Maybe you’ve always wanted to improve the audio quality of your smartphone’s audio recordings by using a condenser microphone instead of the phone’s built-in mic. But is this even possible? Can you use a condenser microphone with a phone?
You can connect and use a condenser microphone can with a phone. This can be achieved by connecting the condenser microphone to the phone’s charging port or headphone jack. Depending on the type of phone and condenser mic you have, you might need a connection adapter or phantom power supply box.
First, let’s talk about the different devices that will allow you to connect and use your condenser mic with your phone successfully. And then we’ll follow that up with how to actually use your mic with the phone. Let’s get into it.
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Devices That Can Help You Connect Condenser Mics to Phones
The best way to connect a condenser microphone to a phone is by using an audio interface. Audio interfaces are devices that allow you to send a microphone or musical instrument’s audio signal to a computer or phone.
Audio interfaces have XLR and ¼” that allow you to plug in a microphone or any instrument directly into them. And then, they also have analog-to-digital converters that will convert the audio signal into a digital format that your phone can read.
Most audio interfaces also have a phantom power supply. So they can supply condenser mics with the needed phantom power for them to work.
Something worth mentioning is any audio interface with a microphone input, and phantom power will work. However, most audio interfaces available today have USB 2 and USB 3 connections. They are meant to be used with computers, not phones.
So if you want to connect an audio interface to your phone, you’ll need an OTG adapter.
If you use an Android, iPhone, or iPad with a USB-C port, then you’ll need a USB-C to USB 3 OTG Adapter. For Android phones with a Micro USB charging port, you’ll need a Micro-USB to USB 3 OTG Adapter. And for users of iPhones or iPads with a Lightning port, you’ll need a Lightning to USB 3 Adapter. You get the idea.
If you’re serious about making music or recording only on your smartphone or tablet, then an audio interface that is worth investing in is the iRig Pro Duo Audio Interface (on Amazon).
This versatile and portable audio interface works with iOS devices, Android devices, Mac, and PC. There are two combo inputs on this audio interface which allows you to connect instruments and microphones. It also has a 48v phantom power supply needed for condenser mics to work.
A cheaper alternative to the iRig Pro Duo is the iRig Pre HD Digital Microphone Interface (also on Amazon). This is the perfect audio interface made for only iPhone and iPad users.
It comes with a lightning connector that plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad has an excellent analog-to-digital converter. And it also has a 48v phantom power supply required for condenser microphones. And it’s very straightforward to use.
As you may already know, most condenser microphones are connected using XLR cables. There are few condenser mics available today that use USB connections and TRRS jacks, but most are XLR ports.
Unfortunately, phones don’t have an XLR port. And this means you can’t connect most condenser mics directly to your phone. And this is where connection adapters come in.
Connection adapters allow you to connect microphones to your smartphones using the phone’s headphone jack or charging ports.
There are many different connection adapters available today. And depending on the phone and the condenser mic you’re using, one may be a better option than the other. Let’s take a look at the different options available.
XLR to 3.5mm TRRS with Phantom Power Supply
If you use an XLR condenser microphone and have a phone with a headphone jack, then this might be an excellent option for you. This can be great for users with Android phones, iPhones, and iPad with a headphone jack.
This option does not only allow you to connect your condenser mic to your phone; it also supplies phantom power to your condenser microphone. And this is a cheaper option compared to buying an audio interface.
An excellent XLR to TRRS adapter you can go for is the Saramonic Smartrig II Adapter with Phantom Power (on Amazon). This is a simple yet excellent connection adapter with a combo jack.
So not only can you plug condenser mics into them, but you can also connect a guitar or any other instrument. And most importantly, it can supply phantom power needed for condenser mics to work.
XLR to 3.5mm Connector Adapter
XLR to 3.5mm Connector Adapter (on Amazon) is similar to the one described above. It lets you connect XLR condenser microphones to phones via their 3.5mm headphone jack.
The only difference is that this option does not have a phantom power supply. So if you want to go for this option, you should either have a battery-powered condenser mic or use it with a phantom power supply box.
If you decide to go with this, you may need a phantom power supply box like the Neewer Phantom Power Box (Amazon) so that you can power your condenser mic.
As you can already tell, this is not the most portable option. But it will get the job done.
XLR to Lightning Connector – iOS
For iPhone and iPad users with no headphone jack on their devices, this is an option for you.
XLR to Lightning Connector Adapter (Amazon) allows you to connect your XLR condenser mics to your device via the charging or lightning port. The only downside is since iPhones and iPads can’t supply phantom power to your condenser mic, you’ll need a phantom power supply box, just like I mentioned previously.
Lightning to 3.5mm Connector Adapter – iOS
Lightning to 3.5mm Adapters (also on Amazon) is a little similar to the XLR to 3.5mm adapter. However, this adapter is meant for only iPhones and iPads.
As you may already know, Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone in 2016 with the release of the iPhone 7. And it has remained the same for all iPhones released after 2016.
Thus, this lightning to 3.5mm adapter enables you to connect devices that come with 3.5mm audio pins to lightning devices. Therefore, you can use it to connect condenser microphones that have 3.5mm audio plugs to iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
Audio Monitoring and Recording App
Unlike the connectors I have mentioned above, audio monitoring and recording apps do not directly help you connect a condenser microphone to a smartphone.
However, they play an important role when connecting condenser microphones to smartphones. Without these audio monitoring and recording apps, you may not be able to use your condenser microphone when you connect it to your phone.
This is because most of the apps that come with your smartphone are not compatible with condenser microphones.
It will surprise you to know that your phone’s default camera, which is used to record videos, does not work with condenser microphones.
Due to this, you will need these third-party audio monitoring and recording apps to help you use your condenser microphone when you connect it to a smartphone.
They support recording using external microphones. Some of these audio monitoring and recording apps include; Open Camera, Dolby On, and Cinema FV-5.
How To Connect A Condenser Mic To Phone
There are two primary ways to connect a condenser mic to your phone. One way is to connect the mic to your phone via the headphone jack. And the other way is to connect the condenser mic to your phone via the charging port.
And from the numerous devices we’ve discussed, there are multiple ways to do this. So let’s take a look at them.
Connection Via The Headphone Jack
If you own a condenser microphone such as this one on Amazon, which has a 3.5mm input jack, you can connect it directly to your phone. These types of condenser mic are designed to work with devices without the need for phantom power.
On the other hand, if you own a traditional XLR condenser microphone that requires phantom power, and you want to connect and use it with your phone via the headphone jack, you’ll need a connection adapter.
In this instance, you’ll need an XLR to 3.5mm Connection Adapter. Either the type with phantom power or the type without will work, just as we’ve already discussed earlier. However, if you want to go for the XLR to 3.5mm connector without a phantom power supply, you’ll need a phantom power supply box.
Connection Via The Charging Port
There are multiple ways to connect a condenser microphone to a smartphone via the charging port. And we’ve already discussed the devices that make it possible to do that.
If you use an iPhone or iPad and you want to use an audio interface with your condenser mic, you’ll need a Lightning to USB Connector. This will allow you to plug an audio interface into your phone. And we’ve already discussed this in the audio interface section of this article.
Similarly, if you want to connect your condenser mic to an Android phone using an audio interface, you’ll need an OTG Adapter. Depending on the phone you’re using, this could be either a Micro USB to USB 3 Connection Adapter or a USB-C to USB 3 Connection Adapter.
Suppose you’re an iPhone or iPad, and you want to connect your condenser mic directly to your device. In that case, you’ll need either an XLR to Lightning Connector or a Lightning to 3.5mm Connector, depending on whether your condenser mic has an XLR jack or a 3.5mm jack.
This also means you’ll need a phantom power supply box for your XLR condenser mic.
Which Condenser Mic is Best for Android Phones?
The Saramonic SmartMic Condenser Microphone (on Amazon) is a great condenser microphone that can be used with your smartphone. It is lightweight and portable due to its small frame.
This condenser microphone can pick up and record wide ranges of sound. It has an excellent frequency response as well. Due to this, it produces a sound of high quality.
Therefore, using this external microphone with your android phone will give you better and high-quality sound than what your smartphone gives you.
An advantage of this condenser microphone is that you can connect it to both android and iOS devices.
Which Condenser Mic Is Best For iOS?
The Blue Spark Digital Lightning Condenser Microphone (Amazon) is the best condenser mic you can get for your iOS device.
This is a studio-grade condenser microphone that has broad recording capabilities. It comes with the option for both USB and iOS connectivity. This condenser microphone is compatible with all current iOS devices and even iPhone 5.
To use this condenser microphone with your apple device, just insert it into your smartphone. After plugging it into your apple device, you can begin recording after you run a compatible recording app.
Condenser microphones can be easily connected to smartphones. Some condenser microphones can be connected directly to the headphone port of phones.
Others can only be connected to phones by using an appropriate adapter. Plugging in a compatible adapter to your phone will enable you to connect your condenser microphone to your phone.