You may be wondering if an iPhone or another cell phone is an appropriate digital recording device for capturing electronic voice phenomena (EVP). The quick answer—only in a pinch if there’s absolutely nothing else available at the moment. Generally speaking, however, these devices are not ideal because they produce low-quality recordings that make it difficult to distinguish true EVP from ambient noise and digital artifacts.
Cell Phones Offer Low-Quality Recordings
When it is a paranormal investigator’s intention to record EVP, she or he should use a recorder of the highest possible quality. A dedicated digital voice recorder set to the HQ (high quality) setting is usually fine for this purpose. A quality cassette tape recorder with HQ tapes will work well, too.
The problem with using the microphones and recording apps on smartphones—whether iPhone or Android—is that they are not designed to produce high-quality recordings. These devices are made for convenience, and they typically sacrifice quality in the interest of saving space and lowering costs. The recordings they produce may be satisfactory if all you’re doing is recording a short interview or making a note to yourself, but they won’t be high quality. And high quality is what you want when you are recording EVP or any other spiritual or ghost phenomena.
How to Capture High-Quality EVP
Grade A EVP recordings—voices that are clear and unambiguous—are relatively rare. Most often the voices are faint, somewhat hard to hear, or open to interpretation. A recording of low quality only adds to these problems: Was that really a voice? Or was it a dog barking outside, or a chair being moved across the floor in the next room? With a recording of high quality, you will probably be able to make a distinction. With a noisy recording from a smartphone, however, you probably will not.
As a paranormal investigator, you want to gather the very best evidence you can, and that goes for audio recordings, still pictures, and video. You should always strive to use the best equipment you can afford. Good, solid paranormal evidence—strong enough to give skeptics pause—is hard enough to come by, so don’t give cynics a reason to doubt by providing evidence obtained with shoddy, low-quality equipment.
The best microphones for recording EVP are external omnidirectional microphones (internal microphones typically pick up machine noise). These will record all the vibrations within a certain vicinity. As with most tech equipment, you’ll get higher quality the more you invest; external microphones vary greatly in price, with some premium models costing thousands of dollars.
Money is not everything, though. If you want to record quality EVP, you’ll need to create a quiet environment that is welcoming to spirits. If you’re recording inside a house, you can reduce ambient noise by closing doors and windows and turning off noisy appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. This will make it easier to discern EVP if any happens to be present. After all, you could have the fanciest equipment in the world—it won’t make a difference if the EVP is smothered by other sounds.