memos app on the iPhone has some bugs. It often loses long recordings. They can be recovered, but the process is not simple. Furthermore, the application appears to make a .mov file as it records and then turn it into an .m4a for regular playback and syncing. While that process is ongoing the app needs lots of storage space, which the asker may not have on her iPhone but probably does on her computer.

Also, for a long recording you'd probably want the iPhone plugged into a power source anyway, so why not go ahead and use the laptop as long as you have to be tethered to the wall or a computer? Add to that the possibility of losing the recording by accident if you get a phone call and I think it makes sense to use the computer to do the recording.
posted by jedicus at 9:36 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Good points on the iPhone Voice Memo app, jedicus, although there are other voice recording apps available, too. I'll second Audacity as a perfect free pc audio solution.
posted by Aquaman at 2:16 PM on January 12, 2010

Audacity is also available for the mac. I'm not sure if it's any easier to use than GarageBand though.
posted by chairface at 2:25 PM on January 12, 2010

Response by poster: I'm going to give GarageBand and Audacity each a once over and see which one makes more sense. The idea of just an MP3 recorder is an obvious one that I just somehow overlooked, so I may go that route instead. Thanks so much!
posted by ewiley28 at 6:23 AM on January 13, 2010

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