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Use an external microphone with the iPhone iOS devices
I wanted to use an external microphone with my iPhone, so I could record audio from an event. Unfortunately, there aren't any cables that give you a real microphone input jack. Fortunately, I was able to find an unexpected solution: the Mini A/V cable that came with my digital camera!

On one end, it has the three standard RCA plugs found on the front of every TV. On the other end, it's got a four-conductor mini plug that's the same as the iPhone's headphone jack. Just plug the cable into the iPhone's headphone jack, and use the RCA jacks like this:
  • White/Black: Audio out (L)
  • Yellow: Audio Out (R)
  • Red: Mic level input
Now, with the right adapters, you can use professional microphones with your iPhone, or feed it audio from a PC or mixing board! Just remember to add a line level attenuator before you do that, because line level will be waaaay too loud. This comes in very handy with audio recording apps.

Unfortunately, the input is only mono, but it sure beats the internal mic.
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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: atchius on May 04, '09 03:13:07PM

Once at church, we needed to do a quick phone interview during the worship service with a guy away on a mission trip. Our pastor remained on stage, speaking into his microphone for the congregation. The phone stayed in the back with me, and the guy on the line could hear everything coming through our sound system. When he spoke it fed into one of our mixer input channels.

In case anyone needs the exact setup:

• Mixer AUX 1/4" TRS female line-level balanced output
• 1/4" TS male -> 1/4" TS male patch cable
• Direct-injection box with 1/4" TS female line-level unbalanced input and XLR female mic-level balanced output
• XLR male -> 1/4" TS male adapter
• 1/4" TS female -> RCA female adapter
• RCA x3 male -> TRRS 1/8" male camcorder cable, connected to iPhone (the RCA colors were wrong on ours)
• RCA x2 female -> TS x2 1/4" male patch cable
• Mixer INSTR 1/4" TS x2 female line-level unbalanced input

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External microphone with the iPhone - Help
Authored by: rnorum on Jun 29, '09 10:45:30AM
A question regarding these postings: does anyone know if there is an external mic solution for the iphone 3GS? I'm shooting video/audio for a music festival next week and will be doing interviews as well as on-site shots of concerts. So as to be as portable and unencumbered as possible, I'm going to try to do all the video and audio work on the iphone 3gs.

If I pick up a good mic and plug it into the iphone via a coupler to the A/V 4-conductor mini-plug, will this record ok? Or will I need to put something (a line attenuator?) in between mic and iphone to modify the input signal such that it will record. problem of course is that ill be on location and so wont really have ability to have extra equipment along with me – was hoping to do this with just the iphone and an external mic.

I went down to J&R Music World in New York this morning to test out some mic options with my iphone. I tried out the the Audio-Technica ATR50 and made an interesting discovery. The mic plugged into the iphone via the A/V four-conductor miniplug did actually record sound at a decent level, *but* the recording was accompanied by a strange regular metronomic clicking sound. This sounded like some sort of power loop. I've uploaded a copy of the recording here:

Does anyone have any idea what this is and/or if there is any way to get rid of it? Or do you think I am fighting a losing battle?

Cheers in advance,

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: KingBroseph on Sep 04, '09 05:18:05PM

How is this possible. Isn't the iPhone jack only output? I've tried to do this with RCA cables and the right adapters and using an amplifier and still the only audio picked up by my phone is from the internal mic.

Can someone please confirm this?

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: waffffffle on May 04, '09 03:50:03PM
Many of these 1/8th inch-to-phono cables vary by manufacturer. Can you post what model camera your cable is from?

Apple has made several of these cables and their compatibility varies across models. These links explain some of the compatibility issues between them:

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: jsevakis on May 04, '09 05:47:30PM

I think this is from my old Panasonic MiniDV camcorder. The one that came with my Canon is mono.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: fbitterlich on May 14, '09 01:12:59AM

This might also work with the newest generation MacBook Pro, as it works great with the iPhone earphones/mic combo – I haven't tried, though.

That would solve the old problem of the MBP not having a mic-level sound input. OTOH you can always use a cheap external USB "soundcard". Most work with the Mac right out of the box.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: dobm on Jan 22, '10 02:45:47AM

I use an iPhone App called 4track, as an external talent recorder when shooting video and syncronise the sound track to the picture during editing.

The quality of the 3G/3GS microphone is absolutely astonishingly good and the only downside is the physical bulk of the device in the talent's top pocket.

Following the good advice here, I have found a company who sells specialised cables, including a microphone adapter. For those who might be interested, here's the link:-



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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: dobm on Feb 01, '10 09:51:31AM

Just as an important note to my last post, the KVC adapter is designed to take a stereo 3.5mm mic and converts to a mono input into the iPhone.

If you are using a Mono 3.5mm plug to start with, you will need a 3.5 mono input to 3.5mm stereo output adapter to use with the KVC adapter, otherwise a mono mic plug on its own will be shorted out and won't work.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: swankydave on Feb 11, '10 11:42:15AM
Hello dobm... Per your last comment (posted on 2/1), you state that a 3.5 mono input to 3.5mm stereo output adapter is needed to use the KVC adapter. I did get the KVC adapter... and now I am ready to search for the adapter you mention... although before I run to Radioshack and ask for this item, I thought I'd search for it on the internet (at least take along a photo/description of what I'm needing). The thing is... all I'm finding in my searches, are STEREO Female to MONO male adapters... such as: Is this what I'm needing? I'm a bit confused.

If you're curious to know what I'm hoping to do... I'm hoping to run an Audio-Technica ATR3350 Lavelier Microphone (See: I'm assuming it's a Mono mic)... to my iPhone, using the same App you use... FourTrack. So far, I have the mic and the KVC adapter (and of course, my iphone). So, I most likely will need that 'other' adapter as things aren't working for me... yet. Could I be confused with the female/male description?... or might you have referred it incorrectly. Please let me know... and if you could provide links to the item (anywhere online), that would be helpful!! I would appreciate your response. Thank you!

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: swankydave on Feb 11, '10 02:46:33PM
dobm... I went ahead and went to Radioshack to see if they had anything to what you describe. They did! It was the 274-374 mono-to-stereo adapter ( I took my mic, KVC adapter and iPhone with me. They let me try it out... although NO luck! ??? I'm lost. The only mic that works for me is the headphone/mic set that came with my iPhone... not ideal, as the cord is just so long. :( I'm really curious to know if you have any thoughts as to why this is not working for me. Hope to hear back from you (or anyone else that might have a clue). Thank you!!

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Kvconnection Adapters
Authored by: tsuneya on Apr 01, '10 06:00:14PM

If your adapter does not work contact Hit the contact us button or call 1-888-749-6325. They will help you figure it out. If it is defective they will send you a new one.

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From an anonymous reader
Authored by: robg on Feb 25, '10 04:21:11AM
This was submitted as a hint for posting here as a comment ... so here it is!
According to various sources, some newer models of the iPhone do indeed record well with an external microphone -- specifically the Belkin Tune Talk stereo mic. Here is a blog dated Thurs July 30, 2009 which confirms this and gives the details.

I stumbled across this as usual, while researching a different topic, though audio recording related not iPhone or iPod related. I do a tremendous amount of live recording of Electric Voodoo see myspace/electricvoodooblues, one of the best live bands around short of Allman Bros, Who, and Stones. The myspace live stuff from Columbia County Amph 5-1-09 was captured with my old Sharp MD-MT821 & Microsound y-Stereo mic (Panasonic uni electret elements). Very ancient, and very basic, yet outstanding recording.

Perhaps someone can comment on exactly how well the iPhone records with the BelkinTuneTalk; I have not tried it. My point is this: if the iPhone records acceptably with the Belkin, then perhaps one can tweak/experiment with other mic elements and such to get even better results.

There is some debate as to whether the BelkinTuneTalk's mics record as well as Mikey Blue or vice versa. This I don't know and have no experience with; I'm simply stating what I've read and heard. I did read and see that a second generation Mikey Blue is due in Spring 2010. Anyway, exploration further into the iPhone's stereo audio recording capabilities likely will benefit all who would like to capture all those great live performances.

I encourage others to chime in and tell what they know on this subject. Appology for being so lengthy, with so little info, but even as such, I thought it might be relevant and useful. Cheers and keep a rocking & rolling and recording.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: shish99 on Mar 19, '10 10:21:44AM
I have found the adapter made by this company: works perfectly for attaching a line-in mic to my iPhone. I simply use the built-in app Voice Memos to record but there are other apps which work similarly out there.

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Here is your solution
Authored by: thelastpiece on May 18, '10 11:45:43AM

the kvconnection makes excellent iPhone cables and you can use a compact mixing board to control volume levels if you want to get more technical. Avoid the PRS guitarbud and the crazy mini-cam adapter mess.

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Details/Example for Lav into iPhone 4
Authored by: geerlingguy on Jul 12, '10 07:09:35PM

Here's a blog post on my experience with the KV Connection adapter and a lav mic on my iPhone 4:

And you can see more details on the setup (including information about plugging other line-level inputs into the iPhone) here:

This thread was immensely helpful in getting me started recording professional-quality interviews and other clips on my iPhone! Thanks to all who posted here! (This is my first post on Mac OSX Hints... however, I've been a lurker for years!

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: Ronnie M on Apr 01, '11 09:52:08PM

iRig Mic ( is a great external mic for the iPhone, or any Apple device. You can even charge your iPhone while you use it, so you'll never run out of juice. The sound quality is pro. As a self-powered electret condenser with 3 sensitivity levels, there is a setting for every occassion. Setting to the the amplify setting will pick up distant sounds beautifully, like at a concert or event.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: captnkirk on Apr 07, '11 04:54:51PM

There is a new XLR Adapter product from that allows you to connect an XLR microphone to the iPhone and it includes a pre-amp that provides proper gain for a dynamic mic. It can also be used for connecting to mixer boards, if the output voltage is set to microphone levels.

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: newbieQ on May 24, '11 10:01:29PM

MicW just came out with a plug and play external mic that works with measurement apps and meets the IEC61672 Class 2 Sound Level Meter standard. More info at

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Use an external microphone with the iPhone
Authored by: Sunaj on Dec 13, '12 04:11:34PM

I would like to know if anyone has continued to pursue this method of recording. I have an iPhone 3g and am very interested in this method of 'portable recording'. When I tried it last with a mini av rca cable i plugged a dynamic microphone into the cable and used an app for my iphone called Multitrack DAW. However when I recorded the my speech or song, the audio would sound distorted no matter what, and I am wondering if it's because I needed a mixer in between everything to adjust the level or if the audio was by default loud as hell and nothing could be done about the distortion.

Can anyone clarify that adding a mixer in between the cables/ Microphone would solve the volume/ distortion problem? Even the softest of words spoken distort

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