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I have been recording our practices with a cell phone for several months now. I have successfully recorded nearly every week, producing signals with waves which are captured entirely within my recording app.

For the last couple of weeks, my recordings have been clipped almost 100%. I believe I know the reasons (we are playing louder; our singer has come into his own and he is belting now).

What I wonder, is if anyone has a method to reduce the signal when recording with a cell phone, in such a way that the integrity is not lost (sure you could wrap the cell phone with a towel, but then you would lose all of your treble).

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    Simple answer, without prejudice - revert to the volume previously used. Never understood why rehearsals need to be as loud as a gig ! Singer can still belt out, farther from mic, or at even less amp volume. It'll save ears too!! – Tim Nov 12 '14 at 12:28
  • Have you tried with another phone? Unless you are playing much higher, it shouldn't go from clean to total clippage. The phone could have broken in some way. – Meaningful Username Nov 12 '14 at 14:25
  • Good points, all. Actually, I am using a new phone. I had to trade in my older one for moneys-type benefits. In retrospect, the rebate was not worth trading in what was a solid recorder. I once recorded a sludge metal concert with it. It was a keeper. – Jason P Sallinger Nov 12 '14 at 21:02
  • So that explains it then. Different phone means different levels of accepted noise. (Unless it's the same model, but even then there could be something wrong with the new one.) – Meaningful Username Nov 12 '14 at 22:06
  • Well, not so fast. The practice before was my old phone. Actually, I did some woodshedding last night and found that the direction of the mic on the phone makes a difference. – Jason P Sallinger Nov 13 '14 at 14:27
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Put the phone further away.

Next step: pack it in soft foam (like slipping it in a sponge).

But all that's pretty much piling on the bad. The sane thing is to just buy some roughly phone-sized recording device actually intended for the job.

They are pretty affordable and will provide good practice feedback. They are no replacement for professional recording equipment but will go a long way for non-professional purposes and are much easier to drag around.

  • My bassist brings his 8-track. I do think I will invest in a handheld recorder though. – Jason P Sallinger Nov 12 '14 at 21:03
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I agree with the answer above. In high school, my band recorded using a digital camera, and we put it in the closet. It was a bit muffled, but we could still pick out our parts.

If you all plug into a mixer, I highly recommend that you plug in, line-in into a tablet or laptop.

Now days, I use a usb condensor mic, plugged into my microsoft surface tablet. I record using Audacity. The quality is actually really good, for it being as loud as it is! And it was only $80. Those handheld recording devices can be expensive and aren't as versatile.
http://performermag.com/audio-technica-at2020-usb-condenser-microphone/

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