Multitrack recording on android phone

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by scottser, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    Lady Scottser bought me a hot new android phone for christmas and I want to use it as a multitrack recorder. I've used J4T so I'm going to download that. I'm going to have to get some kind of USB C interface like this one, the bandlab link:

    https://www.bandlab.com/machines/link-analog

    Anybody have any other recommendations?
     
  2. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    There's a couple out there but to be truthful, you're not going to be overwhelmed, and would probably be better served buying a decent I/O or digital recorder. I'm sure the tech has gotten better but I tried an irig a couple years ago and it was pretty bad.

    M
     
  3. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Meister

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    +1 to this.

    I do most of my tracking on cassette, but I'm hoping to collaborate with a friend in Atlanta this year, and I'd really love something simple that I can record and send decent scratch tracks on.
     
  4. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    There's a bunch of good recorders out there that aren't that expensive, you can record what you want as a wav file and send it anywhere. Zoom and Tascam are the two big companies out there.

    M
     
  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know about multitrack. I use an app called Voice Record and it makes very good stereo recordings using the built in stereo mics. It saves to .wav and other formats such as .mp3. So it's certainly good enough for jotting down ideas. If there is a multitrack recorder app I think it should be quite possible to make decent scratch 4-track recordings even if you're just using the phone's built in mics. As far as jacking straight into the phone with an iRig or something else, I don't know about that. Also as pointed out, once you can make a single .wav file, you can import it easily into any DAW. So you could lay down a series of .wav recordings, one at a time, loading each one into a DAW, building up tracks way.

    I was actually planning to do this myself. I have REAPER on a Linux box and when I try to record guitar directly into it using the PC sound card it sounds like crap. But I realized that I can just listen with headphones to the bass/drum tracks I have already laid down in the DAW, and while listening record my guitar using VoiceRecord on my iPhone to record the live signal coming out of my amp. Once I have the .wav file from VoiceRecord I can import it as a new track into REAPER and then line it up time-wise with the tracks I already have and voila, I've added a really good sounding guitar track to the other tracks already in the DAW. A bit kludgy, but compared to how I used to do it with two cassette player/recorders this is rocket science and far higher fidelity. In other words, if you have access to a laptop and a smartphone you have lots more options than if you only have a smartphone. But with the right app you might be able to do everything with just the smartphone. If you find it, let me know-- I might use it, too.
     
  6. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    Multitrack recording on android sounds like an oxymoron.

    I don't know if they've upped their game recently but my try with Kitkat 4.4 and music recording tools was a desaster.
    nothing synced or was compatable.
    pretty useless.
    iPhones don't seem to have these problems.
     
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  7. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    I have an android mixer that's fine but recording, not so good. If you want to close mic an amp or need phantom, I'd say get a zoom.
     
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  8. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use the heck out of my android for songwriting...but only very rudimentary stuff... cataloging musical ideas and lyrics. I use a free app called hd audio recorder. I dont think its got multi track capabilities though. It works great for my purposes.
     
  9. jhawk

    jhawk Tele-Meister

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    I’m a little late to this thread, but I’ve quite enjoyed the Spire multitrack app. You can have up to 8 tracks. They also have an accompanying hardware interface called Spire Studio you can purchase that has a built-in omnidirectional mic, but at $350 it’s more than what I’ve been willing to spend. An omnidirectional mic also isn’t all that appealing to me. However, a bonus of buying the hardware is that it unlocks greater flexibility on the app, like effects and virtual amps.

    I think you could pair the BandLab Link Analog with the Spire app and be reasonably happy.
     
  10. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    I'm even later to the thread and I have an iPhone instead of Android, but I also have the Spire Studio recorder. I started with just the app but decided to try the recorder and see if it enhanced the experience much and I'd have to say it does and I'm getting better sounding recordings from it as well.

    The effects are OK, but not great - I mostly just use them to reduce the horrors of my voice and to slightly sweeten my acoustic guitar sound. The internal mic is actually pretty good - I have an Apogee mic for my iPhone which I can use to record to the app, but my recordings sound better (even without effects) using the built-in mic in the Spire. And of course you can plug in any high end mic you might have or want to get. I've heard recordings of acoustic guitar and voice that a guy I know did with just one track, one mic, and they sound fantastic.

    Also, one of it's best features is it's "soundcheck", which basically just automates the process of setting mic or input levels. You hit the soundcheck button, either in the app or on the device, and play and/or sing for 10 seconds and it takes that information and automatically sets your levels for recording the track or tracks you're recording.

    It's not powerful at all - the mixing is really easy but very limited, there's very limited punching in and no punching out, the effects can only be applied before recording and not after the fact, etc, etc, etc. Even free apps like Garage Band are overwhelmingly more powerful. But a PIA to use, IMHO. The whole point of the Spire, whether just the app or the with the recorder, it's the ease of use is incredible. I had a Fostex 4-track recorder back about 35 years ago that was relatively simple. I've tried to use Garage Band in the recent past but find it more hassle than I'm willing to deal with. The Spire is a blast and so easy that it's never an impediment to using it. So I'm actually enjoying playing around with home recording for the first time in decades...

    It also takes an electric guitar input really well - I have a speaker emulated out in my little Blackstar HT1R that I plug straight into the Spire and it sounds awesome. Here's a quick little jam I recorded yesterday, with a rhythm track and basically just fed into a looper and then played into the recorder for about five minutes, and two lead tracks recorded over the rhythm. I should have probably just kept one of the lead tracks - they were recorded totally independently, but I sort of like the accidental weaving of the two together, so I just stuck one in the right ear and one in the left and put 'em both on it.



    BTW, no affiliation. Just a satisfied user.

    -Ray
     
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  11. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    without purchasing the spire studio hardware, how could one effectively lay down more than 1 track effectively? it seems to me that overdubbing would be problematic on a phone, as monitoring would be a difficult hurdle to overcome.
     
  12. Random1643

    Random1643 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the thread, scottser. Super helpful.

    I've been using the FREE HiQ MP3 Recorder (Android app) for straight up recording for the last few years because of its simplicity. Hit Record button, hit Stop, Save/Rename audio file, Send/Share via multiple methods. It's even simple enough for me. In between band practices I can share a sample sound file and chord/lyric sheet (via Google Drive) with mates.

    Great minor blues jam, Ray! I'm gonna check out the Spire Studio app. Other multi-track apps that I've downloaded for Android have been too complicated for me, especially since My Brain on Music turns non-technical; I pick up an instrument and I'm suddenly all intuition and ears.
     
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  13. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    No, you can still do it, as long as your phone has a port for a mic AND headphones. You just need to use headphones to monitor the tracks you've already recorded as you play the new track. I guess it could be a problem if you're just trying to use the built in mic, because then most headphones will disable that and just use the mic on the phone cord, so I'm not sure how that would work. I used the Spire app for a while before I broke down and checked out the recorder. But I have an Apogee USB mic and used that in the iPad's lightning port and headphones in the headphone jack. Could be tricky with my current iPhone which uses the lightning port for everything and doesn't have a headphone jack. And wireless headphones won't cut it because bluetooth has waaaay too much latency. I prefer it with the recorder, but it can work well enough with just the app. Which is free...

    -Ray
     
  14. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah I was thinking use the onboard mic in the phone and unsure how that would work out. Doesnt really matter...its not something I feel the need to do. I'm a 1 stereo track guy with the ole phone.... Multi track recording I want to use a computer if possible.
     
  15. jhawk

    jhawk Tele-Meister

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    Using headphones to monitor and record tracks doesn’t disable the onboard mic (at least on iPhone).
     
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