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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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            Last Updated on May 28, 2020

            18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

            18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

            No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

            If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

            But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

            Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

            Let’s dive straight into the list.

            1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

              If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

              RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

              2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

                If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

                This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                  This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                  Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                    Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                    Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                      There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                        Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                        Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                          Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                          This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                          Available on iOS and Desktop

                          8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                            This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                            This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                            9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                              Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                              MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                              10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                                1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                                11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                  When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                  12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                    This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                    Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                    13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                      This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                      Available on desktop (macOS)

                                      14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                        Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                        The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                        15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                          Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                          16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                            Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                            17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                              This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                              Available on iOS and Android

                                              18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                                Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                Final Thoughts

                                                The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                                So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                                Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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