Ideas for enhancing smartphone audio recording for live events
March 26, 2011 12:14 PM   Subscribe

RecordingFilter: I got the idea of using my new Android phone to make a live recording. I just used the Voice Recorder app that came on the phone. The resulting recording is obviously pretty low quality, but not completely terrible. How can I find ways to make future smartphone recordings sound better?

Obviously the phone is never going to be equal to a real mic and recording set-up, but I'm interested in exploring what the phone is capable of. It sure is convenient.

I'd like to be able to use my Droid Incredible for recordings for some podcasting projects. The sound is pretty decent if you speak directly into the mic in a quiet space, but for times when I am recording out "in the field" (house concerts, busy outside street space, et cet) the sound quality obviously goes down quite a bit.

I have some experience editing sound with Audacity and Levelator, and the biggest problem I've had is cleaning up "muddy" sound from loud recordings with lots of background sound. Looking for suggestions for:

-Apps that somehow enhance recording or do a better job than the one that comes with the phone

-Techniques for using Audacity to clean up muddy sound (looking for something a little more sophisticated than just using the clean up plugin)

-Techniques for making spoken words "pop" with a lot of background noise.

-Anything else you think could be useful


posted by forkisbetter to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, there are issues with Android's NDK that prevent high quality audio apps from being developed. The latest revision was touted as including new audio APIs but, from what I understand, they are still not up to snuff.

More info here.
posted by voodoochile at 12:51 PM on March 26, 2011

Best answer: This is not directly helpful, other than possibly saving you time, but after finding out about the issues with Android and sound recording, I spent some time going through every free (and some paid with trial) apps about four months ago, and did not find any that were what I would consider good. The best one I found was Rehearsal Assistant, and it was still poor enough that I ended up uninstalling without ever using it. Of course, I wanted to record piano and not voice, so you might have better luck.

My impression of the issue is not that it's necessarily a really crappy mic (thought it might very well be), but that in all the Android builds thus far, the default sample rate is super low, so different apps don't help that much. This thread has some recommendations, but I can't verify anything they say as those apps were still bad for my purposes.
posted by wending my way at 7:50 PM on March 26, 2011

I have the Incredible, btw.
posted by wending my way at 7:51 PM on March 26, 2011

Does it have a plug for an old-school plug-in headset? You could probably wire something up that allows you to plug in a more proper microphone. Or possibly even go in through Bluetooth- it might bypass the crappy codec if the Bluetooth device is doing the digitizing.
posted by gjc at 8:15 AM on March 27, 2011

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