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Tubster

Best mobile phone for recording video/audio

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Our drummer is in the market for new cellphone with an emphasis on recording gigs and rehearsals.

He likes Apple Xr but lacks the funds. What’s out there in the Android world that does a good job? Audio quality is his highest priority.

Budget would be €3-400.

Thanks in advance for your brilliant suggestions.

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A couple of years ago I bought a mobile phone with the best audio I could find, that also didn't cost £500-1000...

I decided on an LG V20, which has a Bang and Olufson DAC. Strangely it was never brought to Europe, was only a US and Far Eastern model but I found one on Ebay from a French seller, so no import duties etc, for £250. They're less now!

As a bonus, it's also MilSpec, which means you can drop it, dual SIM, 4Gb RAM, manual camera and REPLACEABLE battery! Down-, or perhaps Up-, side is it's a 6" screen so only fits in big pockets, but it's ideal for home defence!

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I wouldn't want to be the first to put a downer on this but I'd rather go dedicated zoom/go pro recorder for gigs especially where audio quality (and battery life ) are conceremed. Saying that if I had to use a phone, Id look second hand, maybe a used Iphone 7 or whats that awesome android phone with 3 cameras? Huawei something?

 

Edited by skidder652003
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What @skidder652003 just said! I realise that it can be annoying to ask "what's the best X?" on the internet and be met with answers telling you to get Y instead when you've already ruled it out, but just in case, the Zoom / Tascam recorders are small, cheap, easy to use and will give you much better sound quality than any phone (and they won't have all the problems of battery life, incoming calls etc).
 

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1 hour ago, Tubster said:

Our drummer is in the market for new cellphone with an emphasis on recording gigs and rehearsals.

He likes Apple Xr but lacks the funds. What’s out there in the Android world that does a good job? Audio quality is his highest priority.

Budget would be €3-400.

Thanks in advance for your brilliant suggestions.

IK Multimedia now do a phone mic attachment
https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigmiccast2/?pkey=irigmiccast2

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Sony Xperia sound and camera capture is frankly amazing.

Footage from mine

Apologies for the post production nonsense.

 

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I use external mics that pug into my iPhone.

zoom iq6 is the one I have.

allows easy control of gain to ensure the drums don’t clip.

shure mv88 is meant to be good.

 

id be dubious about using internal mics, never had a good sound that way.

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3 minutes ago, ribbetingfrog said:

I use external mics that pug into my iPhone.

zoom iq6 is the one I have.

allows easy control of gain to ensure the drums don’t clip.

shure mv88 is meant to be good.

 

id be dubious about using internal mics, never had a good sound that way.

But even with external mics you're coming up against the limitations of the phone's internal sound card which, unless I'm mistaken, you don't get to bypass. 

And the low light recording ability on a phone is still not great => greater likelihood of poor quality video too for non daylight gigs. 

So I'm not sure there will be any answer in your drummer's phone price range that is going to deliver anything other than, at best, an "ok" result and if he's dead keen on the phone route then he should go in with his eyes open on that. 

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59 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

But even with external mics you're coming up against the limitations of the phone's internal sound card which, unless I'm mistaken, you don't get to bypass. 

And the low light recording ability on a phone is still not great => greater likelihood of poor quality video too for non daylight gigs. 

So I'm not sure there will be any answer in your drummer's phone price range that is going to deliver anything other than, at best, an "ok" result and if he's dead keen on the phone route then he should go in with his eyes open on that. 

This.

Although the weakest link by far in a phone's audio recording capability is the internal mic, the sound card will also likely be pretty poor also. Pick a phone with a decent low light camera and find an alternative method for recording audio if you want anything more than 'poor' in the sound quality department.

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If you want recording quality even approaching OK, then don’t bother using a phone. Get a Zoom H2N, they’re great for the money, and quite small and unobtrusive. I’ve used one all over the place doing field recording for my PhD.

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I'd either get a Zoom Q2n / Q2n 4K, or a Zoom audio recorder such as the H2n plus a smartphone and sync up the audio later.

In fact, you should be able to hook up the Zoom H2n to an Apple or Android phone with the correct dongle and use it as an external mic, so no need to sync the audio track up separately. I've seen a few demos on YouTube for this, and intend to try the same with my H2 and Galaxy S8 very soon!

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Continuing the theme of giving you an answer to a question you didn't ask, the non-4k version of the Zoom Q2n has come down in price a fair bit since the 4k version came out - currently £98 on Amazon.  I have one of these, and also a Tascam DR05, and the Zoom wins for audio quality.

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On 19/10/2019 at 08:45, Al Krow said:

But even with external mics you're coming up against the limitations of the phone's internal sound card which, unless I'm mistaken, you don't get to bypass. 

And the low light recording ability on a phone is still not great => greater likelihood of poor quality video too for non daylight gigs. 

So I'm not sure there will be any answer in your drummer's phone price range that is going to deliver anything other than, at best, an "ok" result and if he's dead keen on the phone route then he should go in with his eyes open on that. 

An external mic will bypass the internal 'sound card' if it presents itself to the phone as an audio interface rather than just an analog headset mic. Same way that plugging in a USB mic into a laptop will not use the laptop's internal sound card. I assume most of the decent ones will fall into this category, but it's not something I've looked into!

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13 minutes ago, dannybuoy said:

An external mic will bypass the internal 'sound card' if it presents itself to the phone as an audio interface rather than just an analog headset mic. Same way that plugging in a USB mic into a laptop will not use the laptop's internal sound card. I assume most of the decent ones will fall into this category, but it's not something I've looked into!

That's interesting. The same is not possible for videocams though, is it? 

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We use an old GoPro Hero and a gorilla clip/mount. 

Copes with low light well and has built in sound compression to deal with volume fluctuation - it works pretty well for us. And it's beer proof and drop proof in its little plastic case thing. 

The added bonus is you can stick it pretty much anywhere - on the guitar headstock, PA speaker handles, anywhere in the venue where you can get the gorilla stand to clip to really....

And sometimes we just chuck it out into the crowd for them to go walkabout with - they usually bring it back and we've had some 'interesting' footage from that. 

Here's a crowd shot video from a low light and loud gig a while ago - I wouldn't trust any of this lot with an iPhone and mic..... 

 

Edited by Mudpup

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On 19/10/2019 at 12:47, ambient said:

If you want recording quality even approaching OK, then don’t bother using a phone. Get a Zoom H2N, they’re great for the money, and quite small and unobtrusive. I’ve used one all over the place doing field recording for my PhD.

As ever, a very timely thread appears on Basschat 🙂 I'm looking for something to record our rehearsals that don't involve miles of electric string or wasting time faffing about with the studio PA. At present our lead guitarist is using his phone, but I'd like to capture a better quality sound if possible. As we all stand in a circle, ideally, I'd like to just stick it in the middle and hit Record. I appreciate that this might not give broadcast-quality audio or a properly balanced mix, but any improvement on a phone would be a step in the right direction.

Would the Zoom H2N fit the bill or should I look for something else?

Many thanks.

 

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25 minutes ago, lozkerr said:

 

Would the Zoom H2N fit the bill or should I look for something else?

Many thanks.

 

A Zoom would do very well for that. I have a H4N which has a microphone angle of 120 degrees so you might need to experiment a bit with placement. It doesn't seem to matter so much where the bass and drums are, they seem to get picked up whichever way the unit is pointing. THe H2 has a 'surround' mode which will work even better for a circle.

Edited by pete.young
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The H2N is a great self contained  hit one button and forget about it recording solution - to get the best out of it, the most useful accessory is the screw in tapered handle which allows it to be used with a regular microphone stand. The accessory screw size is the same as the ones used on DSLRs and camcorders, so if you already have a camera tripod you could use that.

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5 hours ago, lozkerr said:

As ever, a very timely thread appears on Basschat 🙂 I'm looking for something to record our rehearsals that don't involve miles of electric string or wasting time faffing about with the studio PA. At present our lead guitarist is using his phone, but I'd like to capture a better quality sound if possible. As we all stand in a circle, ideally, I'd like to just stick it in the middle and hit Record. I appreciate that this might not give broadcast-quality audio or a properly balanced mix, but any improvement on a phone would be a step in the right direction.

Would the Zoom H2N fit the bill or should I look for something else?

Many thanks.

 

Yes, it’s great for that. I’ve used mine all over the place recording sounds for my PhD portfolio. They have a small amount of self-noise, but that’s only really evident of very quiet recordings, for bands and cityscapes it’s a great recorder.

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The cheaper H2 comes with the mic attachment btw, when the H2n came out they made it a chargeable extra!

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We've got a Zoom Q2n and we're not impressed by the thin, shallow quality of the audio recording - our dedicated audio-only recorder Zoom H1n wipes the floor with it, and then some.

Video in the Zoom Q2n is of high quality, though. It tends to be very, very dark when recording in low-light concert mode, but it can be brightened up on the computer if necessary. Video recording in good light, indoors or outdoors, is great.

An advantage of the Zoom Q2n is its wide-angle lens, so you can place it on a shelf in a cramped rehearsal room and still be able to film the whole band, if the shelf is at the correct height. However, I recommend buying a clamp to attach the recorder to a convenient piece of furniture and tilt it appropriately - when it's simply sitting on a flat surface it needs to be really very near the edge, or it will show the horizontal surface in the bottom half of the scene.

We use it as our backup video recorder when the viewing space is too limited for one of our proper recording cameras.

Edited by Silvia Bluejay
brainfart re. device names
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Many pro mojos - mobile journalists use the iPhone 8 Plus. Around £350 refurbished from Handtec in Peterborough.  I have no axe to grind but buy all my phones ( I train mojos) from them.  Spot on.

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You're absolutely right, it's the Q2n I'm talking about, and the H1n for audio. Apologies, I'll edit my post.

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