What's the best audio recording app for iPhone?
February 18, 2013 10:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project that requires me to record a couple dozen interviews (two speakers max). Each interview is 45 minutes to an hour and a half in length. I have an iPhone 5 and want to use it to make my recordings. I need to send the recordings to a transcriber. I'm looking for a simple, reliable app that will make clean recordings. I'd like to avoid using an external mic if I can. Any favourites you can suggest? No preference for free or paid apps, I just want something that works well and is foolproof.

The interview subject will be seated and there will be little to no background noise to deal with. I've seen this question, but it's kind of old and I don't have a need to make broadcast-quality recordings. I just need the recording to be clear enough for the transcriber to do her job.

Bonus question: Are there any apps that will let me record on my phone and then directly transfer the file to a Dropbox folder through the app on my phone?
posted by Felicity Rilke to Technology (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Hindenburg Field Recorder does a great job, I find.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 11:03 AM on February 18, 2013

How "clean" or "clear" the recording is has nothing to do with the app used to make the recording; that's a function of the microphone. So you might want to start by experimenting with the built-in Voice Memo app and the built-in mic to see if you can really get acceptable quality without adding an external mic.

Here's a recent roundup of recording apps; you might want to check out DropVox for easy Dropbox integration.
posted by RogerB at 11:34 AM on February 18, 2013

The built in recorder has given me nothing but headache - just went through a hellish exp trying to convert to MP3 just to try transcribing from music app instead of the voice recorder app.

Who will be tramscrubing? Most of the better lolling interfaces seem tied to xribe services
posted by tilde at 11:51 AM on February 18, 2013

Sorry, I let my hate get in ther way of reading all the way down.

If you have chosen a service, they might have an app that works for both of you.
posted by tilde at 12:06 PM on February 18, 2013

I use iTalk and I'm pretty happy with it. I like that you can change the quality of the recording and get the file size down to a manageable one.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:09 PM on February 18, 2013

Fire is great...you can get the "blue" version -- standard -- or the "red" version -- professional. I use it for work interviews/journalism-type stuff. It creates broadcast-quality recordings.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Dictamus is both expensive and all sorts of amazing. I use it to dictate first drafts as I wander around my house.

Reasons why I prefer Dictamus to the half dozen or so other apps I experimented with:
- Exports to dropbox, itunes, or pretty much anywhere else.
- Integrates effortlessly with services that do transcription, eliminating all the hassles of uploading (and giving easy access to much cheaper services)
- Voice activation! So it only records when you're talking.
- User-adjusted microphone sensitivity.
- Ability to go back and edit existing recordings (inserting, speaking over).
- Variable playback speeds.

There are other apps that do these things and do them pretty well. All I can say is that I stopped looking for something better when I finally bought Dictamus. If you're hesitant about the cost ($17!), there's a free version where you can try out the interface, though it only does 30 second recordings.
posted by eisenkr at 9:06 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I imagine the makers of the Dictamus are pricing it against other dictaphones and dedicated voice recorders, not the world of smartphone apps.

Do all these options work well with just the iPhone mike, or do any of them do better with an external mike?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:51 AM on February 19, 2013

FiRe's not bad. I'd rather be able to FTP it to myself but it's got a nice interface I'm enjoying at transcription time.

Gizmodo just came out with their recc: Audio Memos, but the playback interface still looks pretty hard to manage for on-phone transcribing to me.
posted by tilde at 1:54 PM on February 22, 2013

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