Karla Youngs on Thursday 20 October 2011 Tweet this!
Following a little research into audio recording on an Android device, a couple of observations...
I've recently been investigating the audio recording capabilities of the Android operating system, as initial experiments had rather worryingly (and, it also appears, wrongly) suggested that Android was wedded to the AMR codec when recording audio. AMR is not considered a high resolution audio codec, and though the audio files it generates are small in size for the amount of recording time they give, the quality is correspondingly poor.
Fortunately, as it turns out, with a well written app Android can record in other formats, including uncompressed PCM, at up to 48kHz 16-bit resolution - the same quality limit as the iPhone - or AAC, the audio format used within MPEG4 international standard. Using an Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 (belonging to our work experience intern Hayley) and the simple and free PCM Recorder app, we captured and transferred a quick snippet of uncompressed audio, which sounds a lot better than audio captured as low quality AMR.
After a bit of sifting through the Android API with a more code-aware colleague, we discovered that while the default codec for Android apps is AMR NarrowBand, others are available. If you're looking for an audio recording app for an Android device, and want the option of (in this reporter's opinion) acceptable audio quality, then make sure that it offers full range PCM WAV or AAC as one of its record formats.
Your recording quality will still of course depend also on the microphone built in to your device, or any compatible external microphone, but the record format is also a vital step.
I don't know of any external mics currently supported by Android, but the API does allow for external USB devices, so if you are aware of any, or have any other tips on using Android for audio recording then please share in the comments below.
***STOP PRESS*** contributing to an online session with JISC Regional Support Centres and our fellow JISC Advance services this afternoon (20/10/11), Zak and Joel will be sharing some more tips about using a mobile phone for recording audio and video: