Setting up a simple recording setup using your mobile device.
Everyone has a mobile device these days and recording with your device is relatively simple, and becoming more and more common. The rising popularity is due to how easy and accessible it is with apps like Garageband. Bands like the Gorillaz and artist Steve Lacy have released entire albums that were recorded with Garageband on their iPhone. To prove how easy it is, look at how long this article is versus last week’s! Let’s dig in.
What you need to record with your mobile device:
1 – A mobile device (iPhone or Android?)
Honestly it doesn’t matter. My experience is solely with iOS, but I know people who have made recordings with an Android device. The more powerful your phone is the better, so make sure you’re using a quality phone. Also storage space is important too, so make sure you have a lot.
As far as phones versus tablets, I prefer using an iPad/tablet to a phone simply because of screen size. Also most tablets tend to be more powerful than their phone counterpoints, so that is an extra bonus.
2 – A Multitrack Recording App
Just as with your computer, you will need an app/software to manipulate the audio once you’ve recorded it. As my experience is with Garageband on iOS, I’ll be talking about that app, however there are plenty of Android alternatives to Garageband.
Garageband is a DAW for your phone. Not only can it manipulate tracks you’ve recorded, but it also can generate drum loops, bass grooves, piano chords, etc with the tap of a button. This is why the app is so popular amongst vocalists and rappers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also make those tracks yourself as an instrumentalist. Which brings us to our last item….
3 – An Interface?
I can’t think of a phone or tablet that doesn’t have a microphone already on it which is great if you’re only recording vocals. But what about guitar, bass, or keys? You’ll need an interface. Mobile interfaces are more affordable than their full-sized computer counterparts. Most of them come as small dongles, such as the iRig. Again, you can find plenty of lists of “Best Mobile Interfaces for Recording” online.
And that's it! That's all you'll need to be able to record your own music on your mobile device. Let us know what your setup will look like in the comments, whether your working with your computer or your mobile device.
-Michael Hilbun is a New Orleans based guitarist and educator. In addition to performing and recording with numerous acts, he maintains an active online Skype lesson studio and teaches students around the world. He has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Louisiana. You can find out more about him at his website www.michaelhilbun.com.