Technology advances, and as it does, it brings the need for more efficient technology to enhance the effects.
The mobile phone arrived, and we were all very impressed. Not so much with the performance because it was often very hit or miss, but just with the fact that we had a phone in our hand and we took it everywhere. It didn’t seem to matter; it was the size of a brick and weighed about the same.
Just three decades later, multiple new releases and upgrades later and our phones are not phones anymore. They do just about everything, and they have video. Video visuals that are actually quite good. The visuals are good, but what about the sound?
Not so much Research and Development in that area we suspect.
But now you can buy mic’s specially designed to attach to your phones, iPad’s or other devices to give you a quality audio recording.
Let’s have a look at some of the best iOS microphones and find the perfect one for you…
Top 10 Best iOS Microphones To Buy In 2021 Reviews
1 Rode IXYL Cardioid Condenser Microphone For iOS
The Rode IXYL can be used for a variety of applications including interviews, making films, recording music, and many others. And it has been designed for recording audio using a Lightning connector iOS device.
It features two condenser microphones placed in a Z-Y configuration. It’s encased in a metal housing that will, of course, offer protection to the unit but also reduce interference. This shape gives a wide spatial sound image and provides a stereo audio collection.
When you download the Rode Rec app from the Apple iTunes store, it will record at up to 24-bit 96 kHz. And to eliminate unwanted noise a 72 Hz high pass filter is available. A foam windshield is also provided to give some protection from wind noise when recording outside.
It is a compact mic that delivers good results. The audio is high quality, clear, sharp, and very defined. The app works well but makes sure you have enough space to download it.
The microphone comes with a clamp to attach to your device and a carrying case. Some devices carry a headphone jack, and you can use this for monitoring the sound. If your device does not have a headphone connection, then you won’t be able to monitor.
As a further measure, if you are considering buying the product, it might be a good idea to contact Rode regarding which devices are compatible as they do not issue a list.
2 Apogee MiC 96k Professional Quality Microphone For iPad, iPhone, And Mac
Apogee is a US company based in California, well-known for producing quality products and especially their microphones. And they have manufactured the MiC 96k for use with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac’s.
It is equally able to produce quality recordings when working with vocals, narration, as well as instruments and can handle piano, acoustic guitar and drums. And its design is such, that it is a mic you can take anywhere and it will still deliver high quality.
It includes a cardioid condenser mic, a microphone preamp and an A/D converter. Each of which has been so designed to produce low noise.
First introduced eight years ago it became a popular mic with people wanting to record on the go and the Mic 96k is basically an upgrade on that original product and prepared to work with all the latest Apple devices.
It will record with great clarity in 24-bit/96 kHz. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry and even fits neatly in your pocket and comes with its stand adapter. But, it doesn’t come with a pop filter so if you are a serious pro-voice-over artist you may need to buy one.
It does deliver a very good sound and will link through your device to products like Garageband. The Apogee MiC 96k is also powerful and excludes a lot of unwanted external noises.
Price-wise it is towards the high end, but the cost is justified by the quality of what it produces.
It is well built with a steel mesh casing and is designed for external use.
3 Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone For iPhone And Smartphones
The Rode smartLav+ microphone has been manufactured to give you a high-quality recording to your iPhone and smartphone devices. And it connects to your device through a TRRS connection using a reinforced Kevlar cable.
It incorporates a small discreet mic and a high-quality condenser that is omnidirectional. It also features a pop shield will reduce the amount of inevitable external noise when used in outdoor locations. Made of foam, it will reduce vocal plosives and wind noise.
The clip for attaching the mic to the user is a sturdy build, and the mic has good cable management to ensure stability in use. It comes with a pouch for storage. And there are some extras you can buy if you want to edit and publish which are not included but are worth considering.
The question, though, once the basic operational facilities are covered is…
The sound is clear and crisp and with very little background noise, and if recording podcasts or voice-overs is your thing, then it produces excellent results. Similar results are gained if you give tutorials or lectures. The sound is excellent.
A big plus point with this microphone is that being so omnidirectional any head movements anyone makes while using it will not affect the sound pickup, and it will produce stable results.
If you are considering this unit, please do check with Rode about compatibility with your device. Further, you will need to download the Rode App, which is, of course, free.
Overall, a good product by a reputable microphone company and set at a realistic price.
4 Blue Raspberry Premium Mobile USB Microphone (0304)
There are some interesting names for some of these mics and here is another one. This product manufactured by Blue Microphones.
It is an electret cardioid condenser mic that is unidirectional and is principally designed for voice, voice over, podcasting and streaming. It is equally usable with platforms like Skype.
Blue has clearly put in a lot of work to design and manufacture a product that will perform at a high level. They have created their own circuitry that will produce studio quality sound and also an Internal Acoustic Diffuser (IAD) which ensures the sound is focused on vocals and excludes peripheral noise.
It’s compact and travels easily and is well-built and sturdy. It actually is a quite attractive looking mic to work with. And it has good features for monitoring with a volume control, mic level and mute.
It’s a sensitive mic, and therefore, care should be taken with its position to avoid clipping. Too close and variations of voice level may cause distortion in which case just move away a little bit. In terms of specifications, it has a 24-bit/48kHz resolution and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC.
Included in the package are a USB cable, lightning cable, a Mic stand, and stand adapter and a carry pouch.
But this mic is not just for vocal or narration. The quality of the recording of an acoustic guitar is quite outstanding and crystal clear. It is clearly a quality product that will perform at a high level and has plenty of features to create good recordings or live work.
It might, however, be considered a little expensive by many.
As always, it will be a good idea to check with the manufacturers about any compatibility issues.
5 IK Multimedia iRig Mic Cast Podcasting Mic
The iRig Mic cast is a condenser microphone designed principally for recording interviews, podcasts, voice memos, and even speeches and lectures. And it can even be used in a business environment if you need to record a meeting and need quality audio.
It has been designed to be compact and extremely portable and will comfortable even fit in your pocket. It’s small and lightweight but is well built and quite sturdy.
If you are looking for a pocket-sized answer to your voice recording that will produce quality audio, then this is worth consideration. Having a unidirectional pattern, it is ideal for targeted single source recording and will cut out much of the background noise.
To monitor recordings, it has a stereo mini-jack headphone output and a switch to alternate between sensitivity settings depending on whether the target is distant or close up.
You will need to download two free Apps, the iRig Recorder, which is for voice recording and editing and also Vocalive, which is a processing App with an array of effects for singers.
It doesn’t come with a pop filter. And has been mainly designed for voice and narration recording. In that environment, it works very well, but it will not record music with any great quality. Yes, of course, it will record it but don’t expect a quality reproduction.
It is easy to use once you have downloaded the Apps. And is certainly a cost-effective choice and at its price, you can’t really lose.
6 Movo Smartphone Video Rig With Stereo Microphone
One thing that must always be borne in mind when buying a mic for your portable device is that unless you spend a lot of money, the quality can range for quite poor to good. It is never going to be stunning.
But what you are going to use it for probably don’t require studio level production, even though you do want the best sound you can possibly get. The microphones on phones and iPads or tablets are not the best as we all know, and the object of buying an external mic is to improve the basic sound quality.
This Movo product is for phones only and when attached will improve the sound content of your video.
It is very good for live-streaming or performances, vlogging, and interviews but is not designed for music or instruments. It is essentially a vocal, narration product.
In terms of specifications, the direction of the mic is movable. And it is fitted with a 3.5mm mini jack. It also has a well-planned clamp to fix it to your phone and will accommodate smartphones from 2.2” to 3.6” wide.
When you are filming, you will want stability, and it comes with a padded grip that is removable and will stabilize the unit and reduce accidental movement. A wrist strap that is also adjustable will give some added security when in use. It also comes with foam and furry windshields for use outside.
The sound quality it produces is not of the highest level. It is designed as a budget alternative to simply improve the quality that the phone can produce and it certainly does that. But it doesn’t carry the quality of some of its more expensive alternatives, but then to be fair, it won’t.
It’s quite simply an improvement to what is supplied on the phone. As we mentioned earlier, dramatic sound improvements are unlikely, but there is an improvement over the sound on any device. If that is what you are looking for, then this may fit the bill.
Might be best to check compatibility with the company before buying.
7 Focusrite Portable Studio Recorder
Focusrite is known for producing quality products at competitive prices. They also appear to be able to recognize an opportunity to create a product that many people would use and find extremely useful.
So it is with Focusrite’s portable studio recorder. A very clever idea that allows you to attach your iPhone or iPad and record directly while watching the screen.
The rise of Youtube and other platforms for video recording has created a market for those people wishing to make good uploads whether for business or other purposes. This Focusrite Portable studio recorder has been built for that purpose.
This little piece of kit will do just that and with no experience required.
This recorder lets you record easily and quickly. With a little bit of planning, so you know what you want in your film and what sounds, you can make great looking performances that sound very good indeed.
One of the clever ideas is the iTrack pocket in which you place your iPhone or iPad. This is so designed so as to be at just the right angle for recording. It also has a built-in stereo microphone and also a guitar input. You can use any guitar as long as it has a pickup.
There is a volume control on the side of the iTrack to adjust your gain level. But you do need to be careful when using this as it is quite lightweight and therefore easy to knock over with a device in place.
One disappointing consideration, however, is it doesn’t have a headphone socket for monitoring.
There is a free app to download. Focusrite’s Impact App, which will allow you to master your recording and then upload your recording to Youtube. This app will also assist in providing the clearest possible recording.
As always, check with the supplier regarding compatibility issues.
It won’t set the recording world alight in any way, but it is huge fun with good results and at the price a very good buy.
8 Saramonic SmartMixer Recording Stereo Mic System
Saramonic has built an impressive stereo mic system for video production. We say stereo mic but its quite a bit more than that. It is a mic system, but it is also an audio interface and amplifier and has phantom power. And is perfect for recording sound and video with Android or iOS devices.
It is a very well-designed piece of kit and is compact and lightweight, yet it has a sturdy feeling build. The interface connectors are impressive with a mini XLR for a balanced microphone and a further two inputs for the condenser microphones that are supplied.
Adjustment of the levels are made through a volume control, and there is a level meter. There is also an output for a headphone so you can listen to the playback signal. There is also a handle grip supplied.
It produces a great sound and all things considered it is quite exceptional. We have to say it is probably better indoors than outside, but the quality of the sound is really quite surprising.
It works brilliantly well if you are live streaming a function to facebook and it will actually record live concerts. Let us just clarify that and say certain live concerts. The high volume stuff it will struggle with, but it’s great for the quieter mood. If your recording for a blog or a Youtube upload it is very good.
A very good product, sensibly priced that produces very good results.
9 Shure MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone
Shure, as they always do, have come up with a quality microphone for use with your iPhone and iPad and other Apple devices. And it has a few interesting features, but the most impressive is that because it is built with multiple capsules, you are able to record in mid-side stereo, figure-8 or variable cardioid.
You can set up the gain controls adjust the frequency response through the EQ and even apply a limiter and compression. And on-screen meters make sure you do not exceed sensible levels and keep the signals in an appropriate range.
Part of the design of this mic is five preset Digital Signal Processing modes. These are for Vocal narration and a basic flat sound. Also an acoustic instrument or a loud target source. It will adjust compression, limiting, and even EQ for each individual source to suit
In terms of file formats, you can choose between WAV, AAC, and ALAC. And depending on the device you use for the video recording, it is possible to choose from 720p, 1080p or 4k resolution.
These options are on the free Shure Plus App you can download.
The sound is exceptionally clear and crisp and really is not what you might expect from a microphone designed to work with a phone. The sound produced is quite exceptional — plenty of clarity and depth and probably everything you might expect from a Shure mic.
And of course, it goes without saying that the build is rugged and designed to last for a good while.
An excellent mic at an exceptional price.
10 Line 6 Sonic Port VX Audio I/O and Stereo Microphone
You usually find there is one company that goes the whole hog and really pushes the boat out to create quality. With a microphone for iOS, the manufacturer can be fairly straightforward but then ‘that’ company says no, we are going to do the works’ with this one.
Simply take your iOS device, PC or Mac and just plug it in and away you go with an amazing choice of effects and options. This microphone, if you can call it that, is going to give you high-level recordings, multi-tracked if you want and it will do it anywhere you want.
Yes, it is going to do a great job on your vocals or narration, but your guitar?
Multi-track recording and this is not limited to being at home. Anywhere. Line input for laying down drums, keyboards and anything else, in stereo. 24bit/48kHz for exceptional quality. Built-in high-quality mono condenser mic and stereo mics. High-quality preamps. A 120dB high range for guitars.
Zero latency through a direct monitor. The cables included providing compatibility with iOS, Mac, and PC. And the USB power supply will charge your device while you are recording. And to top it all the free app gives you access to some great guitar sounds.
Normally we would say a few words about each, but there are simply too many. It is rare to find so much quality packed into a little package like this and at a price that doesn’t go through the roof.
And as a finishing comment, it is sturdy and well-built and looks great.
A great product with all you would need and more.
Best iOS Microphones Buyers Guide
We mentioned in one of the reviews that adding an iOS mic will make improvements to the sound, but they can only go so far. Having now finished the ten reviews we would like to withdraw that statement as there are some that make drastic and significant differences.
There are of course budget models, designed to do the job and not a lot else but in doing so keep the price very low. There is even one that will transfer your recording straight to Youtube for you.
These mikes might be budget range, but they still a vast improvement over the sound the camera or device provides.
While there are some with a bit more onboard that produce better results and give more options.
Then there a few that really do take it another level and show what can be achieved if that is what you want?
Everything isn’t about Youtube and other video platforms. There are plenty of other reasons you need better audio quality on your video recording,
It might be that you just want it for use at home.
You also may want to use it for yourself but outdoors in which case noise canceling will be an important issue.
Whatever the reasons you want better sound it’s a good idea to try and determine why you need it and what you will be using it for.
In doing so, it might be a good idea to think that maybe you might want to use it for other applications somewhere along the line that involves you needing more onboard facility.
It will probably only be the serious people doing professional video as they will want all the bells and whistles.
None of the mics we reviewed are going to break the bank. The price ranges fit into categories along the lines of the quality of the mics. There are budget and mid-range priced products and then a few more expensive products.
There is no need to splash out on a mic you will never need but in making your choice consider what each does and what it will give you and your videos. Whatever you choose, it will be a vast improvement on the microphone installed in your device.
So, What’s The Best iOS Microphones?
We decided after some thought that we would buy a product that gave us everything we might need just in case it was ever needed in the future. There are a few to choose from. We liked the Shure and really did like the Saramonic, but we decided to go for the…
This really has got the lot onboard and will cover any possible future requirement. It’s extra facilities at a price that is very competitive, making it our choice of the best iOS Microphone.