External Microphones for iPhone 5s, 5, 4S, iPad and iPod Touch Audio input

iPhone 5 with Microphones and Input Adapters
A few of the many microphone options to make your mobile recordings better.

Note on iPhone 5: Right now the only confirmed way to record stereo on the iPhone 5 is with the GuitarJack Model 2 and an Apple 30-pin to lightning adapter. All other headset-jack based solutions work as well as the iPhone 4/4S!

To dramatically increase the quality of the sound you record on your iOS device, you should use an external microphone or mixer, or a direct line input.

You can use external microphones/inputs with any of the following iOS devices:

  • iPad (audio recording), iPad 2/new iPad/iPad mini (audio or video recording)
  • iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (audio or video recording)
  • iPod Touch (3rd/4th/5th generation) (audio or video recording)

Skip to: Recommendations | Details

Video: iPhone External Mic Comparison

(See also: iPhone 4/4S External Microphone Comparison, listing of mics and adapters used in this video)


My Recommendations

Software - App Recommendations

  • iPad: Use GarageBand. It's not expensive, and is awesome for recording and editing.
  • iPhone/iPod Touch: Use FiRe, FourTrack, or even built-in Voice Memos.
  • Camera/iMovie (Built-in) - Quick and simple to use, can lock focus, but has very few settings/features. Handles different audio inputs, but without much configuration or level control, and no monitoring.
  • For Video: Although the built-in Camera app is pretty good, I prefer FiLMiC Pro, which allows focus, metering, and white balance lock/unlock, and has a built-in audio meter. No audio play-through yet (as far as I can tell).

Simple, one-mic setup (podcasts, one-person interviews)

Buy a RØDE smartLav, and plug it into your iPhone. If you need more than about 5' of cable (so you can record an interview with the iPhone's camera, for instance), buy a 2m TRRS extension cable as well.

Another option, which allows you to have a more flexible mic setup so your mic can be used with other equipment, is to buy a microphone and adapter to use together:

For better quality recordings

This setup will allow you to record a little nicer quality sound, especially since the VeriCorder cable or Tascam adapter boosts the signal a bit so it comes into the iPhone at the right level for more clarity and amplification:

For wireless mobility and great quality

Another option, for more freedom of movement, a perfect recording level, and much more flexibility with one mic (this is the kit I use most often now - plug the line/headphone output on the wireless receiver into the KVConnection line-level adapter):

For multiple-mic interviews/recordings

Buy a Dual 1/8" Microphone to iPhone adapter from KVConnection, and plug one Audio-Technica ATR-3350 into each jack. (If you use XLR mics, get this adapter instead).

Another couple of options include:

  • The GuitarJack Model 2, into which you can plug a stereo input source (or two microphones that go one in left, one in right channel).
  • You can get a Monster iSplitter and plug a lavaliere microphone into each side, then plug this into a KVConnection mic adapter. (See example video).
  • The Fostex AR-4i works great for the iPhone 4/4S (put one lavaliere microphone in on the left channel and one on the right), but doesn't work with the iPhone 5.
  • The Line 6 Mobile In, which also has a stereo input like the Guitar Jack.

For recording loud music, concerts, environmental sound

Right now, there aren't a lot of out-of-the-box options for recording sound in high SPL situations (loud rock concerts) or other environmental sounds. However, there are three solutions I recommend:

  1. The Tascam iM2 - a great stereo mic for the iPhone 4/4S/5 that provides a simple AB-pattern stereo microphone (that can handle up to 125 dB).
  2. The GuitarJack Model 2 (read my review of the GuitarJack Model 2) allows for padding and relatively high sound level input.
  3. A preamp or mixer in-line before the iPhone. This is more clumsy/less portable, but if you simply plug the output of a mixer or preamp into the iPhone (or a product like the AR-4i or GuitarJack), you can handle as loud of sound levels as your mixer/preamp can handle.

For line-level inputs (Guitars, Mixers, Sound Systems)

One option right now is the Apogee Jam, a nice interface for guitars and other 1/4" plug line-level inputs, that works through the Dock connector, and is specifically advertised for use with GarageBand on the iPad. Another simple option (if you want a little nicer build quality than the KVConnection adapters) is the iRig from Amplitube. Another inexpensive option is the iJAM cable from Ampridge.

KVConnection provides two nice adapters, though, which I use because they're cheap and reliable: Line-level 1/4" adapter w/ attenuation ($28), and Line-level 1/8" adapter w/ attenuation ($28)


The Details

I'll run through most of my kit for mobile recording, following along with the picture below:

Mobile iPhone 4 3G/3Gs video and audio external microphone podcasting kit

  1. iPhone 3G/3Gs/4 Tripod (instructions for building the tripod mount)
  2. Crown Sound Grabber II PZM Boundary microphone ($80)
  3. Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Powered Lavaliere Microphone ($20)
  4. KV Connection microphone-to-iPhone audio adapters (read more about them, and about available alternatives below)
  5. Spare batteries - you can never have too many
  6. Sony WCS-999 Wireless Microphone Adapter ($100 - Note: Throw out the included mic, and use the ATR-3350 with this. Only good for 10-50 ft., but nice and cheap, that's why I'm recommending it.)
  7. (NOT PICTURED: The following items have been added to my kit since I wrote this article)
    1. Rode VideoMic shotgun/condenser mic ($150)
    2. VeriCorder XLR Adapter Cable ($70)

One option for easy external audio in a pinch is to plug in your headset, hit record, and voila! You have a much better sound-isolating mic than the iPhone's built-in mic (especially over distance). The disadvantage here is that the iPhone's headset cable is pretty short.

My typical video setup (especially for interviews) used to be a Canon GL/XL series camera with an XLR -> RCA box with phantom power to a condenser mic, or a wireless lapel mic, and it worked great... but it was rather bulky. I now use my iPhone and get set up in about a minute or two.

Recording with a Shure SM58, Lavalieres, Shotgun Mics, Line-Level Inputs

The iPhone basically requires a mic-level, 800Ω or better input through it's headset jack, so you'll need to do one or two conversions: first, you need to get the correct physical connection, and second, you'll need to have your audio at the right input level (otherwise, the iPhone will switch back to its internal mic).

Connections

Whether you have an XLR mic, a 1/8" mic, a line-level source with a 1/4" TRS plug, or an RCA/phono jack, you can likely find a direct adapter for the iPhone's 4-connection TRS plug from KVConnection (read their guide to mobile audio adapters).

Here are the KVConnection adapters I've tried, and my notes on their usage:

I also recommend the VeriCorder XLR Adapter Cable for XLR mics, and the Tascam iXZ for XLR, 1/4" or 1/8" mics or line-level equipment, though both of these products are slightly more expensive.

If you buy any of these, you can almost always find adapters at your local RadioShack, or make your own, to get from any connection to any other connection. I carry a box of about 20 audio adapters in my car for just this purpose.

Attenuation and Impedence-Matching Transformers

In order to get a line-level signal into a mic-level input (like the iPhone's), you need to attenuate (or 'pad') the signal. Some of KVConnection's adapters do this for you, but if you want to try another method, you can find line-to-mic transformers/pads from a variety of sources. Just be sure you have the right adapters to get your audio from source -> iPhone!

You'll also need to be wary of the impedance (measured in ohms or Ω) of the output of your microphone or audio device. It needs to be at least 800Ω before the iPhone will recognize it as a valid audio input.

A few caveats:

  • If you're using an unpowered or dynamic microphone (like the SM58), you'll need a preamp, mixer, or low-to-high impedance transformer to increase the gain, or the iPhone will simply switch back to the built-in microphone.
  • For a good mic preamp, try finding a portable headphone amp like the Shure FP12 (an old, but rock-solid amp with level adjustment - see more on my Shure FP12 here).

Recording in Stereo on the iPhone - Two Inputs

There are two solutions for stereo recording for the iPhone currently available:

One is from Fostex, the Fostex AR-4i for $149. Read my review of the AR-4i. (Note that this product doesn't work very well with the iPhone 5!)

Another is the GuitarJack Model 2 from Sonoma Wireworks. It's a great audio interface (with three inputs and one output) for all iOS devices; it has a stereo 1/8" input that works with pretty much any mic or stereo audio source, and a mono 1/4" guitar jack that also works with a variety of guitars, amps, mixers, and other sources. Read my review of the GuitarJack Model 2.

Note: The Tascam iM2 also looks like a good solution if you simply want a stereo microphone (that can handle pretty good sound pressure levels) for your iPhone (but it doesn't have a separate input jack).

Recording on the iPad - Stereo or Mono

In addition to using the adapters for the headphone jack on the iPad, and recording with a mono input, you can use the iPad's Dock Connector in tandem with the iPad Camera Connection Kit's USB adapter to use most USB-Audio Compliant audio I/O devices with the iPad... meaning you could record two tracks (stereo) sound into the iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad (with retina display)!

First, you'll need to have the USB adapter from the iPad Camera Connection Kit ($32 from Amazon).

Then, you'll need one of the following USB interfaces to translate analog inputs to the USB connection:

Then, you'll need one of the following apps to support multi-channel recording and mixing:

Further reading: USB Audio Devices that work with iPad.

Recording Samples

Recording with Two Lavalieres - through Y-Adapter

If you have two powered lavaliere microphones (or any other similar mics, with mic-level, high impedance connections), you can plug them both into a y-adapter (I use a $5 RadioShack adapter or a little more durable Monster iSplitter), and you will then be able to have two independent mics (both into one mono connection, though) running into the iPhone directly (using the 1/8" iPhone mic adapter from KVConnection)! Click here to watch the video. [Update Jan. 2013: KVConnection now makes an adapter with two microphone jacks, so you wouldn't need the Y-adapter mentioned above. Looks like a good option if you don't already have their other adapter.]

More sample Videos

Audio-only Recording on iPhone and iPad

Here are a few audio samples recorded using the Voice Memos app on both my iPhone and iPad!

A lot of people have asked me to recommend some microphones for use with these KVConnection Adapters. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Related posts from elsewhere:

Comments

The original Mikey was pretty good, so I imagine this one will be as well. The line input will likely introduce a tiny bit of noise, but as long as whatever you're plugging into it doesn't have a lot of noise, you should be fine. I'm hoping it will be on par with the input signal quality of the GuitarJack model II.

Thank you for all of your information! Is this a better microphone than the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone? Will it work with an old itouch that doesn't have a camera with the adaptor? http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-ME-52W-Noise-Canceling-Microphone/dp/B000M...

I'm looking for a microphone to get casual interviews and ambient sound for video shot with a camera that won't take external audio input. I think buying a small zoom is my best option.... with thanks!

I'm not sure if the iPod Touches without cameras have mic in on their headphone/headset jacks, but if they do, that microphone would work fine, as long as you use the KVConnection adapter. You'll still need the adapter regardless, because the plug is physically different than the receptacle on the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Thank you for this article. Your pointer to the KVC adapter was a godsend and ended a search that I've been obsessing over on and off for a couple of days. My goal was simply to get an omni-directional external mic that I could place in the middle of a conference table to record meetings while continuing to use the iPhone to access other apps (e.g. Calendar, email, etc.) without introducing spurious sounds into the recording of the meeting. Any suggestions for an inexpensive mic to go with the connector?

Thanks,

David Baril
Almonte ON

Something like the Crown Sound Grabber II would be an okay option, but you need to match it up with the proper adapter cable to make sure you get as much level out of the microphone as you can... and realize that a mic placed far away (more than a foot) from anyone will only pick them up okay, definitely nowhere near close mic quality.

Hi there,
Very nice site, with some good articles and vids for sure.
Do you have any knowledgde about Blue Snowball USB mic and Iphone/Ipad use?
Any links??

Regards,
Dan Stanley
Denmark

I don't own the snowball, so I don't have any experience with it, but I've heard it should work with the iPad and the USB camera connection kit. It definitely won't work with the iPhone without some sort of USB preamp though (I don't know if that exists).

Hey Jeff, thanks a lot for the information. Have you ever tried ESDevices Wiretap/Rockit Mic-Headphone Splitters?

I haven't personally used them, but it looks like they should work as well as the KVConnection adapters.

Love all of what you done here, awesome job! I did however have one simple question that I have yet to find the answer to. What I am looking to do is use my iPhone 4s to record myself via video on the iPhone playing my own compositions. The internal mic on it as you know already, is just alright so I am trying to find something that will enhance/ make the quality of the sound recorded better.My keyboard/piano is set up via MIDI through my computer and I use Reason 5's piano sounds instead of the shitty internal one built into the keyboard itself. So what I am looking for is the best external microphone solution that goes along with video recording and not just solely for audio in which I can record with. I would need a mic that will pick up the sound coming out of my 2, 8in KRK Rockit studio speakers (I don't need 2 mics, just 1 that will pick up what is coming out of them or one of them). What would you recommend for me? I wanna make sure before I buy anything that it will work for what I need it to do. Thanks in advance for your help.

Something like the Shure SM58 would be a good mic to go into your iPhone through the VeriCorder XLR adapter cable, if you want to record an acoustic sound source (either an acoustic instrument, high quality speakers, or a voice). This is my go-to solution for almost anything.

I'm using a non-iPhone, smartphone, but I don't think that matters. I am shocked that in Los Angeles, I can't find an XLR to iPhone (or other) cable at Location Sound or even Guitar Center and I have to order online.

I'm trying to get my Audio Technica 835b shotgun mic into the phone and I think I just need the KV cable/adapter that you list above. Am I correct?

It really depends on your phone. If your phone can have headsets with TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) jacks plugged into its headset jack, the KVConnection adapter *might* work. However, since practically every Android phone on the planet is different, I can't guarantee anything will work. You'll have to test on your own.

Hey dude, quick questions, might any of the suggestions here augment the likes of audio that is included when recording video? We have iMovie etc and are looking to include better audio. Or, does this give us audio to play with ?

Regards,
Kenny

Yes; anything that plugs into the headset jack (using the proper adapter, like the KVConnection adapter or the VeriCorder adapter) will work with almost any video recording app (including the built in Camera app). For dock-connector adapters, you'll need to test, but I know that the AR-4i works great with almost any video recording app. The GuitarJack may not, though.

I liked this very much because I'm looking for a remote mic I can use with my Ipad2. I don't know if the Iphone and Ipad2 will be the same; can you or anyone comment and if so what is your recommendation. I wanted to see the devices while you talked, maybe a photo would have been good, just a suggestion. Thanks and keep up the great work.

For future videos, I'll take that into account; I often forget to actually show what I'm using... silly me!

Anything that works on the iPhone, by and large, will also work on the iPad (or iPad 2, or new iPad). On the iPad, you can also use USB audio interfaces, which let you have a little more freedom in terms of what devices you use (just make sure you test it before you go out and do a live recording!). For 'remote' mics, I take it you mean a wireless mic; I would recommend the Audio Technica wireless mic I link to, along with the proper adapter to get it into your iPad.

Hi Jeff,

Does the Vericorder work with the built-in camera app? Because I would like to capture the audio directly into the video.

Yes.

Do USB mics work to capture audio while recording video?

Yes, when used with the built-in camera app, at least.

Thank you that is extremely helpful. I'm so glad that is the case.

Hi Jeff

I want to record video and two channel audio into my iPad2. Is it possible?

Yes, but only when using a USB adapter and the Camera Connection Kit.

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Jeff, I stick the external microphone into the iPhone4, but it's the iPhone4 internal microphone that keeps recording! I've done a test by playing my piano with the iPhone4 outside the door: it doesn't pick it up the sound of the piano but DOES pick up all the sounds outside the door. Am I doing something wrong?

Sorry, Jeff, I forgot to add that I film from the iPhone4 camera. Thanks.

Jeff, sorry again: these are the characteristics of my microphone:

Product Code: D1301
Type: Dynamic, Moving coil
Freq.Resp.: 40 to 16.500 Hz
48 chaser programs with 999 steps
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Sensitivity (1000Hz): 1,7 mV/Pa* (*1 Pa = 94 dB SPL)
Max SPL: 137dB
Impedance: 600 Ohm
Power supply: none
Connector: 3p. XLR male-type).
Net. Weight: 245 g
Dimensions: (Ø 32 mm x L 157 mm)
Accessories: 6 mtr balanced cable with XLR plugs

Are you using a KVConnection cable or trying to plug the microphone directly into the iPhone? You have to use a special adapter to get a microphone to be able to be recognized by the iPhone, because of the TRRS connection in the headset jack.

Hi Jeff. Thanks for your time. I'm plugging it directly into the iPhone. Can you tell me what specific product I need to buy?

If it's an XLR microphone, 600 Ohms, you would do best using the VeriCorder cable I link to above in the article. Otherwise, especially if you already have an XLR-to-1/8" adapter, you could get a mic-level 1/8" KVConnection TRS to TRRS adapter. I have links to some of the adapters above, but you can browse the KVConnection site and ask their sales email for more help.

Thanks a million, Jeff. All very helpful. I'm sure your site gets lots of hits, as there are a lot of people asking questions on this issue.

Hi again Jeff. I've received a reply from the KV people and they say that, for my mike, I need this connection: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-micx.htm
Do you agree?

That looks like the right one. If you need the cable to be longer, you can buy an XLR male to female cable.

No, Jeff, the cable is already looooong enough. I'll go with this option then. Thanks for all your help.

Hi there

Great article! I have a question on this product which you might have came across:
http://micronic.esellution.co.uk/store/item/314/mini-tie-clip-lapel-lava...

It states its meant for iPhone4, but there is no power supplied to the lavalier mic. Do you think its possible to do the recording with using those adapters from kV Connection?

Also, I'm wondering if you might have any thoughts on this product:
http://micronic.esellution.co.uk/store/item/382/3_5mm-gold-plated-electr...

Looking at the two, I am not sure which is a better option for recording on an iPhone4. What do you think?

Regards
CY

It looks like the first product would be perfect for the iPhone/iPad, and does not require any power. It's designed to work by plugging it straight into the headset jack. The stereo microphone you mention would only work in mono on an iPhone, and would also require a special adapter like the ones KVConnection makes.

I would go with the first one, and see how it works for you.

Thanks very much Jeff. Really appreciate your help.

Think I will go for that gold plated version found here:
http://micronic.esellution.co.uk/store/item/202/iphone-4-ipod-touch-gold...
It cost a few pounds more for supposedly better performance.

I had a look at the KvConnection site and comb through their products. If I use those battery powered lav mic like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350, then we will need that adapter found here:
http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm

But looking at that sales page, I found they have another adapter for non-battery powered lav mic found here:
http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic-ecm.htm

So now, I am not sure. Do I get an adapter to use with that mic from micronic or not?

While I got you on the adapters, could I run this by you:
http://touchmic.com/products-page/ipad-ipod-touch--iphone-microphone-ada...

Its from TouchMic. Similar to kVConnection, they have adapters for both lav mic (with and without battery powered). If I need to use an adapter, should I use the KvConnection or TouchMic?

The above is my research from the past few days. I hope to finalise this and get on with it

Thank again!

Regards

If you buy the mic you mention at the top, you don't need any kind of adapter to use it with the iPhone/iPod/iPad.

For other microphones, it depends on the type of microphone. Most ECM mics don't have a battery, but are often a little lower quality. Not horrible, but not as nice for vocal applications, in my experience.

Hi Jeff,
I have an iphone, and a Zoom H1 mic, I have never used the two together. I had the Zoom H1 from a different project. Anyway, I want to use the Zoom H1 as an external mic with my iphone.
Ques.
1. Can I plug it directly into the headphone jack? Or do I need to get an adapter?
2.What type of adapter would I need?
3. Will it be automatically sound sync'd or would I have to edit the sound to match the lip synching? I really don't want to do that much editing as I only have imovie.
4. If not, what would you suggest to have an external mic ( I would buy another $100 range), but I really want it to work thru shooting video thru my iphone and have it synch perfectly. These are youtube health videos. Here is an example.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZzbFbbqdVE&feature=g-upl
These were shot by a friend that has a Canon 5D, and he used my Zoom H1 mic. Now he is not available, and i'm trying to do a similiar series of videos with my iphone and the same Zoom H1 mic if at all possible.

Any thoughts?

Thank you,
Doug

If your Zoom has a headphone output that sends the live audio straight through the unit, then you can plug that into the iPhone's headset jack using a line-level adapter from KVConnection. The type of cable you need would depend on the output jack of the H1.

I've never owned an H1, so you'd need to look into that on your own and see if the audio plays through live or not. Also, the audio will be mono, not stereo.

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Thank you. I appreciate your help. Is there any way to do stereo/instead of mono, with my situation?

Have you tested the apogee MiC? Do you think that is a good value?

You may get stereo to work with a dock-connector interface like the AR-4i or the GuitarJack, but I've had mixed success getting the latter product to work with the Camera app or most other apps.

The Apogee mic looks like a pretty good product, but I'd still rather use a mic I know and trust like the Shure SM58 or something (for what I do) and an adapter. (Cheaper, too!).

This probably sounds silly. I am trying to run a trrs cable from portable player without bluetooth into my ipod touch and then hear it on my blutooth headset paired with ipod. Any thoughts? I tried using fire but no sound out to bluetooth

Unfortunately, I don't know if there's a way to route audio from the input to Bluetooth at all. Plus, the Bluetooth playback would probably introduce a slight delay which would sound a bit strange.

Thanks Jeff. It was worth a shot. It would be great for all sorts of applications. I have some other older stereo equipment it would have been great for also.

Jeff, great work! Learned al lot from it. I wanna go for the Audio Technica Lavalier. Now I would prefer a wireless connection, so no cables will be seen on the 'set'. What would you recommend in that case? Thanks!

You'll need a wireless mic system, like the Sony WCS system or the Audio Technica one I link to in the article. Both work great for short distances, but for more than 15-20', I'd go with the Audio Technica.

Jeff,

I bought the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lavaliere microphone and
KVConnection 1/8" to iPhone Mic-level adapter for my iPhone 4 to do a video testimonial. I edited in imovie for iphone, and when transferred onto Youtube, the audio is barely audible. Any ideas? thanks!!

Make sure the mic is as close to the sound source (your throat/mouth) as possible, and afterwards, try boosting the level in iMovie or some other app if the sound is too low. I usually have to boost the level of the ATR-3350 a little bit after the fact, but micing it as close as possible to your mouth is the best route.

Thank you very much Jeff!!

Again, I am just wondering if this gentleman's solution is active noise cancelling headphones....I am assuming, Jeff, you want to listen to music, not use the iPod as an amplifier aid. If so the question is how can you use the iPod to simultaneously monitor sounds through a microphone? If that is the question, then I failed to suggest in my previous message---trying the TASCAM iM2 which is plugged into the dock input of the iPod. Need advice however: with the on-board voice memo software or perhaps a recording app, can the ipod be used as an amplifier through the headphone jack?

Larry

An app like FiRe can play through the input to the output, so it could technically be used as an amplifier, but there may be better products for this purpose on the market... maybe.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for this! I was trying to figure out which microphone to use with my ipod touch for interviews and your video and reviews helped me out so much. Thanks!

You're very welcome!

Thanks for all the info. I've got the Audio Technika ATR 3350 now. Do you think a Apple iPhone TTY Adapter will work with it?

No; the TTY adapter will allow simple headsets with mics/speakers to work with the iPhone (and only those with 2.5mm connectors), but wouldn't work with normal microphones or PC headsets.

Headsets for iPhones

Jeff, you have helped me a lot with your blog and your personal emails to me. I thank you, God Bless You, and I am pleased to share what I have learned through my own testing. As I mentioned in an email to you Matt, I have a personal issue with a very quiet voice due to a surgery which removed one of my vocal cords. I have been on a quest to find a headset that I can use with my iPhone to increase the volume of my voice that will allow me to make phone calls while on the road. I have bought a lot of headsets and some adapters over the last month - all in my effort to have more volume gain for my outgoing voice. These are my results so far.

*** I started with the Yapster gaming headset $19.99 with the headset buddy adapter $15.62. This is the BEST of all the headsets I’ve tested for increasing the volume of my quiet voice. However, it is too bulky to carry with me on the road. It is great for home use but it is not portable.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FY7LBQ/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i02
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SK66OY/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01

My next test was with the Panasonic headset for 2.4GHz $24.50 with a cheap adapter for the iPhone $4.04. This headset and adapter is one of the worst for a gain increase for my voice.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005UKA9/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E9SZP0/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i01

I thought that maybe the cheap adapter may have been the problem with this setup, so I purchased the KVconnections 2.5mm to iPhone adapter $21.50.
http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-25f.htm
Now, this adapter’s increase in gain for the Panasonic headset really surprised me. The gain with the kvconnections adapter was too good and actually too much for the iPhone to electronically handle. If I spoke to loud with my already quiet whisper voice, the iPhone was overwhelmed and it would static and cut out like it was losing its signal. So, cannot use this adapter with the Panasonic headset.

I then tried theBoom v4 headset $164.99. This headset was a big disappointment. The Boom did increase the volume slightly for me. But, the volume gain and clarity was much less with the Boom, than with the Yapster + adapter setup that I already tested. The price of the Boom at $164.99, for its minimal gain, is not at all worth it. I returned theBoom v4 back to them for a refund.
http://theboom.com/v/products/theboom-v4.asp

***My next test was with the Noisehush headset for Apple iPhone $16.98 and the results are great! The gain in volume for my whisper voice is almost as good and very close to the Yapster + headset buddy adapter. The best thing with this headset is that it is fairly portable and not too much of a problem for me to carry with me in my car and at work. The price at $16.98 for this headset is great for how well it works for me. I may buy more of these so I can keep one at work, in my car, at my girlfriend’s house, etc. I do recommend highly.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00766BEYM/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

I went ahead and tried a couple of more headsets to compare. I tried the Cellet 3.5mm headset $6.56 and it works very very well for volume and clarity. It is very good but not as good as the Noisehush. For the price of $6.56, I do highly recommend.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002WVDJNU/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01

Next was a novelty, almost, but I was very surprised with how well it worked for volume and sound. The Native Union POP Handset for iPhone $18.40 is an old school 60s / 70s phone handset that you plug into your iPhone. You have to hold it to your ear. It works very very well. I gave this handset to my 80-year-old father and he loves it since he was having a really hard time hearing on his iPhone with no headset. He is very comfortable using this old school phone with his iPhone.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003DKL4JA/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

I really hope this information helps some folks who have the same needs as me. If this is of help, I am very pleased to help.

Mike

I do presentation and media training and I'm struggling with updating all of my recording systems. I have a great rig for mounting my ipad on a tripod, but I need to be able to enhance the audio I record through ipad's own video recording app or imovie (as I've read on your site?) I also downloaded another app you recommended for higher quality video and audio. My subject is usually only 6 feet away. Lav mike best. I really appreciate advice!

Guys i have bought the KM-IPHONE-MIC from kvconnection website and i have the atr3350 external mic. I plug it in any iphone 4 and i get no sound...the iphone 4 does not recognizes it i open the voice memo app that is preinstalled in the ios and the internal mic still works. When i plug it in to an iphone4s it works! Anyone had this issue before? Please help i am trying to find a solution...i have iOS 5.1.1 but i just mentioning it i do not think it is a software issue...

Brilliant website with shed loads of useful stuff. I'd like to pick your brains on recording in high wind situations (I want to record exhaust noise) without too much buffeting. I realise I'll never lose it but the mic on my Gopro is useless so I figured recording it seperately on my iPhone then syncing it on iMovie. Any help and advice would be much appreciated. Regards, Adam

I found a good forum post on the topic (see first reply here). Basically, you have a couple options: First, use a dyno to avoid wind noise, and mic the exhaust however you want (tripod, handheld, etc.). Second, use the iPhone or another recording device with a dynamic mic taped SECURELY above the exhaust pipe, somewhere where the wind won't buffet the mic. Also wrap the mic in a wind sock or something to keep out extra wind noise.

Thank you for the valuble research, however I am unclear on a few things:
1) I want to use the iPhone 4s as an audio recorder with RCA output and 1/8'' headphone jack input, but I have no idea how.
2) What equipment, besides RCA cables, would be necessary?

All you really need is the following adapter for RCA to iPhone: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-micp-a22.htm

Note, however, that you can only record in mono (one channel) with this adapter. For stereo recording, you need to use something like the GuitarJack Model 2 along with several other adapters, and YMMV.

Wanting to record video/audio outside (wind, traffic). Thinking about irig mic since it has the adaptor incl'd or a cheaper mic and the adaptr if both under irig price of $60. I like that irig has jack for headphone. Does it need an app to monitor? Km adaptor said you did for it's 2TRS ECM. Also, could I just use the mic on a headset with either adaptor? Want a lav but not right now. Any help would be appreciated.

iRic mic is pretty good for outside; you may still want to use a windscreen or at least foam cover over it. And yes, you'll need an app that can play through audio (like FiRe Field Audio Recorder) to hear what you're saying (with a tiny delay).

Some headsets could work, but it really depends on the input impedance (should be around 600Ω).

Check out the Ampridge IJ-302 iPhone adaptor. It works with microphones using a standard XLR to quarter inch cable adapter. It sells for only $20.00 and it also works with guitars. Plus it is totally passive so it does not use any iPhone power or need any batteries.

That looks like a good (and inexpensive) option; similar to some of the cables that KVConnection has, but a little cheaper. I'll add a link to it above and here (to save a Google search for the site's readers): Ampridge IJ-302 iJAM Headphone Cable.

Hi there,

I've just got the Vericorder XLR adapter. I'm using an SM58 with it. When I use my iPad3 to record video/audio I get a nasty buzz along with the nice clear microphone sound. When I use my iPhone 4 in the same way, there's no buzz.

I've tried using the built in camera, iMovie and a 3rd party app called MovieMount. Any ideas how I can get rid of the buzz on my iPad3?

Many thanks.

Do you have either the iPad or the microphone plugged into anything (a laptop, the wall, etc.) while you're recording? Also, do you have anything metal touching the iPad that could conduct a charge? If so, try disconnecting the plug or metal device, and the buzz may go away. I'm guessing it's a ground-loop-induced buzz.

See also: Buzz or Hum in Computer Speakers.

Planning to use I Pad 3 to record video and sound talking heads for my web site
Looking for solution best connectors mic to I pad with head phone jack
Best way to have manual sound level Control while recording

best way to at thr same time to control video lock focus. Lock exposure. Lock k
Color

Thanks

For manual sound control, you need to use something inline before the signal gets into the iPhone, like a mixer, or something like the Tascam iXZ. There are no video recording apps for the iPad or iPhone yet that allow manual audio level adjustment.

Also, iOS 6 lets you lock focus and exposure on a particular point, if you tap and hold on a spot, using the built-in Camera app. Other than that, FilMic Pro is a pretty good option.

Planning to use I Pad 3 to record video and sound talking heads for my web site
Looking for solution best connectors mic to I pad with head phone jack
Best way to have manual sound level Control while recording

best way to at thr same time to control video lock focus. Lock exposure. Lock k
Color

Thanks

Have you tested the iRig Mic with the iPhone 5 yet? IK's Web site boasts that it's fully compatible, but an iRig Mic that works with my iPhone 4s does not work with my iPhone 5.

The iRig Mic should work fine; any headset-adapter-compatible microphone or input should be able to work with the iPhone 5 just as well as any iPhone 3G/3Gs/4/4s. If it doesn't, you might want to contact iK multimedia and ask them for help.

Great site Jeff.

I came across your site while doing research for video gear to use with the new iPhone 5, that I just got a little over a week ago.

I'm a professional video guy, and I have an event coming up in three weeks that I wanted to shoot some video at, but I don't feel like bringing a huge camera package like I have in the past. I want to be light weight and very portable but also get good quality video. The iPhone 5 is an obvious choice, if I can get as close to the quality of audio/video that I'm use to getting with the professional gear, which I pretty positive I can. Just need to get the right gear to pull it off. Your article has been extremely helpful in helping me to determine my audio needs.

You said you were going to update your article to include the iPhone 5. Now, I know the iPhone 5 just came out just over 10 days ago, but I'm wondering if you have done any preliminary research of have any updates yet. I was wondering if the mic solutions you reviewed in the article would still work with the iPhone 5. Except for Apple moving the iPhone audio jack to the bottom of the device, my thoughts are that most of the mics you review should still work with the iPhone 5. Any thoughts?

Also, I need a good sounding, handheld wireless solution. Can you plug, say a Shure SM58 into the Sony WCS-999 Wireless Microphone System for a good wireless solution (I'd be within the 10-50ft range)? I know do to this you'll need to use some adapters to go from XLR to mini jack inorder to plug the SM58 into the WCS-999. I just want to know if it would work before I purchase anything.

Also, if possible, if I could speak to you directly about your experience with these mics on a short phone call, please let me know via email.

Thanks Jeff. And again, great article you did here. It was very helpful for me, since I'm use to using professional gear and not very familiar with what is available for the iPhone as far as video and audio recording is concern.

looking forward to your reply

Everything that doesn't plug in through the dock connector works great with the iPhone 5 (see the video in this article, and my iPhone 5 review). I haven't been able to test any of the dock connector solutions yet, since Apple doesn't have the dock adapter available yet :(

I haven't tried a handheld dynamic mic with one of the wireless transmitters, but even if you can adapt the input, the level from the unpowered mic would probably too low for most wireless mic transmitter packs. It would be a better bet to get a dedicated wireless handheld mic to ensure a good level.

Hi Jeff, I read through your ipad 3 replies, and didn't see a fit for my question. I want to use my iPad 3 to record video in an office setting and use an external mike to enhance the sound. I have a Samson Meteor mike. I'm using the regular camera video app and the Meteor mike attached through the camera USB adaptor. No sound plays through the video with the mike attached. The mike does work when only recording audio, so there is nothing wrong with it. I'd greatly appreciate your help. Thank you, Lucy

Some microphones seem to not work with video apps, it seems. Unfortunately, there's not really an easy way to get it to work, since the built-in camera app and many other camera apps are not as universally-compatible with microphones and alternative inputs.

But, what audio apps does your microphone work with? Unless you're using a special Samson app, I would think you could get the mic to work with some camera app or another.

Jeff,

What did you use to attached your iphone to your tripod, especially when you were using the x-grip with Rode VideoMic on top.

Thanks!

I used the SnapMount, and then mounted the entire X-Grip onto my tripod. There's a tripod mounting screw for the X-Grip as well.

Hello Jeff,

ich want to record stereo audio with my iPhone 5. I have a Zoom H1 field recorder (with a stereo line output) which I want to use with the regular camera/video app. Any possibility to make this work? Thanks for your help, regards from Germany!

The only way to record in stereo that I can confirm at this time is to use the GuitarJack Model 2 (see here), but I've had mixed success with that device and the built-in Camera app.

Thanks for the reply,

please let me know if there's another solution coming up. Regards Max

Jeff -- I took your advice and purchased the KVConnection adapter; the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone (I also have an ATR-655o Shotgun Mic); and the Sony WCS-999 Wireless Microphone System. I want to use these as recommended to produce personal videos with higher audio quality, using my iPhone 4S and my iPad 2 64GB + WiFi. In addition to the basic Camera app, I'm also using Luma and Filmic Pro. When I plug in the adapter and ATR-3350 and check the sound in Filmic Pro, it registers on the app's audio meter; however, when I record using an external mic, using any of the apps, there is no discernible audio on the video track. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance.

How far are you from the microphone? You need to be within 6-8" ideally, otherwise the sound level will be much too low to pick up.

Are you aware of any microphones that will plug directly into the lightning connector?

Thanks.

Not yet. I've asked around, and some companies are planning on using the lightning connector at some point, but no products have been released yet (nor are there any concrete release dates).

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