This workshop was originally created in 2022 for a group of queer seniors (Quirk-e) in Vancouver Canada. Feel free to use the instructions so you can be more comfortable using digital devices.
Why not try this? Although this is a tutorial about recording, you can develop listening skills at the same time. The first activity is to record two different times. Try recording about 30 seconds of your voice or other sounds. Have a listen. Try recording again in another room or outside and see if you can hear any differences in the quality of your voice and background sounds.
If you’re on an iPhone, use Voice Memos to record the sample sounds. It comes with your cell.
If you are an Android user, download Easy Voice Recorder. It is easy to use and the workshop will be more straightforward if we’re all using the same app.
If you are not sure how to download the app, do a Google Search for Easy Voice Recorder ON YOUR CELL PHONE and download it. You’ll have to give permission to access your microphone and save files to your cell.
Below are step by step instructions on recording with an iPhone vs an Android phone.
There are many iPhone models on the market, but to show that an older phone works well too, I used an iPhone 6 for this tutorial. You can always record audio using the iPhone camera/video recorder, but the files are larger. Here we’ll focus on recording audio only.
The microphone is located on the bottom of the iPhone so make sure that it points toward the sound source. If you are speaking into the phone, make sure it is close enough to record your voice but not so close that it sounds distorted. Be sure to listen to your recording so you can tell what’s working best.
Using Voice Memos
There are even more cell models using the Android operating system. In this test, I’m using an older Motorola model, the Moto e. When I looked for a voice recording app, it wasn’t there.
Follow these steps to download a third-party app from Google Play, Easy Voice Recorder. The workshop will be simpler if we’re all using the same app.
The microphone is usually located at the bottom of your Android cell so make sure that it points toward the sound source. If you are speaking into the phone, make sure it is close enough to record your voice but not so close that it sounds distorted. Listen to your recordings and experiment.
Using Easy Voice Recorder
Sharing – it depends on the device you’re trying to share with. As a Mac computer user, I began by pairing the Mac and Moto e cell using Bluetooth. This worked well to transfer the files created with Easy Voice Recorder (but it took a few tries to make it work). You can also use your Gmail account to attach the file, but the cell phone’s default setting may send a smaller version of the file. More on settings in the coming tutorial.
To rename the file in either system, just tap on the name, delete the old name and type in a new one using the keyboard.
Think about the two recordings you made at the start of this tutorial. You were comparing the sound of your voice when you were recording in one location and then another. Did you notice a difference? You might hear differences like the sound of a fan going (turn it off when recording) or outside sounds (try closing the window). If you are not editing the sound, you might not care. When you are editing, you will find that dramatic shifts in background sound can be distracting.
This exercise asks you to pay attention to your acoustic environment. Did the recording sound better when you were speaking in a smaller or larger room? One with lots of curtains or bare walls? Try to hear the difference.
When you are using the phone as a digital recorder without an external microphone, make sure you do some testing before recording a crucial interview.
Your own voice might sound fine in the recording because you are close to the cell, but the person on the other end of your call may sound less clear. Remember that their voice is affected while being recorded on their own phone and the playing back through the speaker on your phone.
The default format for audio files is often M4A or MP3. If you are recording a version of Happy Birthday and want to send it to someone on a special day, this format is great.
When you’re planning to edit your sound recordings, you usually begin with higher quality sound recordings such as WAV or AIFF files. After editing, you’ll compress them to a format like MP3 or M4A which is light weight for streaming or email attachments.
We’ll look at the decision-making process in more depth as we go. In the next tutorial, let’s dive into settings you might use to control the recording quality and file size.