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February 21, 2008 / Marco

How to Turn Your S60 Cell Phone into A Professional Audio Recorder

If you’re like me, you’re most probably proud of your S60 handset as it can perform many tasks and then sit in your pocket or bag without ever getting in the way of your daily chores. With a handset like the Nokia N82 or N95 you can take professionally-looking pictures, record high-quality videos, locate your exact position and plan a trip, use the internet and download podcasts on the go, listen to music with a lot of flavor, read ebooks and Word documents, and last but not least, make and receive calls. But do you think the same compliments are sound when it comes to audio recording on your S60 handset? No, at least if no third-party application is utilized. Nokia has done a fabulous job of manufacturing handsets which it calls “multimedia computers”, but I’m wondering why a so-called multimedia computer is incapable of doing a decent job of audio recording.

Why Nseries handsets don’t handle audio recording gracefully

The problem with Nokia’s Voice Recorder application which can be found on all S60 handsets is that unlike other media-related applications it hasn’t evolved much. That is, we are still limited to low-quality WAV or AMR for recording audio, have to tolerate annoying beeps upon recording phone calls, and on many handsets cannot move past a certain amount of time while recording. Fortunately Nokia has removed the timing limitation in newer cell phones like the N82, but for an application to meet today’s needs it should provide more.

So what can be done to improve the situation?

First and foremost, the Voice Recorder must become capable of recording in MP3 and other popular formats. As far as I can tell, the only application which does a decent job of recording in MP3 format is ALON MP3 Dictaphone, but you have to pay for it. Version 2.70 of this superb application was released few days ago and allows you to do the following:

  • Disable the recording of beeps in phone calls,
  • Record phone calls in MP3 format,
  • Record MP3 files with a sample rate of up to 48KHZ for many handsets,
  • Adjust the microphone gain before and while recording.

While I truly appreciate all these features, I don’t think people should buy such a product to complement their multimedia computer.

Furthermore, as the use of applications like Nokia Internet Radio and Real Player are rapidly growing, the Nokia Sound Recorder should allow users to capture whatever the handset plays. In other words, audio recording shouldn’t be limited to what the external microphone provides or what a telephonic conversation offers. As such, even the title Sound Recorder must be superseded by Audio Recorder to be on a par with users’ ever-changing needs. Just imagine being able to record what you’re hearing via Nokia Internet Radio.

The Possibility of professional audio recording on S60 devices

As mentioned earlier, currently ALON MP3 Dictaphone deserves to be mentioned as the only application which offers a good number of my suggested features. There are other applications which do a better job of recording audio compared with the Nokia Sound Recorder, but almost all of them lack MP3 format support. So if you are into audio recording and want to enliven your podcasts, I suggest that you give V2.70 of ALON MP3 Dictaphone a try. I’ll also review it on this blog soon. This application is so elegant that I’m already thinking of starting a podcast and recording it on my N82.

What else do you think should be included in your ideal Symbian audio recorder?

Related Info: Alon MP3 Dictaphone Update V2.72

Alon MP3 Dictaphone Update V2.85



Leave a Comment
  1. Cleverson / Feb 29 2008 1:00 am

    Hello Samir

    Regarding Alon MP3 Dictaphone, on my Nokia N95 talks doesn’t read the files names at the main window, nor it reads some buttons and controls. Is it a normal behavior? Is it possible to improve its accessibility?

    Many thanks

  2. Amir / Feb 29 2008 8:26 am

    Unfortunately the list of files cannot be read by either TALKS or MobileSpeak, so nothing can be done in this regard. As for the buttons, I use “key 2” to bring up a list of menu options. I can then select play and record from the list, so that may make up for the inaccessibility of the buttons.

  3. Mahmoud / Sep 18 2008 3:09 pm

    when i want to record H.Q. audio i record it as mp4 video using my Nokia 6120c then i extract audio using my pc.. it just need some memory in mobile and pc software for extracting the audio into mp3.

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