It is possible to record using a smartphone. Look on the internet for advice on the best apps and settings for recording good quality audio with your phone. It is not adequate to use the same setting that you would use to record a call. Separate microphones can also be purchased that plug into your smartphone.
Record in a room with lots of soft furnishings to reduce the echo and reverberation. Bedrooms can be good and a duvet over the head makes a great temporary recording studio. Close the windows. Be mindful of sounds such as fans, traffic, clocks, tv, pets, etc,which will affect the sound quality. Some devices such as fridges and fluorescent lights can induce a humming noise into the recording.
If you choose to incorporate complementary sound into your reording, ensure it is legal to use the tracks, music etc, and that any sounds do not over- power the sound of your voice. Works that incorporate rain, birdsong; water or studio sounds can enhance a piece. Listen back to your work to ensure the sound effects do actually enhance the poem. If they do not, please re-record.
Using the microphone.
Keep your mouth around 3 or 4 inches from the microphone, keep the microphone at the level of your chin, not your mouth – you want it to capture the sound vibrations, not the puffs of air. If there is a level meter this should be peaking at around 85% of maximum, anything at 100% will be distorted. If your recording is too quiet then the background noises will start to dominate when the recording is amplified later to a usable level. Please do not move away from the microphone until the recording is over.
If you ‘pop’when you record, especially on words with the letters ‘p’ o ‘b’ you should move the microphone further from your mouth or you can buy a pop-shield to stop the explosion of air distorting the recording.
Hold the microphone firmly to ensure there is no physical movement as this may get picked up in the recording. If it is upon a desk, be mindful not to bang on the table. It is best to not turn pages but to use a print out of your poem. Be careful to not make noise with the paper:
At the beginning of the recording say your name and the name of the poem. This will not be used in the recording but helps to identify the work as we edit. Leave a two-second gap before you begin to read your poem. Leave a two-second gap after your recording. We will use this to fade the recordings in at the beginning and end.
If you make a mistake it will often be quicker and sound better to re-record a whole poem than to try and edit. Listen back to your recording on headphones. This is because the speaker on your phone or recording device will miss some of the possible background sounds.
If you do have to do any editing, most phone voice recorders have editing features. Make sure that you follow the file naming procedures above when you save your work.
We will not be able to accept poor quality recordings so please check and re-check your audio.
Saving your poem.
Submissions should use the MP3 audio file format. WAV is higher quality but the files can be very large.
Check the file format, if it is not WAV or MP3 you will need to conbert the file online by using an ‘MP4 to MP3 converter’ downloading and then saving the file in the new format.
Please check our submissions criteria too.