8 Ways Spire Studio Goes Beyond Voice Memos

By David Bawiec, Spire Contributor | January 17, 2019

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Every smartphone today includes an audio recording app like Voice Memos, allowing you to capture quick and easy audio recordings using the phone’s built-in microphone. So why would you need anything more?

Let me introduce you to Spire Studio, iZotope's portable recording device that lets you edit, mix, and share your recorded songs via a built-in Wi-Fi connection between Spire Studio and the free, Spire app for iOS and Android. 

1. The microphone

Whether you’re recording a high-fidelity nature scene in the forest, or a scratch vocal for your next song, you want things to sound great. Smartphones have limited space, which means that something has to give. And one of the first things you’ll notice is that their microphones are tiny and compromise on the microphone quality (and thus the recording quality) in order to make the device smaller. Additionally, many smartphone mics are optimized to capture spoken word (after all their primary focus is phone calls), so forget about getting quality or any detail when trying to record a guitar or singing.

One way Spire Studio stands apart is that it features a built-in, studio-quality omnidirectional condenser microphone, which delivers pro-quality recordings. Add to that iZotope’s award-winning digital signal processing and your recordings will always sound stellar.

2. Setting levels

Figuring out what level you need to record things at is where most people get lost. Either you set the recording level too low and things are barely audible, or you set it too high and things are clipping (sound distorted). And almost none of the smartphones even allow you to set a recording level, which means you’re dependent on moving your phone closer or farther away to get a decent recording.

Spire Studio has a great tool called “Soundcheck,” which automatically sets your levels for the clearest sound. Just play/talk at your normal level for a few seconds, and you’re ready to go. Setup time is practically non-existent, meaning you can stay in the creative zone knowing that your recordings will sound amazing.

3. Inputs and outputs

This is something that none of your smartphones will have: inputs! Spire Studio has two XLR/TS combo jacks with Grace Design preamps for pristine clarity and presence with +48V phantom power. Want to plug in your electric guitar or bass with a 1/4'' cable? You're covered. Want to connect a fancy microphone via XLR to record a friend? That works too.

Spire Studio also has two 3.5 mm (1/8") stereo headphone outputs—one on the front and one on the back. These outputs can be used to monitor while recording or to listen while playing back your project, and can be used simultaneously so two people can listen at once. Since Spire Studio is made for musicians who may be on the road, the headphone outputs have been intentionally designed to use the mini headphone jack connector (1/8"), meaning you'll be able to plug in any earbuds that you have with you.

4. Recording quality

When we’re talking about recording quality, we’re talking about bit depth and sample rate. This is something that can get a bit confusing for most people, but think of this like the pixels on your camera. The more pixels, the higher quality the image. The same goes for audio. Most smartphone recording apps record in compressed audio formats, like MP3. These files are small, and what goes with that, they are often times recorded at lower quality settings to keep them even smaller. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find a setting which allows you to record using an uncompressed audio format at 44.1 kHz / 16-bits, but not all smart phones are able to do that.

This is where Spire Studio has got you covered with fantastic 48 kHz / 24-bit audio processing. This means you’ll be able to capture the highest quality audio recordings, so whether you’re laying down a scratch vocal or recording a live performance of your friends, the pristine quality will be exquisite.

5. Effects

Most smartphone audio recording apps on the market allow you to make a single audio recording and perform the basic editing tasks. In the same way, with Spire Studio you can do a lot from the device itself. You can record, run a soundcheck, and play back your recordings, all with a push of a button. But if you want to get more advanced with applying recording effects (like reverb or giving your guitars pedalboard and amp effects), editing your takes and mixing your recordings, Spire Studio comes with the free companion Spire app, which allows you to do all of the above on your phone. And did I mention that Spire Studio creates a Wi-Fi network that your phone can connect to?

It’s wire-free, computer-free, hassle-free.

6. Multitrack recording

Yes, you read that correctly. You can actually create multitrack recordings, meaning you can record one element (say a vocal), then go back and record another track on top of that. And another. And another. All while keeping full separation between each element, allowing you to individually edit, mix, and balance each one of them. So if you want to record an awesome sounding demo and play different instruments yourself, you can do it!

7. Sharing

Finally, what’s a stellar recording if you can’t share it with the world? Once paired with the Spire app, your recordings gain all the sharing options your phone can offer. Want to email or text your recording to a colleague? You got it! Want to instantly upload it to Facebook or share it via your favorite messaging app? You got it! How about uploading to Soundcloud? Yep.

Spire allows you to instantly send or publish your recordings in compressed M4A format (small files, perfect for sending to your friends) or the highest studio-quality WAV files. Additionally, if you’re working on a multitrack recording, you can export all the individual tracks for further editing on your computer. No smartphone can do all that on it’s own.

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8. Collaboration

The Spire app lets you do something no other major smartphone device can do out of the box: collaborate. You can share your song/recording project with a friend and open it up for collaboration. It's never been easier to work with friends around the world. Imagine recording vocals in LA, having a friend record a tambourine part in Boston, and yet another friend play guitar in Paris. All collaborating on the same session and without the need for any computers. Easier than ever.

Conclusion

Spire Studio is one of the more exciting offerings for singer-songwriters, podcasters, and anyone who wants an amazingly versatile portable recording solution. It's portable, it's small, packed with dozens of incredible features, includes a built-in mic, almost entirely eliminates the need for any setup, and lets you record high-quality audio, edit, mix and share your music and audio with friends.