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How to Record on an iPod for Free

Have you ever wanted to record interesting audio with your iPod? If you've got a third generation iPod, following these steps can allow you to accomplish just that!

Record on an iPod


1. Install iPod Linux. If you have a first, second, or third generation iPod, this can be easily done through the downloads and instructions at the link listed below. Some other solutions exist for the newer iPods, but they aren't "officially" supported by iPod Linux. See external links below for more information. N.B. If you have a 1G, 2G, or Mini, you will not be able to record, though iPod Linux will install and all of the other features will be there.

2. Boot into Linux from your iPod. To do this, eject and unplug your iPod. It should reset automatically. If it doesn't, then reset it (flick the hold switch on, then off, and hold down "MENU" and "Select" until it resets). As soon as you see the Apple logo, flick on the hold switch. After the Apple logo goes, you should see briefly a picture of a penguin holding an iPod. Then a bunch of text should whiz past. Now you may turn off the hold switch.

3. After the text has disappeared, your iPod should boot into iPod Linux. Even if the backlight was on when the text went past, it will probably switch off now. Hold down "MENU" to switch it on. Scroll down to the "Extras" menu (just like you would normally) and select "Recordings." Click the select button.

4. Adjust the settings. Scroll down to the bottom where it says "Sample Rate" and click the select button to change it. 8kHz is the default setting and produces the lowest quality audio. Even so, the audio is perfectly legible and will sound OK, but a little fuzzy. The maximum is 96kHz , which is excellent quality, but makes enormous files and sometimes skips a lot. Instead of these, go for the 32, 44.1, or 88.2 kHz options. Try them out to see what you like best (see Tips below).

5. Decide how you are going to record, using the "Mic Record" or the "Line In Record" options. "Mic record" functions by using a microphone or headphones plugged into the headphone jack, and "Line in Record" works by plugging your iPod into a dock, and then plugging headphones or microphone for recording purposes into the line out plug on your dock (normally in the middle on the back of the dock).

6. Now, it's time to record.
  • If you've selected "Mic Record," then plug either a microphone or the Apple earbuds (other headphones are less easy to use) into the headphone port. Now, select "Mic Record" and click the select button. Press the select button and begin to record. To do this, yell, scream, talk, or sing into the LEFT earbud (marked with an "L") or yell, scream, talk, or sing into the microphone if you plugged one in instead.
  • If you've selected "Line In Record", then plug your iPod into a dock (make sure the dock is unplugged) and plug a microphone or headphones into the dock's line out plug. Press the select button to begin recording, and yell, scream, talk, or sing into the microphone or left channel of the headphones.
7. To pause the recording, press play/pause, and press the action button again when your recording is over.

8. Playback your file by going back to the "Recordings" menu, selecting "Playback", and scrolling down to find your file. (Files are named for when they were created; the newest file should be at the bottom.) You can also play them back using the iPod's default system. Reboot your iPod, let Apple's default OS load, then go into the Extras menu, then the "Voice Memos" menu, and select your recording.

Tips :
  • If you are recording at a kHz higher than 8, you should wait 5-10 seconds after the recording starts before you actually begin speaking.
  • Files will normally be recorded at a VERY low volume. When previewing them, run the click wheel to the right until the volume stops increasing to hear them louder. Once on the computer, editing them with a program like Audacity can fix this problem easily.
  • You can also record tapes, CDs, or straight from a guitar or other electrical input by plugging a line-out cord straight into your iPod dock while using the "line-in" method. (Be careful with this.)
  • Base your choice of Sample Rate on what you are recording. The more important quality is, the higher the sample rate should be and the more careful you should be when recording.
  • Microphones are less sensitive and will produce quieter sounds, but are more effective at filtering noise. Headphones have better input but do not filter noise effectively.
Warnings :
  • Loading iPod Linux MAY VOID WARRANTY. However, you warranty can be restored with a simple restore.
  • If you record long files and rush through the process, the iPod may hang - although your file should be kept intact.
  • It is not supported for all iPods.

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