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What’s new on the audio recording horizon?
By this point, I’m sure most of the techies and Apple fans out there have heard of and perhaps even purchased an Apple iPad.
For the uninitiated, the iPad is a mobile device used to create and consume digital media with a gorgeous 9.7 inch display. Similar to the popular iPhone, the iPad has touch-screen technology that let’s you interact with the computer without a mouse or keyword.

What makes the iPad different from others in its category are the thousands of “apps” or applications. On launch day, there were 1,000 iPad apps including ones for audio recording, audio editing and file hosting. This begs the question, did you buy an iPad and if so, will you be using it for recording auditions or even broadcast ready digital audio recordings?

Even before it came out, the iPad was already attracting a lot of attention from software developers, and it’s only a matter of time before we see some pretty sophisticated applications that start to rival the diversity available today on PCs and Macs.

A Radio Journalists’ Perspective

“As a radio journalist I need to be able to record and edit audio and assumed that would require me to keep carrying my laptop” said Larry Magid a technology columnist for the Huffington Post. “But CBS News Executive Producer Charlie Kaye proved that it’s possible to use an iPad, even with its less than perfect internal microphone, to record audio for broadcast. Kaye did that Saturday with his new iPad then e-mailed it to CBS News, which played it on national radio.”

An International Voice Talents’ Perspective

While in New York City for the Voices.com Mixer, I had the opportunity to speak with Heike Bachmann who is an English and German voice talent, represented by Abrams Agency and has provided her voice to a number of renowned museums including the Guggenheim mentioned in passing that she uses her iPhone to record auditions.

VC Audio Pro

VC Audio Pro
At CBS, the app of choice is a $5.99 iPad app, VC Audio Pro, lets you both record and edit audio on an iPad as well as an iPhone and an iPod Touch with an external microphone that was designed for the iPhone but also works on the iPad.

Audio Recording on the iPad

There are a number of other great pieces of audio recording software including Audio Recorder, SpeakEasy Voice Recorder, iProRecorder is ideal for recording voice memos, EccoNote Pro for recording notes, memos, meetings and Recorder, a very simple application from Retornyms and one of the most popular recording applications for being simple and stable.

Key Functions of iPad Audio Recording Programs

Most importantly, you should be able to record for any length of time and most applications on the market allow you to do so. For simplicity, apps should have at least two buttons to start/stop recording and to pause. Recorded files should be either mailed or shared via Wi-Fi. More advanced features include the editing of files, which from my research, only VC Audio Pro can do.

Does Recording with the Apple iPad Have a Future?

Could you see yourself recording with the iPad? If so, would you just be recording dry voice and sending it to a producer or could you imagine a day when editing is done with a touch-screen? Add your comments below.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


  1. Greetings, David! I am typing (almost but not quite touch typing) this message to you on my iPad. I did not buy the iPad to record my audio. I have an iMac dedicated for that purpose. I don’t do voiceover work while on a vacation, so I don’t need a portable setup.
    However, I did buy it to help me in my voiceover business. My computer is outside my WhisperRoom. I didn’t want to run a monitor cable across the floor to the booth. I am so thrilled that I can finally reach my dream of becoming PAPERLESS in my studio by using the iPad with the wi-fi in my house to read my scripts!
    I bought the Goodreader app to download and convert Word and PDF documents. It seems like it will work pretty well. I also narrate public domain audiobooks and have been able to load some into the superslick iBooks app in addition to Goodreader.
    FWIW, iBooks could make me give up my Kindle. I also am in love with the Photos app. You can run a slideshow of an album of pictures and have it simultaneously play any song in your library.
    Just because I don’t voice projects while on vacation doesn’t mean I don’t continue to promote myself while i am away! I can see a big uses for the Photos and the Videos apps as ways to promote one’s artistic portfolio while on the go. If you don’t want to/don’t know how to/don’t have time to make your own video, you could sequence some stock photos, sync your voiceover narration, and run an effective slide show.
    Thanks for yet another interesting topic!
    Karen Commins
    “A vacation for your ears”

  2. Hi David,
    As long as I don’t find any big difference in audio quality, I would definitely use an iPad for audio recording. We have to admit that technology is changing more than ever these days and the ability to record high quality audio in a mobile device is one of those changes we might want to be looking at. Can the iPad help us to reduce the costs of setting up and operate a home studio? David, can you give us more information about the quality of the mics for iPhone and iPad and of course the quality of recordings made with them?
    Greetings from Puerto Rico,
    Pablo Hernandez
    Skinny Voice Studio

  3. It’s still very early. The question is will there be drivers available for the microphones and A->D converters?
    The size of the iPad would make it convenient.

  4. I certainly do!! If it really works, it sounds like it might be a lot more easy and convenient. I say, bring it on but, it sounds almost to good to be true at this point. I hope not!! Keep us all posted.
    Carol Hahn

  5. Hi Stephanie, My first thought was for reading copy. Looks really convenient for porta booths! All lit up and ready to read. Great for taking the show on the road.

  6. Hi, Steph! I am VERY interested in the iPad but along with a number of our fellow Voices.com family, but my interests would be in its other functions rather than as an auditioning platform. I have found my HP netbook and Samson USB mic to be completely portable and generates an adequate sound for a demonstration of my voice while on the road.
    As far as iPad for copy etc., I got the whomped up, large, super-deluxe, (whatever it’s called) big brother to the Baby (original) Kindle. It is great because it had a big screen and on the road you can email copy to yourself to your Kindle account in file form and have it sent TO YOUR KINDLE (in their format at no additional charge) to be read right off the screen.
    I also use the KINDLE to broadcast my weekly read from North Texas Radio for the Blind of my subscription to READERS DIGEST. The page turns are blessedly silent with a tiny click and I can now easily complete a 45 minute recording in a hair over an hour rather than the 1.5-2 hours it used to take.
    Hey Time is Money! And in case I haven’t told you lately…Thanks for all that you do!

  7. I think the real problem with attempting to record audio on the Ipad currently is that it would require the development of a real audio interface to fit the Ipad dock. Much like USB and firewire interfaces that are standard today, complete with XLR inputs, mic pres, and phantom power. I’ve seem a lot of mics on the market for the iphone/ipod T that connect directly to the dock ( eg: BLUE “Mikey”). I ‘d love to see Pre Sonus, Focusrite, Apogee or some of the heavy hitters get to work on this.”Apogee Duet” for Ipad would be just great. Has anyone heard of such a product currently in development? After all tracking quality audio starts with a quality mic. And until there’s a way to actually connect a quality condenser mic to the Ipad it’s not going to be used as anything but a gimmick and a toy in the audio industry. So many possibilities though. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

  8. I see helpful comments from voice-over professionals … are there any insights/experiences out there with folks who use iPad (or even iPhone or other smart phones) to record pod casts and/or to record interviews that can then be transcribed with the aid of voice-recognition software?
    This is work typically conducted by journalists and freelance writers. I’d love to scale down from a laptop while doing this work and want to see what’s possible…

  9. I found a program called audionote and i can take notes while i am recording. However the mic is not strong enough. I wonder if i could use a USB mic. This is great i can take motes then find the place i was listening to via the notes. This will revolutionize note taking. This is with the iPad. I can also draw on the page. It remembers where i was and marks the time stamp at each carriage return. Then during playback it highlights the text as i listen.

  10. Most if not all of the post and comments are wrong. There is no software and there is no device that will allow you to record using an external mic with the iPad. Trust me. I’ve spent the whole day trying them all. Everything being record is coming from the internal iPad mic. There is no way to shut it off, even if you insert a dummy plug. You can try recording through the USB camera adapter, but no software on the iPad or on any apps allows you to select the input device. Anything else you read on the web on this topic, or hear from the app vendors, is simply not true. Apple has really dropped the ball on this. Ridiculous engineering design on the iPad. A 10 dollar analog recorder can at least use external mics.

  11. Hi I’m a language teacher. I think in the long run the iPads could replace textbooks in school settings. As a language teacher I’d like me and my students to have access to a voice recording function on the iPad.
    This has great potential for language teaching!

  12. I’d suggest checking out gooseneck mics made for connecting to small recorders, such as this one from Sound Professionals (I plugged in their website above): PART#: SP-SPSM-8 – – Mini Gooseneck Microphone – Omni Or Cardioid – works with computer mic inputs, Steno Machines, digital recorders and more
    You can specify the length of the gooseneck. These guys started supplying bootleggers but have grown to include loads of ingenious recording gear.

  13. We want to (a) record interviews and (b) record our own presentations. I am thinking that we need (a) a plug-in mic for our iPhones and iPads that will record both sides of an interview as it sits on the table between me and another person and (b) a plug in lapel mic for our iPhones that can record our own presentations during training sessions.
    Am I thinking clearly on this? Do you have any recommendations for these external mics? Or are there Apps that are good enough to eliminate the need for mics?
    Thanks to everyone for a very helpful discussion so far.
    Roy Whitten

  14. I’m looking for information on being able to do some remote recording on an iPad. Torn right now between buying an iPad or a new MacBook Pro. I found your article and the comments to be helpful and just wanted to say thank you!

  15. As an audio engineer for almost 15 years, working in TV and film, I love the idea of recording and editing high quality audio with minimal gear. The iPad can easily fit the bill, but there are definitely hurdles to overcome. The biggest one I’ve encountered already is the propensity Apple to modify it’s “standards” with almost every OS and hardware change. Currently the newest version of the iOS (4.2) breaks the functionality of many devices that previously worked. Blue’s Mikey can’t work anymore due to changes in the maximum power draw that the iPad allows for a peripheral, though it used to work fine. Apple also regularly breaks the functionality of their hardware by adding simple things like resistors so devices will not work for newer devices. A prime example is the chargers for older ipods will not work for newer devices only because of a tiny resistor in the connector.
    Software exists that can do a phenomenal job of recording (I love the app BlueFire by Blue the company that makes the Mikey device) but without some kind of assurance that a device will work for more than a few months due to capricious changes in software and hardware there’s no way for it’s usage to be more than experimental.

  16. I got an iPad for Christmas and have spent the last week researching this very topic. I thought for when I was on the road, instead of lugging all my gear and my laptop the iPad would be ideal. If I could connect my condensor mic via the camera adaptor and a Blue icicle USB pre I would be sailing. Sadly it does not work not enough power. The internal mic works good enough with the blue fire app to record an audition, but not ideal. did see some YouTube about Blue USB self contained mic that did work, but I don’t want to buy another mic. I already have the Mikey and sadly it does not work either….oh well I’ll keep my ear to the web and see what develops. Happy New Year everyone!

  17. You can absolutely use an external mic on the iPad for recording! 1. Purchase a iPad camera adapter. 2. Plug in a USB mic (this will work in most all voice memo apps and multi tracking apps as well) 3. If your device needs to be powered use a powered USB hub.(if your hub is not powered then use the standard iPad power adapter with USB type A male to type A male to the hub to power it). For non USB mics/devices- use the imic

  18. Hi David –
    I’m a morning show host for a terrestrial radio station. My partner and I use a lot of clip from the internet in our news and sportscasts. Is there an audio recording program that will allow me to record audio straight off the net?

  19. Thanks for the information. This is something that’s becoming more popular and needed every day. I appreciate your post.

  20. Hello David,
    I am a music producer. I record full musical pieces with drums, bass, piano and keys, and guitar. I am currently trying to use my iPad for full music production. My main issue is that I can’t find a way to record stereo tracks straight into the iPad. I have found that I can record mono sounds and export them to my PC for post processing in my PC’s DAW. But I was looking to do everything right on the iPad. I am currently using MultiTrack DAW, which is a decent little DAW for the iPad that can be found in the app store. It works with the limitation of only being able to record in mono tracks. I am using the iRig adapter as my input. But once again, I can only record into the iPad in mono. I would love to know if there is anyway to record a stereo input, in stereo on the iPad, but so far, I haven’t found a way to do so. I think Apple designed it to only allow “mono in.” It may be possible to get a stereo track in by using a USB device however. I have a Roland GR-55 and I have been searching for a way to utilize its USB connection to do just this, but so far haven’t found any DAWs on the iPad that support this kind of recording. If Apple can make it possible to record stereo inputs into the iPad, I would definitely use it for a significant portion of my music production projects.
    – Eric

  21. You have to check out the “MIC” by Apogee, condenser mic for iPad, very high quality, should be available soon.

  22. There are two APPS in the app store on the APPLE APP store that are good for recording. They are Garage Band..which is about $5 now and also there is a super APP for the IPAD called TWISTED WAVE!
    Its is really super! You can buy the APP for $9. The software designer is from France and he does his own customer support now too. He is adding features every couple of months too! Real easy. Now also ALESIS had added an IPAD DOCKING station where you can slide the IPAD in to it. It will charge it for you and you can plug in guitars, MIDI and even a CONDENSER mic XLR! Plus it even has 48v of phantom power. REALLY COOL!. Sells for $199! The quality is superb too on the IPAD. Go get this stuff and start working!

  23. Am a storyteller and puppeteer. Want to record my puppet show audio on iPad. Want to add music to it. Need to save the recording for future use. Got jawbone wireless speaker to run this. Searching for quality recording app for iPad. Help… Tia

  24. I use a recording app on my iPad to record myself reading my notes and my book. Then I listen to the recordings while I work out. This works really well for me because unlike a lot of people, I learn best by listening. Also, I am commenting from my iPad.

  25. To John Davenport,
    What recording app are you using with the Alesis docking station? I just ordered one, which by the way is $177 on Amazon, and will be recording music, sermons, and lectures on my iPad. I am not sure if some of these apps only work with the onboard mic or external mics and I want to make sure I get something that works with all of the inputs to the docking station.

  26. To Eric and others:
    I’ve been recording church services, mixing several mikes thru a Peavey PV10 and sending the USB output into an iBook G4. Audacity recorded stereo tracks from the USB feed.
    When the iBook died, I decided it was time to see whether an iPad 2 would be a suitable replacement. The USB adapter in the Camera Connection Kit accepts the PV10’s USB feed, and GarageBand recognizes and records the USB audio (instead of the internal microphone).
    Like Eric, I’m disappointed that only the left channel is reaching GarageBand.
    Can anyone confirm whether Apple’s USB adapter is mono-only (as Eric suggested)?

  27. I will be traveling around the country interviewing High School Classmates (we are old folks – this year is our 50th reunion year) and want to use something to easily record the interviews, convert to text and upload into my blog every day. Sounds like the iPad is the tool, but I have not used this type of device and am not sure which app(s) to purchase to accomplish this task. Also, can photos be taken and uploaded from the iPad as well? I interviewed all my classmates 25 years ago, recorded the interviews on a tape cassette (still have all the cassettes) and wrote a book – this trip will be a reprise. Thank you for any help. Claudia

  28. I’ve been podcasting on my iPad for over a year. My goal was to create a system that allows me to record unlimited audio on my iPad or iPhone, hit upload and have it automatically show up in iTunes without doing anything else. I’ve achieved this with my Mobile Podcaster system. Feel free to check it out – I’d love your feedback!

  29. I’m tardy getting back to report my success with iPad recording.
    Quick summary: The trick to stereo recording in the right iPad app: I’m getting good results with FiRe 2 using a stereo line-level feed thru the Camera Connection Kit’s USB adapter.
    More detail: See the “Stereo USB audio recording apps” thread I created at iPadForums:
    http://snipurl.com/221ds6i [www_ipadforums_net]

  30. at the moment i have a tower with a quad proc. 8 gig/ram, 2 x 500gig hard disks. focusrite pro 40 external soundcard/rack unit/firewire. somehow i think its well out of there reach to even consider semi pro recording especially multi recording. the advert on t.v. is misleading with
    the ipad showing guitar effects being used in a band. surely the built in mike would pick up everyone in the room and process them through the guitar effects. get real!

  31. Hi,
    I own the Alesis IO Dock and the resulting audio quality is good. I do have a condenser Mic and a cardioid mic as well, and the input signal level is good.
    Since the setup does not make any noise, you definetely spend less time removing fan noise using some NR plugins or noise gate.
    Add to this the fact that the IO also accepts Midi and you can buy IK Multimedia Sample Tank or Garage Band and you can have pretty decent demos assembled in no time, to complement your readings.
    Cheers !

  32. I’m surprised that some would still think it’s impossible to get get XLR input into the ipad! It’s really simple once you make the effort. I’m a journalist, and know very little about electronics. I found a video on YouTube that shows how to solder the cable for XLR to iPad, and it’s smple. I do have to say that, if I recall my first attempt, the ground and mic was swopped, ie mic should be on the last contact of the 3.5mm 4-conductor mini jack. So the only electronic part was a resistor, and male and female jacks. Using an app like1st video, it allows me to monitor incoming sound before recording begins. The mic i’m using is a Sony rifle mic with own power, but I’ve also used a Sennheiser416. Recording and editing video and/or voice only is a breeze, and quick to upload. I’m now also putting together a cable that will record iPhone conversations onto the iPad for interviews and editing. Also check out KVconnection ready made cables.

  33. Apple just announced a new 128GB iPad. For those of you who use the iPad for audio recording has storage size been an issue in the past? Would this new release encourage you to utilize the new iPad even more often in your recordings?

  34. I finally bought an iPad Mini 16GB and kept it because I can communicate with iPhone users using FaceTime, can record videos for documentation on the fly, listen to it read text to me, work with other communication software, do research, and there is a handy GPS compass for orienting. The problem is 16GB fills up pretty fast when I am working in the field. Now I need to get my recordings off the iPad and onto a drive, or into a cloud (without paying some monthly fee and have my productions locked or stolen) server which will not lose any bits of data in this work. I am looking on Apple forums, but Apple is focused on selling me the work of others, understandably. They have a forum for producers in their media, but I need to be in many worlds and want to produce outside of Apple products also. Still searching. http://blogs.voices.com/voxdaily/microphones/ had a good offer for microphones that work with iPads and iPhones, but the data is what i need to move.


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