Microphone options for your iPad

I love the quality of the video that my iPad takes… but I’m running into problems with the audio.  The built-in mic just isn’t enough to get quality audio.  What are some easy options for adding a better quality microphone to my iPad?

First… before you add any microphone, you must add a special cable to allow a microphone to connect.  Many times, we hear from staff that just plug a microphone into the headphone jack of the iPad and are expecting that to work.  Sorry, you’ll need the following connector (or something comparable), we recommend….

connectorSescom iPhone/iPod/iPad 3.mm TRRS to 3.5mm Mic
It’s available on Amazon.com for around $25.   One end plugs into the iPad headphone jack and then there are two other ends: one for the microphone of your choice, and the other jack is optional and is for headphones so that you can listen in or monitor the quality of the audio.

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wiredmicOption #1:  Wired Mic
Again, you’ll need the connector cable listed above first, then add the Audio-Technica ATR-3550 Lavalier Mic.  It’s also easily found on Amazon.com, typically for around $19.   What I really like about this mic  – it comes with a really long cable, about 20 feet.   In most cases, if your subject is further than 20 feet away, your going to want to record with something other than an iPad anyway.  It’s also small lavalier mic that most folks wire up through  the inside of a jacket or clothing and the end result is that no one can tell its a wired mic.  It does require a small battery, but that’s included with the mic.

Here’s what the final product will look like when your iPad has the special connector and the lavalier wired mic…. total cost: $30 for connector, $19 for lavalier mic: total is around $49

IMG_0902

sonyOption #2:  Wireless Mic
Even when looking for wireless mic option – you still need the special connector listed above, so that’s your first item needed.  Then we recommend the Sony ECM-AW3 Wireless Mic, also available on Amazon.com, costs around $156.   The mic comes with two seperate components, the receiver (which plugs into the special connector/iPad) and the microphone, which is wireless and sends to receiver via bluetooth.  The mic has a range of 150 feet – which effectively means that its way outside the range that the iPad can actually take video.

Here’s what the final picture looks like with iPad, special connector, and the wireless mic setup.  Cost is:  $30 for connector + $156 for wireless mic = $186 total.

IMG_0909

7 thoughts on “Microphone options for your iPad

  1. Jonathan Wylie

    Thanks for the ideas. I am looking into audio options for an iPad movie making workshop so was glad to find this. I have experimented with some USB mics that you can connect via the USB camera connector kit. Have you tried that? I got a Snowball mic to work that way, but wireless is the way to go if you can. More flexibility. Just wish there was something a little less pricy than the Sony set up. Know of any cheaper wireless systems like it that might work? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Sujil

    I was searching for wireless mic options for iPad. This article helps me to zero down to what i was looking for. Couple of queries i have here is
    1. Does this works with iPad Air. Theoretically it should work, just want to know whether you tried or not.
    2. My use case required the microphone to go on mute during certain scenarios, does Sony ECM-AW3 have a mute button. I saw couple of buttons on the sides, want to know whether one of those provides a mute functionality or not.

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. jonathanwylie

    Another option I came across was the iRig Mic. Or you could try the iRig Pre, which lets you use XLR mics that you may already have. I am going to try and blog on these soon…

    Reply
  4. Bernard

    Any trick in getting the Sony wireless mic to work with an iPad? I have an iPad 3, bought the cable you recommend, bought the Sony ECMAW4 (a later model of the one you suggest) — but I get NO signal in the iPad once I plug in the cable. 😦

    Reply
  5. Bernard HP Lockhart-Gilroy

    Any trick in getting the Sony wireless mic to work with an iPad? I have an iPad 3, bought the cable you recommend, bought the Sony ECMAW4 (a later model of the one you suggest) — but I get NO signal in the iPad once I plug in the cable. 😦

    Reply
  6. mdiltz

    Another option is to use the connector you described and purchase a wireless mic with transmitter. It is less costly, the range is great and you can choose lavalier or handheld options. The question I have is, can two mics be plugged into the connector? If so I could have 2 mics for a recording of a class debate. That would be great.

    Reply

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