Field recordings of bird calls and songs on a budget

July 31st, 2014 [42]
If you've left your parabolic dish in the kitchen sink and forgot your ATR55 shotgun mic, there is an alternative, which is pocket sized and, albeit much lower quality, can be highly effective in the right conditions.

Modern smartphones have access to a plethora of Apps on the market and as they say, there's an App for everything nowadays and field recording is not excluded. Many newer smartphones come with a "Voice Recording" application. While this is a decent enough free alternative, I would recommend getting Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder by "Yuku" on the Google Play store.

Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder screenshot

Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder comes in at a price of USD $2.00 (there's a sale on right now), and if that's too much you can get a free version which limits recording length to 10 minutes (which to be fair, is plenty for capturing bird calls and songs).

Managing your recordings is straight-forward using the app.

Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder recordings screenshot

The main features are:

  • Real-time MP3 recording
  • Pause and resume recordings
  • Changeable bit rate — up to 320 kbps
  • Selectable microphone (front or back/rear)
  • Alternate recording icon — prevent unwanted attention
  • Manage existing recordings — share, sort, rename, and delete them
  • Automatic stop when storage free space reaches a customizable limit
  • Input gain setting to make recording louder or softer


The input gain is a most helpful feature to have, letting you tweak the recording sensitivity in the field.

This app has proved so useful on so many occasions to me and my birding companion whilst in the jungles of Costa Rica.

Check it out here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=yuku.mp3recorder.lite

Chris ♡