J.P.'s Gear Review v2.0 - Ep. 6 - Professional(-ish) audio recording from your phone?!?
Is it possible to sound professional(-ish) when recording audio and video through your smartphone? Absolutely!
There's a bunch of options out there for every budgets and every needs. Let's explore a few of them, and deep dive on the microphone I ended up pruchasing and how I set it up to record bass and guitar straight from the amp. The prices mentioned are, as usual, in Canehdian Dollars.
A word of warning, though: I am limited by the devices (microphones and smartphones) I actually own. I am an Android user, so I cannot do a full review for Apple users since I do not have an iDevice to test with.
Smartphone evolution, a (very) abridged version
The limits of audio recording on a smartphone
OK, the built-in mics are terrible. What now?
The options I considered
- Maono AU-PM461TR
- RØDE VideoMic series (Me-C or VideoMic GO II, but both are quite similar being in the same series)
- Shure MV88+
|Attempt #1, 2 inches away, in front of the lower left speaker.|
|Attempt #42, 11 inches away, roughly centered|
Uh, Houston? We've had a problem...
|It's pretty far away.|
|Yep, that's 37 inches away from the amp, otherwise it clips like it's going out of style.|
|My highly accurate scientific methodology determined this marketing material is a lie.|
Build quality: 3/10 (The tripod and the swivel base are more solid than the microphone.)
Sound quality: 2/10 (There are worse microphones out there, but not by much. It's probably OK for the occasional Skype call, but not much else. The more I used it, the worse it got in terms of crackling and popping, before spectacularly failing when I was halfway done testing it.)
RØDE VideoMic series microphones
Build quality: NA/10 (I don't own it.)
Sound quality: 7/10 (The audio demos I found showed that it's a great microphone for voice, OK for acoustic instruments but lacks some depth and low end that would cause some issues with recording bass or any electric instrument.)
The microphone (and its accessories)
|Yes, the microphone is stuck in the A25D clip. I physically cannot remove it without breaking something.|
The Shure Motiv apps
- Gain (from 0 to +36dB)
- Polar pattern:
- Stereo, with width from 60° to 135°
- Mono Cardioid
- Mono Bidirectional
- Raw Mid-Side
- Enable or disable the Limiter
- Level of (sound) compression, from off to heavy
- High-pass frequency
- Left-right swap
|Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale are official Shure MV88+ tripod risers, and are available at your local grocery store!|
Build quality: 10/10 (The microphone itself is solid, and they did not cheap out on the included accessories.)
Sound quality: 10/10 (It's an awesome all-around microphone and it will sound good in any situation its used in. I'm pleasantly surprised at how versatile it is.)
Extra: microphone placement and extra accessories
- Use a tiny table that won't impede sound travel to rise the tripod;
- Suspend the microphone from the ceiling with strings;
- Politely ask someone to hold your microphone for you;
- Get a small adjustable mic boom.
|As I said, it weighs a metric ton.|
|Amazon Warehouse decided it was a good idea to ship it in three nested boxes.|
Once unpacked, assembled, and installed, it occupies about a 7 inches deep strip of real estate in front of my amps. The massive chunk of cast iron that serves as the base is 4½ inches wide and 8 inches long. The counterweight can be removed if not needed, but it looks weird so I left it on.
Build quality: 10/10 (At 17lbs, you are most likely to break your toes on it than anything else. The removable counterweight is great, and the locking screws are easy to adjust.)