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Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 | 5 comments

FiRe 2 – Field Recorder

For a few weeks now I have been playing with Audiofile Engineering’s field recorder FiRe 2. FiRe 2 is an app for iOS that is a recorder/audio editor/metadata editor/uploader in one. Facts from the Audiofiles themselves:

FiRe 2 will again revolutionize what you expect from a portable recording application. FiRe was the first iPhone recorder to display an accurate audio waveform in real time, the first to support markers, Broadcast WAVE metadata, and the instant downloading of files in multiple file formats. FiRe was the first application on any platform to offer native SoundCloud integration. Now FiRe 2 incorporates into its original elegant design a stunning list of powerful new features including:

  • – Advanced editing suite with SmartEdits, Bezier fades, change gain, normalize, looping playback, regions and more
  • – Improved Transport screen with faster and smoother drawing and larger waveform view
  • – EQ and Dynamics effects by Audiofile Engineering
  • – iTunes File Sharing
  • – Enhanced input processing powered by iZotope™
  • – Record in background
  • – Dropbox integration
  • – Regions

So I must say that I love this adorable little app. As someone who has tried to record sounds with a 3Gs using Apple’s built-in voice memo app I can tell you FiRe 2 is worth the $5.99. Now this isn’t going to replace your Fostex FR-2LE and shotgun mics out in the field, but you could catch some impromptu sounds you may not capture otherwise. Here are two examples:

During a Skype meeting an all-too-common glitch happened where the sound went all messy and I quickly grabbed my phone (which was right in front of me) to get this great robotic sound:

And then the other night I was sitting down to watch a few episodes of Jem (as you do) and this incredibly piercing sound started up outside my window:

Neither one is a superb-quality recording (but certainly not terrible), in both cases I would have probably not been able to capture the recording had I fished around for my Zoom H4 or even H1 and wait for it to boot, find out batteries were dead, etc. However, an iPhone is usually at arm’s length, so it is a safe bet to have a recording app at the ready. I was also able to do some trimming right in the app to remove verbal tags and bumps at the beginning and end of the recording.

Recording View

I should also note that all tags, metadata, naming, descriptions and uploading on both Soundcloud tracks were made entirely in FiRe 2.  There are a ridiculous amount of tag options on top of the number of audio formats you can export to. (AIFF, WAVE, CAF, AAC, Apple Lossless, Podcast, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC).

Edit View

In case you would want this to be a bit more of a robust field recorder there are some options.

Before I end my ramblings, here is a wonderful anecdote from Damain Kastbauer about working on a project using FiRe:

“During my time on the ground helping out on Uncharted 3 I ended up implementing the physics sounds for most of the objects in the game. There was a ton of detail in the environments and the list of unique dynamic objects that needed sound was a mile long. For whatever reason, acquiring the impact sounds of a traffic cone had gone undone and things were moving swiftly towards the end of production. Until one night when Jimi Barker and Aaron Brown, who were both staying at the same hotel as me, stumbled across a bank parking lot and discovered a lone traffic cone illuminated by a street light. In what must have been a shining moment of epiphany, Aaron whipped out his iPhone engaged FiRe, pressed record, and the two of them worked over that poor cone while capturing the performance. The phone rang after midnight and I was greeted by the excited proclamations of my two colleagues as they triumphantly banged the cone into the phone in celebration. Early the next morning the recording was processed and cleaned up, edited into individual impacts, and sorted into variations based on impact size. When I asked Aaron about it recently he pulled out the famous quote: “”the best recorder is the one you have on you”, and I think that says it all.”

Make sure to check out Audiofile’s Engineering’s Field Recorder User Group and make sure to follow Audiofile Engineering on Twitter.

 On a scale of 1-10 I give the FiRe 2 for iOS a truly outrageous.


  1. Are there any other files to listen too?Compered to the H4N and the H1 it’s still Mono. But it’s ideal for quick recordings as you mentioned. I will check out this app :) Cheers Arthur 

  2. The app is indeed supporting stereo. But the iPhone itself only has a mono mic.

    You can use it with any external iPhone mic (needs to be supported by the specifIc phone type) to record in stereo.

  3. I had an awesome FiRe2 experience yesterday. I’m working on a project set in NYC and area, and the client wants authenticity in the ambiences. I have a large collection of Manhattan amb, but needed some of Brooklyn. A quick email to a friend in Brooklyn who had FiRe2 on his iPhone…he takes a short walk around the hood, uploads to Dropbox, and over the next hour I was dragging sounds right into my session in Vancouver. Obviously not high end, but good enough as a C. Channel bed for some authenticity in the tracks….which is certainly better than nothing. A must have app for on the fly recording!

  4. I use the Tascam iM2 with the 4S. Stereo recordings sound great. I have a little camera stand and phone holder that I have rigged as a sort of boom / mic stand.  I’ve been using the setup for recording SFX for commercial spots since Jan. Very handy for recording anything on the fly. Sometimes I use it for tracking acoustic guitar or percussion and fly that back into the session. Pretty amazing quality considering. 

  5. Is there any documentation for this app? I cannot seem to get any sense of how the editor works… how do I even obtain that “edit view”—


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