There are different types of microphones for everything these days including for the mobile operating system known as iOS. The sound quality of Apple’s smart devices has received complaints over the years. It seems that every iOS-based external device does not have adequate sound quality. This might be okay if you’re merely using your device to make phone calls or record your own private memos. But if you are going to do anything else with your device, such as vlog, produce music, make YouTube videos or conduct podcasts, then you need a microphone which produces the kind of sound quality that you would expect from a professional studio’s microphone.
Fortunately, the highest quality microphones are no longer just made for laptops and desktops. Now you can purchase good microphones for your external devices as well. In fact, there are new microphones being released on the market which are specifically designed for iOS devices. The best part is they are affordable and easy to use.
iOS Microphone Benefits
A stock microphone does not sound completely bad. You can still communicate through the microphone and have people understand what is being said on the other end. Ever since iPhones first came out, there has not been a problem communicating with people through them. The real problem with the sound quality is that it has not improved much after all these years. While we have seen the video quality, resolution, and megapixels of iOS devices get improved frequently, we have rarely seen the audio quality be approved just as consistently. If you were to take any iPhone or iPad and listen to the audio quality on FaceTime, it would sound like you were listening to a webcam recording from 20 years ago. This is just an opinion, so you be the judge.
Now there are these new iOS microphones which are designed specifically for enhancing the sound quality of your iOS devices. Although the audio quality of FaceTime and the normal phone will be the same, all those extra activities that you can perform with your external device will have much better audio quality. These iOS microphones are small enough to fit in your pocket too. This makes traveling with them a simple and easy thing to do.
Some people may complain that these iOS microphones do not have the same strength and audio quality as certain studio-quality condenser microphones and USB microphones. However, when you consider how tiny these microphones are and the fact that you don’t need a lot of power to run them, they are definitely worth the investment. Besides, studios have professional sound rooms which make it easier to hear audio and proof the sounds.
There have been a lot of comments and messages sent to us about needing to remove the cases of these microphones in order to get them to function properly. Sometimes if you have a bigger and wider case like the Otterbox, then taking off the case is necessary before you go to record something. Do not let this discourage you though because upgrading to an iOS microphone is still worth it.
Choosing the Best iOS Microphone
The primary factor for choosing a microphone will be your budget. Of course, the best quality iOS microphone will be the most expensive. These particular models usually have price tags that are a couple of hundred dollars or more. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t find a good quality microphone that is priced less than one-hundred dollars. In our list below, you will certainly see some of these microphones on there.
The mic that you choose could be a mid-side, X-Y, or diaphragm condenser. Each one has their own benefits, but most people will choose X-Y for their iOS microphone. The main benefits of X-Y are that it has a bigger pickup and allows the microphone’s direction to be manipulated by the user. The latter comes in handy when making recording video and audio together.
You will find some iOS microphones which are sold with helpful accessories like a carrying case. The expensive microphones are typically the ones that have extra accessories included with them. You may find windscreens and converters bundled with them in one package. This can actually save you money from having to purchase these accessories separately.
Our Top 10 Recommended iOS Microphones
We conducted a thorough investigation into all the popular iOS microphone models on the market today. Based on our findings, we compiled a list of the 10 best microphones for iOS devices.
We found the best iOS microphone to be the Rode i-XY. If you follow microphone brands, then you will know that Rode has a reputation for producing high-quality microphones. It is no surprise that once they started making iOS microphones, theirs would be the best. When you record audio with the Rode i-XY, the quality will be 96k / 24-bit sound. You wouldn’t get this kind of audio clarity with the majority of the USB microphones on the market today. There is A/D conversion integrated into the Rode i-XY microphone which gives you fast connectivity with 30 pins. It is built with two directional microphones that make up an XY stereo construction. The microphones are separated 90° apart from one another and have varying sound pressure. This creates more clarity in the sounds when you listen to them. If you need to record sound within a wide area, this is the microphone for you.
Aside from the impressive build and sound quality of the Rode i-XY, there are some helpful accessories that are included with it. If you record videos outside or while traveling, then you will appreciate the protective case and foam wind mic shield included with it. Plus, the Rode i-XY has its own software app for doing recordings. This means you don’t have to use the default iOS app software for this. The benefit of the included software is that it helps users visualize the sound they are recording. Just visit the Apple App Store and look for the “Rode Rec” app.
This microphone may be slightly higher priced than others on this list, but the features and accessories make it worth the money.
If you want a high-quality microphone that is more affordable than the Rode i-XY, then check out the Zoom iQ6. This is also an XY microphone but costs 50% less than the Rode i-XY. You might recognize the “Zoom” brand as they are big in the recording industry. You’ll see their microphones in lots of different video recording devices. The Zoom iQ6 is certainly a superior microphone model compared to others in the marketplace. It has fast connectivity and is very compact so that it can fit right in your pocket. If you want to change the volume, there is a wheel for making these mic adjustments. There are even a few LED lights which indicate when you are actively recording something. If you need to monitor the recordings, there is a dedicated headphone jack available too. Like the Rode i-XY, the Zoom iQ6 has an original recording app of its own in the Apple App Store.
The Zoom iQ6 is certainly high quality because it is a condenser microphone. There isn’t much difference in quality when compared to the Rode i-XY. The biggest difference is that the Zoom iQ6 can max out at 16 bit/ 48 kHz, while the Rode i-XY goes up to 24 bit / 96 kHz. Also, there is no case included with the Zoom iQ6 but there is a foam windscreen included. If these things don’t matter to you, then go with the Zoom iQ6 because you will save money.
The Blue Mikey is a good condenser microphone. Blue microphones are becoming increasingly popular in the microphone market. This Blue Mikey model is certainly an original because it is built to be extra compact and includes a fast connection speed, condenser microphone, 230° swivel mount, and an input jack (allows you to connect external instruments).
As for the cost of the Blue Mikey, you will be happy to know that it is priced lower than the previous two microphones that were just mentioned. The audio quality goes up to 16-bit / 44.1 kHz, which is lower than the quality of the Zoom iQ6. But again, the lower price of the Blue Mikey may make you decide otherwise. The build of the Blue Mikey is like the build of the Rode i-XY and Zoom iQ6. This means you will have solid stability with the Blue Mikey.
There is no original recording app for the Blue Mikey, although rumors suggest that one is in the works. You can still use one of the many third-party recording apps with it. The Blue Mikey is compatible with virtually all of them. Overall, the Blue Mikey is a great iOS microphone and should be considered. Alternatively, if you want a better-quality microphone model from the same company, look for the Blue Raspberry. It is a USB microphone which works with iOS devices. The only downside is that it costs more money than the Blue Mikey.
The Shure MV88 is an exceptional iOS microphone that is a part of the Motiv line of microphone models. It was constructed to be compatible with iOS devices and includes a few nice features with it too. The exterior has a solid metal build and the audio quality goes up to 48 kHz / 24-bit, which is very good for an iOS microphone. The microphone can rotate 90° on its hinge to make recordings easier for you. The Shure MV88 has its own recording app which goes by the name of ShurePlus Motiv App. There are five DSP models built into this app, including loud, speech, flat, singing, and acoustic. You can even control compression and gain as well.
If affordability is the most important thing to you when choosing an iOS microphone, then go with the Tascam iM2X. It has an XY build and features a condenser microphone which produces high-quality stereo sound. This sound quality is comparable to the microphones that you see in other video recording devices. The sample rate of the audio quality goes up to 16-bit / 44.1 kHz. For a microphone priced this low, this is definitely a good rate.
Since the Tascam iM2X can sustain as much as 125 decibels of sound pressure, this makes it suitable for music concerts and practice sessions. The microphone can be rotated as much as 180°, making it easy to store inside your pocket by turning it straight. That way, it will not endure any damage while you are carrying it around like that.
For those who think the Tascam iM2X is not affordable enough, there are other iM2 models available too. However, do not expect the AB mic build and sound quality to be as good as the iM2X. With this iOS microphone, you are getting a good deal for the price.
If you want an alternative to the superior Rode i-XY, try the Rode i-XYL instead. This is basically a “lightning” connection version of the better quality i-XY model. The downside is that the Rode i-XYL is priced slightly higher, but it doesn’t use a 30-pin connector like the i-XY. You will still be able to record at a wider range because of the XT configuration that is included. You will also be able to use the Rode app so that you can adjust the settings. Like with the i-XY model, you will get the windscreen and case accessories included with the i-XYL too.
The lightning connector is good for some people, depending on their preference. You will notice less latency because of the speed increase with this connector. Of course, there are some people who claim that they don’t notice this difference in speed and latency, so it may just be a matter of opinion. The best part about the i-XYL is that it goes up to 96 kHz / 24-bit, which is some of the best sound quality around. If you don’t mind spending some extra money, then try out the i-XYL and see for yourself what it can do for you.
The Zoom iQ7 is a high rated iOS microphone for Apple devices and with good reason. It has an original feature known as the “condenser mid-side.” This allows the microphone to rotate like an XY, although the pickup is much wider. There is also a control which lets you switch between 120° and 90°. The former accommodates wider rooms while the latter is better for central area sounds only. This makes it perfect for experimenting with different ways of capturing audio sounds.
The Zoom iQ7 is a lot more affordable than the Rode microphones that were mentioned on this list. Therefore, you will save money with the Zoom iQ7. If you don’t care about having added accessories, like the windscreen or case, then the iQ7 is a good choice. The sound quality only goes up to 16-bit / 48 kHz, which is still better than the quality of stock sound. Overall, this microphone is worth checking out if none of the others appeal to you. You can check out the official product video here.
Apogee MiC 96k
The Apogee MiC 96k is a very effective iOS microphone. From the outside, it looks like a real microphone that you would see in a recording studio. But this microphone is designed specifically for iOS devices. Just because this microphone is a little bit bigger, it doesn’t mean that you cannot connect it to your iOS smart devices. You don’t have to limit yourself to just the small iOS microphones. Although, the Apogee MiC 96k is still relatively small if you compare it to the other condenser microphones on the market which are more popular.
The Apogee MiC 96k will give you audio quality up to 96 kHz / 24-bit and with as much as 40 decibels for the gain. It also features a solid metal construction, LED lighting to see the status of the microphone, input adjustment controls, and simple plug-n-play compatibility. The downside is that it is not as portable and compact as other microphone models on the market.
When you unpackage your Apogee MiC 96k, it will have a USB cable included with it which you can plug right into your iOS devices. There is also a table-top stand and an adapter for attaching the microphone to the stand. Even though you can’t fit this microphone in your pocket, it is not that hard to travel with. There is no case included, so you will have to get creative in how you carry this microphone around.
If you want a durable microphone which is designed for table tops and connects with iOS smart devices, then go with the Apogee MiC 96k. As a stationary microphone, it is one of the best choices you can make for connecting with your iOS smart devices.
Now we are getting to the least popular microphones on this list. The Rode smartLav+ may not be the best, but it can be useful for many of your needs. It is similar to a lavalier microphone which people use when they want to remain hands-free while speaking into their microphone. It normally attaches to a person’s clothing when they conduct presentations or give interviews. Because of this, they are very small microphones which can attach to your tie or shirt.
The Rode smartLav+ uses a 3.5 mm connection and records sound from every direction. There are a clip and windscreen included with the package. You will also receive free access to the Rode Rec App too. The best feature of this microphone is that it is cross-compatible with not just iOS smartphones, but all other types of smartphones too. This is great news for Android users that want to experience the quality of this microphone. If you need an affordable lavalier-style microphone, then this is the one for you.
The Movo PM10 is the last on the list and one of the cheapest too. If you are just looking for a simple iOS lavalier microphone that is not too fancy and does not cost a lot of money, then try this one out. Perhaps the best things about it are its low cost and small size. It uses a 3.5 mm connection and includes a clip, small case, and windscreen.
You do not need any batteries for this microphone either for it to work. You simply just plug it into your iOS device and then start using it. As for the quality, it does perform better than many stock microphones found in tables, phones, and other mobile devices. So, you just clip the microphone onto your shirt and enjoy being hands-free while you do your recordings. If you are someone on a very tight budget, the Movo PM10 will be your best option.