I wanted to capture the gentle off-shore breeze, the lapping of waves and the rhythmic rolling of stones tossed up by the surf.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years
Pro audio recording from your tablet or phone
September 28, 2014
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard
The last time Nancy and I camped on the Texas coast, I recorded the surf.
Don't laugh. Realistic, gimmick-free tapings of the ocean at night are rare. I wanted to capture the gentle off-shore breeze, the lapping of waves and the rhythmic rolling of stones tossed up by the surf.
I wasn't disappointed. I now have three or four stereo high-fidelity recordings, each 20 minutes or longer, of an evening spent on an all-but-deserted beach near Corpus Christi. They're completely unedited, without audio compression or any fiddling with the controls of my recorder.
I know, I'm a little nuts. Always been that way. I recorded trains going past my Rochester home years ago. Birds in the garden. Dogs playing in the yard.
Those previous recordings were made with a huge open-reel recorder at the end of a hundred-foot electrical cord. (I told you it was years ago. Look up "open reel" in Wikipedia for a taste of the past.)
This time, I was able to carry all my equipment in one hand. I used a pro-level stereo microphone, the Yeti, from Blue Microphones (www.bluemic.com/yeti), selling for $106 to $149 (Amazon might have the best price). For the recorder itself, I used my largest Android tablet, the Acer 200. The results this time were digital instead of the analog recordings from the earlier era. They were much better.
The secret was the way the microphone connected to my tablet. Stay with me now, because everything I'm saying about a tablet applies to a smartphone. I could have made these stunning recordings with my stereo mike and a phone.
Android phones and tablets usually have no USB recording ability built in. To get around this, I installed the excellent USB Audio Recorder Pro from the Play Store. It's $6.71. Avoid other USB recording apps; they're universally inferior.
(Important: Make sure you read the description at the Play Store! Your Android device may not be compatible with this software. It MUST have a USB input, for one thing.)
iPhone and iPad users can use the USB-to-Apple connector, which is part of the Camera Connection Kit from Apple. I've found the GarageBand app to be ideal for recording. I used my iPad with GarageBand and made gorgeous stereo recordings.