Creativity must be “captured” at the right time. Some would say “seize the moment”: this phrase can only be truer as regards the musical sphere, made up of melodies and flows of words. As an artist — or an aspiring artist — you know it well too and, for this reason, you are trying to set up a mobile recording studio on your smartphone… even if you don’t quite understand how to do it.
Don’t worry: in this tutorial I will explain in detail how to record a song with your phone . In particular, I will focus on some applications that can be useful for recording music tracks “on the fly” on your smartphone, in a more or less professional way, depending on the case and needs.
What do you say? Are you ready to start recording songs straight from your phone? Yup? Very good. Clearly it’s not like going to the studio, but when inspiration “calls” it can be very useful to have an instrument capable of correctly recording your creations. Having said that, there’s nothing left for me to do but wish you a good read and good luck in your musical career!
How to record a song on your phone
Before going into the details of the procedure on how to record a song with the phone , I think it might interest you to learn more about the contexts of use of the solutions I am about to tell you about.
Well, many artists usually record, with their smartphone, drafts of what will then be the final songs (to be perfected and then recorded in the studio). This is useful, for example, for remembering a melody that comes to mind at any moment, perhaps when you are away from a recording studio.
The use of these “proofs” can be of fundamental importance for an artist, given that immediately recording an idea allows it to be preserved without alterations due to the passing of days.
To give you a concrete example, there are some artists who have even decided to keep parts of an audition in the final songs, as they were unable to record that part with the same “emphasis” in the studio.
Of course, nowadays it is now possible to set up respectable home studios by purchasing the appropriate equipment. This allows many artists to not even have to move from home to record a song and this solution is also very popular because it allows you to “capture” an idea immediately.
However, artists know that inspiration can come at any time, perhaps while travelling. Put simply, even those with a home studio could find a useful ally in their smartphone.
Among other things, you should know that some applications allow you to connect external instruments to your smartphone : I am referring, for example, to microphones and musical instruments , which can make the final result more professional despite having been recorded using a telephone. To do this, of course, it is necessary to purchase special adapters .
In case you want to take advantage of this possibility, be careful to choose the right adapter for your instrument or microphone. In any case, among the applications that support external instruments, such as the guitar, there is Apple’s GarageBand : app for iPhone and iPad that I will show you later in the guide.
For the rest, you can obviously do everything even without external accessories — in fact I will concentrate on this type of use of apps, which is much more “easy” and widespread — but it seemed right to let you know that there is also this possibility, so that you can eventually explore it on your own if interested.
How to record a song on your phone
After showing you the possible use cases, it’s time to take action and analyze the best applications that can allow you to express your creativity on the go.
Among the artists who make the most use of applications to record music on smartphones “on the fly” there are undoubtedly those who belong to the rap and trap scene .
If you too belong to this type of artist, the application known as Voloco could be for you. In fact, it is a tool that allows you to quickly record your ideas, applying effects to the voice that can make you understand “how” a piece sounds right away.
To install the app, just open the Play Store (for Android devices) or the App Store (for iPhone), search for “voloco” and tap on the app icon (a blue and red “V” on black background). Then press the Install / Get button and, if you’re using an iPhone , verify your identity using Face ID, Touch ID or Apple ID password.
If you have an Android smartphone without Google services, you might instead be interested in taking a look at my guide on how to install apps on Huawei devices without the Play Store, in which I explained all the available possibilities.
Once Voloco opens , provide the necessary permission to use the microphone and choose how to use the app. In particular, a page will appear on the screen which will show you the possibility of subscribing to the Premium subscription . The latter costs 5.49 euros per month or 26.99 euros per year but there is also a 7-day free trial .
Premium subscription removes ads, unlocks all effects, and grants access to advanced features like WAV file export. If you want to subscribe, you can proceed by choosing between the Monthly and Annual subscriptions, pressing the Start the 7-day free trial button and following the instructions that appear on the screen.
If, on the other hand, you want to use the free version of the application, which only allows you to take advantage of some effects, just tap the X icon at the top left. By doing so, you can start using Voloco right away.
To start a recording, just press the + button at the bottom center. The application will show you what all the elements on the screen represent, from the vocal monitor (to hear your voice in real time) to the note icon at the bottom left (to select a base), up to the Key , Effect , Mix and EQ/Reverb .
Once you finish the feature tour, the app will recommend that you wear wired headphones for the best experience. You can also press the Continue button without changing to do everything without, but my advice is to use external earphones, also because otherwise you won’t be able to use the vocal monitor.
In any case, before starting with the recording, I advise you to try to speak , in order to see the waves move and if the microphone has been set correctly. Once this brief check has been carried out, just tap on the red registration button at the bottom to start.
At this point, all you have to do is indulge yourself with the app, choosing a backing track from those available, setting the key correctly and selecting the effects you deem most valid. In case you haven’t noticed, you can also record videos while you sing: just use the appropriate lever at the top and authorize the use of the camera . This is where your creative spirit comes into play: now you can create the song you have in mind!
It’s difficult to give you advice, as everyone has to follow their own creative instincts, but I’m just providing you with some useful information on the effects available on Voloco. The latter are many and are divided into packages , from Starter to Sitar Hero .
The only package you have available if you have chosen to use the free version is the Starter one , which includes effects such as Deep Tuner , Natural Tuner , Super Vocoder , Grand Chorus and Noise Reduction .
If you want advice, to experience the potential offered by Voloco, I suggest you try using Grande Coro , just to understand what the app can do. Also remember that it is possible to set the intensity of tone correction : I advise you to do the necessary tests.
For the rest, once your recording is finished, just press the red button at the bottom again to be able to listen to it again. You will also access the editing screen , where you can also find a sync functionality , to correctly adjust your voice to the base.
Once the changes are complete, just press the Next button first and then the Save button to keep the recording in memory. Obviously, you can change its name using the appropriate button.
Your recordings will remain available within the app and you can play them again at any time by pressing the musical note icon at the bottom right of the Voloco main screen. If you want to share a recording , you can do it by pressing the three dots icon and selecting the Share as Audio or Share as Video option .
In this way, you will be able to share an .m4a file containing your recording using the classic methods, for example via WhatsApp or Telegram . Perfect, now you know how to use the basic functions of Voloco: you just have to indulge yourself!
n-Track Studio (Android/iOS)
If you are looking for a more complete solution, I suggest you take a look at n-Track Studio : a free app available for both Android and iPhone that can transform your smartphone into a recording studio and beat maker with a virtually unlimited number of tracks audio, MIDI and drums full of cool effects and features.
As mentioned, it can be downloaded for free, but requires in-app purchases that unlock advanced features, such as the ability to record up to 4 tracks simultaneously. There is also a Pro version of the application, sold for 29.99 euros on Android and 32.99 on iPhone. The latter is used by the most demanding users, but in reality, if you simply want to try recording songs using your smartphone, you can also aim for the free version.
In any case, once n-Track Studio is open , provide the necessary authorizations for the app to function correctly and choose which version to use between the free version or the subscription version (0.99 euros per month).
You will then access the screen which explains the features offered by the application. You will notice that there are several interesting possibilities, such as the ability to create beats and play the keyboard .
In your case, to proceed, just press the Record audio icon . By doing so, you will enter the appropriate registration screen . Here you just need to tap on the registration icon at the bottom left to start.
You may be prompted to unplug your headphones , turn up the volume , and run the app for an alignment test . After that, tap the record button again : you may be asked to connect headphones and press the CAPIT button .
At this point, that’s it: you can record a song using your voice. Once done, you can tap the record icon to stop using the microphone. You can therefore listen to your recording, add effects , instruments and bases using the buttons at the bottom.
Impossible to quickly give you a complete guide on this tool, as there are myriads of features available and it is a very complete application; but you can delve into everything on your own, in order to learn how to use the tools that suit your needs. In this regard, you can take a look at the official video tutorials.
In any case, once the registration is complete, you can press the share icon at the bottom right to export the song via link .
As for exporting via MP3 , you need to subscribe to the paid subscription to remove an initial audio advertisement added by the app.
If you have an iPhone , you can’t help but consider GarageBand : one of the best-known applications for making music from mobile devices. It can be downloaded completely free from the App Store.
Once the application is open, press the Live Loops button to use the simplest tool offered by GarageBand to create tracks. If, on the other hand, you want to record musical instruments , such as the keyboard or bass, you can do so by tapping the Tracks button .
In any case, in this tutorial I will focus on the Live Loops tool , as it is more suitable for novice users. To start creating a song, just press the New key , tap the button that depicts a pen with squares (located at the bottom left), select one of the cells and press the Loop item .
By doing so, you can use loops, i.e. tracks already created directly by the app developers. Using the Live Loops tool is therefore very simple: just choose the tracks that are right for you and drag them into the appropriate cells . After that, press on the Finish item .
If you want to record your voice , you can do it by pressing the microphone icon at the top left, setting the various options and choosing from one of the available voice presets . Once you’ve made your choices, tap the red dot icon to start recording. After the latter, one of the cells will contain your voice recording .
So, tap on the recording icon and press on the cells to activate the respective sounds, in order to compose your song in this way. Then just press the recording icon again to stop it.
Finally, if you want to listen to the song you’ve created, just tap the Play button . To save the project, press the down arrow icon , located at the top left, and select the My songs item . This folder is also where you will find your saved projects. In short, everything happens in a very simple and intuitive way.
Obviously, the indications I have provided can be useful for making a basic recording , but if you want to seriously use the tools I have provided , it is good that you investigate them properly .
As far as the Apple application is concerned, you may therefore be interested in consulting my dedicated tutorial and the GarageBand for iPhone user manual.
Other applications to record a song with the phone
Obviously, in addition to those that I have shown you previously, there are also other applications that may interest you. Below is a selection you should check out.
- Tune Me (Android): If you just want to hear what your voice sounds like with an autotune effect applied, this app can get you there in no time. It can be downloaded for free, but contains advertisements and only some bases are free (there are also in-app purchases);
- WaveEditor (Android): suitable for those who know the musical environment a little better. It is used, for example, to record directly from synth/drum machines. Read more if you want something more professional. The app is free to use, but contains advertisements and in-app purchases to unlock some advanced features such as certain effects and the recorder widget;
- AutoRap by Smule (Android/iOS): If you are a novice user and you like rap, this application practically does everything by itself. It can also turn simple words into a rap song. The application is free, but includes in-app purchases to access certain effects and backing tracks;
- RecordPad Audio Free Recorder (Android/iOS): an application as simple as it is useful for recording audio. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do and is particularly light. It is free to download, but contains ads and there are in-app purchases to remove ads.