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

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

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

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

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

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

Skip to: Recommendations | Details

Video: iPhone External Mic Comparison

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


My Recommendations

Software - App Recommendations

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

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

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

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

For better quality recordings

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

For wireless mobility and great quality

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

For multiple-mic interviews/recordings

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

Another couple of options include:

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

For recording loud music, concerts, environmental sound

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

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

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

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

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


The Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connections

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

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

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

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

Attenuation and Impedence-Matching Transformers

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

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

A few caveats:

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

Recording in Stereo on the iPhone - Two Inputs

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

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

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

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

Recording on the iPad - Stereo or Mono

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

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

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

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

Further reading: USB Audio Devices that work with iPad.

Recording Samples

Recording with Two Lavalieres - through Y-Adapter

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

More sample Videos

Audio-only Recording on iPhone and iPad

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

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

Related posts from elsewhere:

Comments

Hello Jeff, how are you?
I record video of myself using iPhone 4, I stand 10 ft away from my iPhone. It's kind a weird I know, but I need to record this way. I record at home inside my room. I don't want to hang the microphone above my head to make it closer. The other person is standing 10 ft away from me and from iPhone. And I record his voice also. And this person cannot stand closer to me at the left or at the right or somewhere else while I'm shooting my videos, because I need to look directly toward to him and to my iPhone 4 camera. Sorry for my English, hope you know what I mean. I need a 10 ft distant high quality microphone at about $100-200 USD.
Sincerely,
Serg.

The best option that would pick up one person about 5-10' away pretty well is a VideoMic. However, this is a directional mic, and it will only pick up whomever you point the microphone at. If you want to pick up two distant people, then try to find a really quiet room, and use the iPhone's built-in mic. Otherwise, you'll need to buy two microphones and a mixer (more than $200 worth of equipment, by a good amount most likely, and try to mount the microphones for each of the voices.

Thank you Jeff. What do you think if I use http://bluemic.com/mikey_digital/#/desc/ for the same purpose I mention above?
Serg.

The Mikey would be a pretty good option; the sound quality is greatly improved over the internal microphone on the iPhone, and it records in stereo. It would still pick up room echoes and such, so putting some sound baffles or acoustic tile (or at least using a carpeted room) would improve the intelligibility of the recorded sound a bit.

Thank you man. Do you know anything like the Mickey I mention above but better and more expensive? (up to $300 USD is ok) I don't like room echoes and such and I don't like carpets. )

The Mikey's about as good as it gets for a mic that'll be in the vicinity of your iPhone. The physics of sound waves makes it so there's nothing else that can prevent echoes besides putting sound baffles and acoustic dampeners in; also, any air conditioning, loud light fixtures, etc. will be picked up just as much as you if you're more than 5' away from the iPhone or any other microphone.

ok, Jeff, you help a lot. I think I'll stick with your advice and buy Rode VideoMic than. How diffrent in sound quality "Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro" from "Rode VideoMic", or it's mostly design only? I don't want to pay double just for design. Thank you.

The stereo module would only work with a device like the GuitarJack model II, so if you're planning on just using it with an adapter cable, there's really nothing different about it besides the look and the price!

ok thank you Jeff. I buy Rode Videomic. Do I need any adaptor or something to use it with my iPhone 4? Thank you.

Great article. What iPhone/iPad apps do you recommend for simple two mic voice recording? I'd like to be able to record on two tracks. If you've already addressed this, can you point me to the discussion? Thanks!

I see you've talked about Fire, which allows me to monitor the audio. If the mic is connected through he 1/8 inch connector, how do I attach earphones to monitor?

You need to use an appropriate TRRS to TRS adapter (I recommend the ones made by KVConnection). If you need to monitor audio, make sure you buy an adapter that has one plug for microphone input, and one plug for headphone monitoring. Otherwise, you'll only be able to plug a mic in, and not be able to hear the audio until you unplug the mic and plug in some headphones.

Thank you! I try to get it to my country. )

Sorry if this is already answered somewhere. When I have the external mic plugged into the iPhone (using Fire to record), the internal mic is still active. Is there a way to disable it?

You need to use an adapter to plug the microphone into your iPhone; KVConnection sells adapters for most common microphones. Without a TRS to TRRS adapter, the iPhone won't see any microphone signal, and will leave its internal microphone switched on.

i have the mic link form alesis and when i connect it to pro tools on my mac and my sm58 there is a constant beeping noise when i record. even when the mic is not picking up anything the beeping noise is still constant.

Hello I am trying to add a external mic to my iphone 4s for 2 person interviews. could you let me know exactly what items I need for this I am kind of confused on what I need. If you could e-mail a picture of the items that would be helpful, thank you.

hi. i want to video and record myself on guitar, a bass player and drummer for a summer music school audition. I am not allowed to edit at all....supposed to simply be a video/audio of three songs straight.

I have a shule sm58 that i was going to connect to my iphone with the vericorder xlr cable. probably use a tripod. I would set mike and phone for video about 5 feet away....will that work?

Yes, that would work perfectly. Just test everything for a few seconds first to make sure you have the right distance and position for the microphone, and maybe consider using an app like FiRe to control the input level precisely.

And make sure you have some sort of tripod mount for the iPhone, like the Glif.

thx for the quick response. My friend now offered to loan me his fancy $2,000 high def camcorder with built in surround sound/5.1

I have two questions. How much better do u think that will be than the set up i was planning? if i do use his camcorder, how will the sound be with a built in surround sound 5.1 than the set up i was planning with an external mike....or should i still use the external mike with his camcorder?
thx so much for setting up this site. very helpful

It all depends on how close the microphone is (whether on camera or external) to the sound source. If you're just recording an interview, it's always best to get as microphone close to the speaker(s). That's why in Hollywood and in TV there are always lavaliers or boom mics.

If you are recording a musician, or a play or concert, it's best to get a microphone or a few in an arrangement that picks up the sound ideally instead of just hoping the sound is good at the camera's location. I only use on-camera sound when it's just for fun or home video.

But the key is to try it both ways; I think you'll quickly notice the difference.

thx

hi. got my equipment and tried it today. Volume seemed soft when i played back on my computer. is there a way to adjust volume when recording on the iphone. I went to volue and it seems like it is up...but seems like there is no option on video volume?

Unfortunately, for video, I don't think there are any apps that allow the input level to be adjust like in the Field Audio Recorder (FiRe).

if i get the FiRe app...can i boost the volume as i am video recording...or is the max volume the max volume?

No, unfortunately each app has to be able to set the audio level itself. However, if you use something like the GuitarJack Model 2 or the AR-4i, you can set the audio level on the hardware itself (either on the hardware or through it's configuration app). But some of these kinds of audio interfaces either don't work with the iPhone 5, or don't work reliably with video recording apps.

Hi Jeff please help:
I need to record iPhone conversations going in and out. As Apple doesn't have this built in, the apps can only offer a web service work around. Since I am editing tv and RADIO news stories on the iPad, I will want the audio on the iPad. So my idea is to rig a cable from the iPhone audio out, to the iPad mic input. This is not line-level but headphone-level out from iPhone, do I treat it as line-level, (building into the cable a transformer to match impedence), or can I use headphone level straight into iPad mic input? Thanks for your hard work with this blog. Oh and I'm in South Africa, no use trying to find a pre-manufactured KV or similar item he, thats why its a DIY job.

You'll need to tread a headphone output as a line-level output (so, probably need to add some resistance to get it to an acceptable level for the iPhone input (it seems like the iPhone 5 likes 600-800 Ohms. Haven't verified that, though).

G'day from Australia
I returned yesterday from a trip to the USA and I work in Higher Education especially trying to help in the majority world in Christian missions. We want to put together a mobile video kit using an iPhone 5. This is a recent posting I made in FB on the mCAM page.
"I need some help please. I have an iPhone 5 and I recently purchased the mCAMLITE Pro Pack and an OPTEKA VM-100 Shotgun mic while passing through the USA. Just tried to get it to work when home in Australia. Here is what is happening. The small plug in mic which comes with the mCAMLITE works but the audio level drops significantly. I thought I purchased the correct adapter cable to make the Opteka work but to no available it doesnt cut off the internal mic. Could someone please tell me which adapter cable I need to cut out the internal mic and allow the external mic to work. I have other mics I would like to use as well".

COuld you help please. What adapter cable do I use to attach different mics to the iPhone 5. It doesn't seem as easy as I thought. I particularly would like to attach two mics for interviews.

Regards
Allan

P.S. Is their something wrong with the embedded video at the top of this page it is supposed to be about Video: iPhone External Mic Comparison but shows an old video about MacBook Pro Hardrive replacement ... am I missing something

The video should be a comparison of a bunch of different iPhone microphones with an iPhone 5... if it's not showing properly here, try going to youtube and searching "geerlingguy iphone microphones".

I don't know much about the mCAMLITE, except that it seems like it may be a bit pricey. I've had great luck with KVConnection.com's audio adapters, which are linked in the article throughout. They even have a two-microphone-input cable so you can plug two mic-level microphones into the iPhone easily.

Hey Jeff,
Thanks for sharing your experiences so indepth. Forgive me: this may have been asked and answered several times, given so many comments you've received over the years, but I have a question: Can I record video using iMovie on the iPad and use an external mic solution, such as one of the ones you've outlined in your review OR do I need to stick to "audio only" apps like Garage band and the like...?

Thanks!

-Buzz

Most of the solutions would also work in iMovie, with the exception of some of the dock connector audio inputs.

Hi Jeff,
After much search, I found your great article!! I have the new iPad mini and the iPhone 5 and am in dire need of a microphone for use on red carpets for video interviews. Situations can get quite loud so I need something good. I don't really understand a lot of the technical terms in your story so I'm hoping you help me out.

I have heard there are even stands I can purchase with external lighting set up. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for this wonderful article!!

I would use a Shure SM58 along with a VeriCorder XLR adapter cable. That will get some good sound with pretty good isolation, even in a loud area.

Great information on microphones and what you recommend. I am a general contractor and I would like to do some DIY videos related to the construction fields such as how to install a drywall corner, wire an outlet, or install insulation. I would like to use my iphone 4s for the convenience factor but I know I will need to upgrade the microphone. I was thinking of using the Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 Wireless Lavalier System you recommend but I am a bit concerned of the wireless receiver and how to place it near the phone while shooting on the go. Do you have any pictures of how you strap the receiver to the phone, or extend it for the cameraman? I am also thinking of purchasing this instead or in conjunction with the wireless mic: https://smartphocus.com/store/products/Phocus-3-Lens-Bundle-%252b-Shotgu... . Any thoughts on the Phocus set up?

Thanks again.

Wes

The lens and shotgun mic bundle looks like it would work okay, but getting a mic on the person speaking instead of on the camera will improve the audio quality dramatically—especially for a video where it's important to hear what's being heard very clearly.

I would recommend the Pro88W over a shotgun. To get it to stay with the camera, you could always stick some velcro on your tripod and the wireless receiver, and have it stuck on the tripod just below where your iPhone is. Otherwise, you can get an extension 1/8" audio cable and have the receiver on your belt while you hold the iPhone, with the cable coming off the iPhone.

Jeff,

Thanks for putting this together - well done and extremely helpful. I ended up getting both the mic-level and line-level KV connectors. I am using the mic-level with the ATR-3350 which works quite well. On the line-level, I found an inexpensive Radio Shack wireless lapel mic. At $52.99 it could be a good alternative to the Pyle - it sounds infinitely better and has decent range. I have only had it for a couple weeks, so only time will tell on the longevity, but for now it is serving my purpose so I thought I would share the find.

Thanks again for saving me a ton of time on research, trial and error - now I can focus on what I set out to do - making videos!

Dean

Great! I've had a couple Radio Shack mics for years now, and both have never had a hiccup. The sound is not quite like a nice $100+ mic, but they're just as durable if you treat them with some care.

Hi - Bought the audio technica lav mic for iPad, very cheap price, but sound level is just barely adequate, even when boosted to highest level while editing in final cut pro. can you possibly recommend a better wired lav mic for simple talking head interviews shot with ipad? am looking to keep the setup as simple as possible, so want something that simply plugs into ipad and overrides internal camera mic.

There's a new mic that just came out, which will be a much better option for you, the RØDE smartLav: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BHN05H2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp...

Hi, I've purchased: Audio-technica Pro 88W/R wireless mic, and KV Iphone 1/8 inch mic adapter 3.5 mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5 mic input jack. I want to record audio from my lavalier into my IPAD video...am I not understanding something? Shouldn't this setup be working?

This should work, if you plug the mic output on the Pro 88W/R receiver into the input jack on the adapter cable, then the adapter cable into your iPad's jack.

However, I've found that you might be better off with the line level (rather than mic level) KVConnection adapter, as the signal is a little better if you use that, plugged into the 'headphone' output on the Pro 88W/R.

Additionally, every now and then KVConnection's cables seem to not work; their sales/support email should be helpful :)

Just purchased Audio Technica ATR3350 and the http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm cable as recommended in your article. Unfortunately, the iPhone4s does not detect signal from the mic. The mic is switched on (with the battery installed) and plugged into the adapter cable which is plugged into the phone. I start the audio recording app but the sound meter shows no movement and the app records no sound.

Any ideas on troubleshooting this?

If I plug the mic into my computer, the computer detects the sound. Connected it to a MacBook Pro (TRRS connector) - the sound also works (Mcbook needs to be booted with the mic connected).

My iPhone works fine with the stock headphones' mic.

I feel I've tried anything to isolate a problem but still no sound on the iPhone. Any ideas? Maybe I should get a brand new battery to replace the one which arrived with the mic?

Hey Jeff,

This is a fantastic find. Thanks so much for this full write up and maybe you can help me with a problem. I'm shooting video reviews with my iphone 4s, ATR-3350 lavaliere mic, and the KVConnection cable and have a really, REALLY low sound input even after a fresh set of batteries and making sure everything else is connected. I have the same results with recording on my iPad. I thought the connection cable was the problem, so I swapped that out, and I even tried a set of sony bluetooth microphones which produced even lower recordings. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help!

Thanks! Unfortunately, it seems that Apple has changed the input impedance on the iPhone 5, and now the KVConnection 1/8" adapter is not putting out as high a level as it did with the iPhone 3GS/4/4S. For now, I'm recommending people buy the more expensive RØDE smartLav, as it's pretty much everything you need in one little mic/cable. However, I'm also hoping to find another cable comparable to KVConnection's that puts out a higher mic level...

Jeff - what an incredible resource!

I have a Samson UHF Series One UT1 wireless (about $200) but output from the receiver is an XLR and I have an iPhone 5 and an iPad 4th generation.

Additionally, I have (4) Sennheiser EW112 bodypack 100s that I plug into a Shure SCM268 microphone mixer and it too has an ZLR output, what do you recommend as an adapter to get the audio into my iPhone 5 and/or iPad 4? The Tascam iXZ?

Thanks so much!

For one mic at a time, the iXZ is a very good option, but a little cumbersome if you need to be mobile and don't want to gaff-tape everything to your iPhone. The VeriCorder cable is more tidy, but also double the price.

If you want multiple mics at the same time, you'd need a field mixer to go between te mics and the iPhone (the iXZ would be the most versatile in this situation).

Hey bud, Thanks for all the info. Wanted to give you a heads up that your amazon link for the RØDE smartLav, is linking to a different product.

Thanks for letting me know—it's been fixed now!

Hey Jeff. Thanks again for the helpful info. Question: If you had to purchase one simple inexpensive mic to use for shooting vids with iphone while commentating and also for recording playing the guitar or hearing live music etc would you purchase the RoDE smartLav or the Tascam iM2??

It really depends on what you'd be doing more. If you'd do more instructional things or other activities where you're speaking into the mic more directly, I'd go with a lavaliere like the smartLav. If you're doing more environmental recordings, live music, and that sort of thing, go with the iM2 or something else that is not meant to be clipped on close to one's mouth.

The iM2 and other microphones like it are more flexible in general, because a lavaliere is usually only good at picking up sound within a foot or so of the area around it. However, some purpose-built lavalieres are very good for recording musical instruments too.

Thanks Jeff, I was thinkin the same. iM2 for all purpose, but was just a little concerned about the iM2 being glitchy and with compatibility w apps after reading reviews on amazon. Last question and I promise I'll leave you alone :) Do you know of any other similar inexpensive mics like the iM2 that may be a little more reliable that are just as simple to just plug in and go?

PS Not sure if you have it, but if not you should add a donate button at bottom of your domain pages so if people appreciate the info you share, but end up buying from another place like Ebay they can still shoot you a few bucks for your efforts. Thanks again Jeff!

Unfortunately, the iM2 is in a bit of a class of its own; it's a very nice mic for the price, and is about as simple as you can get. There is also the iXY from Tascam, but it's in another price range entirely. (You definitely get what you pay for ;).

And if you'd like to contribute to the site/my baby funds, check out my Affiliate links page—which includes a simple 'Donate' link for PayPal :)

Hi Jeff! Thanks a lot for very good reviews and helpful videos. I am a Swedish doctor in training for being a psychotherapist. In doing that I want to record video of my patient and me in a hopefully quite room using my iPhone 5. The distance between us and the phone will be about 3 meters. I want to use external microphones to increase quality of the sound recordings. Is your recommendation still to use a Dual 1/8" Microphone to iPhone adapter from KVConnection, and plug one Audio-Technica ATR-3350 into each jack?

Yes; however, this might give a relatively low level of sound unless you use an app like FiRe to boost the signal. Even better would be to get two Rode smartLavs and find an adapter that would give you two female TRRS plugs into one male that you'd plug into the iPhone's headset jack.

Thanks a lot, Jeff! I have found a distributor for Rode here in my hometown. I will contact them.

Blessings! C

Thanks a lot. Will this fill the need of the adapter?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B001D87Y48/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr0_2?qid=1371...

Thanks again for helping!
Carina

Unfortunately, that adapter only has three connections (it's a TRS instead of the required TRRS). I can't find an adapter on Amazon that would work, and the only one I have, I made by purchasing my own TRRS male and female connectors.

Hi, do you know or did you try this wireless set: http://www.hdhatstore.com/Wireless-Lavalier-Microphone-for-iPhone-and-iP...

And how would you rate this compared to the Audio Technkia wireless set, or the Sony?

Hi Jeff. At my wedding, the disco will be provided by offline Spotify playlists. Is there a cheap and easy way of using an old-fashioned Shure-type XLR microphone through the iPad to talk over the music? Thanks.

Unfortunately, I can't think of an easy way; you'd need to have an audio recording application that not only allows pass-through of the microphone signal, but also mixes that with playback from your music library.

On a Mac, this is not too difficult, but on an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), I haven't seen an app that allows this.

Hi there. i'm a little confused by your comment:
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!

I just purchased the Shure SM58 handheld microphone and VeriCorder XLR Adapter Cable. Will they work with my iphone 5? did i make the best purchasing choice? i want to be able to record interviews and send to a producer as segments for a talk show.

thank you for all of your help!

The VeriCorder + SM58 will work fine with the iPhone 5/5S/5C; no worries! It's just hard to find a way to record two microphones in separate channels at the same time, or one stereo microphone.

The SM58 is a mono microphone and works fine with the right adapter (like the VeriCorder).

Hi, i want to be able to use a micrphone on my iphone 5S and output the sounds to my home theater - like a custom karaoke solution. is this possible ?

Yes; you would just need to use an app that has passthrough capability, like FiRe (Field Audio Recorder). However, there will probably be about a 20-30ms delay (at least), so this could cause the synchronization of your voice with what you hear through the speakers to be a little off.

thank you Jeff. Am a newbie and little lost. can you tell me what im doing wrong. i downloaded Hindenburg lite on my iphone 5s. In settings i set record monitor to on and always use speaker to off. tried the alternate options too. I set airplay on to listen on the home theater speakers. I can hear the recording when i playback. But i do not hear anythnign while i am recording. Is there some other setting or another app that i should use. thanks for your time and inputs.

Hindenburg might only be able to play through to the speaker and/or headphones—I think AirPlay support has to be explicitly built into the app, and that app (and many others) might not support AirPlay for passthrough.

Jeff, I'm hard of hearing and I use my iPhone 5 with a hearing application, "Hearing Help", which has almost all the audio processing functionality of a modern high end hearing aid. My problem is (1) that I am having difficulty finding a mono microphone that I can use on a splitter that is compatible with the iPhone 5 for mono hearing or (2) a small stereo microphone setup that I can use for stereo hearing. I would like to have an Omni directional mic that I can wear on my jacket or shirt and listen to voice input from about 30 ft.

Hi

I have a blog where I need to record a lot of self videos for product reviews and cover events and do one on one interviews. I shoot most of the videos with my Iphone 5s. I am contemplating buying the audio technica pro 88w . Since I stay in India I can order these from Amazon, I just wanted to check is this the best buy? And also is k/v adapter all I need to use the wireless mic. Immediate response will be appreciated
Thanks
Mansi

Hi Jeff, I see that since a long time nobody talk about this subject. Anyway, I would like to post you a question: do you think is possible to let iphone (5c) play a song, connected to an HiFi by the minijack and, at the same time, speak over, mixing music and voice, (whitout recording)? Speaking with an external mic, would be better wifi.. :) Byez! Pep

Unfortunately, I don't think you can do this with anything I've seen on the iPhone at this time. The best thing would be to get a small mixer (look at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ or http://www.adorama.com/ for some good options), and plug your iPhone and a microphone (or a wireless microphone receiver) into the mixer, then the mixer's output into your HiFi/amplifier.

Hi there,

I want to output via left and right RCA from my broadcast camera and plug that into my iphone 5. Is this possible please and what lead would I need?

Thanks for providing all this great info.

Do you know if the new Rode VideoMic-Go shotgun mic would work on an iPhone 4s? It would need to draw power from the iPhone jack. I am interested in this mic because it is light and I could also use it with my Nikon D7000 DSLR.

Thanks,

Chris

I will try it on my Iphone 4 but I'm sure it'll work as long as you have a three prong adapter like Sescom iPhone / iPod / iPad 3.5mm TRRS to 3.5mm Mic Jack & 3.5mm Monitor Jack. You can find it here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/813385-REG/Sescom_IPHONE_MIC35_1_i... . I have only used it with my Ipad but it will work on Iphone. It'll be good for your shotgun since it records mono anyway and then gets split into L & R .

My experience with successful voiceover work: less is more. Record on an iphone just as you would a telephone call. Small room with lots of soft surfaces preferred. Iphone 3G is the best because of broad frequency response of the mic on that model. Upload to your computer, tweak with Audacity, you will have unbeatable voice.

Very true; for a lot of on-the-spot recordings, I just hold the iPhone right up to my mouth and speak—it's microphone is excellent, and the proximity of the microphone to my mouth makes for very clear, crisp recordings.

Hi Jeff,

Great video regarding the audio technica wireless mic for the iphone. I am using that on my iphone to shoot videos but I would like the mic volume to be higher. Do you know anyways to increase the volume on my videos either through the external mic or the iphone 5 settings.

The audio's good just a little bit low. Here's a video I recorded with it today. Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=YGtTCSSTaQ8&video_referrer=watch

Hi Jeff- thanks for the video on the wireless mic (audio technica) with the kvconnector adapter for the iPhone 5. The volume comes in clear but a little bit low on the video recording. Is there any way to improve the volume? Thanks Jeff.http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nPM24ZWD7e8Here is one of the videos recorded with new audio technics wireless mic.If there is a setting on the iPhone that will improve the volume please let me know as well! Thanks for your great videos and blog!

Hi Jeff — I’ve spent 3 days looking for a truly wireless connection between 2 lav mics and my iPhone. I’ve read/viewed most of your info but am still not clear if your suggestions for wireless lavs are truly un-tethered to the talent. I hope to order a low-cost solution today, and would truly appreciate your help. Thanks,
Toni

Hi,
Is the SignalEar iPhone to XLR adapter as good as the VeriCorder in term of audio quality? Thanks

Awesome article! This is the best guidance I've found on the internet so far.
Quick question - is there any way to record 2 vocal tracks separately using a 2 lavelier mic + splitter setup? I'm planning to record a podcast with a guest but I'd like to keep our vocals separate so its easier to edit/clean up. Thanks!

Hi!
Do you get good sound quality with the Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 Wireless Microphone? Mine is awful - lots of distortion and feedback, plus the mic volume is so quiet, you can barely hear my voice. Is there a trick I'm missing?

Thanks!
Alexis

Hi,
Thank you for such an excellent article. iPhone 5s has now been released, do you know if the solution for an external mic for iPhone 5s will work just like iPhone 5?? Thank you,
Sudha

Yes; all the same information for the iPhone 5 applies to the 5s (that's the phone I'm using now).

nothing about how to record audio on ipod using bluetooth mic

Hi Jeff! Thanks so much for the article and video. I'm struggling a bit with it, lol. I'm technically savvy but I CANNOT get my wireless lav to work with my iPhone 4S or my Macbook Pro. I have the Audio-Technica Pro88. Plus I bought this adapter in case I needed it … http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004SP0WAQ/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie...

The microphone works because I can hear it working when I plug the headphone into the receiver. But when I plug the receiver into the mic/input plug on the phone or computer neither one of them recognizes it. I've tried it both with and without the adapter. If you can think of a reason for this let me know! Thanks very much. ~ karen!

Thanks for the suggestions, I looked all over google for this information. I tried the iMic and it does record sound in stereo. My only complaint is that the recorded sound volume is low. With iMovie I have to reconvert the video a couple of times while amplifying the volume for it to have a decent output. I'm sure on my PC's video editor I just have to do it once. But if I want to do this on the fly, like uploading to youtube directly from the Ipad then I have to reconvert the video to amp the audio. I tried a couple of mics, both are battery powered. One of them is a Rhode stereo mic. Unfortunately recording sound through the Ipad's headphone jack sends a split mono audio to both channels, so this is why I started searching for suggestions like yours. Let me know if you've encountered the same audio level issue and what you think. Thank you.

I have an iPad 4, and have spent time and money on 3 splitters that don't work. Please help!!!

I want to run a non-powered mic (sm 58 for example) into my iPad, then through a sound processing app on my iPad, and then out to an amplifier. None of the splitters I have turn off the built in iPad microphone.

What adapter should I use that will turn off the built in mic, allowing the external mic input only, and output simultaneously?

Thanks in advance, Daniel

hi Jeff, really love this page, it's been so so helpful. I'm a professional actor and have to record my own auditions often and usually its the audio that is lacking - and this has been the best page for that. I have a couple questions. Currently I'm using the dual studio technica method you describe to record onto my iPhone using two Lav mics, but the input seems too quiet to me - is there a pre amp or signal booster I could add to this mix to make it better (louder)? My other question is: is there a better dual lav set up you'd recommend now for higher audio quality? maybe 2 rode mics and an audio splitter plugged into the (phantom powered) TASCAM iXZ? I think that probably won't work... but it's got an input gain on there, so maybe? Have you come up with a solution that allows for two lav mics and a headphone monitor? Just checking... I think you may be the expert. Mostly, I just want to add more gain to the mics going into the iPhone 5 as it is now (and maybe better audio quality). I have to use the built in video camera to record. Thank you so much.

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