I’ve seen plenty of tools that turn an iPhone or iPod touch into a high quality digital audio recorder. Some, like the Blue Mikey are simply external microphones that sound a heck of a lot better than that puny mic you talk into when making phone calls. Others, like the Alesis Pro Track give you high quality mics, XLR inputs, VU meters, and volume knobs.
But while these tools let you make high quality recordings on an iPhone, you still need decent software to store those recordings or edit them.
Of course, no iPhone app is going to replace a full featured desktop audio workstation like Pro Tools or Adobe Audition. But there’s a new audio editor for the iPhone that does a surprisingly decent job of giving you the basic tools you need to record, edit, and mix audio on the go.
Monle is a 4 track non-linear audio editor. You can use it to record audio or import WAV files. But more importantly, you can arrange audio on a timeline, adjust volumes, split files, and create fades.
The controls are fairly intuitive. You pinch to zoom and grab and drag the project to move around. Tap and drag an audio file to move it around the timeline or move it from one track to another.
Things get a little more complicated when you want to get fancy: You place two fingers on an audio file and drag down to lower the volume, or up to increase it. In order to crop a file, drag the edge and drag left or right. And in order to add a fade up or down, grab the edge of a file and drag up or down.
Want to remove a sound file from the timeline? Just drag it to the bottom of the screen.
When you’re done, you can save your entire session or mix down your audio into a new WAV file. I had the app crash on me a few times while testing it today, so if you’re working on something important, I’d recommend saving periodically anyway. Hopefully future versions will be more stable.
I’d also be happier if the undo button popped up a little more often. The only time you see it is when you split a sound file. But there are plenty of other times when I’m working on an audio project when I’d like to undo a mistake.
Update: Version 1.1.2 adds unlimited undo levels for all editing functions.
My only other complaint is that some of the menus are a bit tricky to get out of. For instance, if you hit the FTP button by accident, there’s no Back button. You just have to enter some fake (or blank) information until you get an error message and return to the previous screen.
Monle was created with radio news journalists in mind. It includes an integrated FTP client that lets you upload a finished project to an FTP server. In other words, you can take your iPhone out into the field, record an interview, edit the interview, and upload the results to your newsroom all without pulling out a computer. You know Monle is focused on journalists, because there’s also an option to upload the audio to the American Public Media network.
Monle is available for purchase from the iTunes App Store for $9.99.
You can check out more photos and my hands-on video with Monle after the break, or visit the developer’s web site for almost 50 minutes worth of instructional videos showing how to use the app. It’s not really that complicated, but I definitely learned a few things by watching the videos.