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)
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:
- Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lavaliere microphone ($22)
- KVConnection 1/8" to iPhone Mic-level adapter ($20)
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:
- Shure SM58 handheld microphone for $99
- VeriCorder XLR Adapter Cable for $70
(OR Tascam iXZ for $30 along with a 1/4" to 1/8" audio adapter)
(OR SignalEar iPhone/iPad TRRS to XLR adapter for $30)
- (Alternatively, for an even simpler kit, with a little lower quality audio: iRig Mic - read my review of the iRig mic)
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):
- Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 Wireless Microphone (about $120)
- KVconnection 1/8" line-level input adapter (about $30)
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:
- 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).
- The GuitarJack Model 2 (read my review of the GuitarJack Model 2) allows for padding and relatively high sound level input.
- 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)
I'll run through most of my kit for mobile recording, following along with the picture below:
- iPhone 3G/3Gs/4 Tripod (instructions for building the tripod mount)
- Crown Sound Grabber II PZM Boundary microphone ($80)
- Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Powered Lavaliere Microphone ($20)
- KV Connection microphone-to-iPhone audio adapters (read more about them, and about available alternatives below)
- Spare batteries - you can never have too many
- 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.)
- (NOT PICTURED: The following items have been added to my kit since I wrote this article)
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).
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:
- iPhone to 1/8" Mic-level adapter - this is useful for self-powered microphones, like a condenser lavaliere (see my recommendations below).
- iPhone to 1/8" Line-level adapter - this is useful for plugging the iPhone into a computer, another iPhone/iPod, a tape player, a CD player, etc. (heck, you could even use your iPhone to record tapes to digital audio now!).
- iPhone to XLR Mic-level adapter - useful for self-powered XLR mics, or for outputs on some professional mixers (as long as they're mic-level and not line-level).
- iPhone to 1/4" TRS Mic-level adapter with headphone jack - Useful if you'd like to use a microphone, but still be able to listen to things on your iPhone while/after recording.
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:
- Griffin iMic for $30
- Zoom H2 for $145 - monitoring must be 'on'
- Art Tube MP USB Pre-amp for $90
- Alesis AudioLink XLR-to-USB Cable for $35
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 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 Technica ATR-3350 + Sony WCS-999 Wireless Mic System [YouTube]
- Audio Technica ATR-3350 powered lavaliere [Youtube]
- RadioShack 33-3013 powered lavaliere [Youtube]
- Shure SM58, direct into iPhone – Instructions
- Shure SM58, direct into iPhone (HD) [YouTube] – Instructions
- Shure SM58, through iMac [Youtube]
- iPhone Headset mic (great for when you don't have anything else) [YouTube]
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:
- Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 Wireless Lavalier System (~$120)
- Sony WCS-999 Wireless Microphone System ($99)
- Rode VideoMic Shotgun Microphone (~$145)
- Shure SM58, Shure PG48, Shure PG81, Shure etc. They're all good. Read here for more info »
- Audio Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone (~$18) (Note that this microphone doesn't seem to produce very good levels with the iPhone 5.)
- RadioShack 33-3013 Electret Condenser Lavaliere Microphone (~$25)
- Crown Sound-Grabber-II Conference Microphone (~$80)
- NOTE: For any of these mics, you still need an adapter to work with your iOS device!
Related posts from elsewhere:
Wow. I could've checked out my hair before filming... :-/
Jeff: Your hair looks great. Be grateful you have hair.
Thanks so much for these techniques. I will now use my iphone4 much more professionally. Cheers.
Hi! Great work, thanks a lot and congratulations. Have you had a chance to look into professional
recording, with pro mikes such as Schoeps with 48V into an iPad ? (or iPhone 4 but a bit small to handle...).
I'm already so happy that importing sound with the camera connector is possible with a USB device. Still do you know if a "sound SD card", coming for instance from a digital recorder (Tascam or Sound Devices or ...) in WAV 48-16 would be "recognized" by any iPad program? This would then allow any editing program to do the job and FTP it anywhere ...
I have created livemusiccompany.com and you'll understand my questions...
All the very best
Hi there. I am trying to install external mic to my iPhone 4 with KV adapter i purchased directly from them
and it looks like the adapter is not turning off the built-in iphone mic. The camera keeps recording from the internal built-in mic. Am I doing something wrong? Do you need special app for that. Whats the steps for the
process. I couldn't find the WCS999 so I tried with blutooth SonyECM-AW3. Unsuccesfully. Can you help me with the issue. thanks
It could be you have the wrong adapter. The sony ECM-AW3 might output line-level audio, in which case you'd need the KVConnection line-level adapter. If it outputs mic-level audio, you need the mic-level adapter. You should probably contact KVConnection to make sure (a) you have the right cable, and (b) your cable is not faulty.
Do you need an adaptor for any mic you hook up to your iPhone? I just bought a Sony F-V420 for $60 and it doesn't seem like it's working. The guy at the camera store said to plug it right into my iPhone. Are there settings I need to adjust on the phone?
Yes - you'd need an adapter for any mic that isn't specifically made just for the iPhone. For that microphone, you could either plug a VeriCorder adapter straight into the mic/iPhone, or you could use the XLR-to-1/8" adapter that comes with the mic, and plug that into a KVConnection 1/8" mic to iPhone adapter, and plug that adapter into the iPhone. (Sadly, the guy at the camera store was misinformed...).
Azden ECZ-990 Supercardioid Shotgun Mic.
This is a really nice sounding inexpensive shotgun mic. You will need to find a way to either mount this to your tripod as the iPhone does not have a “Cold Shoe” for mounting mics or lights. You can mount to your tripod or get a separate stand to place nearby. There are some solutions that combine all but I have found them clunky.
You'll also need an adapter. The total should come out to about $74 dollars, but it sure is worth the investment!
It's definitely a good shotgun for the purposes of most who would use an iPhone in the field. Additionally, a product like the AR-4i (which I link to above, and allows stereo input) adds a simple hotshoe mount to the top of the iPhone 4. There are a few pretty good options you could look into (including simple camera grips from Amazon or Adorama).
I am writing from London UK, and I am very impressed with you knowledge and presentation.
I am now retired since 1985, so I am quite old, but I was a very well known Sound Engineer, having worked on many famous movies, in the 50's and 60's, and finished owning a company called De Lane Lea, which is the largest Post Production facility in Europe.
The reason I was looking at your web site was, that I wanted to use my i Pad Touch (3rd Gen), to solve a hearing problems in high ambient background situation, coupled with poor acoustics, by using a remote microphone, with just listening on headphones. (no recording involved).
Is this facility availaailable on the I Pod, using the adaptor KM-IPHONE-MIC-ECM that you recommend.
Hope you can advise.
You could probably use a wireless mic (lav or handheld), and plug it into the iPod, and use FiRe audio recorder to pass through the audio. You would need something like this: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-2trs-ecm.htm - plug the headphones and mic output from the wireless receiver in, and turn up the volume on the iPhone... Should work.
Your situation might be solved easiest by purchasing one of the new generation active noise cancelling headphones (or ear bud) systems which many people use when traveling on airplanes. You would basically simply plug the 1/8th inch jack into to the audio out jack. My understanding is that these devices use active noise reduction--probably either proprietory noise cancelling hardware, or I wonder if in fact these have a simple low cut filter in them aimed at removing the rumbling or lower frequency noises in various environments. In any event, my hearing is still ok (barely) and when I use one of these headphones, I notice some faint solid state background noise but a remarkable "cleaning" of low frequency sounds, and crystal clear transmission of speech and digital music. The leader in this area is Bose, but Audio-Technica, Panasonic, Sony, and others have I feel comparable products. Expect to pay over 150 dollars for a proper device, and I have also noted that Sony and Panasonic in particular have affordable and excellent in-ear devices. Depending on your hearing loss, these might not work, but if you are ever in an airport, all the "tech" stores have working try-out displays, so you can experiment. If, as an obvious accomplished expert in audio engineering, you may already know all of this----I apologize if you do. Just trying to help.
hi there. thanks for your work!
I take it, once recording through the input jack, there is no way more way to monitor, right!
me: iPad 2 jail broken , focus rite sapphire 6, trying to record AND monitor with Loopy HD app.
thanks a lot
Chris from Berlin
the focus rite is 6 i/o analog or digital out. with 2 C3000 condenser mics connected.
If you use the input jack on the top of the iPad, and you have an adapter that lets you plug in an input and have a headphone jack (many of the KVConnection adapters do this), you can monitor the sound, but only if the app supports playthrough, which some apps do not... I use FiLMiC Pro, which does allow playthrough.
Not sure about Loopy HD, though. If possible, it'd be best to monitor what you're recording on your Focus Rite Sapphire 6 unit, using headphones through that box, and just make sure the level is okay going into your iPad.
Jeff - this was awesome - I'm waiting for delivery of my new phone and would never have thought to use the headphones for recording, so thanks for the tip... I'm be curious for an update on what you discover with the mics too.
And no worries here about the hair! Are you coming to the CNMC?
I will be at CNMC this year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing you and everyone else there! I hope you're having a great summer so far!
Yeah. I often want to check my hair before I do video. Then I remember... I don't have any! LOL!
Mic sounds great. I'm jealous. I've been keeping up with my favorite bloggers and podcasters testing their new iPhone 4, and I.... Well, I smile. I smile because I chose to invest in a Heil PR-40 for the show instead. I've been wanting to do that for a long time and I finally did. One day I will join the iPhone 4 Club. Until then I'll enjoy my iPhone 3Gs and my Heil.
Oh... have you used the Flip cam with the mic input? Can't remember which model it is, but I've heard that the audio is really good.
Thanks for the video!
That Heil is a great mic! I got to play with a sample a couple years ago when KMOX was trying a few of them for studio mics. My budget only allows for about $100 per mic right now, though :(
Blue Mic's "Mikey" never got produced because the Flip is getting discontinued.
Please tell me there's an external mic for the Flip somewhere...!!!
Thanks for sharing You can actually loop the headphones around neck and use little clip on headphones to hold loop like a lanyard. Ive used when recording audio lectures.
Nice tip! Would definitely work in a pinch. I hope I can find a good lav mic that doesn't need a preamp that I could use instead, but we'll see!
Any chance you tried the XLR adaptor you mentioned? I'm curious if it will even work as I have a few wireless mics I'd like to use.
Unfortunately, it hasn't come in yet. It should be in next week... at that time, I'll test it at the next youth conference (next weekend).
Great tip! I appreciate your blog, as I am at a conference and I was thinking about an external mic for the iphone 4 and received my answer through your work. Thank you. Christina Hood
Jeff...I like the audio quality of the audio clips more than the YouTube vid of you in the car. Were you using the same mic/cable setup? Different environment perhaps? Or maybe the audio got squashed in the post/compression upload to YouTube?
Running through the mixer sounded pretty decent...nice frequency response, the hiss might just be the s/n ratio of the preamp/mixer.
Really hoping they release a Blue Mikey that's compatible with iPhone 4: http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/05/blues-new-and-improved-mikey-ipod-ip…
I'd pick that thing up in a nanosec.
Thanks a bunch for all this testing...very helpful and informative!
Something like the Blue Mikey would be very, very nice. So far I haven't found any good dock-connector solutions for the iPhone 4, though.
You are a pioneer! Nice going.
Question: With the KV Connection, do you need a mixer? Can you connect a mic right to it?
If you don't need a mixer, which mic do you recommend? If you do need a mixer, which mixer (cheap) do you recoomend?
Thanks so much!
Whatever input source you use, it will need to be line-level, otherwise the iPhone switches back to its internal microphone. So, if you're using pretty much any dynamic mic, you'll need a preamplifier, or a mixer. I love Mackie's products, but they're sometimes a little pricey. I often recommend Behringer for the price-minded.
I recommend any mic that's in your budget ;-)
Go to your local electronics store, and see what they have, for a start... to go directly into the iPhone, the mic will need some sort of battery.
Thanks, I'll take a look!
This is really awesome! I have been looking for a lavalier solution forever. Sorry but could you point out which connector did you buy from KVconnection? There are so many, not sure which one you are referring to
Thanks a lot!
Do you know if i could plug this http://www.amazon.com/RiteAV-3-5mm-Stereo-Male-Cable/dp/B000V0G2C4/ref=… (rca to 3.5 in) adapter from my cable box into the kvconnection and use it to record audio while simultaneously using the camera on the iphone4 for video?
Not necessarily... I tried plugging my Mac's audio line out directly into the KVConnection adapter, and it clipped part of the time, and cut back to the iPhone's internal mic part of the time.
I'll have to see if I can use some other adapters to get a good line-in signal.
Another possibility is the Monster iSoniTalk Adapter, and resoldering the microphone input — this would allow you to also have a headphone jack. But KVConnection makes a good mic/headphone adapter as well...
Will an Azden ECZ-990 work with the iPhone 4 (with the proper adapter)? I've heard something that the impedance levels need to match or else the iPhone won't recognize it.
I'm too much of a expert at tech, so any advice would be great.
From it's specs, it seems like it would work fine.
Rob, Did you buy it? if so do you have a 3gs iPhone you could plug it into to see if it works?
i have that mic, and its not working for me. so far i haven't heard a difference between using it and not using it.. i tried to see if there were any settings to help me, but there arent. If it worked for you, please tell me how you got it to work. thanks!
Great write up! Thank you very much! I'm trying to use iPhone 4 to record my weekend canyon driving, and i'd like it to pickup the car's engine and exhaust notes. Most of the time i can barely pick up the sound. My own voice is clearly picked up, but not anything else. Any suggestion? Would the Radio Shack mic + KV adapters fix it you think? TIA!
The problem here is proximity to the sound source - there are a few options. If you are able, the best solution would be to use a sound mixer and have one mic on your person (a lavaliere, since you probably can't hold it while driving), then one mic closer to your engine or exhaust pipes (away from you - most likely a shotgun mic). Then, set the levels so you can hear yourself clearly while also hearing the sound from the car (through the other mic).
As far as mixer options go, you could find a battery-powered mixer (not ideal, though), or you could buy a power inverter for your car, and get a little MixPad or other small mixer to plug in the mics.
Whatever the case, you'll have a spaghetti mess of wires in your car!
(The second option would be to hold the iPhone or mic further away from you, so it will pick up your voice more evenly with car/environment noises... then boost the volume in an audio editor or iMovie on your computer).
Thanks for the reply! How good is the lavaliere in picking up ambient sound? Or it has a small active area and needed to be close to the sound source, ie. your mouth. May be i can mount it close to the trunk so it will pick up the exhaust sound. Do you think that would work? Hooking up a mixer for recreational video recording is a little too much may be :-P
Awesome work! I'm wondering about a solution for high volumes. With my iPhone 3GS I used to video record loud shows using the Belkin TuneTalk which has an autogain limiter that allowed me to get decent (highly compressed but not distorting) live audio with the built in video app. It plugged right into the dock and was so elegant but alas the iPhone 4 doesn't support it, or any dock mic it seems. Any ideas? I would be looking for something that is small, ominidirectional, and can deliver loud environments to the iPhone without distortion, I guess that would be some sort of compression.
The iPhone itself seems to provide a little bit of limiting, but for anything more professional, you might need to use external equipment :(
RE: How To Bring Analog Audio Into An iPhone 4 With A MicPort Pro
ANALOG SOLUTION 1: The first solution to get external analog audio into the iPhone 4 called for a special connector with an Impedance Matching Transformer in it. This would bring MIC INPUT into the iPhone 4. KV Connection has still not shipped this special Impedance Matching Transformer product for the iPhone 4 yet.
In the meantime I have developed what I think is a higher quality analog solution for the iPhone 4:
ANALOG SOLUTION 2: CEntrance says this will work. See my forum post at
http://www.centrance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=291. This solution calls for using a $149 MicPort Pro 3.5 mm female headphone jack for dual purposes via a Y connector: 1. line-out to iPhone 4 & 2. headphone out to headphones for realtime monitoring right at the mic (no need to go through a laptop or use an iMic).
In addition to the MicPort Pro and a decent XLR Mic, ANALOG SOLUTION 2 requires 2 Y cable connectors you can order at KV Connection as noted below.
** A Y ADAPTER SHORT CABLE WHICH PLUGS INTO THE iPHONE 4: The $24.38 KV Connector. iPhone 4 Adapter 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS MALE Jack (into iPhone 4) splits to (a) a 3.5mm TRS FEMALE Headphone Jack (to monitor iPhone 4 audio playback via headphones) and (b) a 3.5mm TRS FEMALE iPhone 4 Microphone Jack with built-in -22 dB Line-Level Attenuator. This is a -22 dB attenuated LINE LEVEL connection that takes analog audio output from the MicPort Pro headphone Jack. You can also use this Line level connector to import music or sound from a recorder like a Zoom or a Laptop or other line out device such as from a from a stereo. http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-2trs-a22.htm
** A Y ADAPTER SHORT CABLE WHICH PLUGS INTO THE FEMALE HEADPHONE JACK ON THE MICPORT PRO: The $7.90 KV Connection Y Cable is a 3.5mm Mini Stereo MALE Jack (into headphone jack on MicPort Pro) split to Dual Mini Mono FEMALE Y-Cable 6 Inch long ... one can be used to realtime monitor realtime ( 0 latency) the analog mic signal and the other connector connects via a cable (with 2 male jacks) to the line level female connector in 3 above. http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/t-y-mps-2mf.htm
The advantage ANALOG SOLUTION 2 is that you have both an analog audio signal and a higher quality digital audio signal for HD audio to go along with the HD 720P Video from an iPhone 4.
iPhone 4 users should post the results here after they try out this for the iPhone 4 either SOLUTION 1 or SOLUTION 2 or SOLUTION X.
If you are using the Apple iPad there is even a higher quality digital audio solution using the Camera Connector Adapter on the iPad Dock Connector.
I came across your site and ordered both the KV connector (http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic-a22.htm) and the RadioShack (item 3303013 tie-clip mic) Lav. I must be doing something wrong because I don't get any sound recorded on my iPhone 4. The mic is powered (yes I did put the battery in and I check that it is in the correct way). I would not think I need to attenuate the line as I was under the ipression that the KV is handling that. In any event I would love some feedback and where I have misguided myself.
Thanks very much,
It looks like you purchased the line-level microphone from KVconnection, rather than the mic-level adapter. The line level will reduce the level of your tie-clip mic so much that the iPhone won't accept it anymore. You need to get this adapter for the RadioShack lav to work: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm
You said: "Also of note: you can use two powered mics at the same time with a Y-adapter!"
Is this how you suggest doing this with ONE ATR-3350 POWERED LAV MIC with a 3.5mm TRS male mono connector?
A. Use KV Part # KM-IPHONE-2RS: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-2trs.htm
B. The TRRS 3.5mm male connector goes into the iPhone 4 TRRS 3.5mm female jack for mono mic INPUT & stereo headphone OUTPUT.
C. The ATR-3350 TRS 3.5mm male connector plugs into the TRS 3.5mm female MIC jack.
D. The Stereo Headphones TRS 3.5mm male connector plugs into the female HEADPHONE jack.
How do you suggest doing this with TWO ATR-3350 POWERED LAV MICs with a 3.5mm TRS male mono connector and using KV Part # KM-IPHONE-2RS: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-2trs.htm ??
I have been told that in (C) above if you use a 3.5mm Y adapter to Hook up to Mics it won't work because the iPhone 4 connects to the FIRST Mic it sees ... is this correct? OR Can you indeed use the Y connector with both the FIRST and SECOND Mic at the same time going into the iPhone 4?
If indeed the iPhone 4 jack will only input 1 Mic or Line in audio INPUT signal at a time then I think the work around is one of the following as an interface device so the iPhone 4 sees only one Audio INPUT signal:
1. A portable battery powered audio recorder such as the Zoom H1 ($100), H2 ($150). Or, the Zoom H4n ($300) OR the Tascam DR-100 ($300) which both have dual XLR inputs and phantom power.
With a portable recorder, 2 mic signals can be inputted and then you can use the line out to an attenuated iPhone 4 TRRS connector. The advantage of this method is that you have a Dual System Audio with the recorder and can use software in post with Final Cut Pro such as PluralEyes to sync up: http://www.singularsoftware.com/pluraleyes.html ($150). The disadvantage is the cost of $250 min ($100 for recorder and $150 for software) and even more if you have to purchase Final Cut Pro.
2. The Azden CAM3 3 channel mix mixer. No power needed ... about $50. Can input 3 mic signals and then ouput to TRRS Mic connector into iPhone 4. The CAM3 essentially acts like an attenuator for each mic.I don't know about the quality or performance of doing this and hopefully a reader can try it out and report back here.
3. A portable battery operated wireless rec and transmitter such as the Sony WCS-999 ($100). Did your input 2 lav mics to the 3.5mm jack on the transmitter with a Y connector or Y cable?. Have you tried this system outside and do you get any RF interference on it?
According to my testing (I can record a video if you'd like to see how it works), if you simply plug two mics into a Y-adapter (I'm using the Monster Cable iSplitter), then both mics will work with the iPhone simultaneously.
No need for a mixer. However, if the output impedences are wildly different, this may not work - haven't yet tried this with a balanced mic + transformer with one of my lavalieres.
Yes ... Please do a video and show how the 2 mics are connected to the iPhone 4 and the parts (part # and names)
I see the Monster Y adapter cable you suggested was 1/4" and that probably works on your 1/4" KV iPhone 4 connector ... but not mine.
I am using this KV Connector iPhone 4 connector with 3.5mm on all sides. KM-IPHONE-2RS http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-2trs.htm and want to use it to connect 2 identical ATR3350 Lav Mics with 3.5mm TRS connections.
Do you think this 3.5mm Monster one would work for me with 2 identical ATR3350 Mics. Monster iSplitter 1000 Y Ssplitter?
Also, can you use your headphones to monitor the audio levels realtime when recording or do they work on playbacl only?
I think a good demo video could help explain this better to others.
The Y-Adapter I referenced above is the correct one for 1/8" connections (it's typically used for splitting one consumer headphone jack into two), so it would work fine with your 1/8" connector (or could be adapted for use in a 1/4" plug, using a 1/4" to 1/8" TRS adapter.
Finally, the headphones will only play back the audio; the iPhone won't pass through the sound.
Hi Jeff. Thanks for the tips! Great site. I wondered if you have found a solution for monitoring the mic audio level while shooting video with an external mic? The only solution I came up with was an old battery powered guitar amp (us old folks used to call them a Pig Nose amp. I use the kv splitter, let it run to the iPhone 4 headphone jack for input and split the signal off into the amp then monitor it through headphones attached to the amp. I have to crank it up a bit to hear it and it does not give the correct level but it has saved me a couple of times when the connection was loose and I would have recorded no audio if I hadn't been able to monitor it.
Also. What about the FiRe app? That says it has "Playthrough" and over dub. The tech at kv suggest this but I'm not sure it would work.
Thanks and keep up the good work!
FiRe (for audio recording only, unfortunately) does, in fact, offer playthrough and overdub. The playthough has a very slight delay (maybe 10ms?), that is not noticable unless you're used to monitoring your voice on a nice, $10k+ sound board ;-)
Right now, there are no apps that allow video recording with audio playthrough (really, really stinks!), but I've emailed the makers of FiLMiC Pro to see if they could add that feature, but my fingers are firmly crossed at this point.
For my own video monitoring needs, I just use my Shure FP-12 preamp (which I write about in this post and elsewhere on the site).
I have posted another video above with instructions for using the Monster iSplitter - hope it works for you! It has two lav mics plugged into the single input on the iPhone!
Great info. Thanks!
Do you know of a way to simultaneously record both cameras on iPhone 4 so you end up with a picture in picture video that basically looks like face time? Seems that would be great to do a video where you're the talking head in a small window while the full screen video is whatever you're shooting. Thoughts?
Nope - I don't think the hardware would be able to support that, even if an app could take advantage of both cameras at once, unfortunately (it's a lot of data for a tiny mobile processor to be handling!). But maybe someone will prove me wrong :)
Great blog and very very helpful. I shot a lot of interviews over the past 2 days with an iPhone 4 and an Audio-Technica Omni ATR 3350. I was careful with the mic placement, but sound levels are very low and have to be raised in the editing process. What can I do to increase the sound level of the original recording? Thanks for any suggestions.
You might be able to increase the level using an inline amplifier, like one of the following:
Thanks for the quick reply. "The Tomahawk" looks perfect for solving the problem. Just ordered one.
Fantastic resource you have here. Instead of using the Sony 900mhz wireless transmitter, is there a way to connect the microphone to some sort of Bluetooth transmitter? Since the iPhone already has Bluetooth inside, it certainly takes a piece out of the equation. Thanks!
Unfortunately, I don't think there are any bluetooth solutions that would allow this functionality. I just tested my Bluetooth headset with the Camera app, and the iPhone used the internal mic (which is much better sounding anyways).
Very interesting. Thanks Jeff!
Hi Jeff, looks like you know what you're talking about! Wondered if you could help me out - I want to plug a mic into my iphone 4 to make higher quality audio recordings (not video), but I don't understand why my mic doesn't work - it's a great little mic called a Sony ECM-MS907 with a 3.5mm jack. From looking it up briefly on the net it seems to have a 1Kohm rating, which I suspect could be the problem from what you've said above, but I don't know enough about it. I could also do with some recommendations for which apps are good to make audio recordings... any advice? Many thanks.
You will need one of the KVConnection.com adapters as I listed above, because the iPhone has a TRRS (with two rings) plug, while your microphone is only TRS (tip-ring-sleeve). The connection for the mic input is on the last ring, and is not touched without using the KVConnection adapter (or something similar).
I typically use Voice Memos, and am waiting to find a really good recorder/editor for the iPhone. So far there are a few promising apps, but none are as simple/easy as voice memos.
Great advice, thanks. I wonder if I can find someone who sells those adapters in the UK...
Have you found anyone that sell it in the UK?
Unfortunately, no :(
your blog post is great. I was wondering if you could tell me if there are any good setups for having 2 headsets(with mics) plugged into the iphone. I know you posted about splitting the 2 mics, but i need the headset part too. I wouldn't think it would be different, but i don't know. Can you also recommend some headsets that you think will work?
You would definitely need at least a two-input headphone amp, if not a full mixer, to accomplish this. I might try rigging something like this up with my Shure FP-12 headphone mixer/mic preamplifier.
Do you think this adapter would work well in place of the kvconnector?
It might, but since that adapter probably lacks a resister to raise the impedance of an input source, the level might be too low, or the iPhone might not accept certain microphones altogether. However, it would definitely put the mic input on the correct pin.
hi with both the 2 or 1 lav into iphone solution is there anyway to monitor the audio?
Yes, you can monitor the audio if you use an App to pass through the sound (like the Fire recorder). Otherwise, you'll need to get a headphone amp or a mixer to pass the audio through to headphones (this also allows you to do passthrough without any delay—the iPhone's processing adds about 10-50ms delay, which can be somewhat jarring).
Will the AZDEN ECZ 990 work on the iPhone 3Gs?, I have the KV TRRS adapter.
It should work fine. You will either need the 1/8" microphone to TRRS adapter, or the 1/8" mic / headphone to TRRS adapter.
Thank you so much for posting the two-lav solution! I've got some interviews to do at a conference, and quick setup, and mobility is a real concern there. I was going to use my Canon T2i, and this has saved me bringing the big camera for a minimal gain on the video quality.
I just wanted to say that I appreciate you for figuring this out, and for sharing it. It's a REAL help.
Thanks, Bob! I'm glad the article could be of help... just make sure you get the right KVConnection cable :D
Hey Jeff. I did get the right cable, thanks to you, and tested it out today. Thanks a ton. I'll be using the iPhone, and your dual lavalier rig at the Association of Applied Sports Psychology convention to record interviews on-site. You've been so generous....I'm curious if you have any recommendations for a quick portable lighting setup. Incidentally, I'm originally from STL. CBC grad...'85.
Thanks again for your generosity with this info.
Awesome! I'm De Smet, '04 :)
For lighting, I'll typically lug around a couple of worklights (the $10 hardware store variety, Halogen bulbs, 250-500W), and set them up pointed straight at a big reflective surface, like the white ceiling, which gives a really nice, diffuse light source.
Unfortunately, lighting is one thing that always requires tons of power and size—the bigger the better.
amazing work. thanks for sharing this.
I'm trying to record audio out from an ipod's 1/8 jack into an iphone's 1/8 mic input. I'm using the kv line-level iphone input adaptor, and a line-level 1/8 male/male cable (from guitar center). The iphone isn't picking up audio.
With other regular unbalanced cable/adaptors, the audio ends up crackly. With the line-level cable/adaptors the audio gets padded out I guess and I can't hear it.
Do you think the kv iphone to 1/8 mic-level adaptor would work better? I bought a similar (I think) mic-level Walmart one which didn't work.
I'm trying to compose and record music for an imovie. Improvox app (vocals) onto nanostudio app(daw, sequencer).
Great article by the way. It's amazing what you can do nowadays.
Thanks Jeff. What a great public service. Do you think your research results would be similar using an iPad to record?
The results should be exactly the same, and I have tried a few of the microphones and adapters this way, and found this to be true.
Thank you very much for this overview. Recently I used my iPhone headphone mic to record a talk I gave and it really distorted when I spoke loudly so I bought the Radio Shack 33-3013mic you recommended, and the KV cable, and it works, but the levels are seem really low and the noise is pretty thick. I notice in your YouTube demo of this product the sound is very low, too. Is there something I can do to beef up the input? Do I need to?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
You could either use a headphone preamp, or try to get the microphone closer to your sound source. I find that if I have that mic clipped onto my shirt and don't project, it won't pick me up all that well.
Also, one of the KVConnection cables actually amplifies the signal a slight bit, and is better than the standard pass-through cable they have... you might want to send an email to KVConnection support, asking if they have a better cable for your needs (this reminds me, I need to talk to them and ask about what they currently have available... every time I order, they have something new in the works!).
Ah, so you experienced the same problem. The mic is right where it should be so I can't move it closer without being intrusive. I'm looking for a very portable, simple solution. Maybe the KV connection is the right one. The iPhone mic is set way too hot, and the Radio Shack one is to low. Maybe there's a mic out there that'll work better for the iPhone. I'll keep my trying!
Thanks so much,
Using the VeriCorder cable along with an XLR-type lavalier mic might be the best option for really good, higher-level sound. I'm going to try to borrow an XLR mic-level lav to test in the next week or two.
Here is what the guy at KV told me:
The problem is that you ordered the attenuated version (KM-IPHONE-MIC-A22) instead of the standard version (KM-IPHONE-MIC). The adapter you received is for recording from a headphone/audio output jacks rather than from microphones. This is the adapter you need for microphones: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm
I don't know which connector you recommended, but I bought the wrong one. I'm going to try this other one. -David
Yikes! I'll have to make sure my links are all correct - the KVConnection website has changed a bit since last time I ordered...