Review: Blue FiRE Audio Recorder for iPhone
Sure you can use Voice Memos to record audio with your iPhone, but if you've ever tried working with it or plugging in a device like the slick new Mikey Digital external mic [see my review of the mikey digital to learn more] it's quickly apparent that Voice Memos is a rudimentary app with few capabilities and doesn't even support stereo recordings. Just as importantly, getting the recordings off the iPhone requires you to import them into your iTunes library and exporting them afterwards to share with friends or colleagues. Awkward.
Enter the free application Blue FiRe from Blue Microphone. It records in stereo, it has a cool interface, and a really cool way for you to get those audio recordings directly off your iPhone and onto your computer. Via your Web browser. Read on...
I attend a lot of meetings where it's convenient to have an audio record of the conversation. Not because I'm Sam Spade, Private Eye, or a part of the FBI but because during a conversation it's a lot smarter to pay attention to what's being said than keeping notes and missing nuances of the discussion. Then things can easily be reviewed or transcribed at a later date.
This is just as true in my personal life too, where I often attend parent meetings where I'll listen to a teacher talk for an hour or longer about what's going on in class, how my child's doing, etc. If my ex can't make it, I can record the meeting and share it with her later. Easy and efficient!
And if you're a musician or work with musicians or performers, you can imagine a thousand times when being able to get a good quality audio recording would be a great boon. Auditioning singers? Working on a new composition of your own? Who needs a separate audio recorder when you've got your iPhone handy?
Problem is, as I said at the beginning, Voice Memos is functional but just doesn't offer much in terms of audio recording, and once I added a Mikey Digital microphone, recording in mono instead of stereo just seemed daft. Blue Mic's recommendation? Their free Blue FiRe app. I downloaded it to try and am quite impressed!
A caveat: Before you go too much further, know that this particular app is being put out to pasture on Sept 15, 2012. Three days from now. It'll still be in the App Store for download, but the developers won't be supporting it or upgrading it because they've moved to an even more capable "Pro" version that will cost $5.99 but offers a ton of great new features. I'm definitely going to upgrade.
Launch Blue FiRe and here's what you see:
I have two recordings, one that's an 11 second test, and another that's a long 90 minute meeting. Can I yawn now? Notice you can change quality settings to reduce file size, and you can preview any of the recordings by selecting them and tapping on the play icon along the bottom.
To make a new recording, simply tap on "+" on the lower right. Now you'll see the main recording view:
Ready to record? Tap on the "Record" button, logically enough!
You can see the stereo waveform as it records, along with a big timer on the top. The green bar is a real-time input level indicator. In this case, I'm actually singing some of the music from My Fair Lady, but you're lucky, I won't make that recording available for you to audition. :-)
When you're done with the recording, you go back to the main area shown as screen #1 above. To share it - and this is cool - tap on the globe icon on the bottom left. Now you'll see this:
On your computer -- any computer, Mac or PC, that's on the same wifi network -- go to the URL specified ( http://10.0.1.199:58857/ ) and you'll see:
To download one of the audio recordings, simply click on "Download". How easy is that?
While it's downloading, and my 90 min recording took about three minutes to copy, the iPhone shows a progress meter:
The Pro version has direct integration with iTunes and Dropbox in addition to this Web-based transfer but the quality of the recordings are so good with the mikey digital plugged in and the copying process from iPhone to computer is so brain-dead simple that really, this free app is a splendid upgrade from Voice Memos.
My recommendation: check it out and grab a copy of the free app before it vanishes from the App Store. Or just take the leap and get Blue FiRe Pro. If you make audio recordings like I do, it's a best of breed, for sure!
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