How to Record a Voice Over With an iPhone: A Complete Guide
Ok, first of all, the very first thing you’re going to need is, of course, an iPhone. Sure, any smartphone device you use might cut it, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on an iPhone device since iPhones are known for their usability and superb audio quality.
Step #1: Find your audio recording app
The truth is that your built-in system audio recording app will not really help you. They might be great if you want to record an interview or take audio notes, but professional audio recording quality is not really their forte.
The thing is that built-in audio recording applications come with just one function: recording. And if you’re asking how to do a voice over with your smartphone, you’re not asking for just that. From low-quality file types (.mp3, .m4a, etc.) to no control over your recording settings, your “voice recorder” app, will just not do the job.
However, there are many great audio recording apps that are definitely worth your attention.
Some of them include:
- AudioShare. Price
- Awesome Voice Recorder
- Voice Recorder and Audio Editor
- Voice Record Pro
- MultiTrack DAW
Most of these apps are not free, though, or they come with in-app purchases, but the difference they will make to your voice-over track will be unreal. And the good news is that the majority of them will allow you to have complete control over your recording’s specs and enable you to produce a track in broadcast quality (48kHz/16bit/mono/.wav).
Step #2: Mind your microphone
To do a voice over on your iPhone, you need to locate your mic — and we guess that you know you already you can find it at the bottom of your device. However, most smartphone microphones are omnidirectional, which means that they can pick up your voice no matter where you speak from.
Of course, you still have to be close to your microphone for better, clearer audio quality. But please, pay attention to your plosives which will cause bursts of air to flow right into your mic and lead to distortion and lower quality.
For this reason, we suggest that you use a pop filter or windscreen to avoid an amateur-ish final product. And if you don’t have one handy, you can always try a plosive remover tool that will automatically do the job for you.
Also, make sure that you drink a lot of water before your recording session, so you don’t have to deal with mouth clicks and pops. It’s not that you can’t get rid of them at a later stage, but it will save you so much post-production time.
Step #3: Find (and create) a quiet environment
To record a voice over (on your iPhone or anywhere), you need to do it in a distraction-free, quiet environment. And when we’re saying “quiet,” we mean “QUIET.” Turn off A/C devices and computers, shut the doors and the windows, and make sure no one will bother you.
To take it one step further, use soft fabrics to cover cavities in your room or cover yourself with a blanket while recording. This will add a professional spice to your final voice over track, and listeners will not be able to “hear the room.”
Generally, professional voice-overs come with zero reverberation and sound …sound-proof. To achieve this effect, you can try and record yourself in a closet full of clothes. If you don’t have a closet big enough to fit you, you can build a DIY small tent with soft fabrics around you so your voice doesn’t bounce on hard surfaces.
[Embed GIF: http://gph.is/1Pst7YA]
Unfortunately, noise is everywhere, and eliminating it in the first place (and not wait for post-production mixing) is always the best way to go.
Step #4: Find your spot
After you’ve found the room, you need to make the room work for you.
For starters, make sure that you don’t just put your iPhone on a surface — whether soft or hard. This will create a bouncy effect, and your voice will reflect on the surface. The best idea would be to keep it in your hands, but if you have a long voice over to record on your iPhone, your arms might get exhausted. If you can’t hold it for long, put your phone on a soft surface but keep your mic part of the device protruding from it.
With that DIY stand, your app, your room, and your setup, you’ve got just one thing that you need to put in the right place: you.
Now, it’s time to see how you, the talent, must work with what you have. And, of course, the very first thing you want to see is how far or close to your device you need to stand to record a great voice over with your iPhone.
Generally, you need to play around with your angle and position. But producing a voice over on an iPhone can be achieved, most of the time, by speaking while you’re facing the screen and your mouth is positioned close to the lower half of your device.
Because speaking directly to the mic will make your plosives sound too harsh, and this will definitely distort your audio.
Step #5: Mind the gains
One of the key elements that make professional voice-over tracks sound professional is gain-control. And when you record a voice over with your phone using a built-in app, gain control is usually set to automatic.
Automatic gain control essentially tries to flatten your audio based on the quietest parts. As a result, when you’re not speaking, silence is never really silent. The microphone automatically picks up background noise and tries to make it sound louder. At the same time, it adds more gain to your voice resulting in peaks and bad audio quality.
Of course, there are tools that will help you clean up your iPhone voice over, but to avoid it in the first place, disable ACG or any other type of suppression.
Step #6: Test the room
By now, you have your smartphone, your voice recording app, the perfect room, and everything seems just perfect. But is it? To achieve a perfect voice over result, you need to take your phone and test how the room works for you.
You always need to test your voice-over recording, whether on an iPhone or a professional recording device. Check if the angle you’re holding your iPhone is good, if your plosives sound hard, and, as described above, mind the gain.
A trick to check whether your iPhone voice over recording is good enough, is to read your script and pay attention to the loudest parts. This will help you identify audio peaks, air bursts, and other types of noise. If your app comes with a level metering feature, you can see whether your levels reach the red area when speaking to the mic. If they do, just turn the recording volume down.
In any case, take your device and hit REC. Then, use a set of headphones or earphones to spot any mistakes or areas for improvement.
Step #7: Start mixing
There are many post-production apps to help you get better results and produce high-quality voice overs with your iPhone. However, we’d strongly suggest that you transfer your audio file from your phone to your computer and mix it with an audio editing tool for PC or Mac. This will come with more functions and enable you to better control your final product.