How To


How to use an external microphone with a smartphone or tablet?

By Paul Terpstra

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With the rise of mobile journalism and content creation, using an external microphone with a smartphone has become increasingly popular. While smartphone cameras have improved drastically over the years, the built-in microphones still fall short when it comes to capturing high-quality audio. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using an external microphone with a smartphone and guide you through the process of selecting and using one.

For more a more general discussion of capturing audio with a smart phone, refer to our blog “How to capture great audio with a smartphone“.

Benefits of Using an External Microphone with a Smartphone:

Improved Sound Quality

The built-in microphones on smartphones are designed to capture sound in a general manner, which often results in poor audio quality, especially in noisy environments. An external microphone, on the other hand, can capture high-quality audio with greater clarity and depth, making it an ideal solution for recording interviews, podcasts, and other content.


External microphones come in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to choose the one that suits your needs. You can opt for a lapel mic, which is great for interviews, a shotgun mic, which is ideal for outdoor recording, or a USB microphone that connects directly to your smartphone.

Better Control

Using an external microphone gives you greater control over the audio recording process. You can adjust the microphone settings, such as the gain and directional sensitivity, to capture the audio exactly how you want it.

Choosing an External Microphone:

When it comes to selecting an external microphone for your smartphone, there are several factors to consider.

Type of Microphone

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of microphones to choose from. The type of microphone you select will depend on the type of content you want to create and the environment you will be recording in. For example, if you plan to record interviews, a lapel mic would be a good option.


Make sure that the microphone you select is compatible with your smartphone. Some microphones require a specific type of connector or adapter to connect to your smartphone.  This adapter could be as simple as a TRS to USB-C adapter if you are using a simple dynamic microphone.  The adapter will be slightly more complicated if you are using a microphone that required plugin.  When using a microphone with an XLR connector, it will usually require phantom power that requires an even more sophisticated adapter.

Directional Sensitivity

The directional sensitivity of a microphone determines the direction from which it can pick up sound. A microphone with directional sensitivity can help to eliminate unwanted background noise and focus on the sound you want to capture.


External microphones come at different price points, ranging from budget-friendly options to professional-grade equipment. Consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend on a microphone.

Using an External Microphone with Your Smartphone:

Once you have selected the external microphone that best suits your needs, it’s time to connect it to your smartphone.

Connect the Microphone

Depending on the type of microphone you have, you may need to use an adapter or connector to connect it to your smartphone. Some microphones connect directly to your smartphone’s headphone jack or charging port.

Adjust Microphone Settings

Once the microphone is connected, adjust the settings according to your requirements. You can adjust the gain, directional sensitivity, and other settings using the microphone app that comes with your smartphone or a third-party app.

Test Recording

Before you start recording, do a test recording to make sure that the microphone is working properly and that the sound quality is to your liking.


Using an external microphone with a smartphone can significantly improve the quality of your audio recordings, making it an ideal solution for content creators, journalists, and podcasters. When selecting a microphone, consider the type of microphone, compatibility, directional sensitivity, and price. Once you have connected the microphone, adjust the settings to your requirements, and test the recording before starting your project. With the right microphone, you can take your smartphone recordings to the next level.

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