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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Capture Ideas, Lectures and Interviews With Easy Voice Recorder

I know that many folks scoff at the idea of using a voice recorder because it seems about as sexy as a pocket protector — and our dwindling camp of personal recording fans aren’t helped any by Louis Litt’s shenanigans on TV’s Suits. Still, there’s a very strong case to be made for recording on the go: it helps you be more productive, ideate and act on your thoughts, and remember everything from to-dos to an acquaintance’s name when you don’t have time to write anything down.
Plus, you can carry a recorder around with you wherever you go: your smartphone! Digipom‘s excellent app Easy Voice Recorder Pro makes it dead-simple to record and play back your notes, ideas and ramblings on the go, features high-quality audio capture and is flexible enough to adapt into your workflow easily. Let’s take a look at how you can get into the habit of voice note-taking and get more done everyday.

Overview

Easy Voice Recorder Pro lets users capture and play audio recordings on their Android device, and unlike many other similar apps, can record in high-quality PCM format and output WAV files with clear sound. It’s available in both free and paid flavors, and allows for quick recording without launching the app, making it perfect for taking notes wherever you are.
Easy Voice Recorder Pro features a simple interface that anyone can get used to quickly
Easy Voice Recorder Pro features a simple interface that anyone can get used to quickly

What Can I Record?

As a tech journalist, I constantly have to conceptualize stories, list questions for interviews, make notes while reviewing apps and hardware, and often have ideas while on the move or when I don’t really have enough time to jot down my thoughts on paper or type them all out. Rather than lose these ideas to the wind, I decided to simply record them as voice notes for future reference. Many users may also find loud thinking beneficial to their thought process: I, for one, like to let out my thoughts like a sieve and organize them later.
Spoken notes are a lot quicker to record than handwritten or typed ones, so if you need to make short to-do or grocery lists, a voice note can save you a second trip back to the store. Plus, you can record meetings, interviews, lectures to listen to and transcribe later. Musicians and songwriters can also benefit from using a recorder — great ideas can strike at any time, and with this, you’ll never again have to worry about forgetting a riff or melody by the time you get home to your instrument to try it.

Easy Voice Recorder Reporting for Duty

If you’re ready to take the plunge and get started with voice recording, Easy Voice Recorder is a great choice to go with. The two-pane interface lets you begin capturing and playing back recordings in a flash, and allows for renaming files and moving them to folders. The free version packs in enough functionality for most folks, but if you want more control over audio quality, you can check out the paid version that enables recording in stereo, Bluetooth mic support, mic gain boost and more.
EVR features several options for customizing your recording preferences
EVR features several options for customizing your recording preferences
If you’re wondering why I’ve been harping on about EVR’s ability to record high-quality audio, it’s because I never got much mileage out of fuzzy, low-volume recordings captured using other apps. With 16-bit PCM recording, I can rest assured that my interviews won’t sound choppy and incoherent when I’m transcribing them. Here’s an audio sample featuring 10-second voice clips, recorded first in low-quality AMR format and then in high-fidelity PCM format. The difference in file size is definitely huge, but certainly worth it in my opinion.

Record from Anywhere on Your Device

EVR is a very stable app that can not only work in the background, but also handle interruptions in audio (such as device sounds and incoming calls) without kicking up a fuss. It’s also easy to begin recording in a variety of ways, without having to launch the app.
For your home screen, there are two widgets to choose from and a shortcut to toggle recording on/off that you can activate using an icon or gesture. Pro users get notification bar controls so you can swipe down and start recording from within any app.
Activate recording using widgets, shortcuts, gestures or notification bar controls
Activate recording using widgets, shortcuts, gestures or notification bar controls
I prefer keeping my home screen clutter-free, so I use the latter options. If you’re using a launcher that supports gestures such as Nova Launcher Prime, you can quickly head into the settings and configure any gesture on your home screen to toggle recording — simply select the EVR Toggle Record/Stop shortcut and you’re done! If you’re using the free version and want to toggle recording from your notification bar, add a button for this shortcut using Power Toggles and you’ll have quick access to discreet recording in no time.

Get the Most out of Your Recordings

While recordings are a great way to quickly save ideas, it’s also important to manage them so that they’re actually useful, and to prevent them from becoming a burden to deal with on your device. Here are some tips on how you can keep your recordings in check:
  • Always take the time to name your recordings. EVR automatically names your files with the date and time of recording or with a file number, but adding meaningful names to your files will make them much easier to sift through when you need to access a specific recording.
  • Clean out and/or backup your recordings regularly. Recordings can quickly eat up storage space on your device (particularly if you go down the PCM route) and become a hassle to organize as their numbers grow, so be sure to transcribe and then delete your recordings often. If you want to backup your files, you can try DropSync, which allows you to easily sync your recordings folder from your device to Dropbox for free, with multiple upload modes (so you can choose to maintain both copies of files, or delete them off your device after uploading). Alternatively, you can offload your files to your desktop using your device’s sync app or even something simpler like AirDroid.
  • Transcribe your files at your desktop. Transcribe ProOne of my favorite web apps allows you to hear audio and type in the same browser window, while controlling audio playback using your keyboard — making transcription a snap.
Use DropSync to backup your recordings into Dropbox
Use DropSync to backup your recordings into Dropbox

Is EVR the Best Option?

While there are tons of recording apps out there, none of the current crop are really as polished or flexible as EVR. I’d still love to see the app gain a few more features, such as automatic WAV to MP3 output, annotations and notes for recordings, file splitting and trimming options, hardware button playback/recording control, cloud syncing and easier sharing. Hopefully, those are on Digipom’s blueprints for upcoming iterations of the app.

Conclusion

Voice notes have helped me become a lot more productive over the past couple of years — I’ve been able to use my time away from my desk to efficiently gather my thoughts for articles and projects, and that’s often half the battle. And with Easy Voice Recorder, recording at a moment’s notice is a breeze. I’d certainly recommend this habit and this app to anyone who’s serious about writing or working with new ideas on a regular basis.
Let us know what you think of voice recording, and how you incorporate it in your daily life in the comments!