Cell Recording Settings

Learning more about sound recording

Try to think about your whole project now that you’ve learned a few basics of recording with your cell. Let’s look at about file size and format.

If you are recording sound to use in a project like an audio book or podcast, try recording in a file format that gives your editor something to work with. That means recording a file with enough parameters for an editor to make adjustments, like WAV or AIFF or an uncompressed file.

How can you learn to record good quality sound? These days, there are plenty of online tutorials. If you have a Vancouver Public Library card, you have access to LinkedIn Learning. The workshops have beginner levels – do a search for “Audio Recording” and find a workshop at your level. Plan to spend a few hours studying. Their videos tend to be a little older and focus more on fundamental concepts, as opposed to YouTube videos which tend to be up to date.

You’ll encounter online videos promoting one microphone or another. You’re better off to try before you buy. At the very least, look at how others use the same mic.

Try an external microphone with your cell or another digital recorder (if you have access to one). Try renting a microphone and digital audio recorder if you can afford it.  

Why not try this? The basics. Before trying all those options, try to adjust the settings on your cell.

Changing the cell settings

On your Android and on your iPhone, you can record uncompressed WAV or AIFF files by downloading third party apps.

Here are two quick ways to a higher quality sound file – first, record in WAV (or AIFF) format. Then make sure that your cell phone exports the uncompressed file and does not substitute a lower quality one.

Getting confused with all these file names? See this online tutorial from Premium Beat to learn more about current sound file formats. 

Don't forget to Re-Name your files

Unless you give your files a name, they will have a default name, like Lorna Memo1, Lorna Memo2 etc. That name will mean nothing to you when you’re trying to find it next week. Give a specific name. Include the date if that info is important. There are plenty of tutorials on naming conventions, but to boils down to this: Pick a name that you will recognize in the future.


There are plenty of tutorials online showing the basic use of Voice Memos. For example, see this one in Apple Support.

When you use Voice Memos on the iPhone, an Apple file M4A is created; you can choose a lossless (uncompressed) or compressed version.

Changing Settings in Voice Memos

iPhone - tap on Audio Quality for next item
In the Settings menu, find Voice Memos. Tap on the Audio Quality item (says Lossless in grey above)
iPhone - Choose between Compressed and Lossless
Choose between Compressed (smaller file size but not as good for editing) or Losless (larger file size, better for editing)

To give me more options when recording, I downloaded a free app from the Apple Store called Voice Recorder: Audio Editor by Hieu Nguyen which was highly rated. Easy Recorder lets you to record in the higher resolution WAV or AIFF formats.

Change Settings in Audio Recorder

iPhone - After downloading, the Audio Recorder interface
Here's the Audio Recorder interface. Tap on the top right icon for Settings. If you are recording, press the red dot to start.
iPhone - From top right Audio Recorder settings icon, tap on File Format
In the Settings menu, tap on File Format to choose. You can see the menu for Default file name, useful for multiple versions of the same recording.
iPhone - Choose the file format you want to work with
Choose the lower resolution M4A if you're not editing. Choose AIFF or WAV if you are editing. Check your editing app or editor to see whether they prefer AIFF or WAV files.


On your Android device, you can make adjustments to the sound recording quality within the Easy Voice Recorder app.

Changing Settings in Easy Voice Recorder

Easy Voice Recorder - look for the 3 dots at the top of the Record tab
Under the Record tab, look for three dots menu in the top right corner.
Easy Voice Recorder - Tap on Settings
Easy Voice Recorder - Tap on Settings
Mic preset - choose between Voice Notes, Meetings and Lectures and Music and Raw Sound
Mic preset - choose between Voice Notes, Meetings and Lectures and Music and Raw Sound. Sound quality - choose Low, Medium or High
Easy Voice Recorder - Under Settings and Tuning, you'll find an Encoding menu. Under format, choose WAV for the best quality (also largest file size). Noise suppression and Echo cancellation are also under the Tuning menu.

Mic Sensitivity and Noice Suppression Settings

The idea behind the Noise Suppression setting is that it cuts out background sounds that might distract from the vocal recording. Sometimes there are outside sounds you cannot control and you’ll want to tone them down a little. Your voice will likely sound differently when it is recorded with a good quality external microphone instead of the built in microphone that comes with your cell phone. Generally, newer model iPhones have quite good sound, but there are adjustments to make them sound even better.

To increase the sensitivity (gain) of the internal microphone, use the same buttons on the side of your iPhone that increase the volume.

On the iPhone, the Phone Noise Cancellation off/on switch is under General>Accessibility>Hearing. The default setting is On.

If you’re recording with an Android device, you’ll have to download an app to help control the audio from an external microphone.

An online search will show you different devices you could use to record audio like external microphones and digital audio recorders.

With external devices, you also have to think about how to share the files with the computer you’ll be editing on.

Strategically, practice recording with your cell and see how it sounds when you play it back. Get comfortable with the equipment and apps before you record an important interview. Learn from what doesn’t sound good and think about how you could perform remote interviews with clearer sound. 

A free and simple sound editing app is called Audacity. It can be downloaded for Mac or PC. Now that you’ve learned to use the settings menu, let’s look at how to share your sound recordings.

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