Suggestions for phone with ability to disable noise-reduction

Discussion in 'Smart Phones and Devices' started by duronboy, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    TLDR: Anybody out there aware of a phone or other easily pocket-able device that you KNOW has a way to capture unfiltered, possibly uncompressed or at least seriously good audio while recording video? New phones do annoying noise reduction that affects even up-close voices, and obliterates someone's voice who's yelling from a distance, or even talking loudly from say 20 feet.

    blah blah blah:
    I've tried a few different video recording apps(Android) but didn't see much in the way of audio options. While I doubt iPhones are better, I'm open to suggestions. I had a 4S in 2011 or 2012, I don't remember the audio quality. Switched to Android for a number of reasons. With what I do with a phone, I could probably go back to an iPhone if the audio was perfect. I would miss SD card capability.

    My LG G2 was the WORST. I made some videos for youtube with it and the video quality was great, but I had to use my oldest still functioning smartphone for audio. Perfectly fine for planned videos with just me up close talking about woodworking, speakers, or whatever and plenty of time to combine the A/V.

    Not too long ago I tried a used HTC M9 and it was not as bad as the G2. I didn't keep it for other major reasons, but still a fail at low-level audio/video recording.

    What I have right now is an LG, newer than the G2. While it's better, it's still pretty aggressive with the NR. Seems to affect the voice recorder and the video alike. Even if the voice recorder worked ok, I still need video. And I don't want to mess with a separate thing, anyway(app or physical). I want to pull something out of my pocket and record video with perfect sound ASAP. I can add NR if I need to, I don't need the phone/device doing it.
     
  2. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,725
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    The LG V20 has the best audio recording capabilities yet put into a smartphone, there simply is no competition on that one respect alone. The AOP (Acoustic Overload Point) "certified" mics are by design meant to handle ambient environments that reach way way into the "overload" that most any other mics in smartphones could ever hope to handle. I owned a V20 recently for a short period of time and did some audio recordings of live music on Fremont Street here in downtown Las Vegas and - as someone that's been into digital audio since like 1980-ish, seriously - I will say that the resulting recordings were amazing in terms of the actual recording content, unlike anything I ever imagined a smartphone itself would be capable of and by that I mean just with a smartphone in my hand and no other hardware.

    Also, the other benefit of having AOP mics is in reverse: if you're in a quiet environment you can then raise the gain somewhat dramatically and pick up the proverbial "pin drop on the floor" kind of thing without causing problems either and not necessarily (at least in my experience) see a massive jump in background noise (meaning from the audio hardware itself added into the recording circuit). I did a few 'dead silence" recordings to the best of my ability (living in downtown Las Vegas rarely gives me any actual peace and quiet) and was pretty amazed at how high I could raise the mic gain without any undue or negative side effects at all. It's one damned awesome device for digital recording on the go, and the fact that it's a fantastic smartphone on top of that ability is just icing on the cake, as the saying goes.

    It's entirely possible to attach ADC's to modern smartphones using OTG (On The Go) capability, it's also entirely possible to get handheld Flash-storage devices like those from Tascam and Zoom for such purposes as well but the V20 stands way beyond anything else in that respect as just a "lowly" smartphone that happens to be able to record digital audio on the go. :)

    No matter which app you use for audio recording, the basic gist and rule is this: if you have a shitty recorder, meaning crappy mics (which most every smartphone ever made has with the exception of the V20, of course) no matter what software you use it's going to end up being a shitty recording too.

    For recording purposes, the mics are the #1 priority, after that the actual ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) matters high on the list and then way way down the list is the actual app/software, at least that's how I rank them in terms of importance.

    I've owned the G2, it's one of my favorite smartphones ever and once I got used to the buttons placed on the back and the double-tap-to-wake/sleep actions, nowadays I hate - seriously, I detest them all - any devices that don't and I'm seriously disappointed that LG has now given up on that aspect of their designs, the last one being the V10. The G4 is my fave smartphone ever and would take one over anything on the market even today, or coming in the near future but that's just me I suppose.

    Realize that in terms of audio, picture, and video recording that's just another capability of smartphones, they were never really meant to supplant purely dedicated hardware for such purposes, but the V20 is flat out the best smartphone available today (and the near future, at least till the V30 comes out if the rumors hold true) for audio recording purposes if that's a seriously important thing that you need to get done and not have to use any other hardware.

    Least that's my own informed experienced first-hand-ownership opinion. :D

    Also, there are multiple articles and reviews of the V20 audio capabilities, here's are a few relatively short ones that covers the basics fairly well:

    http://www.androidauthority.com/upcoming-smartphone-tech-to-look-forward-to-779229/

    http://www.lgnewsroom.com/2016/11/three-reasons-why-audiophiles-cant-get-enough-of-lg-v20/

    https://www.theverge.com/circuitbre.../lg-v20-preview-specs-features-android-nougat

    (and no they're not just about the Hi-Fi Quad DAC, they do speak about the recording aspects which is what you were focusing on)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  3. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Thanks for the lengthy post. I was hoping something older(cheaper) or a different brand. Although I've had pretty good luck with the cheap LG phones. F3, Tribute both still work and their displays have better color accuracy than the "flagships." Reds are garbage on LG and Samsung flagships. The G2 I have died(touch screen dead spots and self-activation spots) as well as random graphical glitches. GPS had trouble day 1. Had a Nexus 5(made by LG along side the G2) with similar graphical glitches that were way worse and didn't go away with a display swap. Then there's the class-action suits covering everything from the G3 to the G5 and V10 related to the bootloop issue.

    I'm not writing off LG because those bootloop and general assembly problems might possibly be behind them. And, the V20's swappable battery and SD slot along with the 64GB built-in capacity are mighty tasty. Sad to hear the tap to wake went away. That was a really neat feature. 5.7" is a tad large, especially considering I'd have to put the bastard in a case, as unwieldy as phones that large are and as fragile as it theoretically could be. But, that's what people want, I suppose.

    Ultimately though that audio quality, if exclusive to the V20, will be what makes me pull the trigger. Figuratively speaking, of course. Because, the biggest reason I need good audio is; yesterday someone threatened to pull the trigger on me(except in the literal sense). I was recording at the time, and they were yelling, but the sound quality could be better. Before today I really wanted better sound, but yesterday it turned into a need.

    Reading those articles you provided came across this gem:

    "The V20’s predecessor automatically stopped recording when a file reached 4GB, but the LG V20 enables you to exceed this limit. The phone will save the file as soon as it hits 4GB, and automatically start recording a new file, nonstop."

    File that under "Why the fark don't all cameras and phones do this automatically?!" On my current phone I get about 30 minutes or so per 4GB at 1080p30, but if I had the v20 I'd be cranking to 4k. Weird it doesn't do 1080p60 like the G2 that is practically ancient at this point. At least it still has OIS which is really invaluable.

    Looks like I can get a V20 locked to Sprint for as little as $240, but it doesn't work on MVNOs. Cheapest one that works on an MVNO is $320, unlocked is $350, not sure unlocked does CDMA. Not exactly a mountain of cash, but not something I wanted to throw hundreds at right now. But I don't want to pass up the chance to get the person who threatened me on some charges if they start up on the craziness another day, which I think is likely.
     
  4. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,725
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Well, regarding the 4GB recording thing it's not usually a limitation of the phone hardware itself but the file system on the storage cards that many people use to expand the internal space. By default up till just recently the limitation was 4GB because FAT32 (the file system) couldn't handle single files larger than 4GB) hence the now more prevalent use of exFAT which can handle single files of effectively unlimited (given the amount of storage available) size. That has nothing to do with internal storage, mind you, as that typically (for Android devices) uses ext2 or ext3 and doesn't have such file size limitations, it's when using the external/microSD storage where that kicks in and became an issue with FAT32.

    And also I'd have to wonder who would be recording so much that it requires 4GB of space - I mean, yes I realize that the V20 and some other devices can technically record at 24 bit sample size with a 192 kHz sampling rate but that's just sheer ridiculous overkill for the most part. Recording with the V20 and a huge microSD card (or even using the internal storage) with 16 bit 48 kHz still gives you TONS of audio recording time without issues and provides all the actual necessary frequency response our human ears need. Sure, if you're recording a concert or something then bump that to 24 bit 96 kHz so you've got some headroom to work with for later editing but, for just recording a conversation or even an argument a judge and jury ain't gonna give a shit about the "high resolution" recording you made.

    Hell, they could find you guilty just to spite you for wasting the bandwidth with higher bit and sampling rates when something less would do like "CD Quality." You just never know if a recording engineer could be the jury foreman, do you? :D

    Anyway, if your only reason for looking at this kind of purchase it just to get someone recorded that's threatening you, geez, go buy one of these instead:

    https://www.amazon.com/Sony-ICD-BX140-Digital-Voice-Recorder/dp/B00IZEJFF4/
     
  5. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Possibly me. All else equal, if I were recording at 4k on my current phone I'd hit 4GB in 7:30-ish. Police response was under 15 minutes I think, but well over 8. The longer I recorded, the more crazy the threats got. If the bit rate per pixel is higher, and the audio is higher quality than 160kbps MP3, then I'd have even less time for 4GB.

    I don't think sampling rate is the issue with most phones, it's the damn noise reduction filter that can't be switched off. I've heard 11khz and 22khz sampling rates and that starts to get annoying after about 1.5 seconds, but my $40 LG Tribute records 48khz 155kbps AAC, according to virtual dub. The problem is that sounds below a certain level get amputated. I believe the quality of the mics in most phones are good enough for my purposes, it's the processing that makes or breaks it.

    But naw, I don't want a separate thing for audio. I want to just have one thing in my phone pocket, one thing to mess with.


    Kyle the Admin recently had a little IMEI problems, mostly related to Google but it got me thinking. Sprint has this requirement that their post-paid phones must be used on-carrier for 1-year before they can be used on an MVNO like Ting, Tello, ect... The V20 came out in September '16, so I don't know how that requirement has even been met, yet. I suppose I should pop into a Sprint store to ask, but I wonder if I could get myself into a situation in a few months/weeks if something somewhere doesn't get paid on time. I would just spring for the unlocked version, but it doesn't do CDMA. I was really leaning toward unlocked since that M9 I tried autonomously downloaded a bunch of shiat as soon as I got data going to it, shiat like the Uber app.
     
  6. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,725
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    That there should be a pretty telling thing if you think about it, and just because you're in the process of recording doesn't mean that such a person could just go full on batshit insane and, well, the phone at that point really isn't relevant unless that person takes it from you and shoves it up your keister... or worse. :(

    The issue with Kyle's Pixel smartphone was a mistake on Google's part but also that on the part of stupid people trying to scalp (for lack of a more accurate term) the sales of Pixel devices using Google's Project Fi capabilities, it wasn't related directly to his device or the IMEI but how Google was causing problems for people that legitimately owned Pixels although purchased from private owners which is somewhat forbidden by the Project Fi "rules," more or less. Least that's my understanding of that situation.

    There are only like a handful of MVNOs for Sprint, Virgin Mobile is one but they announced just last week they're going "iPhone-only" for service plans to new customers, Boost Mobile has good pricing but like any MVNO using Sprint's network you're going to pay out the damned nose for the full price of a device, they don't do contracts and monthly payments. Sprint sucks, that's my opinion and after 20 years of dealing with them off and on or hearing nothing but complaints I honestly don't know why anybody uses them: they don't offer great pricing, they don't even offer great service, so I don't know why folks continue to keep 'em in business and probably never will understand it. I've yet to hear anybody honestly tell me they're happy with Sprint service and wouldn't ever choose anybody else - words like that have never reached my ears (or my eyes for that matter considering).

    Most any carrier phone is going to have bloatware on it and if it's not on the phone when you first power it up then it'll download it after you get network connectivity, that's just how things go nowadays so, if you don't want bloat, don't buy a carrier device, plain and simple.

    You'll figure it out at some point I suppose, my advice is get away from Sprint or Sprint MVNOs at any cost necessary but that's just me. :)

    CDMA devices, ugh, never, I will never buy one brand new and if I do I get one used - and I have, I have a Sprint sold LG G Flex 2 that the wife uses but it was unlocked the same day I got my hands on it - and I she uses it with T-Mobile just like I use T-Mobile with whatever device I happen to own at the given time (I go through used phones quick, buy 'em, resell 'em when I can, get another, and so on).
     
  7. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    I think you meant "just because you're in the process of recording doesn't mean that such a person [couldn't] just go full on batshit" but I get ya. I think if they had gone for a weapon or started coming at me, I most likely would have had time to react/run. But also it would have been absolutely invaluable in helping to make sure they're not a continuing problem. Risk:reward ratios.

    There's like over 25 I think, even after RingPlus imploded. Maybe that's a handful compared to ATT and TMO, but it's enough that one of them offers unlimited texts for $3. I mean...

    Oh wow. I actually had VM for a short time, but they haven't been a good value to me in quite some time. I hate to say it, but iPhone only isn't that much of a drop in usefulness. They had some weeeird little Android devices at head-scratchingly high prices and for whatever reason you couldn't BYOD.

    Mmmmmm, yeah I suppose their high-speed data isn't the best. ATT isn't the best where I live, either. And, I've had some unsavory experience with ATT customer service. For what I need out of a phone, a Sprint MVNO offers completely acceptable service at the absolute lowest price. Honestly I haven't even needed to contact the customer service of my current MVNO. If I did it would be no big deal because of how much money I've saved. If my situation changes and I need to get ATT coverage again, I could do it, but I feel about them the way you feel about Sprint! :)
     
  8. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Well even with possible YouTube compression, the V20 audio recording quality does seem pretty nice. Turns out it does offer 1080 60fps. Also seems to have 3 bitrate settings. I may have to get a better SDcard to support the highest settings.

    Found a V20 that'll work for $240. Noice. Bout to order a second battery and separate charger for it. Hopefully it'll be here by the weekend, even though I know it won't ship today. :'-(