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Recording at Home - Audio and Video Best Practices

Adjust Your Settings

Put your phone on airplane mode and mute your notifications.

By putting your phone in airplane mode, you prevent phone calls and text messages from interrupting your recordings. Also, most phones have a “Do not disturb” feature, this will prevent notifications and vibrations from interrupting your audio recording.

Recording Apps

iPhone (iOS): Voice Memo app (included with your iPhone)

Improve the audio quality by recording in lossless format (which is a non-compressed audio file). You can easily do this by going to Settings > Voice Memos > Audio Quality and choosing “Lossless.”

iPhone (iOS): Voice Record Pro app (free with ads or ad-free for $7 USD)

Voice Record Pro is a more powerful version of the built in Voice Memos app. You can control the gain, sample rate, bit rate, and encode quality. You’ll need to use trial and error to see what settings will suit the environment that you are recording in. Try a short test recording and re-listen to it with headphones to see what settings decrease the environmental distortion and sounds clearest.

Android: Titanium Recorder (free with ads)

Titanium Recorder is a powerful voice recorder. Tap the menu button (it has three dots in the top right of the screen) and choose Settings. Here, like in Voice Record Pro, you can adjust the sample rate, bit rate, and gain to make sure that your audio recording is clear in the environment that you are recording in. Just like above, try a short test recording and re-listen to your recording with headphones and change the settings as necessary.

 

Set Up Your Recording Space

Ensure that your microphones are not covered or obstructed.

First, find where your phone’s microphones are located. They are usually at the bottom of the smartphone because that’s where you’d speak into if you were making a phone call. They could also be by the camera(s). Just make sure that when you are recording, you don’t have a case or your finger covering these microphones. By uncovering your microphones, you will prevent your recording from sounding muffled or garbled.

Point your microphones towards your main speaker.

Most phone microphones are directional and if your microphones are pointed away from the main speaker, it relies on the echos or reverberations of the speaker’s voice off of the wall or table. These echos are really hard to decipher and cause the audio quality to be very poor.

 

When recording, hold your smartphone like this:

 

Not like this (Left image = too close to mouth; Right image = microphone is pointed away from speaker)

  

 

For big rooms, bring the microphone closer to the speaker.

If you are recording in a conference room and want to better transcribe your meeting minutes, pass the phone around from speaker to speaker. Having the microphone closer to the speaker will make the audio sound much better. Also, if you are recording a lecture or a speech, sit in the front row if possible; do not try to record from ten rows back.

 

Don’t record in these spaces. 

Recording in a “reflective room” like a bathroom or kitchen causes too much echo. Outside can also be problematic due to wind and other environmental sounds (cars, mowers, dogs barking).

 

Consider a DYI Home Studio Setup

If possible, consider a space where you can fashion a mini-recording space with blankets or tapestry. These materials dampen the sound and give a truer recording of your voice.


 

Turn off any fans, air conditioners or other sources of background noise while you record.