July 20, 2018 3 min read
Since we published the article “Must Have iPhone (Or an Android Smartphone) Filming Accessories,” we’ve seen a lot of discussions and inquiries about the best external microphones and recording tips for filming with smartphones. So we decided to make a dedicated blog to answer all your questions about smartphone mics, and mobile sound recording.
First, let us address the elephant in the room… “Why does the smartphone audio suck when everything else seems to be awesome and smart?”
The simple answer is that the designs of iPhones and Android phones are optimized for on-screen performances, such as visual capacity, app operations, and browsing - but not for voice quality. That’s a result of size – while other electronic components have reduced in size over the years, microphone recording still requires large physical components. As a result, built-in microphones are tiny and operate with a very restricted frequency range.
Additionally, most of these built-in microphones support mono recording, but not stereo. The devices usually use low-cut filters (AKA high pass filters) to suppress background noise – but that’s only good when you’re close to the sound that you want to record.
Newer models of iPhones and high-end Android phones are improving their sound recording abilities, but even so, the audio quality still can’t compete with external microphones when recording loud sounds, being used for in-field operations, etc. Even iPads can benefit from being used with iPad bluetooth microphones.
If you’re a vlogger, a musician, or simply want to make great videos with your smartphone, you can’t cut corners with audio quality. The good news is that there are plenty of external microphones available.
This may come as a surprise if you thought we were going to offer some expensive options with all the bells and whistles. But this small lavalier lapel mic is capable of delivering clear, HQ sound, and is compatible with all recent iPhone models as well as Android and Windows smartphones.
The PM10 mic can handle the excessive volume, even in a windy environment or when recording loud sounds, thanks to its wide frequency range and included foam windscreen.
Another small but powerful mic. The Zoom IQ7 is a highly-rated XY condenser microphone for a wider pickup.
These mics are adjustable so you can customize your recording needs based on the environment. This is a great choice for iPhones with lightning ports, if you don’t mind spending a few dollars.
We also offer a more economical, omni-directional condenser microphones take on the IQ7 if it exceeds your budget, or you don’t need a lightning port. The MOVO MA200 will get the job done.
Shure has a reputation for professional audio equipment. This MV88 is a specially designed mic for iPhones and other iOS devices. It can capture frequency with an impressively wide range, from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
You can also choose from five DSP models for various types of sound recording, including speech, singing, loud, flat, and acoustic instruments.
If your budget allows it, the MV88 is a great microphone for vloggers, live streams, and podcasts.
If the scale of your video production gets bigger, you can always invest in a full package of audio gear and dedicated recorders. However, there are times we need to capture the moment right away and our smartphones are the most convenient recorder at those times. For people just starting out and micro vloggers, your smartphone is a smart way to create high-quality videos with a minimal investment.