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5 Great Tips For Recording Audio With Any Smartphone Or Tablet

Simon Slangen 12-11-2012

recording audio with smartphoneYour phone is very smart. With Angry Birds, Facebook and mobile office applications, it’s all too easy to forget that some of the features we use most were often available on those very old mobile phones as well. Obviously, that includes calling and texting, but recording audio isn’t a cutting-edge technology either.


Nevertheless, recording audio with your smartphone or tablet hasn’t always been a walk in the park. The microphones traditionally found in mobile devices weren’t something to write home about. With HD cameras, the need for better audio is put in a new light.

Even now, with ever better technology in our pockets, recorded audio is often of inferior quality; choppy and with a low tolerance for loud and chaotic environments. Below are a number of tips to get better audio recordings.

1. Eliminate Distractions Coming From Your Phone

While using your smartphone or tablet to record audio, you shouldn’t forget it’s a multifunction device. Nothing is more distracting than an instant messaging conversation intruding upon your recording, with shrill notifications making the main subject ineligible.

recording audio with smartphone

So before you hit that record button, make sure you strip your phone or tablet from the ability to intrude, by turning off its phone and messaging capabilities, or (at the very least) the audible notifications.


2. Properly Configure Your Phone

If your mobile device only has a big record button you can skip this step, although it might be time to download a more versatile audio recording application. However, most often even the simplest of recording applications have a few settings you can play with.

audio recording tablet

Regardless of the microphone housed in your device, you don’t want to lose data through over-compression. Quite often, the recording quality of these devices is set very low to preserve storage space. If you know you have enough memory to hold the recording, crank up the recording quality—you can always compress the audio during post-production.

3. Take Note Of Your Surroundings

Every room and situation is different. It’s easy to overlook those little sounds that are all around you.  You get used to recurring and environmental sounds even after being only a minute in a room. Before you start recording, take a moment to look at (and listen to) your surroundings.


Better yet, take a short recording to sample the sound in the room; you can keep the file to patch up irregularities in the sound during post-production. These sounds usually become apparent when you listen to the recording after the event, but a little advance care can take you a long way.

audio recording tablet

Are you able to walk closer to the subject of interest? Do so! Are you standing close to a distracting source of secondary audio, like an AC unit, a window, or a doorway? Try to scoot over! If you’re interviewing someone, or recording a meeting, put something soft underneath your phone to lessen the sound of mouse-clicks, elbowing and water glasses that are put down.

4. Plug In An External Microphone

Although the built-in microphones are getting better with every release, there’s only so much you can put in a phone. Depending on the regularity with which you record, and the quality is expected, a smartphone or tablet might just not suffice.


audio recording tablet

Luckily, a lot of devices also have a microphone jack (or an output jack that doubles as an input jack). You can purchase an external microphone to plug into your smartphone or tablet, and increase the quality tenfold. Not only do you get more clarity, microphones with sensitivity control give you the flexibility to make great recordings in quiet and chaotic rooms alike.

5. Use Tape To Record In Loud Environments

The microphone on your smartphone or tablet likely isn’t intended to tape the live performance of a band or the speaker at a conference. Rather, they’re supposed to be used as dictaphones. Those microphones are attuned to a specific (and rather narrow) range of sound intensity.

recording audio with smartphone


When you’re recording a particularly loud event, like a performance, the sound may well be beyond the microphone’s sensitivity range, meaning some of the sound simply doesn’t register. By using a bit of tape and placing it over your device’s microphone (making sure there are no creases or air bubbles), you can mute the input and record sounds that would otherwise be beyond a microphone’s sensitivity range. Different kinds of tape render different results, so experiment with using regular, duct, and paper tape.

Do you have any smart tricks up your sleeve to record audio with your smartphone or tablet? Let us know in the comments section below the article!

Image Credit: sscreations /

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  1. yungpysh
    October 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Should i use a paper tape or plastic

  2. yungpysh
    October 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    What kind of tape should i use a paper tape or plastic tape

  3. just someone
    March 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Which one between headphone mic and smartphone mic?

  4. Alexander A Pulsipher
    February 18, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Just did this and it did NOT work. Totally muffled crappy sounding audio. A terrible tip that ruined my attempt to record my son's band play. Did you try this before you decided to share this golden nugget?

    • Carol Petersen
      November 11, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Ever heard of trial-and-error? I think the author intended that people would try beforehand, different options to fine-tune the results. How would the author have known how loud your son's band performance would be?

  5. Chris
    January 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I discovered to my surprise once when I was vacationing that when my phone was encased in a waterproof holder intended to allow me to swim with it, that the quality of the sound was so much better than when it was not in the case. For starters, there was much less wind noise on the recordings.

  6. dave
    January 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Last night i recorded a thunderstorm in very windy conditions. The recording sounds great. A small piece of kitchen sponge (about half thumb size) taped over the microphone hole, cut out the wind noise all together. :)

  7. Robert
    December 25, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    The tip is don't east time device of a tablet is strong for CPU butt junk for recording audio I about got pisss off and bust my tablet on the ground got a otg cable and to find out the micro USB so dumb it can't power up USB inter face with out a shelf power USB hub I'm afraid to wast more money and get a hub than it steel don't work you be better off getting a laptop for Mobil recording or a note book case a tablet is only good for Mobil net and a phone is just a phone

  8. Boni Oloff
    November 14, 2012 at 2:56 am

    I think plugin an external microphone is the best way to get the best sound quality.
    But not many device that have the slot.

  9. Anthony Monori
    November 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    This might come handy for my upcoming project! Thanks!

  10. Shakirah Faleh Lai
    November 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I'll try to use tape next time, hope it will work.

  11. Douglas Mutay
    November 13, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Wow! very interesting! would never thought to use a tap to boost my mic’s sensitivity range. thank you very much for this great article.

  12. Alex Downs
    November 13, 2012 at 4:59 am

    good article

  13. Terafall
    November 13, 2012 at 3:11 am

    I never knew my phone can record audio.I wonder what else a smartphone can do

  14. Sebastian C.
    November 13, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Interesting tip there regarding the use of tape to mute the input while recording sound in loud environments. I certainly learned something new.

    • Jon Smith
      November 13, 2012 at 4:56 am

      yeah thats something you probably would never know, thanks!