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September 26, 2014

Audioheads: Recording and editing high-quality sound on your Lumia

Your Lumia can record superior stereophonic audio.

Your Lumia can record superior stereophonic audio.

Sound quality does matter, especially when you want to record a class lecture, a gig , or, to give an example from my line of work, interviews for an article.

Both the Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon come with four high-dynamic directional microphones, while the Lumia 1020 and the new Lumia 830 sport three directional microphones with surround sound. In addition, the Lumia line — from the 520 on up — comes with Rich Recording, a feature that gives your Lumia a wide audio frequency range.

What does all that mean?

It means that your Lumia has the power to capture rich, distortion-free sound (especially bass frequencies) whether you’re at a rock concert in a huge stadium, or in your living room to interview your grandparents about the “good old days” for the family archives.

Below are some handy audio-recording and audio-editing apps for Windows Phone. But first, here are some handy tips to capture great sound, no matter which apps you use:

Disable any alerts. This is a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget to do this! You don’t want a phone call, text message, email alert or other audio/vibration reminders to disrupt an important audio recording. So please, turn them off.

Perform a simple sound test beforehand. Get to the event venue early and do a 10-second recording test to check sound levels. For instance, you may not realize that the air conditioner is on until you hear the electric hum in a test recording.

Position your Lumia close to the sound source. Keep in mind that it’s always better to get closer than to raise the volume. If you’re recording a friend’s five-piece band, position the Lumia several feet away in front of the combo to get even sound. But if you’re recording someone speaking, you want your Lumia very close, just inches away. Moving your Lumia even a bit can make the difference of capturing great audio or hollow-sounding audio with lots of environmental interference.

Another placement tip: If the speaker is at a podium, go ahead and place your smartphone on the podium–but with a napkin underneath to help mute unwanted noise such as finger tapping or computer clicks.

Plug in your Lumia. Even if your phone has plenty of juice, connect it to an electrical outlet if possible. Why? The recording may take longer than you estimate, for example. Some imaging apps may also use more power than others. Again, this is a simple thing to do, but not many people do it.

recorderproRecorder Pro

It’s easy to record and organize your audio recordings with this free app for Windows Phone 8 and up. Record with a single tap then add a title to your recording, which is easy to find via the app’s Search feature.

You can also pin a specific audio file to the app’s Start page as well pin the app as a transparent Live Tile on your Lumia’s Start screen. And of course, you can upload recordings to OneDrive.

Here’s a quirky feature of this app: Recorder Pro has karaoke mode, so you can record yourself warbling along to the songs on your smartphone!

MinirecorderMini Recorder

I use this free recording app, which has a sleek, minimalistic design and an intuitive user experience. You can record for as long as you wish via a single tap, even under a locked screen.

When you record, colorful squares pop up on your screen– it’s a cool way to visualize your sound levels. You can also add images or notes from your media library to your recordings, which you can upload to OneDrive or DropBox.

While this app is free, if you’d like to show your appreciation to the developer, download the version that is $1.99.

Lexis Audio Editor

This Windows Phone 8.1 app is a powerful audio recording and editing tool. It comes with a 10-band equalizer, normalizing and noise-reduction tools, and you can record and save files as MP3, WAV and M4a.


Want to move a bit of audio to the front or end of a file? No problem. You can cut, copy and paste, delete, trim, and fade audio in and out. You can also mix one sound file with another. This app costs $6.99, but the trial version has all the features of the paid version except the ability to save a file as an MP3.

Note: Be sure to clear up space on your Lumia for this app. For example, you need at least 500MP of free memory to edit 10 minutes of 48K stereo sound.