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How to Record Audio Like a Pro

How to Record Audio Like a Pro

Have you ever wanted to compose and record your own song? Maybe you need to record a phone call to someone. Perhaps you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for a video or slideshow you created. Here’s how to record audio, depending on the source you’re recording and the type of audio you need.

Voice Recordings

Singers

    Plenty of options exist for a simple voice recording. Telephone microphones are designed to pick up the normal range of the human voice. This gives you several options for creating a voice memo on your phone. The first way is a simple answer that works no matter what type of phone you have: Leave yourself a voicemail.

    If you have a smartphone, your options are expanded quite a bit. Evernote is one of my favorite program for all types of notes, including audio notes. If you’re unfamiliar with Evernote, this video will give you the basics to get started, and this video will show you how to record an audio note. Using Evernote, you can easily access your voice audio recordings from both your smartphone and PC/Mac.

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    Recording Phone Calls

    protect-cell-phone

      Recording a phone call is a little different. Every state has different laws on whether or not you need to inform the other party prior to recording a phone call and the purpose of such recording. This is why you hear a recorded warning that “this call may be recorded for quality purposes” when calling customer service. For specific information on such laws where you live, check out the Digital Media Legal Project’s phone and conversation recording page here

      Once you understand the legal ramifications of your actions, you need to decide among your options. If you have a smartphone, download TapeACall Pro from iTunes for $9.99 or Auto Call Recorder from Google’s Play Store for $6.99.  These apps allow you to record phone calls from your smartphone with no extra equipment needed.

      If you’re still using an old cell phone or want to record a phone call from a landline phone, the Olympus VN-702PC Voice Recorder is a great option. Simply hook it up to your phone’s headphone jack and hit record. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack (common in old corded phones), you’ll need an additional adapter to utilize the phone’s handset jack for call recording.

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      Recording Live Musical Instruments

      While voice recording is easy, things get a little more complicated when recording music. This is because each instrument has unique attributes. It used to be that the only way to obtain a professional recording of a musical instrument was to pay professional fees for a professional studio with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. Those days are long gone, but the art and science of audio recording isn’t.

      Piano

        The first thing you need is recording software. Macs come equipped with a home audio recording and production program called GarageBand. Find more about how to use it here. PC users aren’t as lucky with preinstalled software, but that’s okay. Regardless of what type of computer you use, Pro Tools, the software used by professional recording studios, comes free with the audio recording equipment you’ll need.

        The 3 pieces of hardware needed for a professional audio recording are a microphone, mic cable, and computer interface to connect it to your computer. Professional studios use the Shure SM-57 as an all-purpose instrument microphone. It’s capable of making professional, CD-quality audio recordings from just about any instrument. You should be able to find one for $100 or less at your local music store. Otherwise, click this link to purchase one from Amazon.

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        You’ll also need an audio interface device. The M-Audio MobilePre is a great all-in-one solution that comes with a basic copy of Pro Tools and a USB cable to hook it up to your computer. You can purchase one from Amazon here. Once you have a mic and interface, all you need is a microphone cable to connect everything and you’re ready to start producing professional, CD-quality music recordings.

        File Conversion Software

        sliders-on-mixing-board

          No matter how you record your audio, chances are you’ll eventually need to convert the audio file to another format. While most recording software has options to do this, occasionally you need to play or create a file format that isn’t supported.

          Audacity is the most expansive and intuitive program for this process. Download the free program from their website, and drag and drop the file you wish to convert. You can perform minor tweaks to the file and save to a large variety of the most popular audio formats.

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          If you’re on a public or work computer and can’t download software, learn how to convert audio files to MP3 on the web for free here.

          Audio Recording Tips

          microphone

            Audio recording is both an art and a science. Recording professionals go to school for 2-4 years to learn the basics, and it takes years of practice to find the exact settings and style that work for you. Here are a few tips to get you started:

            • Whenever possible, record each instrument with 2 microphones. This gives you 2 raw files to mix and match for the perfect sound.
            • When using multiple microphones, always ensure the distance between the microphones is 2x the distance from the closest microphone to the recording source. For example, if you’re singing into a microphone from 1 foot away, the 2nd mic needs to be 2 feet away from the 1st mic. If you don’t follow this rule, the sound recorded on each microphone will cancel each other out during playback.
            • It’s important to test the recording volume to avoid recording audio that is either too soft or too loud. As a general rule, you will not speak/play as loud during your test as you will during the actual recording, so decrease the volume by 5-10% to make up for this.
            • If you hear static during a recording, it is likely caused by the microphone being
              turned up too loud, thus cutting off the sound wave. Try turning the microphone down a little bit.
            • It’s easier to turn an audio recording down than it is to turn it up, so make sure you have the microphone turned up loud enough to obtain a quality audio recording to avoid having to redo your recording.
            • If you have any questions during the audio process, don’t be afraid to go to your local music shop and ask for assistance. Musicians are a valuable resource for information in regards to audio recording.
            • Don’t bother recording a live concert on your cell phone. Not only is it illegal, the quality won’t be anything near what you’re experiencing in person.

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            40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

            40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

            Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

            There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

            Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

            It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

            Productivity apps to help you get things done

            1. OmniFocus

            This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

            Download it here.

              2. Forest

              Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

              Download it here.

                3. Things

                Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                Download it here.

                  4. 30/30

                  Recently covered here at Lifehack

                  , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                  Download it here.

                    5. Any.Do

                    A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                    Download it here.

                      6. PocketLife Calendar

                      This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                      Download it here.

                        7. Asana

                        We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                        , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                        Download it here.

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                          8. ToDoist

                          This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                          Download it here.

                            9. FlowTasks

                            From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                            Download it here.

                              10. Calendars 5

                              This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                              Download it here.

                                11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                Download it here.

                                  12. Due

                                  A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                  Download it here.

                                    13. Checkmark 2

                                    I use this app

                                    for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                    Download it here.

                                      14. TeuxDeux

                                      Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                      Download it here.

                                        15. Wunderlist 

                                        Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                        Download it here.

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                                          16. Nirvana

                                          For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                          Download it here.

                                            17. Priorities

                                            An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                            Download it here.

                                              Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                              18. Productive

                                              With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                              Download it here.

                                                19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  20. Streaks

                                                  This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    21. Remember The Milk

                                                    Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      22. Day One Journal

                                                      When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                        23. Evernote

                                                        Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          24. Pocket

                                                          You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                          Download it here.

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                                                            25. Sync.Me

                                                            This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              26. Droplr

                                                              One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                27. Dropbox

                                                                Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  28. iDolly 

                                                                  In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                  Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    29. Soulver

                                                                    It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                      30. Captio

                                                                      A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        31. Drafts

                                                                        A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                          This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                          Download it here.

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                                                                            33. Doodle

                                                                            This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                              I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  36. GoodReader

                                                                                  This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    37. LogMeIn

                                                                                    Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                      38. 1Password

                                                                                      There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                        You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                        All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          40. Truecallers

                                                                                          Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                            Reference

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