How to record clear sound on a smartphone voice recorder

When you suddenly need a voice recorder, there is nothing more convenient than a smartphone. Journalists record interviews and press conferences on it, students – lectures, bloggers – voice for a video blog or podcast, musicians – sketches and rehearsals. However, it is not always possible to get sound of acceptable quality on a smartphone. This does not mean that you need to build a recording studio and upholstery walls with mineral wool – there are several simple and affordable ways for everyone to improve the quality of the recorded audio. We will talk about them in the article.

5 easy ways to improve your sound

1. Find out where the microphone is located. Usually there are two of them – below, where to speak, and next to the camera. Some smartphones are equipped with three microphones, for example, the iPhone 12 has an additional microphone next to the speaker. You need to make sure that the holes for the microphone are not covered by the case and other peripherals, and you should also not block it with your finger. It is easy to guess that you need to position your smartphone with a microphone to the sound source. You don’t need to speak back to the microphone – so it will go off scale, and there will be noise and distortion on the recording.

2. Find the best location. The setting for sound quality is really important. Even professional microphones for journalists are not always able to cope with strong winds outside, although they are covered with a huge “furry” cover so that the wind does not howl directly into the capsule. The modest microphone of a smartphone is devoid of such protection, therefore, if there is a choice, then the recording should be made in a room with closed windows and doors – this will remove some unnecessary sounds.

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If the task is to record audio in windy weather, then you can try to make a semblance of windscreen from the shagiest woolen sock in your grandmother’s closet. Pulling one on a smartphone, you can also adjust the sound of the microphone – it will become a little softer, the sharp hissing sounds “s”, “w”, “ts” and also explosive consonants “p” and “b” are muffled, so you get an impromptu pop filter … On the Internet, there are also special covers for such things, if a sock was not found.

3. Get rid of the echo. If it is a huge auditorium or conference room, then rolling echoes in such rooms are commonplace. In this case, it is better to sit as close to the speaker as possible so that the echo and noise of the audience do not drown out his speech.

If you can choose a room on your own, then it is best to pay attention to the smallest and most cluttered one, with a large amount of furniture, especially upholstered furniture, bookcases and shelves. The fact is that the echo in a room is formed due to large flat surfaces parallel to each other. If the surfaces are small and with complex geometries, the sound will be sprayed in different directions. You can read more about how to improve acoustics by simple means here .

4. Turn off all sounds. Regardless of the environment, it’s always a good idea to turn off all sounds and vibrations on your phone. Putting your smartphone in airplane mode will prevent it from receiving calls and messages. Also, some devices have a Do Not Disturb feature that prevents notifications and vibrations from interrupting audio recording.

 

5. Check the settings. Different smartphones have different audio recording capabilities. For example, iPhones can record in lossless format using the native Dictaphone application. You can switch to recording uncompressed audio in the settings.

Settings → Voice Recorder → Sound Quality → Lossless

Third Party Applications
You need to understand that the capabilities of the audio recording application are limited by the capabilities of the microphone itself. However, they open up many useful functions that will help you record sound in the optimal format, process it and save it to the desired category.

A good audio recording application should allow:

Control the microphone input level (gain level).
Change the sampling rate.
Show the current level on the display so that the user can always correct it if necessary.
Save files in different formats (at least in wav and mp3).
Optional, but can be useful to send the recorded audio file by email or save it to the cloud
For example, Voice Record Pro for iOS allows you to play with the settings right from the main screen of the application. You can lower the input gain level to avoid distortion, or increase the sample rate, bit rate, and encoding quality.

For those who record speech for transcription, the Voice Recorder & Audio Editor application comes in handy . It does not contain a lot of settings, but for a fee it allows you to automatically decrypt text from audio. The upgrade costs five dollars.

RecForge II is popular on Android – the application allows you to skip chunks of silence, extract sound from video, recognize tempo in music and control available microphones.

Also, many advise Easy Voice Recorder Pro – it has an editing mode that allows you to cut and delete unnecessary parts of the recording, support for folders, control through the notification panel, etc.

Such applications are indispensable for working with external microphones. They allow you to control the level of connected devices and record them all at the same time.

External microphones

Many headsets offer quite good audio recording quality. Many people use them to record podcasts and voice for vlogs. For example, the Apple EarPods headset is praised for its decent sound and is often used for voice recording.

However, the headset is usually inserted inexpensive electret microphone, which can not boast of outstanding performance ( here more about the evolution of microphones). Many people do not like their voice on recording, and cheap microphones in phones and headsets play an important role here. Just as a cheap wide-angle camera in budget smartphones distorts the proportions of a face, an inexpensive microphone with humps and dips in the frequency response distorts the timbre of the voice. Often they do not pick up low and high frequencies, so the voice sounds dull and truncated, like from a telephone (after all, headsets for calls are created).

To make your voice sound nice and pleasant, you need an external microphone. It is especially useful for those who do not just record lectures, but make content for the audience: interviews, podcasts, or a video blog.

Some smartphones with the usual audio jack (usually a TRRS port for headsets) can work with external microphones with a 3.55 mm plug. True, sometimes it’s a lottery due to the difference in the characteristics of the smartphone port and the impedance of the microphone – usually the TRRS connector supports 1.5-2.5 Volts with an impedance of 1-1.6 kOhm, but the parameters may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Fortunately, there are microphones that are made to work with smartphones. Most often these are clothespins with omnidirectional condenser microphones. They fasten to clothes, record good quality sound, know how to work with camcorders and cameras, therefore they are popular among journalists and video bloggers.

Microphone BOYA BY-M1 1 599 *
There are also microphones with digital connections. Moreover, the issue of connecting to a device is often solved with a conventional adapter, so the microphone can still be used with video cameras, and besides them, with any iOS devices, if we are talking about the lightning connector.

For Android, there are many USB type-c microphones – from loops to desktop. This will allow you to start a high-quality stream from a smartphone in any location and record a voice and even acoustic instruments on a tablet in excellent quality.

Sometimes a wireless solution is required, for example, to record two people on the street at a distance from each other. And that’s not a problem either – there are digitally connected radio systems that support multiple microphones at the same time. They consist of a transmitter and a receiver: a microphone is plugged into the transmitter, the receiver is connected to a smartphone.