Use iPhone as a Microphone

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You can definitely record a professional sounding vocal with today’s iPhones. I did it myself! It’s important to note, I’m not talking about recording ON your iPhone but using it as a microphone to record on a computer or any other recording device. Of course, you can record a good vocal using an App, but this is not today’s topic. All you really need to do is to download an app that lets you monitor your output in real time and a cable to connect your iPhone to your Input on your recording device. In this case, your computer. I used a MacBook with Logic Pro X on it and the built-in input jack. You need the right cable for that. iPhone’s output to your laptop or any audio interface. So let’s start!

Can you believe it? Use iPhone As a Microphone and Record a professional sounding vocal?? no way… Yes, Way!
Hello to all my readers, Avi here, audio engineer and music producer for more than 15 years.

Not long ago I found myself away from my studio equipped only with my laptop with logic, small per of in-ear headphones, a cable and my trusty iPhone 6s.
I had a song I really needed to record a vocal for. I thought about recording on my iPhone just like I’m recording my little demos and immediately dropped the idea.
Later that day I thought to myself “why the hell not? I hooked up my iPhone with a small PL cable to the input on my MacBook, downloaded a small free app called “iTalk” that allowed me to use the iPhone mic with real-time monitoring and started recording the first takes.

I was blown away and so surprised by the results that I immediately decided to send audio samples to all my producer friends and asked them what mic it is in their opinion.
All of them told me that it sounds like a legit condenser microphone from a good company. This was really amazing.

I then continued my recordings and finished a whole song. This wasn’t in a studio or in an acoustically treated room. Of course, my mom called 3 times during this session and then I realized I need to put my phone on flight mode 🙂 At this point, I still can’t believe I can Use an iPhone as a microphone.

Eventually, I finished the session and started comping and editing.
During the whole session, I had a weird feeling that I can’t really trust it and it is going straight to the trash. But the deeper I got into the editing session the stronger was the feeling that I’m on to something really interesting here.

Finally, I had a finished lead vocal for my song. I was so excited by this that I finished working on the production mix and half of the mastering on that specific day. So this song eventually meets the finish line and I felt like a true hero.

I think that this experiment proves a few simple stuff:

1. You don’t have to break your bank to have a good sounding microphone, It might be in your pocket.

2. Never underestimate your gear, whether it is cheap or not.

3. Apple proved themselves again as the greatest company ever! Just kidding don’t kill me for being an Apple boy 🙂

I did not use a pop filter and a microphone stand, I just stood in the middle of a small bedroom and sang to my phone.
I held the phone with the microphone on the bottom of the device pointing to my mouth from the side so I won’t be needing a pop filter.

Because this is an omnidirectional microphone, meaning it picks up audio signals from all directions, I had to close all the windows, turn off the AC and record only between noises of passing cars outside the window. I remind you it was a non-isolated or acoustically treated room.

Final conclusion

I liked this setup so much that I’m looking for stupid reasons to get out of the studio and record demos on the beach, in the field near my home, in my car, in vacations and in every opportunity I have to use my lovely iPhone as a microphone again.
But I have to be honest, of course, I won’t record my clients with an iPhone. It was a nice adventure and a really good thing to learn. I still use my Audio-Technica and Neuman mics.

Here’s another article I wrote filled with tips on how to make your voice sound better when recording.

Thanks for reading

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