Testing, testing… can you hear me? You may not be sure when you’re recording with just your iPhone’s built-in mic, but thankfully you can get the quietest voice in the back loud and clear with an external microphone.
Whether you are a video blogger, taping a podcast, or recording interviews, it eventually reaches a point where your iPhone’s mic simply isn’t picking up the quality of sound that you need, and through no fault of its own.
It really wasn’t meant for advanced recording. But you can instantly step it up a notch by connecting an external mic to your headphone jack or lightning port. These offer a lot more versatility and a much better sound quality, and you’ll see some of the best external microphones for iPhone below.
- Still have an old iPhone (iPhone 6 or earlier models) with an audio jack? Take advantage of that with the Rode VideoMic Me Directional Microphone, which snaps into the headphone jack and then supports itself against the iPhone’s body. This is a cardioid microphone.
- If you don’t have an audio jack (iPhone 7, 8, X, XS), then you can use the Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone, which plugs into the charging port in order to capture clear sound. It features 5 presets so even a complete beginner can use it with ease.
- What if you already own professional equipment or don’t mind the lack of portability associated with higher quality microphones and audio tools? The IK Multimedia iRig Pre Audio Adapter allows you to use these advanced tools with your iPhone. While it certainly isn’t as portable as one of the other mics, the solution does give you much greater versatility.
Do You Need an External Mic for iPhone?
Do you regularly create a vlog, record yourself singing or playing an instrument, tape interviews, create podcasts, or any other number of pursuits where you find yourself relying on your iPhone’s microphone?
If so, you’re in the prime position to get an external mic. It’ll step up your sound quality immediately, which can be a huge help by easing any strain on listeners and making it easier for you to tell how you’re actually performing. It can even assist in simple circumstances such as when tuning your instrument with an app or recording a voice memo in a busy space.
But if the only time you use your microphone is when you make a call, an external mic probably isn’t the best choice for you and will end up sitting in your desk’s “stuff” drawer.
External Microphone for iPhone: What to Consider in 2020?
Depending on your intended use for your microphone, you’ll be comfortable with different levels of portability and shape. For example, if you want to use your mic only at home, you might be fine with a small converter for use with larger desktop mics, but if you plan to record yourself out in the field you might want something much smaller that can fold up in your pocket or clip onto your shirt.
When recording audio, there are multiple microphone patterns that affect the sound quality and are optimized for specific uses. The most common polar patterns are cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo, and each offers different pros and cons. You’ll want to research which is best for your intended microphone use, but we’ll get you started with some information in the “Tips and Tricks”.
The recording quality of your microphone will be measured in bits/kHz, and a higher number indicates a higher sound quality. However, the format of your final file could end up making this number obsolete, so if you don’t plan on getting pretty technical with your recording then you shouldn’t worry about small numerical differences.
Best iPhone Microphones in 2020: Our Picks
You may not know which mic is best for you, but we’re sure that this one can get the job done. It rotates, comes with presets, and plugs into your iPhone’s lightning port to make it as easy to use as possible. It also comes from an extremely well-trusted brand, so you guaranteed a high-quality product.
- Has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, built in bi-directional and cardioid cartridges in order to pick up the best range of audio, and comes with 5 presets to help you mix your sound with ease.
- If you have a bulky case, you may have difficulty using this mic without removing it.
Would you rather use your audio jack or your lightning port? If you want your charger available, then the Rode VideoMic is a great choice because it uses your AUX input instead. This mic fits snugly in and is adjustable for different phone widths.
- TRRS cardioid microphone specifically designed for your iPhone with a frequency range of 100Hz – 20kHz.
- You can point the mic towards you for vlogs, podcasts, etc, or away from you when conducting a field interview or similar application and have the same steady support.
- Newer iPhones that don’t have an audio jack will need a dongle in order to use this mic, and this will also prevent it from being correctly supported so you’ll need to compensate for that too.
Already have a professional microphone you don’t want to sacrifice even in the name of portability? With the IK Multimedia iRig Pre, you can use standard audio equipment with your iPhone since it converts the ports to a regular AUX.
- You can use any professional equipment with this adapter, greatly widening your options and the versatility of your phone.
- iRig Pre boasts a high-quality, low-noise preamp to preserve the sound of your favorite microphones.
- If you lack an audio jack, make sure you have a dongle on hand in order to use this adapter.
Useful iPhone Mic Tips
As we mentioned, microphones come in different recording patterns that will affect how they collect sound. For example, if you plan on recording instruments and singing, you’d likely be best served by a different pattern than if you want to record interviews or a podcast.
The microphone company Shure offers a great educational guide that will get you started with information on what each pattern means, but you’ll want to do some of your own as well to figure out what is best for your needs.
If you are a podcaster, learn how to promote and market your podcast with the strategies introduced in this article.
Hopefully, all this article has come through as clear as your upgraded audio will be an external microphone. Your videos, home movies, vlogs, podcasts, musical recordings, and so much more will be production ready without having to worry about lengthy adjustments to compensate for a bad initial recording. So which iPhone mic is your favorite? Tell us what we missed in the comments below.
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.