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:
I bought: 1 - On-the-go simple recordings (podcasts, one-person interviews)
Both the mic and the adapter.
I plug it into my iphone 4, but I can't get it to work.
My phone isn't in vibrate mode, I'm not using a case.
Anything else you can think of preventing me to use it?
I know the mic works I tested it on my camera, when I plug in my iphone headphone the mic on that works. I'm thinking the KV connector is faulty?
I could be the adapter. I'd try calling KVConnection or emailing them to ask about troubleshooting tips. It's rare, but not unprecedented, that your adapter is flaky.
I have the KV connector that you recommended along with the Audio Technica ATR3350 mic and the setup seems to work on my IPAD 2 but not on my Iphone4. The only difference I can think of is that my IPAD has IOS 4.3.1 where as the Iphone has 4.3.2. Very strange, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.
The only thing I can say is make absolutely sure you have the cables plugged in all the way. Sometimes if I check, there's still a tiny gap between the plug and the iPhone 4. For some reason, it's a bit of a tight fit.
Hey Jeff - thanks for the great content! You seem to be the only one (on the whole net :0)) that is addressing using the iP4 and external mics. Real quick issue I’d love some help with… I have an Azden WMS-Pro that I would like to use with my iPhone 4 but am obviously missing something as hooking it up directly isn’t working. Any suggestions?
You'll need a KVConnection adapter cable to get the Azden's output into the iPhone. Something like this *should* suffice, unless the WMS-PRO outputs line-level audio: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm
I need to "dub" some audio off of a DV tape. I can't seem to capture it into FCP, because of the mode it was recorded in. I'm trying to be resourceful and thought, maybe I can get it from my camera to my iPhone 4 and then convert it to an aiff. I tried using my 1/8 to 1/8 cable (it only has 2, not 3 rings) from the headphone jack on my video camera to my iPhone. It doesn't read the direct audio at all (just records from internal mic). Is this because it is not a 3 ring connector. If so, can I get an adaptor for one end of the cable that makes the 2 > 3 ring? Thanks very much- I'd greatly appreciate any ideas you have!
Yes. Just purchase the TRRS (iPhone) to line-level 1/8" adapter from KVConnection.com, and you should be set to go!
I'm trying to figure out a way that we (at my small company) can use our iPhone's in our conference room. Sound quality is important, but it doesn't need to be recording studio quality. Just very understandable. There are all kinds of "sound out" options. But what would you recommend for a quality mic that would pick up conversation around a 10x20' conference room? Thank you! Earl
I probably would recommend a different solution besides an iPhone or iPod touch for a conference room recording situation; the iPhone itself would do a passable job (just set it down and hit record. Make sure nobody's touching the table near it, or put it on a pad of some sort). But for really good recordings of large areas, dedicated powered mics and more feature-laden recorders are almost a necessity.
Do you think this radioshack track controller would work too? It is cheaper than the kv connector: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3706765
Unfortunately, that Gigaware track controller / microphone doesn't actually have the mic plug in it's plug; it's a microphone in and of itself, meaning you could use it as a microphone, but you'd be unable to plug a different microphone into it.
Bonjour, je possède un iPhone 4. J'ai acheté l'adaptateur micro que vous conseillez. J'ai connecté un micro SONY ECM-MS907. Mais rien ne fonctionne! Le matériel est opérationnel car il fonctionne avec un téléphone Nokia. Voyez vous quelle Peut être le problème? J'utilise le logiciel FIRE et Vc audio pro.
Hi there again.
I bought a iPhone 1/8 inch microphone adapter-3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5 Microphone Input Jack (http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm) and tried it with Sony WCS999 and I don't pick any sound from it. Should I have another adapter? Which one?
Thanks for help
That's the right adapter. You might want to first unplug and replug all your connections. Make sure the plug is all the way in the iPhone 4 (no metal on the plug should be showing).
If it still doesn't work, give KVConnection an email - you might have a defective cable.
Can you use the external mic while in a call?
Yes, definitely. (That's how Apple's headset works). However, you can't record in another app while you make a call.
So helpful Jeff - but I have now bought the iPhone 1/8 inch microphone adapter - 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack (KV Connection ship to Australia) and I have the Olympus TP7 telephone pickup mic in order to record telephone interviews into my iPhone4;but it doesn't work. I have two apps (iTalk and QuickVoice) that I have tried.
Any suggestions as to why my setup isn't working - I have checked that the impedance of the mic is above the 800ohms - and it is:
Response Bandwidth50 - 20000 Hz
Audio Input DetailsMono - 50 - 20000 Hz - Output Impedance 2.2 kOhm
I look forward to the replies!
hello i own an iphone 4 and want to record out of a pa mixer, through an xlr to the 30 pin. you can buy $150 dollar things that do that but i was wondering if theres anything cheaper
Unfortunately, there is currently no way at all to record into the iPhone 4 through the 30-pin dock connector, or in stereo (through the dock connector or with any adapter into the headphone jack).
I really wish there were :-)
If you're okay with recording in mono, you can use one of the line-in KVConnection adapters mentioned in this article to adapt the mixer audio into your iPhone for a more solid connection.
does this mic alson work in the voice memo app?
I have an iPad 2, with the camera connection kit, and the Alesis AudioLink XLR-to-USB Cable. My question is about microphones...
Currently, I'm using an AT831b lav mic, which (as I'm sure you know) is a double-A powered condenser mic with an XLR output. The problem is, it seems to need A LOT of gain, and if I hook it up to the iPad via the Alesis XLR-to-USB cable, the signal is too low to be useful.
Is there another lav mic or headphone micyou could recommend that doesn't require a lot of gain? (I need it to be portable for recording speakers at conferences.)
For what it's worth, I know my AT831b is working properly, because if I run it through an Alesis USB mixer and crank up the gain, the iPad picks up the signal just fine. That said, I'd really like a more portable (and completely battery operated) solution for mobile recording, and the mixer is bulky and heavy and requires AC power.
Oddly enough, when I use this same AT831b mic on my iPhone 4 (routing it through the Vericorder cable you recommend to the headphone jack), the level is just fine. I'm hoping the iPad dock connector option will provide even better sound quality. Do you think there will be a noticeable improvement over the iPhone? or should I just settle for what I've got working? Ideally, it would be nice to have BOTH the iPhone and the iPad recording subjects at the same time--either for backup, or for multi-subject interviews.
Thanks so much for your help and for an awesome website.
I would recommend just using the mic through the same VeriCorder plug on the iPad. It should work just as well on the iPad, and you can even use software like FiRe, which will record in uncompressed AIFF, which is about as good quality as you can get. The iPad's built in analog-to-digital converter in the headset jack is almost as good quality as any USB audio interface you could use with the iPad, so I wouldn't worry too much about trying to get the sound in through the dock connector.
Thank You - Thank You - Thank You!! This was so helpful and amazing! I primarily want to use my iphone to solicit video testimonials from clients at the end of a transaction. For the $35 or $40, the little radio shack clip on lavaliere mic and kvconnection cable looks perfect. Just out of curiousity... could I also use the same mic/cable with my pc when i'm recording simple little videos for my video blog?
You should be able to use the mic plugged straight into your PC's sound card input. You might need to tweak the level of the input in the recording software you use on your computer, though. Otherwise, you could maybe use a USB sound card to amplify the sound if you need to.
shoot... I bought the lavalier tie clip mic at Radio shack (33-3013) and I can't get it to work? No sound transmits. What am I doing wrong?
You'll need a KVConnection adapter as well. You can't plug a lavaliere mic straight into the iPhone, unfortunately. The lav mic also needs a battery, and should be switched 'on'. Finally, the plugs must be in all the way.
Thank you for your extremely helpful post! I am a doctoral student in music and will soon be doing field work way up in the remote Caucasus in the Republic of Georgia. I will be recording interviews as well as church services, feasts, and other rituals, and I am trying to figure out the best way to get a full sound scape in a non-intrusive way. I plan to get an IRig to use with my iPhone 4, but I gather that this would be useful for interviews more than for ambient activity etc. So, I'm not sure what I need for other recording contexts. I will be singing, dancing and walking around--very actively participating, so it would be ideal if I could just have my iPhone in my pocket and some kind of lavalier on (or, is the iPhone's internal mic all right?). It would be ideal if I didn't have to set up a lot because that would be intrusive within the space etc. To make the situation even more specific, I am blind and use the iPhone voice-over screen reader, and with a microphone plugged into the jack, the speech isn't audible unless I am using a headset/ear bud/ear piece with an integrated mic. Audio quality isn't terribly important--as long as I can hear it well enough to transcribe, analyse, evaluate, etc., that's fine. It doesn't need to sound like a CD. Portability, ruggedness, and range are the key issues.
Apologies for such a long explanation, but I really want to get the right stuff. :-) Thank you for your help so far and for reading my rambling post!
I think, for your purposes, it might be best to simply stick to the iPhone's internal mic or a lavaliere for ambient sound. But either way, the sound level will be relatively low. Make sure no fabric or other objects are touching or rubbing on the microphone, and you should be good to go!
amazing workout you did here, compliment.
I´, from Germany and i´´ve got an new iphone 4 and i want to do some records with my band and myself solo on guitar. What do you mean is the best option for an stereo record, what kind of solution do you prefere? Thanks a lot...
Unfortunately, there is no way to do stereo recording on the iPhone 4 at this time. The best you can do with the iPhone 4 is record one track at a time. As far as recording your guitar, you can actually plug the guitar straight into your iPhone 4 with the iRig from AmpliTube.
And what do you think obout a possibility with an dockingstation soundsystem with an stereojack like this one here: http://www.amazon.de/Logitech-Tragbarer-Lautsprecher-iPhone-schwarz/dp/…, just to plug an stereo mic in it?
Thanks for all your research and quality videos and instructions, they are awesome! I purchased the VeriCorder XLR adapter cable and am SM58 microphone and can't get recording to work in Garage Band on the iPad 2. I have trouble getting the setting in Garage Band to consistently set to external microphone and when I do have it set I get no sound in the recording. Can you suggest anything?
The only thing I can think of is making sure the cable is firmly plugged in. That's a problem I've seen happen with a few of my cables. Additionally, try using an iPhone headset to see if that works (if you have one). The cable might be bad (if the iPad is only using its internal mic), so you could contact the VeriCorder sales team and ask for an exchange...
Thanks for the tips concerning mics to use for an iPad. Will pray for you as well.
Thanks for the tips concerning mics to use for an iPad. Will pray for you as well.
Thanks for sharing this great post. It opened my eyes to the intricacies of recording audio on an iPhone after a few recent failed attempts. After some further research inspired by this article I got myself the following starter kit for single mic videos on the go:
I would have ordered the KVConnection you recommended but delivery alone costs $35 to the UK so I have my fingers crossed this ebay one will do the trick!
Hi! lets say that I want to connect a DPA 4061 lavaliere going trought the DPA MMA600 preamp into the iPhone4. Which of these adapteur cables would be my best bet? The MMA6000 preamp has an output impendance of <50 Ohm.
Stereo is not possible?
I am a DJ and would love to be able to record my mixes on my iPad. Is there a way to do that?
Wow great research and great reviews.
I was jut wondering what sort of Mic kit you would
recommend for music production on an iPad 2?
I don't mind paying the $$$ to get the best sound I can out of my iPad 2.
I remember seeing an article where they plugged a Samson Mic straight in tothe iPad 2 but can't seem to find it again.
Look forward to your reply.
This is a fantastic blog and thanks for doing all the testing and putting it up. I am building field recording kit based in large part on your recommendations, and everything seems to be working great so far. I have one question. I need a cable that will allow me to plug two Shure SM58 mics with the XLR Vericorder cable into my iPad or iPhone, so that both the interviewee and interviewer can have dedicated microphones. I bought a splitter from KVConnection, but that renders the input signal unrecognizable by my devices. Any ideas? And thanks so much again for a great site and great resource.
That's a tough one... I think you might be best off using a dual mic preamp (like this one from Nady: DMP-2 Dual Microphone Pre-amp - $60). Then you could also control the levels of the two mics independently...
There are other more expensive (and better) preamps, but I've used Nady products before, and if you can stand a little worse fit-and-finish, they still sound okay for live interviews, broadcast, etc.
Okay, I purchased the KV connection for my iPad 2: iPhone 1/8 inch microphone adapter - 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack
I'm still not getting my lavaliere or any other mic audio to record from the default video recorder on the iPad 2. Any suggestion what I'm missing?
Fantastic post, by the way, I mean that sincerely. You provided an incredibly helpful and detailed article on what we need!
There are a few things you should try: First, make sure the cables are all plugged in ALL the way - the KVconnection cable into the iPad is sometimes a little tough to get in all the way. Second, make sure you have a battery in the lavalier mic, and that it's switched on. Make sure the battery is not dead. Then, finally, it could be a cable problem. If that's the case, KVConnection is extremely helpful - just email their sales staff :)
Where to start ? I have an iPhone4. I am trying to figure out which adapter to use for my MXL 990 Mic that requires phantom power. I thought that the vericorder XLR adapter supplied phantom power but i think that is wrong. I have two phantom power supplies. A Peavey PV6 mixer and a Behringer Eurorack UB1204FX-PRO Mixer. Now since I have them to power my MXL 990 I need to know which adapter to get. I can easily come out of either unit with an 1/8 to go into the adapter.But I am not sure if I get the KM-IPHONE-2TRS or the KM-IPHONE-2TRS-ECM from KV Connection. Also if I am coming out of the mixer via the rca tape out to an 1/8 male. Does it matter if the 1/8 male is stereo?
hi jeff, congrats for your web page. basically i need to know if your setup with the shure fp 12 would also work with an ipod touch 2g. tks!
It should work fine with any iPod touch, iPad or iPhone.
I have a question: Is the i-phone4 capable of recording sterio when hooking up an external sterio microphone? You know that when you hear things on your right or your left, that it is recorded that way? And if, will I be able to use that function with the build in voice memo recording app? Thanks a lot it advance. Hailie.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get stereo audio into the iPhone 4 at this time.
Thank you very much for your reply. That is just weird though, because in the manual it says that sterio recordings would be possible. Too bad. But thanks very much!
I - thankfully! - read your review and thought you'd be one of the few people who could answer this question:
I own a Sennheiser MKE 44-P Stereo mic which I love for it's extreme versatility, and want to connect it to my iPhone 4 / iPad 2 in order to record voice interviews into Hindenburg. Which would be the best adaptor for this? Bear in mind it's a stereo XLR (five pin) and not a mono mic, and the mic is self-powered and delivers a very clean and loud signal.
Thanks and Godspeed!
Unfortunately, you're only going to get mono on the iPhone 4 (there's no way to connect via Stereo input). For the iPad, you'd probably want to get a simple USB interface, connect that to the iPad Camera Connection kit usb adapter, and adapt your XLR jacks into the right and left channel inputs on whatever usb adapter you choose.
For the iPhone, you can still record mono, maybe using one of the KVConnection adapters I link to above for adapting XLR into the headset jack.
Aloha Jeff. Thank you very much for your innovative, informative articles. I'm trying to figure out how to connect a microphone to a car stereo (without aux input) so I can give conservation information to guests I escort through our gardens at NTBG. I am able to play music from my iPod using an FM transmitter interface, and I wondered if it was possible to connect a mic in a similar fashion. You are such a wizard with this technology I thought you might know a simple setup. Thank you very much for any advice you can offer. God bless. John
The only way to get a mic into your car/van's radio (if it doesn't have an AUX input or tape deck) is to use an FM microphone, like this one from Amazon. I've seen a few like it (RadioShack makes, or at least made, one), and they all require some assembly (soldering involved).
Unfortunately, there's no other way to cut it. You might want to invest in a stereo that has an aux in so you could use a normal mic (with a preamp), or maybe even a dedicated in-car P/A system.
What a great site! Thanks for all the info. If it's ok, I'd like to bounce my situation off you. I'm looking for an external mic set up that would work for the TV station I work at. Our reporters shoot quick Facebook videos in advance of their actual TV news stories. An external mic will really help. Since they already deal with a lot of big professional gear, I'm hoping to outfit them with a mic that is: 1. very small and short corded, and easy to carry (not nearly as big as the SM58 but something more like a lav size), and 2. it should contain no battery (because they'll never focus on turning the mic off and they'll forget to check the battery, etc). I've read through a lot of your site, but so far I don't see that particular set-up. Thanks again.
It would be tough to meet the 'no battery' requirement. However, most of the mini-lav mics I have here will run at least a few days (maybe a few weeks, if they're not plugged in) on one battery, even if left on at all times. I should know, because I constantly forget to turn them off :-)
I have successfully been able to record sound using an external shotgun mic with a camera connection kit and a "Diamond Sound Tube" for connecting the Mic to the USB connection kit.
I used an app called "Audio Memos SE" and the recording was great. I really need to have something more robust so I purchased MultiTrack DAW based on your recommendation.
I get an error when using the external mic that says "Wrong Samplerate" Can you tell me why this might be and if it is the Mic or the "Diamond Sound Tube"?
Thanks so much!
You'll probably be best-off contacting the support staff for MultiTrack DAW, as I've never seen that error before: http://www.harmonicdog.com/support/
Hey I just stumbled upon your site here, you have some great stuff! I am having a frustrating issue with my ipad camera connection kit and was wondering if you had any suggestions for it. I keep hearing a consistent beeping noise (very soft, but noticeable) due to the usb connection. I keep reading online how this connection seems to work like a dream for everyone else and there's no real help out there for me. I don't know if there is a setting I am missing or what...every other part of my equipment seems to be working great from the mic to the ipad itself. Oh and I have an iPad version 1. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Unfortunately, there could be a large variety of problems causing this issue: It could be RF interference with your iPad, the microphone, the microphone cable, or whatever audio interface you're using. It could be battery power problems with your microphone or your audio interface. It could be A/C power problems with your audio interface (if it's plugged in), or it could be defective audio circuitry inside your audio interface.
There are a variety of other things it could be as well.
The best way to fix these sort of problems is by isolating every piece of equipment until you find the one causing the problem. Also, move to a different room/place, and plug into a different outlet, try a different battery, and turn off any other devices around you (especially phones or other RF-emitting devices).
Here are a few good starting pointers: http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/cmg_blogs/story/buzz/
Hey I wanted to thank you for the advice. I borrowed some equipment from my work and discovered the problem. The Alesis MicLink AudioLink Series XLR-to-USB Cable seems to cause a beeping noise on the iPad. Didn't have an issue with it on my pc and various other devices. Also thought you might be interested in this, the lexicon omega, I hear with it you can record 4 tracks at once, not very mobile looking but could be useful.
Hey thanks for the advice. I borrowed some equipment from work and discovered that the Alesis MicLink AudioLink Series XLR-to-USB Cable causes the beep when combined with the camera connection on the iPad. I had no other issues with it on my pc/various other devices. Also while researching my issue I stumbled across this and thought you may be interested in the Lexicon Omega, while not very mobile, and still for the iPad, it will allow you to record up to 4 tracks.
The Omega looks pretty nice, and I hope that GarageBand soon supports 4-track recording... Right now the 4 track recording only works with Lexicon's own app.
I'll try to get ahold of one of those units to do more testing. 4 tracks shouldn't be too much I/O for an iPad's A4 or A5 processor...
Multitrack DAW is where I saw the post about the lexicon omega and using 4 track recording. So I am guessing it should work for it too. I haven't heard of a lexicon app unless those two apps are the same app. I'm hoping to get one in the next week or two if you would like to know what I find I can let you know.
I would love to hear your thoughts on it! I'd be interested in getting my hands on one to test on the iPad 2. My killer app would be using a four-track recorder with GarageBand, but it looks like Apple will need to support that :-(
Great write up!
I have an older sony ECM MS907 I would like to use with my iphone to record some things. The mic is battery powered and is rated at 1000 ohms impedance. Do you think this would work well in conjunction with an adapter from KVConnection?
thanks so much!
Yes - for 1000 ohms, you might want to use the line-level to iPhone adapter from KVConnection.
Jeff, You're a wealth of knowledge! Unfortunately I don't know enough about this subject matter to be able to wade through all of it. So I'm wondering if you can advise me. I want to make short videos in which I interview people in informal settings such as sitting down at a table. I understand I can't add an external mic to my Sony so I'm planning to make a mounting device for a tripod (using your instructions) and use my iPhone 4 instead. Which external mic (and any related equipment) do you advise me to buy to attain decent sound quality for these interviews? I'm not looking for professional quality, just really solid, respectable quality bearing in mind I am not a professional videographer. I plan to post the interviews on my blog. Thanks for all you're doing, Jeff. You are a wonderful asset to the online community!
Thanks, Jolenta! I would recommend you start out just buying the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavaliere microphone and a KVConnection 1/8" microphone to iPhone adapter. Both are linked to up above :)
Plug those in, make a recording with the Camera, app, and see how it goes. If those don't suit your needs, you might need to look into using different microphones and/or adapters.
I have a Pioneer DJM-900 and I wants to be able to record my live sets on my iphone, what cable do you recommend for this? Could I hook in RCA to the iphone for recording? I'm unsure of what cable to buy to have the iphone record directly from the mixer.
Since the mixer will probably have RCA outputs, you could use this adapter for the iPhone to record into any standard recording app: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-micp-a22.htm Note, however, that you won't be able to record in stereo with this solution. The only current way to record in stereo on the iPhone 4 is using the Fostex AR-4i.
Does this Fostex allow you to connect the rca out put directly into it, what time of input does the Fostex have? And also what if I didn't want to record to the iphone directly, what mobile recorder would you recommend to record live dj sets?
Yes, but only if you have an RCA to 1/8" minijack converter; you'll also need one cable per channel (the Fostex's inputs are all mono 1/8"). To do stereo, then, you'd need two RCA male to 1/8" male mono cables.
Otherwise, I'd recommend something like the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, which can take a stereo input, and has a little better audio level control.
Jeff, I've got an ipad2. I use iMovie and want clearer audio. If I'm reading your suggestion correctly I can buy the ATR 3350 mic with the adaptor and I'm in business? Is it that easy? Does the built in mic shut off when the external is plugged in? Thanks!
Pretty much, yes. (To all the above questions).
First off I wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience and testing with us all. You really gave us some awesome tips and ideas.
I cant believe I never thought of using the 2 lapel mics with a Y splitter before! I didnt think that would work.
I just tested it last night with both my iPhone and my Kodak zi8 and they both worked! I am so juiced about that! Thanks again.
I used my giant squid mics since I prefer them over the Audio-Technica ATR because they do not require a battery and I have had too many times when my battery died or I forgot to flip the switch on the mic to turn it on.
I am still going to buy the monster Y splitter but my regular Y splitter that I had bought a few years ago for my iPod classic worked just fine.
Here is the Giant Squid mic: http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/gs/gs-mono.html
But keep in mind that you need the other KV connection cable for unpowered mics: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic-ecm.htm
That's a great combo! A tiny bit more expensive, but definitely less prone to the dead battery syndrome :(
I have the wcs999 wireless mic, and an ipad, but it was not clear to me which of the KV adapter cables is the right one... I don't know of the wcs999 output is mic or line level?
The WCS 999 is mic-level, so get one of those adapters (either a single mic-level input, or a mic-level input and a headphone output adapter.
That's what I thought, but something is still not working. My ipad is still using the internal mic. I have a cable from an older dv camcorder with 4-ring plug at one end and 3 rca jacks at the other, Using an Ohm meter I verified that the tip (ring1) goes to white, then yellow, then common ground, then red. I plugged that cable into the ipad (original model), and tried the wcs999 plugged into each of the Red, Yellow, White but in all cases the ipad still picks up the internal mic. I tested the wcs999 by plugging it into the Mic input of my laptop, and it worked fine, so I'm sure it's working okay. So... I know the cable is good, and the wcs999 is good, but the ipad doesn't recignize the combination. Any ideas? (I could order the KV cable, but wouldn't mind saving the $20+shipping+delay so i could use it Monday for some recording if possible.)
In particular, is there a certain order of plugging things in, turningon the wcs999, and launching the Voice Recorder app? Or does it switchover just fine from internal to external no matter even if you have the app running before you power on the wcs999 or plug in the cable? (I think I tried all combinations.)
The input switching occurs on-the-fly, no matter what app you're in (even in the middle of a recording). The reason the camera cable isn't working is likely because it needs a little bit of input resistance to get the signal level in the proper range for the iPhone/iPad to detect the microphone properly.
The KVConnection cables all have the proper resistors in them for this purpose... You could maybe hack your DV camera cable to try adding the proper amount of resistance on the proper wire, and that may work, but you may just end up with a broken cable, too ;-)
BTW I also tested the lavalier mic (from the wcs999) plugged right into my cable setup and it worked fine... the ipad DOES recognize the mic is directly connected via my cable... it's only the wcs999 receiver that is not recognized as a valid external mic on the ipad (although my pc laptop *does* recognize the wcs999 just fine).
This seems very puzzling! Cable: works. Cable+mic: works. Cable+wcs999+mic: doesn't work.
Can you let me know if the Crown Boundary Mic plugs directly into your iPhone for your setup, or do you route that via the KV connector?
You must use a KVConnection adapter (or an equivalent TRRS adapter with resistance) to get the Crown mic to work (the mic has a mono 1/8" plug, which won't be recognized at all by the iPhone - you have to use a TRRS (tip ring ring sleeve) connector for the iPhone.
Here is an DIY XLR to iPhone mic adapter tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k90FsGSTu1U
Have you seen this? http://www.sonomawireworks.com/guitarjack/ it looks like the best option yet. I would love to hear / see a review on this site. Though I'm still going to hold out and wait for the release of the Apogee Mic before I make any decisions.:-)
I've asked Sonoma if they could send me a copy to review. I'll post back with whatever I hear. I'm also interested in Apogee's Mic, as that looks like yet another awesome solution.
Great info here -- thanks.
I have an application where I want to turn off the iPhone mic for a video. (will lay a music track under it later. Is there a way to turn off the mic for video?
If you plug in a microphone like one of the ones I recommend along with the appropriate adapter, but turn off the microphone, that may work. You can also try just plugging in your headset and putting some thick blue tape over the microphone area to make it block most of the sound.