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  2. Computing skills
  3. Making audio recordings
  4. Mobile recording devices

Mobile recording devices

How often have you had a brilliant idea on your journey from work, only to have forgotten it by the time you get home? Being able to record your ideas wherever you are is a wonderful way of keeping your creative momentum going. It is a fast way of taking notes, which is much faster than writing and you can also capture passing thoughts and other peoples' explanations.

If you have got an mp3 player, mobile phone or digital recorder, you may already use them to listen to audio files. Have you tried listening to audio transferred from your study materials, or recorded your own study material?

These mobile options are especially useful if you are out and about as you can either record and play audio on them directly, or transfer the files to your computer.

Recording on an mp3 player or iPod

Many mp3 players and iPods can record simple voice memos. Check how long you can record for as there may be a maximum time limit, which is usually determined by the available disk space.

A number of devices have built-in microphones, however if not, you will need to buy a compatible detachable microphone. Check your own model to see what accessories are available. Sometimes you may not see a voice memo option until you attach a microphone.

  • Attach the microphone to the device. It will probably switch automatically to recording mode.
  • You may be able to choose high or low quality.
  • Choose 'Record' to begin recording and speak with the microphone a few inches from your mouth.
  • You should be able to pause the recording.
  • Use 'Stop' and then 'Save' when you have finished.
  • Find out from your manual how to transfer files to your computer. This is usually achieved by connecting the device via a USB cable to a computer. Once connected, it should appear on the computer as an external disk, which will require you to locate the recordings manually. If the device has its own software, you will probably be able to use it to transfer the recordings to and from you computer.

Mobile phone

Many mobiles use Windows Mobile which has 'Voice Notes'. This function allows you to record your voice easily. Use the menu on your mobile to find 'Voice Notes' or 'Audio Notes' and follow the instructions on the screen.

  • Save your recorded notes for when you get back to your desk.
  • Send voice notes that you have recorded on your phone.
  • Save your audio notes to your computer once you get home. The phones will usually have PC data cables and PC software and some mobiles will let you Bluetooth the file to another phone or computer.

How you use it

  • All mobile phones are different – some have a recording button, others work through menus.
  • Investigate the manual or menus for your particular version and look out for terms like 'voice notes', 'audio recorder' or 'voice memos'.
  • Generally you press a button to record and press it again to stop.
  • If possible, rename your recordings to keep them organised, as the default name will probably be something similar to 'Audio Recording 1' etc.

Digital recorder

  • There is a range of digital recorders available, which are usually portable and vary from simple to complex. They often store the recordings onto Flash cards, which can be useful as the cards come in a range of sizes and if necessary you could have different cards for different information and topics.
  • Spend the time you need to familiarise yourself with the digital recorder. For example, you will probably need to work out how to set the input level, and find out which file format it creates for a recording. Consult the user documentation or manual as required.
  • Use the digital recorder to make a recording. You will probably want to do a test recording first.
  • Like a mobile phone, once you have made a recording, you will need to 'attach' the digital recorder to your PC. A cable is usually provided with the device so that you can transfer the audio file (from the recorder) to your PC.
  • Simply play the audio file on your PC, or transfer it to a handheld device such as an mp3 player.