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Motivation

Idea for this instructable came after giving some thought to free sound effects available online. Free sound effects like applause, opening and closing of a door, laser shot, wind, camera click, switch sound, etc. are required for creating presentations, apps, devices, etc.

There are two ways to get these. One is to find free online that are free for commercial use or the second to record your own. Some sounds are artificially generated like sound of a laser shot (Well! Actual laser has no sound! So it is bound to be artificial). Others are natural like wind, sound of leaves, chirping of birds, applause, mouse click, etc. This instructable is about the latter class of sounds - natural sounds.

Advantage

The copyright of the recorded sounds remain with you for a simple reason that they are your creations.

The Instrument

A mobile phone's microphone is designed to be sensitive enough to catch user's sound with highest clarity. With experimentation it was known that a mobile can record faintest sounds with clarity. It is to be kept in mind that the recorded sound will be mono aural but this should not be a limitation in most situations. Though any mobile should work, a mobile of good quality will produce better results. And the mobile should have a voice recorder application.

The Software

Audacity is the best open source software required for the purpose i.e. editing the recorded sound. In most cases editing will consist only of increasing sound volume, adding metadata (artist, genre, etc.), and saving to desired sound format.

How to use?

  1. Switch on the mobile as a costliest switched off mobile will never record anything.
  2. Run the voice recorder application.
  3. Start recording.
  4. Most mobiles use external speaker as microphone for recording. So keep this part near the source of sound (though it will be difficult in case of birds).
  5. Stop recording.
  6. Listen. Re-record if required.
  7. Edit

Editing

Recorded sound might require following edits in most cases:

  1. Trimming the starting and end waste sounds.
  2. Increasing the sound volume.
  3. Adding metadata like artist details (your name, etc.), genre, small description etc.
  4. Saving the file to desired format.

All these edits are very easily accomplished in Audacity.

Sample Sound Recordings

Two sounds effects were recorded and edited. These sounds are used for USB in and USB out for my laptop. You can judge the sound quality by just listening to them. It was simple to record. I just brought my mobile close to a plug and just inserted a 3 pin plug top in of a normal electricity supply socket and saved the file. For the second sound I removed the plug and again saved the file. The sounds were recorded using sound recorder application of Nokia Asha 310. Sound editing was done solely with Audacity.

Precaution

Try to keep the surrounding as quiet as possible so as to record only the sound you want.

Happy recording!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a Mechanical Engineer by profession. I also have a M. Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering.
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