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In today’s era of content creation and communication, ensuring high-quality audio is indispensable. Built-in microphones have and will always be an option but upping your production quality with an external mic will be invaluable.
The process of connecting an external microphone to a smartphone device can be transformative and beneficial to the content you are making. Find out how to connect an external microphone to your smartphone as you read on.
To begin, it’s crucial to recognize that smartphones, akin to computers, operate as digital devices and function with digital audio. Microphones, whether built-in or external, generate analog signals, necessitating an analog-to-digital conversion process to establish a suitable connection and transmit data to a smartphone.
These analog-to-digital converters are integrated into the smartphone itself (typically located within the TRRS headphone jack or TRRS microphone or incorporated within the Bluetooth chip). Alternatively, these converters can also be found in adapters that facilitate a direct digital connection between our microphones and the phone, often via the charging port.
To add, there are three types of audio jack connectors:
TS cables are fundamental audio connectors primarily employed for mono signals. “TS” stands for “tip-sleeve,” denoting the two conductors within the jack. The “tip” designates the inner conductor, while the “sleeve” refers to the outer conductor. Typically, TS cables are utilized for unbalanced signals, such as those generated by electric guitars.
TRS connectors offer greater versatility compared to TS connectors as they can accommodate both mono and stereo signals. They comprise three conductors: tip, ring, and sleeve, hence their name “TRS.”
The inner conductors are the tip and ring, while the outer conductor is the sleeve. TRS cables are commonly employed for balanced signals, which help mitigate noise, and for transmitting stereo signals, carrying left and right audio channels separately.
Videographers frequently employ TRS cables to connect an on-camera shotgun mic to their camera’s audio input.
The last type of microphone cable is the TRRS cable, known for its exceptional versatility, accommodating mono, stereo, and mic signals with ease. “TRRS” stands for “tip-ring-ring-sleeve,” signifying the four conductors within the cable. The tip and two rings serve as the inner conductors, while the sleeve functions as the outer conductor. A TRRS microphone connector is suitable for both balanced and unbalanced signals.
As mentioned earlier, This connection is commonly found on the headphone jacks of smartphones, enabling the transmission of stereo left and right audio signals alongside a microphone signal for voice input. When connecting this headphone output jack to a camera or other audio device, a TRRS to TRS cable is often necessary to ensure the proper transmission of signals through the correct connections.
To connect an external microphone to your digital device, you must first check if your phone is able to recognize your external microphone, whether it be a Bluetooth mic, or connecting external mics to your smartphone headphone jack or charging port.
First, you will need a recording app on your phone to record high-quality audio and store audio recordings for you. Oftentimes, before you start recording, your phone will ask for app permission to record audio onto your phone.
At the start, phones will recognize the built-in microphones embedded into the system. Simply plug your microphone into your smartphone with its USB cable, whether it be a USB-C adapter, a headphone jack wire, or your lightning port. If your microphone is connected via Bluetooth, you will have to connect it to your phone’s settings which will be discussed later in the article.
Once your phone recognizes your microphone, you may now adjust your microphone settings to produce high-quality audio for your project. On your phone settings, there’s no direct way to adjust your microphone sensitivity but there are microphones that come with an app download so that the user may tinker with more advanced microphone settings to adjust to their needs.
Your choice of external microphone can also vastly change the sound quality you produce.
XLR microphones stand as the prevailing mic variety and are paired with XLR cables. These microphones typically feature a three-pronged male-to-female connector. This connector links to a device, typically an audio interface, which, in turn, connects to your computer.
When you use an XLR microphone, it usually gets its power from the amplifier it’s connected to, and you might need a phantom power supply for this. XLR mics are industry standard, as their audio quality is sought after for voice recordings or as their choice microphone input for various different content. The XLR mic’s sound quality is clear, and perfect to combat noisy environments.
USB microphones boast a range of distinct features, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages when used for audio recording. The foremost characteristic of a USB mic is its simplicity.
These microphones are exceptionally user-friendly, making them an ideal choice even for those new to podcasting or content creation. USB mics enjoy universal compatibility with computers, alleviating concerns about hardware or operating system compatibility. Plug-and-play functionality is the norm, eliminating any compatibility worries.
USB mics typically utilize the USB-A connector, although some models now come with USB-C ports and adapters to cater to the growing prevalence of USB-C connectors. You may also opt for a lightning adapter for your USB mics
Furthermore, USB mics often come with a more budget-friendly price tag. While expensive USB mics do exist, the majority fall within a more affordable price range compared to their XLR counterparts.
Commonly referred to as a “lapel mic” or simply ‘lav,’ the lavalier microphone is a compact microphone designed to be easily clipped onto your shirt. Lavalier microphones come in both wired and wireless configurations.
When doing audio recordings, sound quality and audio quality will vary between wired and wireless configurations, as the wired version will produce a clearer sound compared to the wireless one because of the direct connection.
High-quality lav mics are particularly effective at isolating the speaker’s voice and minimizing background noise, especially when the speaker is in close proximity to the microphone. Lavalier mics are also compatible with phones with headphone jacks. Simply plug directly into your smartphone’s headphone jack and start using it.
If your Android device has a headphone jack and doesn’t require an adapter, you can simply connect your mic with a 3.5mm TRRS connector jack. Newer iPhones will require a lightning cable adapter for your TRRS connector or a TRRS adapter. Other Android devices with a USB-C port and no headphone jack will also require a cable adapter.
There are several connection methods that can be used in connecting an external microphone to a smartphone. A great microphone has the ability to give you the best sound quality possible for your project while reducing background noise in noisy environments. To connect an external mic to your smartphone, it’ll depend on your setup and what will be most beneficial to you.
When you connect a Bluetooth device to your mobile device, it’s known as “pairing.” This is a simple wireless system process and only takes a moment to complete. Bluetooth microphones will require you to go through your phone settings to connect wirelessly. Connecting will depend on your mobile devices so here’s the guide for both iPhones and Android smartphones.
If your external microphone is a wired type of microphone that will be connected directly to your smartphone, it will be more complicated depending on what type of external mic you possess.
At the end, external microphones and how you connect them to your phone will vary based on production, use, and budget. Upping your audio game with an external microphone will show your professionalism and knowledge on audio and sound.