My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.

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9/01/2010

Free open source multitrack recording on an android phone

I've been recording rehearsals for a while using my android phone. This gives quite acceptable sound quality and some of it is even on soundcloud. It naturally led to me wondering if more than one track was somehow possible, and I've tried a few combinations of apps to see if they could work together, before getting to this method:

This process has only been tested on a G1 so far so I can't say for sure if this can be done on other phones.  It's a bit tiresome but it proves that 2 track recording can be done. With a few changes to the apps that allow it, it could get a lot easier too.

1) Start by downloading Rehearsal Assistant and Ringdroid. Both these applications are open source, and both are listed on the android market.

2) Make a recording using rehearsal assistant first - it's easy - just push the big red button, but you may want to go into it's settings and set it to record directly as .wav files by selecting "Record Uncompressed Audio" under Recording Quality.

3) Once you have your recording you can play it back and if you long press it, lots of options will appear,  including the option to open the recording in Ringdroid. Do this, and Ringdroid will start up.

4) Now you have to select what you want to save. The problem with Ringdroid is that it's mostly for making ringtones so it will by default only select a small part of your recording - I first zoom out as much as possible by clicking on the magnifying glass, and then try and select all the bits of the recording I want to have as a background track. Try and leave a few seconds of space at the beginning. You can edit it off later. Now save it as "music".

5) Open it again (how laborious!) by selecting from the various recordings available in ringdroid's list. Press the play button.

6) While the recording plays in ringdroid, hold down the home button so as to show up other recently used apps. Select rehearsal assistant again...

7) Now you can hear the first recording you did, and can also hit record again to record your second track.

For some reason if you do it this way, the background recording plays through completely and a second track doesn't sound too bad over it - I've tried to do this in other ways and it always cuts out when in the background for a few seconds.

Again, this is still for putting musical parts down together and seeing what two tracks might sound like superimposed, not for quality professional recordings. It reminds me of the 2 track recording that was possible using cassette players years ago.

1 comment:

amias said...

nifty idea , layering could be useful.

another option might be to try using mulitple bluetooth inputs provided by
something like a motorolla dc 800 or
similar bluetooth audio interface.

My experiences with dj apps on my g2 suggests that its going to struggle with more than 2 streams at once given that recording is more processor intensive than
playback . Maybe something with a 1ghz processor might be better .

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