The 6 Best Microphones for iPhone: iOS Top External Mics 2021

Written by: Team Mic Basics
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Smartphones have been a godsend for audio and video recording enthusiasts. They give people a way to record audio/video, edit clips, and post recordings to the internet… all while using one device.

But even though smartphones like the iPhone have built-in microphones for sound recording, the quality of these built-in mics is notoriously lacking.

In truth, if you want to record with your iPhone, you are going to need an upgrade… a high-quality microphone for iPhone, that will get the job done right and help you to level-up your iPhone’s recording performance capabilities!

The good part of this is that mic companies have hopped onto the smartphone train. Many recording mics manufactured nowadays are made to be compatible with smartphones… both iPhone and Android devices.

But how do you choose the best mic for your project?

Well, that’s what we’re here for!

How to Choose the Right Mic

Polar pattern

The polar pattern can either be a huge help or ruin your work that is why it is important for you to choose the right one.

To determine your polar pattern need, consider things like:

  • whether you are in a controlled room
  • what are you planning to use it for
  • Whether you are going to be recording alone or with other people 

For podcast for one person our recommendation would be for you to use a Cardioid or often called Unidirectional pattern, this polar pattern will cover the area in front of the mic meaning that, that area will be the place where the mic will capture more and better sound and the when you start getting away from the center it will capture less and less sound until you get to the back of the mic where it will capture no sound at all. 

If you want to record podcast for two the best way to go is the Bidirectional pattern. The bidirectional, also called figure 8 pattern, will cover the front and back part of the mic and will not capture anything in the right or left area, This makes it perfect for podcast or interviews for two people. 

Max SPL

The Max sound pressure level determines how much volume the microphone can resist without getting any damage, a higher max SPL means more volume the microphone can handle. The SPL is measured in decibels (a human voice can go up to 100db). So If you are going to use it for a podcast you are going to want to look for something that goes between 60db – 90db, although you should not get less than 60db because even though you do not need to raise your voice in a podcast sometimes people get a little loud unconsciously and your microphone should be able to handle that. If you want to use it to record someone singing you will need to look for a higher SPL handling, because the human voice can get up to 100db screaming you probably need to go for a 100db – 110db that way you make sure your mic will handle the vocals with no problem.  If you want to record or mic and instrument you will need higher SPL handling because an instrument can reach louder SPL than a human voice, so for an instrument you will  need to look for a max SPL of 120db – 180db  for it to not damage your microphone.

SPL Breakdown:

  • Podcast  60db-90db
  • Singing  100db-110db
  • Instrument 120db-180db

Frequency Response

Frequency Response is the frequencies the microphone can capture, The human ear is able to capture from 20hz – 20khz that is why it is recommended to look for a microphone that frequency response is 20hz -20,000hz, because that way the listeners won’t be missing any frequencies. The human voice can go as low as 100hz for men and as high as 300hz for children so if you are going to record a human voice you will not need a wide range but if you do you will be able to record more than a human voice. 

Accessories

Some Microphones include windscreens. Windscreens are the round foams that you put on the head of the microphone to protect it from the wind so when recording outside the wind would not get in the recording as much letting the microphone capture what is intended to be recorded. 

Some microphones like the Shure MV88 have an app that helps to control the settings of the microphone by being able to control the gain and EQ and some even being able to change the polar pattern, Apps are very helpful because it lets you get the best sound out of the microphone without having to download a recording app that might be heavier and would need more space from your device. 

Other Microphones come with adaptors. Adaptors are the cables or heads that let you go convert the port to another according to your need. Adaptors are very helpful because they let you use the microphone in different devices, some go from Micro USB to USB to connect to your computer and some go from micro USB to lighting cable to be able to connect it to you ios device making the microphone portable by being able to record anywhere. 

This is our list of the best microphones for iPhone! This list should take you from ‘wondering what you need,’ to ‘choosing the best mic for you’ in a mere matter of minutes!

Let’s dive in and get started.

Shure MV88 iOS Stereo Condenser Microphone
This digital stereo condenser from Shure is pocket friendly, but also gives you the power to turn your iPhone into a truly powerful recording device.
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Our Top Pick: Shure MV88

Shure MV88 iOS Stereo Condenser Microphone
This digital stereo condenser from Shure is pocket friendly, but also gives you the power to turn your iPhone into a truly powerful recording device.
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The Shure MV88 deserves our top-pick spot for a number of reasons. It is easy to use, carries the very prestigious and trusted Shure brand, and does everything that a quality condenser mic is supposed to do… but it is scaled down to work perfectly with your iPhone or other iOS device!

The high-fidelity condenser mic has 5 DSP preset modes for different applications (speech, singing, flat, instruments, and loud) and the onboard computer automatically adjusts the EQ for the particular sound.

The Shure is perfect for the iPhone recorder-on-the-go, and requires no extra installation. Just plug it in and record. The metal casing is durable and will stand up to even the most intrepid journalist activities.

Shure MV88 Key Features:

  • Lightning 3 Connector Pin 

This connector works with all newer iOS devices, ensuring compatibility for those who run Apple hardware. 

This mic literally couldn’t be easier to use. Just plug it in and record! 

  • Polar Pattern

Shure MV88 has the option of changing polar pattern, it has 3 different options; Cardioid , Bidireccional, and Raw mid side which is a mix of cardioid and bidirectional pattern. This feature allows you to change the polar pattern according to your needs making it easier to record when you are not in a controlled room.

  • Frequency Response

MV88 has a frequency response of 20Hz – 20,000Hz For such a small mic, you can expect truly beautiful highs and lows from this little guy. Plus, you get quite a bit of off-axis rejection, which is very helpful. 

Is The Shure MV88 The Best Microphone For iPhone?

Yes, without a doubt. 

The MV88 is made specifically for the iPhone, and comes equipped with a Lightning 3 connector pin, so it is natively compatible with all iOS devices.

If you want awesome quality from a brand you can trust, and need an excellent condenser microphone choice for your iPhone, then look no further than the Shure MV88.

Best Budget iPhone Microphone: Rode VideoMic Me-L

The Rode VideoMic Me-L for the iPhone/iPad is designed to be a mic that you can use with your iPad or iPhone, and it works extremely well for this purpose. 

The ‘L’ in the name stands for ‘Lightning,’ as that’s the connector that you use to connect the mic to your device. This is the main difference between the Me-L and the original VideoMic Me

Alright. Now let’s get into the details. 

Rode VideoMic Me-L Key Features:

  • Built-In Headphone Output

Just like the VideoMic Me, the Me-L ships with a 3.5mm output on the back of the mic that you can use for headphone monitoring. 

  • Quality Frequency Response

Boasting a 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, this little fella will capture sounds in the whole spectrum of the human ear, whatever you put in front of it, it will deliver. 

  • Polar Pattern 

The VideoMic me has a cardioid polar pattern, this means that will capture in a greater way what is directly in front of it, and will start decreasing as it moves on the side, having a rejection of the sound in the 180 degrees, or in the back of the microphone. This helps to prevent undesired noise on the takes. 

  • Fantastic Ease Of Use And Audio Quality

Rode created this mic for vloggers and videographers who need high-quality audio while filming video on their devices… and the Me-L certainly doesn’t disappoint. You’ll be surprised at the quality of audio you can capture with this little device. 

In the box, you get a deadcat windscreen (which helps to block out wind noise), and a small rubber clamp that you can use to help secure the mic to your device. 

Is The Rode VideoMic Me-L The Best Budget iPhone Microphone?

Yes, without a doubt.

We love this mic for the iPhone, and don’t believe there’s anything else out on the market that quite lives up to this mic’s ability to perform with the challenging iPhone/iPad microphone quandary.  

Best Cheap Microphone for iPhone: Comica CVM VM10-K2

Comica Smartphone Video Kit CVM-VM10-K2

As our runner-up selection, the Comica Video Kit gives you a tripod, a shotgun mic, and a world of iPhone audio/video possibilities in a convenient and easy-to-use package.

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This Comica Smartphone Video Kit comes with the mic, as well as a mini-tripod

It allows you to turn your iPhone into a full-fledged audio-video workstation, complete with a high-quality microphone and stable, convenient tripod-mounting system, so that you can use it on-the-go and transport it easily.

The mic is small and easy to carry. As far as features go, it has a built-in anti-interference function. 

As a shotgun microphone, this is an awesome option if you need to just set your iPhone down and capture audio from everything in front of it. 

Comica Smartphone Video Kit Key Features: 

  • Polar Pattern   

The microphone is a cardioid dynamic microphone which will reduce capturing noise from the rear and sides of the mic and more accurately record the sound where you are pointing your phone.

  • Frequency Response

The frequency response of thus microphone is from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. It has its better response on the frequencies of the human voice and a little excite between the 3k and 10k which add clarity and brightness to the tracks

  • Apple Connectability

The microphone supports all smartphones that come with a 3.5mm audio input jack and when using a 3.5mm to lightning dongle, all iPhones can easily connect to the rig.

Is the Comica Smartphone Video Kit The Best Cheap Microphone for iPhone?

Yes, absolutely. 

If you’re looking for a dynamic, expressive shotgun mic for general, all-purpose iPhone audio/video tasks, then the Comica Video Kit CVM-VM10-K2 should absolutely be on your radar!

Best iPhone Lavalier Mic: PoP Voice Lavalier Lapel Microphone

PoP voice Professional Lavalier Lapel Microphone

This omnidirectional condenser mic is simply an awesome fit for anyone needing a simple, inexpensive, and effective lavalier mic for their iPhone.

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The PoP Voice Lavalier lapel microphone is an excellent choice for the casual recorder who needs a reliable and decent quality mic for on-the-go recordings. The microphone is designed specifically for use with smartphones, and is compatible with most major brands and operating systems.

It comes with an adaptor pin for use on PC and Mac. 

The lapel mic is small and has a sturdy clip that can be placed on a shirt collar or jacket. 

The only real downside is the sound range of the mic. The volume drops drastically if you move it away from your mouth. Otherwise, the PoP Voice is our pick for the best lavalier microphone for iPhone.

PoP Voice Lavalier Lapel Microphone Key Features: 

  • Polar Pattern

This lavalier mic has an omnidirectional polar pattern, which means that will capture all the sound around it. This gives you the freedom to attach it in many more ways to your clothes without losing the volume and clarity of the speech. 

  • Frequency Response

 The frequency response is all the way from 20 to 20k Hz to be able to record every detail of the source

  • Make Of Professional-Grade Materials

A significant upgrade to most built-in smartphone microphones, this mic gives you great audio packed into a body made of professional-grade materials, including a metal body. 

Is The PoP Voice Lavalier The Best iPhone Lavalier Mic?

Yes. 

It’s highly reviewed, works well, and is super simple to use. It just doesn’t get any better for a better price than this.  

Best For Podcasts And Studio: Shure MV51

Shure MV51
The Shure MV51 delivers serious audio-quality, with the ability to use the Lightning Cable or USB to hook up to your iPhone or rig.
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The Shure MV51 was specifically made for use with the iPhone, iPod, and/or iPad, and is certified for direct connection to any iOS device without the need for any additional adapters or connection kits.

It comes with 5 preset modes, including singing, speech, flat, acoustic instrument, and loud… and automatically adjusts gain, EQ, compression, and limiting to help you achieve optimal results, regardless of what type of audio you’re recording.

The front panel controls on the MV51 are intuitive and easy to use. You simply select which mode you wish to use. There is also a mute button, a headphone volume, and a gain knob.

The headphone output that’s built into the Shure MV51 also gives you real-time monitoring. This way, you can avoid any latency issues that may occur as you record… which will do a lot to help you mitigate problems with sound-delay, which can really throw off your performance.

Shure MV51 Key Features:

  • Vintage Design

The all metal construction gives this Shure mic a long-lasting design. But it also has a unique, attractive vintage look that adds to its elegance. 

  • Polar Pattern

The polar pattern of the MV51 is a Cardioid polar pattern, this will improve your recordings avoiding unwanted noise that is not from the source in front of the microphone. Cleaner tracks are easier to edit and will deliver a better sound quality

  • Frequency Response

Frequency Response in the MV51 is outstanding and designed to bring the best on your tracks. With a range from 20 to 20k it will capture all the frequencies you can hear, but its response to the human voice spectrum and acoustic instrument is the excellent, with a rise in the mid-high section will add the right amount of air in your tracks. 

Is The Shure MV51 The Best Mic For Podcasts And Studio?

If you’re looking to start a podcast using nothing but your iPhone, this is the mic for you. 

It may sound counterintuitive… but believe it or not, your iPhone is a powerhouse piece of audio machinery that you can definitely leverage to start an awesome podcast. All you need to make it work is a mic. 

And the Shure MV51 is the best in the game. 

Best Wireless: Comica CVM WS50C

Comica CVM-WS50(C) Wireless

If you need a wireless mic that will work seamlessly with your iPhone, the comica CVM-WS50(C) is what we recommend.

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The Comica CVM-WS50(C) Wireless Smart Phone Lavalier Microphone System comes packed with features that will truly help you to take your iPhone videography/audio recording to an entire new level.

It has a built-in rechargeable battery, and a special LCD screen that displays channels, audio status, and power consumption.

Our favorite thing about the Comica CVM-WS50(C) Kit, however, is probably the fact that it takes your iPhone, and really just transforms it into an all-in-one video or audio recording station

If you know for sure you are in the market for a wireless mic for your iphone… there are dozens of additional options in our dedicated wireless iPhone mics post, here.

Comica CVM-WS50(C) Wireless Kit Key Features: 

  • Real Time Monitoring

Use on-board real-time monitoring to counteract any potential latency issues you may be facing.

  • Multiple Channels And Long Range

You get 6 channels and 194 feet of wireless range with this system.

  • Polar Pattern

Comica features a lavalier microphone with omnidirectional polar pattern, a 360 degree reception to cover every angle where your voice is coming and deliver with crystal clear definition. 

  • Frequency Response

This little microphone has a frequency response specially tailored for the human voice, bringing clear sound and maximizing the frequencies where the voice moves.

Is the Comica CVM-WS50(C) The Best Wireless Mic For Your iPhone?

Yes. You really can’t beat this wireless kit, especially for the price!

Conclusion

So which iPhone microphone is the best? Our top pick is the Shure MV88 on account of its simplicity of use, included Lightning 3 connector pin, and overall quality/price ratio.

Our runner up pick was the  Comica Video Kit CVM-VM10-K2 kit.

Both mics offer a superior experience for a great price and are useful tools in the arsenal of any recording enthusiast.

Whether your purposes are professional or more casual and experimental, this guide will help you get off on the right foot to finding a mic that suits your needs.