Aroundsound gets even better with Shared Collections

We’ve started talking about soundtracking recently – creating albums of sound recordings. As Aroundsound grows we’ve seen more people who want to create collections or albums of sounds and share those with others. Examples include bedtime stories (recorded by a grandad for his grandchildren), lessons and lectures, musical notes (ideas and drafts) and environmental collections (birdsong, nature notes).

We’ve now made it even easier than ever to create collections

Collections on iPhone Aroundsound

of sounds and share those with other with others. Anybody who joins your collection as a member can comment and even add their own sounds, plus they can be notified when you add a new sound.

You can find the ‘collections’ tab on your app, where you can create a new collection and start adding sounds. When you’re ready to share, simply change the privacy to ‘visible to the group’ and then you can invite members to join your collection. You can change the privacy at any time, back to a private collection if you prefer.

What’s more, if you are an iPhone user, you will be pleased to know that the latest app release now includes ‘trimming’ recordings, a feature we have made available in our Android app for some time.  This means it’s super easy to select just the part of the recording you want to keep, and trim out anything else. The original full recording will still be saved and you’ll make an additional, new trimmed version. Pick and trim the best moments then save or share with others.

trimmimg screenshot Aroundsound iPhone

Aroundsound helps you to record, replay and share life’s moments – the everyday that is powerful without being perfectly produced. We’re calling that soundtracking. It is developing all the time both on Android and iPhone, with collections and trimming being just two of the latest features that you’ve asked for.

Download and give it a go, and please tell us what you think. We’d love to hear what’s in your soundtrack this week!

Download for Android

Download for iPhone

Share the sounds of your Christmas

The festive season is certainly upon us and memories are being made. Nativity plays, carol concerts, baking sessions, present unwrapping, and those bad jokes that are repeated every year at dinner by your Nan after a couple of glasses of Bucks Fizz.

This weekend we started getting in the spirit and heard a warm up rendition of Jingle Bells by a professional from the Hallé orchestra, and a Brass Band playing festive tunes at Chatsworth House. We also had an unexpected meeting with the big man himself and here we are meeting Father Christmas.

Sound is a special way to capture and share the festive moment, whilst remaining in the moment (tap to record, then carry on as you were). It’s also a great way to share the fun with friends and family.

Our Aroundsound iPhone app has just been updated to make the experience of sound capturing and sharing even better. The Android app is also available and is regularly updated. We’re grateful for all the feedback we’re getting and are making regular improvements. Try it out and let us know what you think, and why not share your sound captures with us too? We’ll publish the best ones with your permission.

What sounds of Christmas will you capture?

Posted by Rachel

Photo by Mike Arney on Unsplash

Aroundsound app is featured by Google

We are delighted to share that our Aroundsound app has been selected by Google to be featured as a recommended app on Google Play. Aroundsound helps you to capture and share life’s sounds as they happen. It is currently available as an Early Access app in Google Play for Android and as a fresh new app on Apple’s App Store.

Google have high standards for selecting apps to be featured (this is a small list of 8 ‘early access’ apps globally), so it is a privilege to be chosen. It is a great opportunity for Aroundsound to be visible to many more Early Access users globally, and gain the valuable feedback we need from people first hand. Here are some of the comments we’ve been given back already:

“I tried many recording apps in the play store, but it is the best app”

“Love the app. Does what it says. Very simple to use.”

“Super”

We are closely monitoring the feedback and analytics behind the spike in usage that this featuring has caused, and will use this to shape how the product develops.

If you are an Apple user you can download the Aroundsound iPhone app instead. Please let us know what you think!

Aroundsound iPhone App is live

Today marks a significant milestone for Aroundsound. Our iPhone app is now out in the Apple App Store. You can use it to capture and share sounds that are special to you; your baby babbling, bathtime giggles, the church bell chiming on the way to work. Save them, share them and invite others into your world using sound.

You an download the iPhone app on the App Store here.

This is the first version, MVP (Minimum Viable Product) if you like, and there is much more to come. We value any feedback at this stage, as it all helps to shape the product to come. If you like the app, please give us a good rating!

The Android app is also available and is regularly updated.

We’re grateful for all the feedback we’re getting and are making regular improvements. Try it out and let us know what you think, and why not share your sound captures with us too?

Bedtime stories from Grandad

This week something really special happened. Every night, at bedtime, I have played my daughters a bedtime story sound recording from Grandad Evatt, who lives 200 miles away. Each night, they listened to the story in bed, with the lights turned off, and drifted off to sleep whilst listening to the sound of his familiar voice.

My daughters, Iris and Edith, are aged 4 and 2, and getting them both to bed at the same time is usually a challenge. It’s especially tough when it’s just me, or just their dad, doing bedtime. Not only has this made bedtime easier for all of us, but it’s lovely to feel that another member of the family is part of it. The bedtime stories are something we can listen to over and over, in the car as well as at bedtime, and we’ll treasure having his voice saved in years to come.

Grandad Evatt now has his homework cut out (as do my parents) as my daughters have been requesting more bedtime stories from Grandad.

Here he is reading Rapunzel.

Aroundsound is a sound platform that enables you to record, edit and share sound recordings. You can use it to record experiences, special moments as well as bedtime stories to share with people you love. Sound is different to video. Close your eyes, listen and your imagination will tell you why. Download on Android here. iPhone app is coming soon.

Photo credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The Aroundsound app is now on Google Play

We are pleased to share the news that the Aroundsound app is now out of private prototype and available on Google Play, as an Early Access app. You can find it here.

You can use the app to capture and edit your sound recordings. You can also share your recordings with friends and family, thereby spreading your audio joy.

I’ve personally been using the ptorotype version of the app for a few months now and have captured some wonderful memories of my children in situations where video would have pulled me (and them) out of the moment. For example, squeals of laughter during chasing games, first words uttered over breakfast and end of day chatter during bathtime. I can quick hit record (using the Quick Tile feature) and get back to being part of, and enjoying, the moment. It’s precious to have these memories saved forever and a delight to listen back and relive the moments. Sharing the recordings with others adds to the fun and spreads the joy.

The app is easy and intuitive to use, yet it’s current functionality is just a first step towards what we have planned in the coming months, such as key moment tagging, collections to organise sounds, and even easier ways to share sounds. We’re keen to ensure we’re building the right thing, and therefore having early users offering feedback is super helpful.

Please do download it, try it out and let us know what you think by emailing feedback [@] gritstonestudios.co.uk, or using the feedback link within the app.

If you are an iOS user, be assured that we are working on the iOS app currently. If you would like to find out when it is released, please let us know here.

We hope that you enjoy reliving and sharing your sound memories using the Aroundsound app as much as we do.

First words – recorded

This weekend my youngest daughter, Edith, said “Hello” for the first time. Like all babies, she had been waving for a while and making noises that indicated ‘hello’, but this weekend she cracked it. It was wonderful, such a delight to hear her make that leap. And guess what, she’s got a northern accent, wonderful! And probably expected given where she’s growing up.

What was almost as wonderful is that we’ve captured her saying that, to keep forever, using Aroundsound. We’ll add it to our memory bank, our collection of Edith’s best sounds, and I’ve got no doubt that this will be a priceless recording we will revisit over and over.  Of course we could have videoed her saying this, but then the scene would have changed by me pointing a phone at her, and I would have been watching her through my screen and not chatting with her eye-to-eye.  I expect she might have performed differently or maybe refused to cooperate, as she so often does when she is filmed.

Here she is for the record:

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Edith says Hello

 

Photo in header by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

Recording children singing

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day treat this weekend. At her nursery, my three year old daughter, Iris, was taught a song to sing to me on Mother’s Day. She came home unable to contain the secret and began singing to me. Iris is typical of most three year olds, and when I asked her if she would sing it for the camera to show grandma, she wasn’t in the mood and flatly refused.

Luckily I had our Aroundsound app to hand and had quickly hit record as she started the song, so we have a wonderful, natural sound recording of the moment. Later I played it to her and she was very proud, and happy for me to share with others (but she still didn’t want to be filmed).  You can listen to the song here:

 

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Mother’s Day Song

There is something about being recorded on audio that is safer and allows an unrestrained expression compared with video. Appearing in front of a camera tends to cause a different and less natural behaviour, and often a shyness to participate, in adults as well as children. I wouldn’t have shared the material if she was unhappy for me to do so, but having been able to capture it for her then to decide, was precious.

The Aroundsound app is currently available on Android as a private Alpha. If you’re interested in becoming part of the early testing group, drop us a line here.

Photo credit Jon Flobrant on Unsplash.

No echo

Echo is an important, albeit subtle, aspect of sound recordings, providing some indication of the size and type of physical space. Last week I was lucky enough to visit the anechoic chamber at Salford University, where echo is deliberately almost entirely absent, due to the absorbing nature of the chamber walls. It’s amazing how much the brain relies on echos reaching the ear to provide information about physical surroundings.

In the chamber, where there are virtually no echos, the brain is receiving a signal from the ears that the physical surrounding is a tiny space, whilst the eyes are saying the room is large. I wasn’t there long enough to sense it, but this can quite quickly lead to motion sickness.

Most recordings on the Aroundsound app will have some echo, because they are taken in environments without such sound absorbing features. We’ll post a recording taken in the chamber on our next visit. Below is a picture of the chamber.

Anechoic chamber

Aroundsound begins

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This is the start of something special; a new way to capture, organise and share sound. Aroundsound starts here and in this post we’ll tell you a bit about why we think sound is interesting and what we’re building.

Audio listening is on the rise. Weekly podcast listening doubled in the last three years (Ofcom), and sales of voice and smart speakers are increasing at a pace. Whether it’s drivetime radio, a workout podcast or a meditation soundscape, we can all agree that hands-free sound helps us to multitask, or switch off and escape.

Yet sound is something most people consume rather than capture. This means too few of us today have personal soundtracks – audio recordings of our favourite people and places.

I’ve been experimenting with my personal soundtrack, and for the last year have been capturing audio recordings of my family and my life. I’m a convert, and this is what has inspired me and our team to create Aroundsound.

I’ve noticed a few things about how sound is special:

  1. What we overhear today is not always here tomorrow. Voices change, fade, and disappear, daily routines become much-missed rituals.
  2. Though we can’t stop time, sound gives us the chance to replay it.
  3. There are a lot of everyday moments, that otherwise go uncaptured (I take plenty of videos and picture, but I don’t want to spend my life looking through a screen. And sometimes, the sound is the experience, not what is framed in an image)
  4. Informally, I have experienced the cognitive power of sound, when I’ve listened back to sound captures of my own. Just like reading a book is different to watching a movie, listening back to sound can be better when you imagine the picture. With such immersive power, researchers are already examining how sound might improve mental deterioration and depression, as well as boost learning outcomes for students of all ages.

Sound can literally offer us a blast from the past or an earphone into an experience, and complement that which we capture visually. What’s more, real life recordings are powerful without being perfectly produced.

There are plenty of apps for taking sound recordings, and I’ve experimented with a few in my time, but they are often difficult or awkward to use. I’ve found that organising recordings is painful (long lists of files to sort through), and sharing recordings with other people isn’t the staightforward and fun experience it is with (for example) picture sharing apps.

Aroundsound will be a sound app with a difference. The app we’re building will allow you to record sound super simply, organise and listen back to recordings easily, and share them with family or friends. The app is currently in prototype, on Android, and will be released as a private beta to Google Play very soon. We’ll turn to iOS later right after that.

If you’d like to hear when the app will be available for download, please drop us an email hello [@] gritstonestudios.co.uk and we’ll be in touch.

Look out here for further updates.