This is a review of FiRe 2 - Field Recorder from Audiofile Engineering (developers of Quiztones).
There are all sorts of occasions when you might need to make a quick audio recording – catching a moment of musical inspiration while just noodling and humming away on your guitar, demoing a song for other band members, recording an ambient sound while out and about to add to your sound effect library or to use as the basis for a weird and wonderful instrument in your sampler – the list could go on.
One solution is to use one of the many excellent dedicated portable recorders that are available made by the likes of Zoom and Tascam, for example; I’ve a Zoom H4n and it is a brilliant piece of kit.
However, the smart phone (or tablet) provides a viable alternative and, while I often leave the house without my Zoom H4n, I very rarely leave the house without my iPhone, so it has the added convenience of (almost always) being in my pocket.
Most smart phones include a basic audio recording app within the default apps built into the OS. The iOS offering is Voice Memo and, while it is a competent enough way of doing what it suggests – recording a spoken memo to yourself – it isn’t designed to do much else. What you really need is a dedicated field recording app.
Enter, stage left, Audiofile Engineering’s FiRe 2 that, as its name suggests, is intended for exactly that role – a Field Recorder.
The app is designed to work with more recent iPhone and iPod touch devices but also scales up quite nicely on an iPad. While it works happily with the iDevice’s built-in microphone (which is mono only), it is also compatible with some third-party add-on microphones so you can – suitable microphone permitting – also make stereo recordings.
Much to their credit, Audiofile Engineering do acknowledge on their website that not all such third-party add-on mics might be compatible with FiRe 2 so, if you have any queries about this prior to purchase, a quick email to their Support would be worthwhile. There are also some useful user recommendations/comments on their Forum pages that are worth checking out.
In essence, FiRe2 allows you to do three key things; record your audio (16-bit/48kHz, mono or stereo depending upon any additional hardware), edit the recording (in a variety of ways including trimming, fades, EQ, dynamics and setting metadata) and export the audio (in a variety of audio formats via your Browser to iTunes or to SoundCloud or Dropbox).
So, whether you want to just catch a quick musical idea, record an audio presentation/meeting or create a podcast (with some post-recording tidy up before exporting), FiRe 2 ought to have the tools to get the job done.
Given that my own use for FiRe 2 is most likely to be in one of those ‘I need to record this quickly and I don’t have my dedicated field recorder with me’ moments (!), that is pretty much how I tested the app using my iPhone 4 – no extra hardware or other apps to process the recordings – just the iPhone’s own mic and FiRe 2.