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Many apps have been developed to enhance smartphones’ often impressive audio recording ability but FiRe was the first to really attempt to be a professional field recorder. Initially launched on the iPhone (at a pretty high price of £3.99) it did prove to be very reliable so much so that many commercial radio stations (including GMG) encouraged reporters to use it instead of a bulky Marantz. Last year Audiofile stopped supporting FiRe and instead offered FiRe 2 an upgrade of the recorder which required you (somewhat cheekily) to buy it for another £3.99.

How it helps you

Although there are plenty of apps on the market that are easier to use this one is not only professional but also extremely flexible. You can add your own metadata which prevents the audio getting lost and can help when adding further context to an online story. With FiRe 2 there is integration with Dropbox – blowing Dropvox out of the water by a considerable distance. A sub or producer could easier pick up a story and it is easier to configure than FTP. There are also some pretty nifty editing tools so you’re out in the field getting an interview anyway you can easily file the audio before the story. And there’s Soundcloud integration which in private could be a handy archive but in public could also mean that a story could be broken on the platform.

In Practice

To test this app thoroughly, I recorded an interview using a the new app, we recorded it onto the camera microphone in an echoey dressing room whilst the interviewee ate a satsuma. The sound wave monitoring is very accurate which means you can avoid distortion. The noise quality has always been good but there’s a few more EQ settings (powered by Izotope) and extended metadata you can add before downloading. I did try editing the audio using the app but it was very fiddly, and then it crashed. I trimmed the audio (particularly the satusuma sucks) using Audacity on my computer and then uploaded to Audioboo, you get space for unlimited Boo’s on Audioboo whereas I’ve already filled my free Soundcloud account.

Drawbacks

You don’t need to have FiRe 1 installed to use FiRe 2 but, somewhat irritatingly it doesn’t incorporate the recordings you have already on the phone. There are a lot file format options on the new app but it does seem buggier than the first version.

Summary

An excellent field recorder – an average exporter – a pretty rough editor.

Rating