Drown on the cellphone, two new D.R. songs

I have always had this obsession of recording a high quality outgoing voice mail message for my cell phone. Those who called me anytime in the last three years have probably heard some sort of cell phone jingle consisting of me, my guitar, and a well placed cell phone, but I’ve never been able to capture that full Drown Radio sound via voicemail.

When I bought my iPhone last month I thought “I’m sure there’s a simple one click mp3 upload to my voicemail and I’m done”. A quick search showed no such feature, nor any 3rd party apps to produce the desired effect. Then I started looking at the hardware itself, although the casing is slightly different, the headphone/mic is just a 1/8th inch jack with 4 connectors (left, right, microphone, and ground). So my first plan was to buy a 1/8th inch cable with four sections on the tip so I could capture external audio into the microphone channel. I found a cable intended for iPod Videos to be plugged into a tv set via Amazon. The cable is an 1/8th inch to RCA, so all I had to do was find the mic line and plug my four track device (or if you have an RCA to 1/8th” adapter, you can use your mp3 player) into the RCA side.

That worked okay, but obviously there is a big difference between a mic level and an amplified audio source. Even with my 4 track playing at the lowest level possible, the VM recording was highly over driven. Technically, it was a success, but I kept searching for an all digital alternative.

Luckily, I found this article on iPhone Alley with analternative method of file uploading. The author says that you have to convert your audio file to an AMR (they provide a link for converting), then record a dummy message on your iPhone but don’t save it. Instead, find the “greeting.amr” stored on your phone using SFTP and replace it with your own “greeting.amr” file. Then tap “save” and the file will upload to AT&T’s servers.

My buddy Baz did all that stuff for me… I don’t program.

I was able to upload the file, but the quality was just not what I was looking for this time either. There is a warble to the audio, like a damaged old audio cassette… so both of these methods work, but not perfectly. I guess I would suggest the RCA to 1/8th inch method out of pure simplicity.

I’ve uploaded my original voicemail greeting, please check it out here! It’s the first song I’ve recorded since my computer crashed 5 months ago and I love it. It was fun to blow the dust of the old four track machine and crank out a jam. Some of you may recognize it as an alternative to the Northwest Nerdcore Podcast theme song I wrote in February.

Another audio project for your iPhone is uploading your own ring tones from mp3s. Luckily, this is super easy (as long as you didn’t upgrade to 1.1.1) via a 3rd party app called “Send Song”. It’s easy to upload, all you need isNullriver’s “Installer” app on
your phone. Send Song, which is included in the Installer.app, let’s you go through your iPhone’s iTune playlist and grab any song for use as a ring tone. You can even assign certain ring tones to certain phone numbers.

I’m sure you probably want to hear the Hyphy Ring tone I wrote, check it out here.

Are you an audio/iPhone geek with suggestions for my voicemail problem? Leave a comment.