When I started #iphonereporting in 2010, only the iPhone had the hardware and software capable of recording great-quality audio in the device’s built-in microphone, doing precise editing and mixing, and sharing a fully-produced audio wrap.
An Android phone is catching up, quickly.
The built-in microphone of the new Samsung S5 with the phone’s Voice Recorder app sounds every bit as good — perhaps better — than the iPhone 5 recorded into Voice Memos.
Here’s an A-B test:
To my ears, the S5 sounds warmer than the iPhone 5, with better bass response, but plenty of brightness, too
On the downside for the S5, there is noticeable wind distortion several times throughout the recording, although I’m confident slipping a windscreen over the bottom of the phone will eliminate the problem.
While the iPhone 5’s built-in microphone sounds a bit tinnier, it does a better job of capturing the ambient sounds of birds tweeting than the S5.
Both the S5 and iPhone 5 produce .m4a files, and are easily trimmed and emailed or sent as SMS attachments.
The fatal flaw for #iphonereporting
The audio improvement in Android hardware and software is great news for journalists who encourage newsmakers to turn a smartphone into a microphone during a landline interview — more interviewees can now provide great-sounding audio.
However, I still haven’t discovered a powerful, easy-to-use multitrack audio editing application for Droid — and that’s a major problem.
The goal of #iphonereporting is to be able to record, edit, and transmit finished pieces entirely on the mobile device.
There are several iOS editing apps available, which can do the fine-tuning, snipping, moving, and overlaying needed for professional-sounding content.
Apple hasn’t substantially improved its built-in microphone since I got my first 3GS.
Samsung has done its part to close the hardware gap, let’s see which Android developer wants to become the mobile journalism rock star.
Let me know if you have any questions.
(BTW, AT&T provided the S5 used in this testing)