Using a Lav Mic with the iPhone 4 - HD Video/Audio Recording!

Please read this article for background/more info: iPhone/iPad external microphones

Formula for success: iPhone 4 + iPhone TRRS Mono Mic Input Adapter + RadioShack Lav mic

Using this setup, I am able to record interviews on the go on my iPhone, without carrying around a mess of equipment. This rocks. Here's a picture of my entire on-the-go interview kit:

iPhone 4 - Portable HD Video/Audio Recording Studio

Read more about setting up an iPhone 4 with a Lav mic, or other line-level inputs and microphones. Also, find how to create your own iPhone 4 tripod adapter/case.

Comments

Thanks for posting this, I was wondering if this exact setup would work for me. Do you have any idea how long the iPhone 4 can record 720p video. Is it limited to battery/disk space, or is there a 4gb file size issue like on some phones and cameras?

I'm not sure what the total length is, but I've recorded about 60 1-2 minute clips in one go, without turning the iPhone off. Besides the back being a little warm, nothing was awry, and I could quickly download all the clips via Image Capture on my Mac.

I don't know if I would want to use my iPhone for recording a lecture, or a class, though... seems like a waste for 60 minutes!

I needed to record a church service so I used my iphone and it stopped recording at 49:51 with a message that said that was all I could record at a time on my phone. So yeah you have 49 min and 51 seconds before it stops on its own. You can start it right away and keep on recording 49 min at a time.

Interesting... I wonder if different apps allow different amounts of time. I'm testing iProRecorder, and in addition to adjusting the input level on the fly, it seems I could record longer amounts of audio...

I followed your link to KV connection, but there are many choices there. Can you please give the exact model number of the adapter you use? Thanks!

OK I just bought the KV connection and am on my way to radio shack. I'll report back with a sample video in a few days - thanks for doing all of the legwork!!

Sure thing! If your local RadioShack doesn't stock that lav mic, any powered lav mic with a 1/8" connection *should* work - I saw a nice Audio-Technica model at my local Micro Center store. You can also go to Guitar Center or MusiciansFriend (online) and find a few models, but they're more pricey.

OK now for the other question - you mentioned putting your iPhone on a tripod to shoot interview subjects - any thoughts on what type of a tripod might work?

How does this compare to the mic that comes with the headphones? Did you sort out the hiss with your mixer?

It's a bit cleaner, and the lav has a better pick-up pattern while away from one's mouth. Plus, you don't need to have an earphone stuck in your ear to do the recording, so it looks more professional.

Jeff,

Thanks for providing info on ext mics for iPhone 4. I am searching for a XLR alternative that works and has been tested ... what have you found out? Pls also email at jonesge@yahoo.com

I posted this question also at Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley, CA. http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/blog/2010/jul/14/can-iphone-4…

One of the pros there had posted some info on mics that did not work on the iPhone 4:

4) George Jones, July 24, 2010 at 10:48 p.m. [Link]

I am commenting on the KDMC 7/14/10 post about audio recording on the iPhone 4:

Audio recording
The mic in the iPhone 4 seems like a definite improvement. The woman heard speaking in Memorial Glade during the video was about 30-40 feet away. There are also a lot of commercial options available. Here's a comparison video of iPhone microphones.

Here's what I found out about external mics NOT COMPATIBLE with the iPhone 4:

1. The 12/26/2009 comparison video on the mics discusses mics not applicable with the iPhone 4.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb99J8Lfl_Q

2. The Vericorder external mics are not compatible with the iPhone 4.
http://www.vericorder.com/products/minimic

3. The current version of the Blue Mikey is not compatible with the iPhone 4.
http://discussions.info.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=11749871

Here's what I found out about a simple external mic setup COMPATIBLE with the iPhone 4:

1. Refer to video at: http://www.lifeisaprayer.com/blog/2010/using-a-lav-mic-with-iphone-4
and items needed below.

2. $26.49 Radio Shack Lav Mic Model: 33-3013 | Catalog #: 33-3013
* Order http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102927
* Specs http://www.radioshack.com/graphics/uc/rsk/Support/ProductManuals/33...
* Plug is 3.5 mm / 1/8" Male Jack
* "Powered" Condenser / Omnidirectional Lav Mic With On/Off Switch
* 4.5 Ft Cable (Can buy a longer extension cable for to mic interviewee)

3. $18.43 KV Connection iPhone 4 Adapter 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack Catalog #": KM-IPHONE-MIC
* Order http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm
* Compatible With iPhone 4
* Molded Right Angle 3.5mm TRRS 4 conductor Plug (to iPhone 4)
* Neutrik Gold Plated 3.5mm / 1/8" Microphone Input Female Jack (to Radio Shack Lav Mic 1/8" Male Jack)
* Premium Shielded Coax Audio Cable for Excellent protection against EMI/RFI interference.
* Wired for iPhone 4 Microphone Input applications

There will probably be other mic options available as vendors get their act together to produce compatible iPhone 4 products.

I would welcome comments from others on external mics compatible with the new iPhone 4.

For example does this work with the iPhone 4 and a XLR mic : http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-xtrs.htm

5) George Jones, July 24, 2010 at 11:21 p.m. [Link]

Here's a link on Good - Better - Best external mics for iPhone 4: http://jamesboydpresents.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-camera-audio-solutions…

Thanks,
George

Jeff, I assume (but I don't see it written anywhere) that the KVConnection iPhone adapter takes care of the impedance problem with the Radio Shack mic? I've been trying to get that mic to work, and was frustrated that it wouldn't, until I saw that the impedance of the mic is too low. So, the adapter fixes that?

Jeff:

I bought these two adapters:
http://www.amazon.com/Technica-ATR-3350-Omnidirectional-Condenser-Micro…
and
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DAHW9I/ref=oss_product

I also purchased the iProRecorder App.

It appears that the mic is working...but it seems to be recording both the mic and the iPhone mic. Did i get the right adapter? Do I need to turn on the iPhone mic somehow? If you can do a quick Step by Step that would be great.

Unfortunately, the second adapter you bought won't actually help you get the microphone to work with your iPhone, as it doesn't actually convert the mic signal into the right input connector on the iPhones headset jack. You'll need an adapter from KVConnection.com to do that.

Unfortunately, this is not possible using the built-in Camera app. Though for audio recording, you can use an app like Fire to have pass-thru, but it has a little delay, which can be disconcerting.

how do i make sure the iphone 4 mic doesn't pick up along with radio shack mic.
i was unable to get the adaptor above in time for an event that i am speaking at tomorrow night. so i got the basic radio shack 1/8" one. but there doesn't seem to be a difference with the lapel mic and the i phone mic. in the clip above you are using the lapel mic and not the iphone one? correct? i am having volume issues with the iphone mic
please advise.

To use the lapel correctly, you need to have the adapter (it has a resistor built in to make the impedance match the iPhone's input; otherwise, the iPhone won't use your external microphone (that's why you can't hear a difference when you plug in the microphone—your iPhone is still using it's built-in mic).

thanks for the quick reply
so does only the adapter you mention above work. i got a reg 1/8" one from radio shack - they said it should work.
any idea what i can get today- the KV one won't arrive on time for my speaking gig tonight

Just wanting to pass on my gratitude for your useful resources here Jeff.

After buying the Audio Technica mic and having the disappointment about it not working with the iPhone 4, I was relieved to find someone who'd done all the research. I've ordered the connector you listed here.

One solution I've found for a tripod, is the gorilla pod. I had it for my 3Gs iPhone and there was a special case for it. It doesn't fit the 4, but what I am doing is using the free case that Apple sends out and using one of the extra attachments that comes with the gorilla pod that will adhere to the back of the case.

Then, I put the iPhone 4 in the case that connects to the gorillapod and Voila!

Jeff, quick question.
Is this a word press site? If so, what theme?
And what is the beautiful font you use for the Blog titles?

I really like your clean simple design. Kinda like Apple products themselves.

Blessings,
Matthew

I updated this post with a link at the top with more background information, and elsewhere on the site I have more information about tripod solutions for the iPhone 4...

This site runs on Drupal (6.x for now, soon to be upgraded to 7.x), and I have a completely custom theme, which inherits much of the styling of Lifeisaprayers of years' past. The title font is OFL Sorts Mill Goudy TT (in the Google Fonts directory).