Here’s a fact: most smartphones that are released on the market today are capable of producing high-quality recordings. Have a lecture, conference, or interview that you need to have recorded for posterity? Then there’s no need to scrounge around for a dedicated microphone or a portable sound studio- your smartphone can easily do the job.
However, it’s important to note that your phone’s microphone isn’t actually powerful hardware (at least, compared to professional-level mics). By itself, it can manage to do a decent job if you’re in a particularly quiet environment with only one definite source of audio (e.g. a lecturer or conference speaker in a small room, with minimal or no audience). But throw in background noise to the mix, and you might find yourself with useless, incomprehensible audio that would need a lot of work to salvage (if it is salvageable).
You can do a number of things beforehand to ensure that your recordings will be of the highest quality possible:
- Check your surroundings
Here’s an easy way to do this- record a test session first. See if there are unwanted buzzing and humming noises that are getting picked up. Check if there’s an overwhelming background noise too. There is a lot of low frequency sounds that our ears can’t hear but can be easily picked up and recorded by a microphone. What may sound like a quiet room at first may not sound that quiet once recorded through a recording device.
- Make sure your phone’s microphone is not obstructed
Mics are usually located on the bottom of the phone (naturally, since this is near the mouth and where people would speak into when making a call). It’s best to keep this end pointed towards your speaker, unobstructed with anything (e.g. a phone case, your finger, etcetera) that might muffle your recording.
Phone mics are directional mics; should you point it away from the main speaker or source of the sound, it would then mostly pick up the echoes of the speaker’s voice that is bouncing off the table and the walls of the room. This usually results in garbled audio that is hard to decipher.
- Close all other apps
Close all other background apps (except your recording app, of course) that are running on your phone. Imagine the horror of having a crystal clear recording being disturbed by an unwanted Facebook notification or Skype call. Having no other apps running also lessens the chances of your recording app crashing. Better yet, put your device on airplane mode when recording. This ensures that you won’t be disturbed by calls or messages whatsoever while you record your audio.
- Find audio to text converter service like Audext.com so that you don’t lose anything
People usually don’t have the time to sit through a recording of an hour-long lecture, so that’s why they rely on transcriptions. With a transcription, they’ll be able to read through the salient points of a lecture, interview, or conference in a quarter of the time it would take to listen to it. The problem is: transcribing audio also takes up a lot of time too. And if you plan to have the transcribing work outsourced to others, it can be insanely expensive.
Audext is a service that transcribes your audio for you through the power of artificial intelligence. Transcription is done automatically- no need to wait around for hours. Once you’ve passed in audio, your transcription will be ready for you in a matter of minutes. You can then run through the transcripted text, and edit as you will. Most notably, Audext is powerful enough to recognize distinct speakers; it will automatically identify speakers for you and marks them as such.
Some important things to consider: Audext is for AUDIO only. It can only convert audio to text- it can’t transcribe the video. It also can’t convert or generate audio FROM text. It also works best if the audio file does not have background noise (like music or a noisy audience). This is a great tool for journalists, conference speakers, and podcasters who might want to have a written copy of their recordings. It’s also great for students too- an easy way to make lecture notes of their teacher’s or professor’s lectures.