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In The Studio: Review Of The Audiofile Engineering FiRe 2 - Field Recorder
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Less decorative – and more sonic – are the various effects that can be applied.

For example, under the Recording section, you can apply a processing preset (from a range that use processing algorithms designed by iZotope famed for their Ozone mastering processor among other things).

There are some useful options here including a ‘hiss reducer’ that seemed quite effective in my tests with the iPhone’s built-in mic.

There are further processing options in the effects section and these include compression, expansion and three-band EQ.

If used, they are applied to an entire recording.

While the level of control for all these effects doesn’t match what might be offered in a desktop audio editor or DAW environment, they work well enough. Hopefully, the developers will keep adding functionality in this area.

Spread The Word

Back in main recording vertical mode, the Share button does exactly what you might expect. Four options are provided; SoundCloud, Dropbox, iTunes sharing and FTP. I tried the first three of these and had no problems getting files transferred out of FiRe 2 and each allowed me to specify the file format (or formats) that I wanted to transfer.

When you add in the capability to export via a web browser (which also worked fine for me during testing) that is available directly from the Recordings list screen, the app seems pretty well equipped to get your recordings out into the wider world.

In Summary

As an ‘always there’ (well, always there if your iPhone or iPod touch is in your pocket) field recorder, FiRe 2 strikes me as a pretty good app. In my testing, it did all three of the key stages required in the process efficiently and effectively.

First, it provides enough flexibility in terms of the recording options with features such as being able to make a single recording in multiple stages and the ability or overdub, overwrite or insert into an existing recording.

Second, while some way from a fully featured audio editor, there is enough of editing functionality here to make tasks like ambient sound effects recording or podcast creation possible. And third, it provides plenty of options to get your finished audio out into the wider world. In short, it gets the ‘field recording’ job done.

Of course, it is always possible to think of additional things you might like a field recorder to do. MP3 support would be good (although I understand the reasons why it’s not included at present). It would also be nice if you could choose a lower sampling rate than the default 48 kHz to keep non-critical recordings down to a smaller file size.

However, discussion on the Audiofile Engineering website forum suggests that this latter option may well be on the cards for a future update in response to existing requests from the user base.

Of course, there is only so much you can do in quality terms using the iPhone’s built-in microphone. Add in a better quality external mic (doh! – that means I’ve got to remember to keep that in my pocket also!) and I suspect FiRe 2 would be capable of producing some high-quality, audiophile recordings easily on a par with some of the dedicated compact digital recorders currently available.

However, having this functionality all contained within your ever-present iPhone/iPod but with the advantage of touch-screen editing and wireless audio export, is a pretty impressive combination.

Field-based audio recording could easily become another application where the generic (but impressive) smart device can provide a real challenge to a dedicated piece of equipment. If you are in the market for a field-based recorder, FiRe 2 could be well worth stumping up for before you consider one of the dedicated hardware alternatives.

If you already own a portable digital recorder, then FiRe 2 provides a very credible stand-in for those occasions when the dedicated device has been left back at base. And if my own experience with the app in testing is anything to go by, FiRe 2 gets the job done with a minimum of fuss. Well worth the price and most certainly recommended.

FiRe 2 - Field Recorder on the App Store

John Walden is a freelance musician and music technology journalist. Find out more about John on his website or follow him on Twitter



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