I have recently gotten into doing audio observations of birdcalls, frog calls etc. I do it using my the built in microphone on my iPhone 13 pro and a recording app called Voice Recorder. Though this usually seems adequate, I often wish the microphone were more directional and more sensitive. Does anyone have suggestions for a relatively inexpensive directional mike that interfaces with an iPhone 13 pro and a more suitable iPhone recording app?
since you’re recording relatively high-pitched sounds (bird and frog calls), probably the least expensive option for most will be to rig up a DIY parabolic reflector for your phone. here are some suggestions for how to do this: https://stealthyninjas.com/make-a-parabolic-microphone, and here’s a video of someone who rigged one up using a plastic pot (with audio samples): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svTY2dVIVJE. the parabolic reflector will both amplify sounds in a given direction (more sensitive) and reject sounds from other directions (more directional), and, as a bonus, it can act as a partial windscreen.
if you’re in a noisy environment and are trying to record something within about 5m or so, you could try getting a directional / shotgun mic, like the Rode VideoMic Me-L (which can connect directly to your phone’s Lightning port). this should provide slightly better quality sound than your built-in mic, and it should be more directional (meaning that it will reject sound from the back and sides), but it probably will not improve sensitivity (which is why i used “within about 5m” above).
there are more expensive hardware options that could help with sensitivity, but realistically, there’s only so much you can do on the recording end without moving your mic physically closer to the sound source or using something like a parabolic setup to focus in on a sound source.
after recording, software can also allow you to clean up your sound files by reducing noise, adjusting levels of different frequencies, etc.
UPDATE: here’s professional advice about parabolic and shotgun mics from Macaulay Library: https://www.macaulaylibrary.org/resources/audio-recording-gear/microphones.
Thanx for the suggestions, but since I usually do my observations while riding my bicycle, I don’t think the parabolic reflector is a realistic option for most of my observations. However, I also do a lot of observations when I take trips and go on observation hikes, so it might work there. I do use software to clean up noisy recordings and amplify weak ones. Also thanks for the link.
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