How can I improve the sound quality of a recorded Android?

Smartphones have become incredibly capable audio recording devices. The built-in microphones and recording apps can capture high quality audio for a variety of uses. However, smartphone recordings often suffer from background noise, inconsistent volume levels, lack of depth, and other audio quality issues compared to dedicated recording equipment. There are several key factors that influence a smartphone recording’s overall sound quality.

This guide will cover proven techniques to improve audio quality when recording with an Android device. Strategies include choosing a quiet environment, using external microphones, adjusting recording app settings, monitoring levels, post-processing, and more. With proper setup and technique, Android recordings can achieve excellent results comparable to professional gear.

Record in a Quiet Environment

Audio is all about signal to noise ratio. The clearer the signal from the sound source you want to record, the better the audio quality will be. Background noise competes with and masks the desired signal, so it’s critical to reduce background noise as much as possible.

Try to record in a quiet room with carpeting and soft furnishings that absorb sound. Turn off any fans, HVAC systems, and other ambient sources during recording. Only have the people speaking in the room to avoid extraneous sounds. If needed, use sound dampening foam panels on walls to further reduce reflections and noise.

Position microphones close to sound sources to maximize signal pickup. The further the mic is, the more competing ambient noise will be present. Get as close as practical based on the situation. Even a few inches can make a noticeable difference in signal clarity and reduction of background noise pickup.

Use a Dedicated External Microphone

Most smartphones have basic microphones built-in that are designed for phone calls and voice commands. While these mics work for casual recording, they often lack the sensitivity and frequency response needed for professional-quality audio. Using a dedicated external microphone can dramatically improve the sound quality of recordings on an Android device.

External mics designed for smartphones typically connect via the charging port, headphone jack, or wirelessly via Bluetooth. They incorporate condenser capsules that capture a wider dynamic range and finer detail. Directionality options like omnidirectional, cardioid, and shotgun patterns allow you to record sound from various sources. Because the microphone is dedicated for recording, it can be positioned properly on a stand or clip while minimizing handling noise.

According to Amazon, popular external microphone options include the Shure MV88 and Rode SmartLav+, which connect via the charging port and headphone jack respectively. Retail sites like B&H Photo recommend the Sony ECMCS3 as an affordable omni lav mic. While more expensive, wireless mics like the Rode Wireless Go provide added mobility during recording. With some research and experimentation, you can find the right external microphone to significantly enhance the audio quality of Android recordings.

Adjust Recording App Settings

The settings in your recording app can have a big impact on audio quality. Two key settings to pay attention to are sample rate and bit depth. Higher sample rates (like 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz) will capture more of the frequencies in your audio. Higher bit depths (like 16-bit or 24-bit) will capture a greater dynamic range. According to the Macaulay Library, “Higher sample rates and greater bit depths will result in better quality audio recordings” (Source).

Some recording apps also have additional options like noise cancellation and normalization. Noise cancellation can help reduce background noise in your recordings. Normalization aims to even out the volume so there aren’t huge spikes and drops. While these features can be useful, the Macaulay Library recommends turning them off initially: “We recommend starting your recordings with these options turned off. You can always run noise cancellation and normalization later if needed” (Source).

Use a Microphone Input Accessory

Using a microphone input accessory that directly connects to your Android device’s mic jack can significantly improve audio quality compared to the built-in microphone ( These accessories provide a dedicated jack to plug in an external microphone, circumventing your device’s internal mic processing and analog-to-digital conversion. Directly interfacing with the mic port bypasses any limitations or interference caused by the device’s onboard mic setup.

Microphone input accessories for Android typically include a 3.5mm TRRS connector to interface with the mic jack and may also provide additional functionality like amplification, volume control, and headphone monitoring. Some models combine the mic input with other ports like USB-C charging or a 3.5mm headphone jack. The American Recorder Technologies Android Microphone Adapter Cable is one example that adapts a standard 3.5mm microphone to an Android device’s mic jack ( Overall, a microphone input accessory is an easy and affordable way to leverage an external mic for dramatically better audio quality on Android.

Monitor Levels and Positioning

Proper microphone placement is crucial for optimizing sound quality when recording audio on an Android device. You’ll want to ensure the microphone level is high enough to get a strong signal, but not so high that it clips or distorts the audio. Generally, you’ll get the best results by keeping peak levels around -12 to -6 dB on the recording device’s level meter.

Strategic microphone positioning makes a big difference as well. Getting too close to the mic can lead to pops and noise, while being too far away results in a faint, thin recording. As a rule of thumb, vocals sound best around 4-12 inches from the mic, while acoustic instruments like guitar or piano sound better around 12-24 inches out. Experiment with different mic placements while monitoring levels to find the optimal balance of volume and tone.

Also consider the microphone’s pickup pattern. Cardioid mics pick up most sound from the front, so aim it towards the source. Omnidirectional mics pick up all around, so more distance helps avoid unwanted background noise. Closely monitoring the input levels and mic positioning as you record helps ensure you capture clean, well-balanced audio.

Edit and Process After Recording

After you finish recording, take some time to edit and process the audio file to further improve quality. First, listen through and edit out any unwanted sections like long pauses, ums and ahs, or background noises using an audio editing program like Audacity or Adobe Audition. Removing distracting sounds can greatly improve listenability.

You can also use effects like equalization, compression, and normalization to enhance the audio. An equalizer allows you to adjust the volume levels of specific frequency ranges – for example, boosting the lows and highs slightly can make some recordings sound fuller. Compression evens out volume differences, bringing down loud peaks and boosting quiet sections so the whole file has a more consistent volume. Normalization increases the overall gain of the recording so the highest peak hits a target level like -1 or -3 dB. This makes the audio louder while preventing clipping. Post-processing with these types of effects takes some experimenting, but even using light settings can noticeably improve quality.

Consider running your final recording through a dedicated online post-processing service like Auphonic ( Their algorithms for level adjustment, noise reduction, compression and loudness normalization are optimized to enhance audio files. Cleaning up the recording using editing and post-processing techniques can really take your audio to the next level.

Export in a High Quality Format

After you finish recording and processing your audio, it’s important to export it in a high quality, uncompressed audio format to preserve audio fidelity. Avoid compressed formats like MP3 or AAC, which strip away audio data through “lossy” compression.

The best formats for exporting high quality audio from an Android device are:

  • WAV – An uncompressed format that preserves all recorded audio data.
  • FLAC – A lossless compressed format that reduces file size without losing quality.
  • ALAC – Apple’s lossless format, which works well if sharing with iOS devices.

These formats have much higher quality than MP3 or AAC, at the expense of larger file sizes. But with cheap storage and fast internet today, the improved audio quality is well worth the larger filesize for serious recordings.

Most Android audio editing apps allow export to WAV or FLAC directly. Some may require an in-app purchase to unlock lossless exporting. Using one of these high quality formats ensures you are preserving the full quality of your recorded audio when exporting from your Android device.

Listen Critically and Retake if Needed

After you finish recording, it’s important to critically listen back to the audio with high quality headphones. High quality headphones, like the Yamaha PRO 500 headphones, provide excellent frequency response which will help you monitor the true characteristics of your recording.

While listening back, pay attention to the overall sound quality, tone, level, and consistency of the recording. If there are any issues, such as noise, distortion, volume spikes, or unevenness in the audio, you may need to re-record or process the file further. Be prepared and willing to re-take recordings if needed to achieve the best possible sound quality.

As an audio engineer, developing your critical listening skills is incredibly important, as described in this Sound Girls article. Critical listening allows you to evaluate recordings objectively and catch any flaws. So listen carefully, analyze the sound, and don’t be afraid to re-record sections if you don’t achieve the ideal sound quality on the first take.


To recap, there are several key ways to improve the sound quality of recorded audio on Android:

  • Use a quiet environment. Background noise will degrade your recordings. Find a noise-free space or construct a sound booth.
  • Get an external microphone. Most phone microphones capture audio poorly. Add a USB or 3.5mm external mic.
  • Adjust app settings like sample rate, bit rate, gain, and stereo recording mode for better fidelity.
  • Consider specialized microphone accessories for optimal positioning.
  • Monitor your recording levels visually and listen with headphones to ensure good quality.
  • Process the audio afterwards through editing software like Audacity or Descript.
  • Export and save in a lossless format like WAV to retain full sound quality.
  • Retake recordings as necessary until you achieve crisp, professional quality audio.

For more on producing amazing audio recordings with Android devices, check out the following additional resources:

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