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Author Topic: Field recording with cell phones  (Read 6928 times)
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Force Neurotic
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« on: November 17, 2015, 06:15:08 AM »

At first I thought of it as "cheating," because I do miss my now-broken handheld tape recorder, but I'm slowly realizing that sometimes cell phone voice recording functions can do the job. You can't always have a tape recorder or state-of-the-art digital recorder on hand in a sudden moment of inspiration upon hearing a sound and wanting to capture it, so it's at least convenient. Any thoughts? Anyone else who does this? If so, any special techniques?
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 09:07:03 AM »

I've done it, not so much site recordings but trying to find a "low fidelity" way to record materials. Came out reasonably okay.

I once accidentally recorded myself assisting a resident at work and then just as accidentally sending it to Chris Groves of Cipher. He suggested it could be a new format for distributing Noise. Might be worth chasing up - people recording things and just sending copies to others on their contact lists.

I understand Eric Lunde has used phone recordings on some of his releases.
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2015, 12:53:08 AM »

I actually did this on work since i run trought big industrial complex, there are a lot of sounds going (from the machines and other devices around me).
Since i cannot bring a tape recorder or anything big (video survillance in most places), i did use my cell phone to record the sound of machines there.
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2015, 01:16:02 PM »

Yep, good for grabbing something quickly and easily. I use the RODE Rec app - easy to use and a decent range of settings save/send options. There's a free light version for download (iOS at least) so you can have a go before buying the full version.
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sbtdoh
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2015, 07:39:16 PM »

yes.... if I remember. I will mess with it at work or in other areas by trying to capture the sounds yes, but also seeing how I can dirge them up by messing with the phone as I am recording it. I've come to see it this way: anything that records music, keeps you from suicide do to this horrid life, is good. If it makes me feel like its something I would listen to I go for it. I don't care the source or anything else......but I do prefer my mobile tape recorder and use that if I am planning a recording.....cause it's familiar more.
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 08:05:34 PM »

I've used iphone recordings a lot in recent years, actually pretty hi-fi for a phone tho mono of course...
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Euro Trash Bazooka
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2015, 11:26:38 AM »

I've done it as well. I guess the most important thing when using a cell phone to record sound sources is to make sure the bitrate quality is as high as possible so that when you start messing with the recording, you don't lose too much of its quality. I really hate recordings that clip or stuff that you can tell has been recording on crappy bitrates.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2015, 02:21:57 AM »

Been doing this more and more since I often don't have my recording deck handy most of the time, I really enjoy creating samples from the recordings and using those as a different tool than what I'd normally be doing... If that makes sense...
Like, if before I had a lot of samples from a tape or some synths my sampler would just kind of hang out and be a playback device but using it to create samples from these field recordings frees me to feel better about using my tape loops and synths? I'm using my sampler more as a love instrument despite not making the samples live (I'm sorry I just refuse to have an iPhone onstage so I load the sampler up and slowly re-record and layer things till I have a decent bank or two to work with for a specific recording or set)
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gasskammer
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2015, 09:42:03 PM »

Anyone have some recommendations of software/apps whatever to use when recording with a phone? The days of my old nokia is soon gone, and i just bought my first smartphone and plan to start using it soon. I usually have my recorder at home when i stumble upon a good soundsource (a.k.a constructionsites) by accident, so i hope to make good use of this device.
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andy vomit
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2016, 11:24:15 PM »

i have a tascam PCM recording app on my iphone (PCMRecMKII), works pretty well.  i wouldn't record live with it, but it's good for field recordings, particularly if you're just going to add effects to the sound..
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gasskammer
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 09:24:31 PM »

Thanks, gonna try that.
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vomitgore
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 11:42:37 PM »

I would recommend the "Rec Forge" App. Very simple and gets the job done. Always best to copy the WAV file into the Audacity program (on your Computer) and run compression over it to boost the sound. Even works well for recording "natural" metal scraping and the likes.
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Marko-V
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2016, 08:51:20 AM »

Just prior to my holiday trip to Vietnam I got the free 'Voice Recorder' app for my Sony Xperia just for testing and backup. I didn't expect much but I was pleasantly surprised how it works. Result is of course mono and you have to rely on application's own automatic leveling function (which works quite ok). Recordings sound a bit 'thin' but it is still better than having no recording at all. Nice backup but I wouldn't use it as a main recording media.
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calaverasgrande
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2016, 06:50:31 PM »

I've incorporated a lot of environmental and location sounds into my projects that are recorded this way.
I use the Roland Air Recorder app for IOS.
I've also used my laptop's microphone input to record sounds while I was riding to work on the train or bus. Or while I am working on something in a cafe and jackass is shooting his mouth off at an adjacent table.

The bandwidth of course is severely limited. I have tried counteracting this not so much by boosting the low and high. Which was my first impulse. But by cutting out the bad midrange, or using a de-esser to clean it up.
But then sometimes the shit, irritating, nasal quality of the track is perfect as is.
I got a great capture of a couple of middle aged women cackling like witches about real estate development.
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2016, 06:59:49 PM »

For me recording by cellphones gave more "digital" sound than a strict analog noise, but i prefer recorders in old phones like old Nokias. It had it's magic and leaves voices a little blured i can say.. plus, you can take it whenever you want so for me it's definitely a better solutions than tape recorders even if i couldn't get any "tape noises"
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