Record from a USB Microphone or Audio Interface with your Android Phone or Tablet

Snowball_iPad2Many Android users have felt left out as iOS users hook up and record from their fancy Blue Microphones into their iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. No longer! With the “USB Audio Recorder PRO” app by eXtream Software Development, Android devices can now record via USB microphones and audio interfaces plugged into the microUSB charging port.

I decided to try it for myself(and for you).

Hardware -

Rooted Nexus 7 – Running CyanogenMod 10.0

nexus7

cm7_logo


 

 

 

 

MicroUSB to USB Female Adapter – I recommend something with at least a short cord so you don’t stress the port with too much flexing.

usb cable

Zoom H4n – In “Audio Interface Mode” with it’s USB cord

h4n

Using the App -

First, purchase and install the app from the Google Play Store ($4.36 right now):

logo_google_play_store_badge

After the app is installed, do not open it yet. Start by connecting the (turned off) Zoom H4n recorder  to the MicroUSB charging port on the bottom of the Nexus 7. On the Zoom H4n, you will have to select the “A/I Mode”, then “Connect”. After the Zoom H4n is connected as an audio interface, you should see the bouncing sound bars on it’s LCD screen.

Now is the time to open up the app. When opening the app for the first time with a USB audio device connected, you will get this popup asking for permission to access your USB device:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-26-32

 

If you want to use the microphone or audio interface to record, you must give this permission. If you check the “Use by default for this USB device” box, the app can automatically start up when you plug that particular device in. I have found this feature to be hit or miss for me.

After you select “OK”, another temporary pop-up will notify you: “USB Audio Device Initialized!”

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-26-39

 

After that notification fades away, you are left with the main recording screen:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-26-44

 

Let’s start by going through the recording option drop-downs on the right side. In the first menu, you can select 44.1 khz or 48 khz:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-28-53

 

The H4n only has one input when in Audio Interface mode, but if your audio interface had multiple inputs, you could select them here.

Next you can select the output for playing back your recordings. Here, I can select Output 1 to play it through the Zoom H4n or I can play it back using the Nexus 7 speakers:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-29-03

 

Next, you can select the buffer. It started up with the preset of 4096 frames and I had no problems or reason to change it:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-29-09

 

Finally, you can choose the audio file type. WAV is the default, but you can also choose OGG or FLAC:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-29-16

 

In the lower right corner, you see a button that, when selected, allows you to monitor the interface or microphone, even when you aren’t recording:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-29-29

 

You can also see the storage folder and file name in the upper left corner of the main recording screen. To change where the audio files are saved, tap the “PREFS” tab in the upper right corner:Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-27-47

 

Then select “App base directory” to save to a different folder:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-27-53

 

The only other adjustment that I have had to make in the “PREFS” page involves the screen orientation. By default, if I stood the Nexus 7 up using the OEM case flipped backward, the screen was upside-down:

IMG_20130320_153420

You under the “PREFS” tab, you can reverse the landscape(there is no portrait mode) orientation:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-28-05

According to their website, ” If your device exposes internal mute, volume and/or gain controls, they will be displayed in the Mixer tab.” The “MIXER” and “PLAYLIST” tabs provided no extra functions for my Zoom H4n:

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-28-30

Screenshot_2013-03-20-13-28-36

 

Summary -

USB Audio Recorder PRO is a basic app that provides the ability to record using USB compliant microphones and audio interfaces. The developers’ website has a fairly extensive list of Android devices that are known to work with this app as well as USB devices that will or will not work with the app. They also provide a free .apk file that you can download to test how the app will work with your device(listed on their Google Play page).

The developers also mention that if your Android device doesn’t provide enough power for your USB device, you might connect a powered USB hub inline to take care of the issue.

I am looking forward to the day that this functionality(USB Audio Recording) can be integrated into their own multi-track recording and editing software, Audio Evolution Mobile. In the mean while, this app will work well for situations where you want to use your android device as a field recorder with an external USB microphone like the Audio Technica ATR-2100 USB or Blue Snowball.

This would be great for an on-the-road podcaster who wants to record a double-ender(both sides of the call record their own audio for best quality recording) with a co-host via Skype or a phone call. While the USB audio cannot be used for the phone call, the USB Audio Recorder PRO app was able to run in the background on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and record my voice via the USB connection while I spoke on a phone call. This worked quite well using my Bluetooth headset for the call audio while speaking into the USB microphone to record my end of the call with superior audio quality.

This would mean that the podcaster only has to travel with the USB microphone(and cable) rather than a computer or additional field recorder.

This tool may or may not fit with your specific use cases, but I am glad to see that Extream has put this option out there and I hope this is just the beginning of more such development in the future.

What uses can you see for USB Audio Recorder PRO?

6 thoughts on “Record from a USB Microphone or Audio Interface with your Android Phone or Tablet

  1. R.Westlake (subject)

    record my ‘live’ music from mixer ‘line’ output to the mini usb of a ‘tablet’ via. an audio interface ,to then make promo CD,s on my old laptop, for future gigs. Wav or mp3. format acceptable. Now spent 2 months on the nett trying to get conformation of suitable interface to do this (after buying your usb audio recorder PRO for a tablet not yet purchased. ??? versus 7 or nexus 7 or samsun tab. or i-joy 7
    or schnieder pandora 7 . All these have sd slot, but are they usb host types. NO ONE,can seem to tell me. Can you help now, or soon. MANY THANKS in advance.

    Reply
    1. Rob Robideau Post author

      I can only speak to the devices that I have used so far with this app, the rooted Samsung Galaxy S3 and the rooted Nexus 7. Reference the list at the bottom of the article for information on different hardware. It does sound like this app would do what you want: turn your Android device into a recorder. (BTW, this is not my app, I am simply reviewing the app and demoing it on my hardware.)

      Reply
    2. Don atkinson

      Hi, I have a hudl tablet and I am trying to transfer audio from my audio CD/cassette player and my dictation machine.I am using a 3.5mm audio jack to USB cable connected to a USB host to micro USB input on my hudl….the 3.5 jack is connected to audio outputs(headphone outout).I thought this would be a straight forward process.but whren opening audio evolution app it does not detect USB host.I have downloaded USB pro apps still no joy.can you help I am an elderly android tablet user and a bit overwhelmed with gizmos and gadgets.I just want to transfer songs from a band I was in from cassette and CD to hudle.I do not have a PC as I can not afford one being disabled and on a fixed income HELP!!!!

      Reply

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