Whether you’re making a quick memo, recording a lecture, or just listening to your band rehearsals, there are plenty of reasons to record audio on your phone. However, here at AP, we believe you shouldn’t have to search through a sea of apps creatively named “Voice Recorder” to find the best one for you.
There is currently no shortage of powerful sound recording apps. Many even have features like sound enhancement, skipping silence, or real-time transcription. It’s not hard to see why one of these great apps could replace your built-in recorder very soon.
Otter is a powerful voice recorder designed for productivity. It records with real-time transcription and can even transcribe imported audio and video files. While most of the best features are locked behind a subscription, you still get access to 10 hours of transcribed recordings per month, exportable as a TXT file for free. However, if you decide that subscribing is worth it for you, you’ll get a much larger pool of transcription time each month, as well as the ability to export them as PDF or DOCX files, and even automatically transcribe Dropbox uploads. When you need to quickly pull notes from audio or video, Otter is the app you need. While it doesn’t have audio quality settings, if you convert the audio to text it’s not a big problem.
There are other useful features if your business or school uses Otter, like live transcription of Zoom meetings and speech recognition that knows who said what. Even without these integrations, Otter is still worth recommending.
Monetization: free / no ads / IAPs from $12.99 to $99.99
Dolby On is aimed squarely at amateur and professional musicians alike. What sets it apart from other apps is the built-in Dolby enhancement, which instantly makes your audio sound almost like it was recorded in a sound booth. It’s also the only app on this list that records video and gives you the option to stream live, all with the same audio enhancement. The app has a simple editing suite and the ability to upload content directly to social media, as well as YouTube and Sound Cloud. If you’re looking to take your music to the next level, Dolby On might be for you.
Monetization: for free / no ads / no in-app purchases
Simple Voice Recorder
Easy Voice Recorder gives you access to some pretty useful features like noise and echo reduction, as well as tuned microphone profiles for common recording scenarios. It even has a long-press shortcut to start a recording from the home screen or app drawer. While it doesn’t have a single thing in which it tries to be the best, it doesn’t do anything bad and it has a user-friendly interface. It feels like the blueprint for the next version of the built-in recording app.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $1.49 to $3.99
Simple Voice Recorder Pro
In addition to the same features as the free version, the paid version of Easy Voice Recorder Pro offers tons of quality of life and feature upgrades. Automatic cloud backup, silence skipping, gain adjustment, stereo recording, and an easy-to-use editor to name a few. While there are other recorder apps with basic editing tools, few are as powerful and even less so easy to use. While the free version is good enough on its own to recommend, the pro version is definitely worth buying.
Monetization: $3.99 / no ads / no in-app purchases
I don’t like that there’s a generically named app on this list, but Voice Recorder by J Labs is a joy to use. User experience is important, and no other recorder app has been as easy or fun as this one. The app is laid out like an old tape recorder, complete with (optional) clicking sounds when you use any of the controls. There are 8 skins for the recorder, dozens of cassette skins, and the audio file logo corresponds to the cassette skin you used in your recording. You also save by ejecting the tape. Features outside of aesthetics are fairly spartan, only letting you change recording quality and save location. If you don’t want features you don’t get from the built-in recorder and just want to have some more fun, this app is worth trying.
Monetization: free / contains ads / IAPs from $0.99 to $14.99
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