Recording lectures on my MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Labhras, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #1
    Hi guys,
    I'm currently using my phone to record my college lectures, but that sometimes constitutes quite the battery drain if I forget to charge it the night before.
    Is it there a free or cheap app to record lectures on my MBA? I've heard that with the laptop mic being internal, the sound quality would be noticeably worse than - let's say - a phone recording. Is that still true or with the new MBAs/mics has this problem been solved?

    I'm not necessarily going to type on my MBA (I've seen apps that combine recording with laptop notetaking) - for some classes like Macroeconomics you simply can't with the amount of graphs you need to draw at a lightning-fast rate, so I'd still take note on paper. Unless there's a slim, light, excellent drawing pad that you could suggest, able to immediately transfer what I'm writing/drawing to a pages file, or storing it in a SD and later transferring it to a pages file...
     
  2. dyt1983, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Location:
    USA USA USA
    #2
    edit: to remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
     
  3. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #3
    I have the 2014 MBA. In your opinion is there a "best" free recording app, or are all more or less at the same level?

    I ask this because I'm already using Pages for my textbook notes and practically with a recording and taking lecture notes on my mac I would only need my Mac in class - the problem is with graphs, formulas, etc. with no time to use classic mac tools to draw/write them.
    Wouldn't a digital pen require a particular type of paper?
     
  4. mjs402 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    I used a 13" rMBP to record lectures so I don't know about the mic quality on the Air but use a program called Notability. I have it for the Mac and for my iPhone/iPad as well. It syncs across all 3 devices so I can listen to and view my notes no matter what device I'm on.

    It's not free though, I don't remember how much the cost was either but it's available on the App Store.

    You can use the trackpad to make little sketches in Notability as well. You basically import the PDF and take notes on it and draw on it while audio recording.
     
  5. dyt1983, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Location:
    USA USA USA
    #5
    edit: to remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
     
  6. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #6
    If you already have your laptop with you anyway, why not just plug the phone into the laptop to charge it while it's recording?
     
  7. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #7
    Thanks for your advice, I installed Audacity and it seems to work fine, I'll test it tomorrow but all should go well.
    I'll check them out, do you have a brand/model preference perhaps? I don't need extreme accuracy, but since I'd use it to draw graphics some is still needed.

    I don't always have it turned on, and it's a very slow charging. Adding to that, the storage space is being eaten by the recordings - if I had them on my laptop already with good quality I'd be saved from the trouble of using my phone.
     
  8. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #8
    Ah, okay, I didn't know about the space restriction. I assumed you preferred recording with your phone.

    BTW -- the laptop doesn't need to be on to charge your phone. Crack the lid open and it should start charging. Close it again and it should keep charging. It shouldn't charge any slower than using any other USB charger.
     
  9. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #9
    If you are open to considering an external microphone, I highly recommend the Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone .

    For such a small device it offers great sound quality and sensitivity. I've used it with my iPad 4 for recording podcasts. It would work great with the MBA. The low power draw would not significantly impact the MBA's battery.
     
  10. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #10
    So - I tried recording a couple of lectures with Audacity and besides some power drain that I can work with, it was pretty good. My only problem was about background noise (papers, people sneezing, clacking of keyboards, etc). Apparently the software picks up every little sound made in the room - lol.
    Is there something I can do about it?
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    If you weren't getting this on your phone then I assume iOS was doing some noise cancellation for you.

    The 2014 MBA has two mics but the OS may not do noise cancellation.

    I guess you could try to google for an OS X application that does something with both mics.
     
  12. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #12
    I was actually recording on Android - Galaxy s4. I'll have to listen to various tracks but I think my phone has some sort of automatic noise cancellation or something like that.
    Is there a setting for that in Audacity, as far as you know?
     
  13. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    I tried using evernote to record lectures whilst making notes on my rMBP/MBA. However, I also found there to be too much background noise, if I coughed, moved etc.

    That's why I bought a portable recorder off ebay for about £25. It has a bi directional microphone so it will pick up only things from the front of the lecture theatre. I highly recommend getting one. Battery life lasts ages, I probably charge once every 2 to 3 weeks, and that's using it about 6/8 hours a week.
     
  14. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    Brasil
    #14
    Currently, I can see only one technology which can make these cheap internal microphones sound really impressive. It's Nokia Rich Recording, a feature present in most mid/high end Lumia phones. It's impressive how it can record loud concerts with very low perceptible clipping/distortion.

    Don't know how it performs in lectures, but based on gigs, I suppose it will do the job well. Never used these mini condensers, but hopefully they have a higher dynamic range than the internal mics.
     
  15. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #15
    agreed. i have tried using the evernote feature but it picks up everything - the keyboard on the computer itself most of all.

    remember the mic on a laptop was designed to pick up the user in the chair, not somebody 30 feet away on the back-side of the laptop. at the very least i would get an external directional mic.

    but in my experience, recording lectures is one of those "things i think i need to do but rarely do and even more rarely use"
    that being said, for the few times i've needed to record a talk i just use a digital dictaphone. i've got a sony something or other that works great and fits in my bag.
     

Share This Page