January 19, 2016 at 11:32PM

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Audio monitoring on I-phone

So, I'm currently just using in-camera audio; I wasn't planning on upgrading to an external recorder just yet, but I know you can use an I-phone for the same task. Is there an app out there that not only lets you record audio on the I-phone (with levels and everything) but also supports live audio monitoring? I know that I'd need a special splitter cable to separate the mic/headphone jack and that only certain cables will work with powered vs. unpowered mics, but I haven't even bothered to indulge in those more frustrating details until I first know that the phone can do what I want. I've researched this to no avail myself, but has anyone else found something?

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Hey Adam,

If I understand you right, you want to use your iPhone as an audio recorder and you want to be able to monitor the audio while recording.

This can be done fairly simply. I actually have an older iPod I keep around just for this. I have personally used the "Rode Rec" app, which I think is free & then you can purchase for more advanced features. There is a way in one of the menu's to toggle monitoring on & off.

Then you will want to search for TRRS splitter on Amazon. Make sure it has one port for headphones & one for a microphone. You may have to try a few types to find one that is quality.

Hope that helps!

January 20, 2016 at 12:40PM

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Derek Armitage
Filmmaker & Vlogger
568

It does! I actually was just going to check to see if the rode rec app supported monitoring after I checked this thread. I heard that different cables support different mics (powered and un-powered) Do you (or anyone else of course) know anything about this? I've found the kvconnection cables, but I'd like to spend less than $28 if at all possible. Maybe there's a cheaper option out there?

January 20, 2016 at 1:02PM

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Adam Hocutt
total, utter noob
178

You can get cheaper options but you usually get what you pay for in my experience. As far as powered vs. unpowered, I'm not sure. I've used the rode smart lav & the rode video mic go with my iPhone, both of which are powered from the device.

January 22, 2016 at 8:26AM

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Derek Armitage
Filmmaker & Vlogger
568

All right. I actually found a couple cables that might work. I'm not planning on doing this for a while, but when/if I get everything working, I'll try to remember to post how I set everything up.

January 22, 2016 at 12:36PM

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Adam Hocutt
total, utter noob
178

this question was asked a few months ago, but i'm going to post my experience with this in case it's helpful to anyone who stumbles across it.

i find that iphones are great little recording devices. probably not as pro or high-fidelity as dedicated sound recorders or wireless lavs or whatever. but nowadays, an iphone is readily available (there are possibly probably multiple old idevices that your friends/family just have laying around). heck, even android phones have recording apps. it's the same concept, different phone.

all that you need is a recording app and a mic. you really don't even need a mic, you can always use the mic on the phone. you should at the very least plug in those white headphone/mic/earbud things that normally come with every idevice (like old iphones, there's probably some spares lying around somewhere). these work to at least get the mic closer to the speaker. one nice thing about those ubiquitous headphone/mic/earbud cables is that you can record and monitor yourself without having to purchase additional cables. the sound quality isn't as extra-special as getting a good lavalier mic, but hey, those cables can be had practically for free.

if you have a little spare change, certainly purchasing a cheap lavalier could be nice. i have (and use) both the jk-mic and giant squid lavaliers. they connect into the iphone through the kvconnection cables that work for ecm condenser mics. the cables allow me to plug headphones in and monitor the recording (for recording apps that support that feature). total cost for each set of mic/cables was probably $65-80 at the time. i do wish i could test some cheaper cables, but i am currently on a strict "no spending" diet.

both the jk-mic and giant squid are great sounding mics (although i'm not a sound pro). there are subtle differences in the sound quality between the mics, as well as when connecting through each individual kvconnection cable (one has a deeper, richer sounding tone; or maybe i'm just hearing things). but i doubt the average listener will pick up on the differences, they're close enough.

honestly, i find that it's more important to be able to get your audio properly synced, especially if you have two lav mics or you're trying to mix sound between a lav and a separate sound recorder/device. if you're just using the audio from a single lav, run and be free! when bringing multiple sound sources into a video piece that i'm editing, if the sync is off by a little, there's a subtle echo or ringing to the audio which makes it seem cheap or off. even using plural-eyes, i find that i've had to still niggle the audio into place. so be sure to get a clap before every take. a clap post-take would be awesome as well, so you have an audio marker on the head and tail to easily match.

the tape i use to stick the mics on with is called moleskin (like the dr scholl's brand). the internet seemed to recommend that. it's cheap and easy to purchase at walmarts or any convenience store. it seems to stick to clothes and skin pretty well, while being easy to take off.

be sure to put your phone into airplane mode during any recording, lest you get that noticeable electromagnetic interference noise.

also try to test your mic placement so you make sure you're not picking up any (or excessive) scratching/rustling noises. these sounds are just as distracting as bad audio or em interference. it'll probably take a little practice before you figure this out (i'm still learning myself). i try to think about where i'm sticking the mic and how the actor may be moving during the take and whether their clothes might rub or cause noises. generally i'll place the lav mic somewhere on their chest area, sometimes higher sometimes lower. if the actors hug, be aware that your audio will definitely sound muffled and rustly. so embrace it, or have backup audio, or whatever.

for recording apps that allow you to monitor the audio while recording, i use multitrack daw. not a free app ($9.99), but i had purchased it awhile ago for other sound recording purposes. i like that it records 24bit at 48khz, as well as having a 96khz option. talking to sound people, they recommended i capture my audio at as high a quality/resolution/rate as possible. i've not read anything conclusive about whether the 96khz recording option on the iphone is really 96khz, or whether you need special hardware to record at that sampling rate. (again, not a sound pro) but when i take the recordings into premiere, they do show up as 24bit 96khz files.

other recording apps i've tried which allow monitoring are ferrite and tw recorder. the user interface on ferrite was very easy and quick to understand. i think my complaint about it was the lower maximum recording rate or sampling rate. no real thoughts on tw recorder.

one particular app which i recently noticed is apogee's new metarecorder. with it, you can sync up to 4 idevices and monitor/start recording from one master idevice ($15 in-app purchase for full, multi-device recording functionality). since i'm involved on a super low-budget movie project where we often have two or three actors speaking in a scene, this could be super awesome to be able to monitor everyone without having to go to each actor individually and check/start/stop their recordings (generally we start each actor's iphone and just let them run until we reach a break in shooting. so we end up with a few really long audio files.) i haven't used this app in the field or on set yet, but i'm hoping it can deliver on its promises. would make our lives a little bit easier.

one thing to also check is to make sure that the app and your phone/os combination can handle long recording times (if that's what you need). for some reason, i have one iphone where multitrack daw works perfectly, but a different iphone with newer os where multitrack daw crashes after 10-20 minutes of recording. generally the app saves the audio as a recovered file, but definitely not desirable functionality while shooting for real.

you can probably use itunes to transfer any recordings off of your idevice. i use software called ibrowse, which really lets me root in the directory structure of the device. i prefer it to itunes, although funny enough, i have to have itunes open for ibrowse to be able to see the iphone. i just hate itunes that much.

on android, the free recording app i quickly researched which mostly worked for our purposes is titanium recorder. i don't have an android phone, but some of our cast were shooting a scene and that's all they had, so to figure it out, i installed bluestacks on my windows pc (bluestacks is an android os emulator). it worked pretty well, and with it i was able to have an android os running on my windows system, which let me download and test out different android recording apps. i sure wish ios had an emulator. ::le sigh::

March 25, 2016 at 6:49AM

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min win
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