Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

iPad audio blogging answer: Pocket Wavepad HD

Jerry Stratton, November 23, 2011

After searching for an audio recording app that would save in MP3 format and do email, I kept a few of the apps that didn’t do what I wanted but that showed promise. One of them was Pocket Wavepad HD. NCH Software has a feedback page, and I think I made two suggestions, as I recall: allow saving in mp3, and use the internal filename as the e-mailed filename.1

I just looked at Wavepad again last night; it seems to have everything I want now, plus some: besides recording, as SmartRecorder and VR+ do, it also allows editing, and it allows recording in high quality and then saving a copy in a lower-quality mp3. When I email the mp3 to myself, it has the same filename I saved it as in the app. Judging from the changelog, mp3 support was added in version 4.56 last month, probably right after I downloaded it the first time.

Controlling the format and compression rate is much easier on Wavepad than on SmartRecorder. SmartRecorder does have at least one benefit over Wavepad: Wavepad won’t record in the background, but SmartRecorder will. That would make it useful for recording while looking at other apps. It’s not something I’ve used yet, however.

Another new feature, judging from the changelog, is that I can record high quality audio, and then have Wavepad automatically encode it to mp3 when I create an email.

It’s made for the iPad2 , and it uses the built-in Mail app, which means I can save drafts and they’ll be in the Mail app’s drafts folder. (But see later for a bug in this functionality.)

The editing feature is barebones, but very useful for what I’d be using it for as a blogging app. It even lets you edit multiple recordings at one time, and copy and paste between them.

It does have some effects. Most of them are useful effects: silencing a selection, noise reduction, amplification, normalization, etc. But there’s also echo and reverse, too, which is what I’m showing off here.

For the ability to send as mp3, and the ability to edit and splice audio, I’ve replaced SmartRecorder on my toolbar with Wavepad. There are certainly some features I’d like to see added; background recording is one, as mentioned.

Importing from and exporting to GarageBand on the fly would also be pretty useful, but Wavepad doesn’t support importing audio from the iPad’s Music app, and GarageBand doesn’t support exporting to it, so that’s probably not possible, unless GarageBand’s “Audio Files” storage area is public.

It also doesn’t look like iOS can copy and paste audio between apps. The clipboard for Wavepad appears to be completely local to Wavepad, just as GarageBand’s clipboard is completely local to GarageBand. Audio copied in one app can’t be pasted into the other, and even leaves the other’s clipboard intact.3

And there appears to be a bug in the way it interacts with the address book when sending emails. It will bring up addresses as I type, as normal, however, on selecting one it won’t actually insert the address in. Since it is displaying the address, I can type from what’s on screen, but it should obviously be easier.4

In another bug, saving a draft loses the attachment. The audio appears to still be attached on retrieving the draft message in the Mail app, but it gets stripped out when it is sent. Everything works fine if I complete the message in Wavepad, however.

In response to An iPad app for simple podcasting: does it exist?: All I want is an iPad app that will record audio and send it as an mp3 to an address of my choosing, in the standard iOS Mail application. I was surprised that this appears to be an impossible dream. I ended up looking at VR+ and Smart Recorder and choosing Smart Recorder until something better comes along.

  1. I sent a similar message to the writer of SmartRecorder, so I don’t remember exactly which suggestions I made to each; my lack of memory is one of the reasons I want my audio app to use the built-in Mail application; doing so keeps a record in an easily-accessible location!

  2. There’s also a separate iPod/iPhone version, the only drawback I’ve seen so far, but since they’re both free that’s not as big a deal as it could be.

  3. This is probably not something that can be fixed without Apple updating either GarageBand or iOS.

  4. And I have reported it as a bug, so I’d expect it will be fixed; the app seems to be in very active development.