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Top 9 Best External Microphones For iPhone 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide

The iPhone entered our world in 2007 and life hasn’t been the same since. It was ahead of its time and despite Android protestations it still is.

It didn’t always have a microphone. As it evolved into an all-singing and dancing communication tool it acquired one. Basic at first, but now quite sophisticated, the mic is actually quite decent. But, do you use your phone for interviews or podcasts? If so you will want to find the Best External Microphones For iPhone.

Some use the Lightning port which is what Apple employs for their most recent iPhones. But some still use the headphone jack. So, we will do reviews of both.

So, let’s take a look and help get you ‘Live in the studio’…

best external microphones for iphone

Top 9 Best External Microphones For iPhone 2020 Reviews


1 Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone

Where shall we start? Silly question really when Shure is likely to be around. Shure has been building world-class mics for many years and they all have things in common. First, they produce great sound and second, they are built like a tank. This is just another example.

Any sound… anywhere…

The all-metal construction shows that it is ready to handle anything you can throw at it. It comes with a black foam windscreen. This will help to eliminate any unwanted noise if you’re using it outside. It is suitable for a wide variety of recordings and outside broadcasts are all handled with ease. And with an SPL of 120dB, it will handle live concerts as well.

In fact, this mic has been designed to record loud and medium level sounds. However, it is not so good if the target is very quiet and you have to increase the record volume. It has a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz and adjustments to the gain from 0 to +32dB.

Portable and adjustable…

It’s easy to carry around and will fit in your pocket. This means you haven’t got to carry around any heavy awkward equipment to get a great sound. To ensure you get just the right recording position it has multiple movement options. It will tilt and rotate and flip and turn through 90 degrees.

You will get access to two apps for editing audio and as a separate app, video. With these, you can make changes to the performance to suit your own personal applications. Through the apps, you can also set the most appropriate recording pattern. These include Stereo, Mono Cardioid, Mono Bidirectional, and Mid-Side (MS).

Apple-certified…

It connects to your phone via a Lightning connection and is certified by Apple for all iOS devices that use Lightning technology. If you are using it on the road it comes with a quality zipper case. Also provided is a cable for headphone monitoring.

It’s a very good mic as you would expect from Shure. It has plenty of options for getting a great sound and it excels at loud performances. At this price point a real bargain in our view. Certainly one of the Best External Microphones For iPhone.

Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone
Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Tough Shure build.
  • Built for outdoor use.
  • Sound editing apps included.
  • Easy to maneuver.

Cons

  • Low volume level recording.

2 Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone For iPhone/iPad

Founded in Tokyo in 1983, Zoom has quickly established itself with a world-class reputation in sound and recording. Microphones are just a part of what they do, but in many ways, it is their most recognized activity.

Adjustable sound capture…

The Zoom H4N handheld recorder has become an industry standard for outside broadcast recording. And the Zoom iQ6 uses the same condenser mic as the H4N, you are therefore guaranteed something very special.

It has inherited the ability to adjust the range from 90 to 120 degrees. Being able to adjust the angle of sound capture is an important feature. There is a very prominent numbered wheel on the front which is the gain control. It also has a line-out/headphone jack socket. This can be used during playback and while you are recording.

And it has a removable spacer which means you can use the mic irrespective of whether there is an iPhone case.

Record like a Pro…

Access to a Zoom iPhone app is a big plus that will let you record .wav or .aac files. Three LED lights are built in to give you information regarding recording levels. The SPL is a rather loud 130dB so no problems with live recordings of music. The audio quality is 16 bit at 44.1kHz. It is compatible with most iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices.

A high-quality mic with a range of uses it will perform well in most environments. However, it is a little disappointing that it doesn’t come with a carry pouch, it is designed to be used on the move after all.

Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone For iPhone/iPad
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent condenser mic.
  • Easy controls.
  • High SPL levels.

Cons

  • No carry case included.

3 Zoom iQ7 Stereo Mid-Side Microphone

The iQ7 from Zoom is a very similar mic to the iQ6 in just about every way and is lightweight and small enough to fit in your pocket. It is compatible with any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad that has a Lightning connection.

Similar but far better…

As with the iQ6, there is a large central numbered wheel gain control. This is a good feature allowing easy control over levels. Levels can be monitored through the three LED lights. There is also the headphone socket that can also be used as a line output.

The app is also applicable to the iQ7 allowing you to add effects and edit your sound files. All exactly the same as the iQ6, so let’s look at the difference.

The iQ7 uses a mic configuration known as Mid-Side, or MS. This can make its use much more flexible. X/Y recording is of course very good, but you are a bit limited to what you can do when the recording is finished.

What does the Mid-Side do?

The Mid-Side configuration allows you to make a lot of adjustments in post-production. MS is mono-compatible, and changing from 90-degree stereo to 120-degree stereo is easy. The capsules of the mic will rotate in various directions so you can get the positioning exactly right. You can, therefore, set the proper right/left stereo orientation.

It comes with a Lightning connector and also has a removable spacer. And is compatible with most iOS devices that have Lightning connection technology.

Just a little extra but a lot more pricey…

As with the iQ6, it offers a lot of features and is a good option for recording with your iPhone or iPad. It offers a few more options than the iQ6 as it is more adjustable for the angle of sound pick up. A reasonable price point but some might find it expensive.

Zoom iQ7 Stereo Mid-Side Microphone
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • MS mic configuration.
  • Rotating mechanism.
  • Good features, similar to the iQ6.

Cons

  • No carry bag or case.

4 Blue Raspberry Premium Mobile USB Microphone

Over now to Blue for their latest visit to the ‘get an interesting name’ shop. This mic they have named Raspberry. That is interesting because it is a politely derogatory remark in some countries. Never mind, what is the mic like?

What to expect with Blue?

Blue has a great reputation for making some quality mics and rightly so. This is a desktop-style mic with an electret condenser, has a cardioid pattern, and a fairly standard frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. It also has an impressive SPL of 120dB which means it will be able to record some loud sounds. However, this mic probably isn’t suitable for taking to concerts unless you have some room to stand it in a good position.

It has a bit depth of 16/24 bit and a sampling rate of 44.1/48kHz. It has a Lightning cable and a USB cable supplied with it. And there is a headphone jack with volume control that makes it suitable for monitoring the sound in live situations.

It stands alone for any recording…

Besides being a desktop design it has a ¼” thread which makes it mountable on tripod stands if necessary. It does have its own built-in stand which will suit most recording activity. The stand has rubber feet and a connection insulator to reduce any unwanted surface generated noise.

It is essentially for podcasting and interviews and possibly voice-overs. In fact anywhere where there is a static base for the mic it will do a good job. You can record directly to your iPhone or iPad using the Lightning cable or to your PC or Mac using the USB.

Just plug and play…

The design of the mic means that it is Plug and Play, making it very easy to use. Just plug it into your device or computer and away you go. It is compatible with most iOS devices.

A good mic especially for stationary recording. The sound is good and the build quality is high. It is, therefore, an ideal mic for many uses. Not the cheapest but if you want a mic for interviews it is worth considering because of its quality.

Blue Raspberry Premium Mobile USB Microphone
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Well built design.
  • Variety of uses.
  • Lightning and USB compatible.
  • Ideal for interviewing and voice recording.

Cons

  • Not suitable for recording with no fixed base.

5 Rode VideoMic Me Compact TRRS Cardioid Mini-Shotgun Microphone

Off we go Down Under to see what the boys from Rode are producing. Always well-built, always good quality and full of good features. Rode mics are always worth a look.

Compact and durable…

This is a ruggedly designed mic that is ideal for attaching to your smartphone. It is a Cardioid mini-Shotgun mic with 3.5mm jack connections. Compact in size, at just 3.1 by 0.8 by 1.5 inches, and weighs an astonishingly light 34 gms. Also, this Mic is compatible with Android and iPhones.

Considering that this has a price point that is very competitive it has a lot of good features included. There is an adjustable mount that will give you a nice fit for any device and a pass-through jack. You can, therefore, listen to what you record and don’t have to remove the mic.

Wanna go live…

It has a frequency range of 100Hz to 20kHz. The SPL maximum is 140 dB which opens the door for some live concert recording. And included is a furry windshield for those outdoor recordings when the wind or other ambient noise gets in the way.

This is a mic that isn’t pretty to look at but it certainly has the build to get the job done. As it is so compact and fits the phone so easily, it can be taken into virtually any environment. With the high SPL level, this will be ideal for recording live concerts. But it will also work for interviews for podcasts or videos.

Old or new – you can just adapt…

We do need to mention that this mic will only work with those phones with a 3.5mm jack socket. That’s ok we don’t all have the brand new phones. Some of us like our older phones despite what Apple or others think we should like. You can, of course, spend a little more and buy an adapter if you choose.

It is definitely a microphone of many options and can handle most things presented to it. It comes at a very attractive price point.

Rode VideoMic Me Compact TRRS Cardioid Mini-Shotgun Microphone
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Easily fits on your phone.
  • Variety of uses.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • Adapter needed for newer phones.

6 PoP Voice 12.8 Feet Lavalier Lapel Microphone

Looking for a mic to use with your iPhone, but you are on a budget? Ifo so, this mic from PoP voice could be the answer. It does not produce the highest quality professional sound possible, but considering the price, you wouldn’t expect that.

Clip it on and you’re good to go…

This is a Lavalier lapel mic design and is a very basic mic, it works quite well and operates through a 3.5mm jack socket but can be used with a Lightning cable if you use the adapter. Additionally, it is designed to operate at quite long distances from your phone with a 12 ft plus cable. For any external noise, it also has a wind muff as standard.

The build is mostly plastic of course, but the clip to attach to the subject’s clothes is metal. This ensures that this important part of the design is secure enough. Handling care though should still be taken. It comes with a storage pouch to carry it around with you.

Recording on the move…

For interviews for podcasts or videos, it will do a reasonable job. It is not going to win any awards for sound quality, but it will give an adequate recording. It has an omnidirectional pattern. This means it will collect sound at equal levels from all directions of the mic during recording. Most other mics will record a more focused sound source.

Because of the length of the cable, it opens up further use possibilities. Giving a presentation might be easier as an example. Where you do not need to worry about cable length when moving around.

However, if you are considering this mic, it might be a good idea to check its compatibility with your device. It is not as compatible as some of the competition.

PoP Voice 12.8 Feet Lavalier Lapel Microphone
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Long connection cable.
  • Cost-effective.

Cons

  • Lower-quality sound than the competition.

7 PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone

This is a Lavalier Lapel mic that is designed for use with a 3.5mm jack socket. It will operate with iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple MacBook computers as well as Android and Windows smartphones. Although, as with anything, it might be a good idea to check its compatibility before purchase. Ideally, for those phones using Lightning connections, there is an adapter included.

Indoors and outdoors…

The PowerDeWise is suitable for indoor or outdoor use and will give you a good if not high-level, result. For basic interviews or podcasting, it is fine, also for basic narration for Youtube videos. It is simple to use and is just a Plug and Play operation, and needs no batteries and there are no drivers to download.

Should you wish to be some distance away from the phone or move around, an extension cable is included. This will give you an extra seven feet to work with. It also comes with a zipper storage bag so you can carry it around with you safely.

Surprising sound for the price…

The frequency range is 50Hz to 16kHz. The clip to attach the mic to the target source is metal, so there are unlikely to be any breakages. Included are two wind muffs in case there are any poor weather conditions which is a nice touch.

At this price point, it represents good value. The results for the spoken voice are clear and bright. They really sound like they could have come from a mic costing far more. This is one of those products that will surprise you and perform a lot better than the price tag suggests it might.

PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Sturdy design.
  • Quality sound.
  • Plug and play.
  • Cost-effective.

Cons

  • Lacks in features.

8 Comica CVM-VS08 Professional Cardioid Condenser Directional Mini Shotgun

This mic from Comica is designed to look more like a telescopic sight on a rocket launcher than a mic. That gives you an idea as to its rugged design. It appears to have been built for some potentially very unfriendly weather.

Come in close and say that…

It is a condenser shotgun mic with a super-cardioid pattern. This will ensure the sound is collected from along the mics axis. With this particular mic, you will need to ensure the target is no more than about 20 cms away from the mic to ensure a reasonable recording.

The body is made from aluminum which gives it a sturdy look whilst also keeping it lightweight. It operates from the 3.5mm jack socket on the device so the later Apple products will need an adapter that is not provided.

Check your background noise…

To reduce any unwanted ambient noise, indoors, or outdoors, there is a furry windscreen and a foam windshield provided. This won’t eliminate the very bad weather but it will certainly help a little. The clamp is also removable which will allow you to rotate the mic through 360 degrees.

It has TRRS 3.5mm connections and also TRS connections for a camera. This will give you the freedom to jump between different devices when needed. It is well-built with some nice features. Although, we think it might be a good idea to check the compatibility of your device before purchase.

Comica CVM-VS08 Professional Cardioid Condenser Directional Mini Shotgun
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Durable design.
  • 360 degree Mic rotation.
  • Good built-in features.

Cons

  • Adapter lowers sound quality.

9 Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone

Back we go again to the Land Down Under. If there is one thing you can be sure of with Rode it is that you will get a well-built quality product. Even with a Lavalier mic, which can be vulnerable at times, they have a tough design.

Rode design does it again…

This is a condenser Lavalier mic with an omnidirectional pattern. The mic itself is quite small and discreet, which is a good design feature for interviews where you do not want a bulky item. It operates with both iPhone and Android devices and produces a very high-quality recording.

The TRRS connection to your device is sleeved and the cable is made of reinforced Kevlar with a sturdy clip. If you are using it in an outdoor situation for interviews etc., it has a small pop shield built-in. This is a foam protector that will stop some wind and reduce the effect of plosives. But is not ideal for bad conditions.

Crisp, bright, and clear…

Depending upon how you use it this mic will give you some excellent results. Podcasts, voice-overs, or narration for video are all going to produce good recordings. The sound is crisp, bright, and clear. And providing there is not a force 9 gale blowing hardly any background noise. Also, it has a high-performance level for dictation.

The omnidirectional pattern is what produces a good sound. This will help enormously if you are interviewing people who may turn their head away from the mic. It will ensure that the target sound is still collected with little change in volume. Additionally, you get a Rode app that gives you some editing and setup options for use.

And lastly…

This is a quality Lavalier mic from a quality company that is set at a reasonable price point. It comes with a storage pouch for when it is not being used.

Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Omnidirectional pattern.
  • Well priced.
  • Sturdy design.
  • Good ambient noise protection.

Cons

  • Cannot operate without Rode App.

Want To Take Your Sound Further?

If you want to take your recording to an even higher level, check out our reviews of the Best iOS Microphones, the Best Computer Microphones, the Best USB Microphones, the Best Microphones YouTube, the Best Lavalier Microphones, the Best Wireless Microphones, and the Best Cheap Microphone Under 50 Dollars currently on the market.

 external microphones for iphone

So, What Are The Best External Microphones For iPhone?

Making Your Phone Work For a Living

As we said earlier the iPhone has led the way and made other mobile phone manufacturers race to keep up the pace with it. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is a range of mics designed to allow your iPhone or iPad to go to work. The capabilities are all built-in so all you need is a decent recorded sound. If you can find it then you have a portable studio in your pocket.

If we were to choose a mic to use with ours we would go for the…Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone for iPhone/iPad/iPod.

A mic that will allow you to record speech for interviews, podcasts, videos, etc., but will also do the business at live concerts.

A typical Shure quality product is, therefore, our choice for one of the Best External Microphones For iPhone.

Now go get recording!

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