The days of convergence are upon us and the way in which people utilize their iPhone continues to astonish. As someone who has covered trade shows, I’ve found that you can use an iPhone as a microphone, removing the need to carry an extra piece of equipment. There are a few options, so let’s break them down.
Apple’s Voice Memos
Your iPhone comes with an application titled ‘Voice Memos’ that resides in the Extras folder. While it may be hidden, this app packs a punch, offering a number of valuable features.
The red button to the left allows you to start recording. Apple includes a audio level meter, helping you monitor your levels. Keeping levels below ‘0’ is recommended for the best quality audio. Going past this could result in distorted audio.
As you record, you can pause if you would like one long segment that includes the occasional pause in recording. Pressing the stop button concludes your recording.
From the main window, the menu icon on the right will bring up all of your audio recordings. You can share these via email or messaging. The resulting audio file is an .m4a format. This is a compressed audio file, similar to an .mp3, but they use Apple’s lossless compression format.
Tip: The microphone on the iPhone is at the bottom left, adjacent to the dock connector and speaker.
The Voice Memos app is minimal in its features, but does the trick and it’s completely free.
Expanded Voice Memo Features
If you are looking for similar, but more robust features in a voice memo app, consider Recorder Pro. This app allows you to organize your recordings by categories you create. You can also record in a variety of formats that include AIFF, AIFC, CAF and WAV. This app also includes easy transfer via iTunes, WiFi Sync and sharing via email.
Output your iPhone microphone to a PA system or mixing board
If you are looking for more options, then you should check out VonBruno Microphone Pro. Where as Voice Memos simply records your audio, this app allows you to utilize your iPhone as a microphone, in the traditional sense of the word. The audio from the microphone travels through this app, to either your external speakers or the headset jack. Theoretically, you could connect the 3.5mm headset jack on your iPhone to a mixing board, utilizing the microphone in amplify your voice through a PA system.
VonBruno Microphone ($0.99) is available in the App Store.
They also offer VonBruno Microphone Pro ($4.99), which is optimized to “provide the lowest latency possible on your device while providing crisp and clear CD audio reproduction”.
Given the price variance, select the app that makes the most sense for you depending on your needs.
Microphone for iPhone
If you are looking for an actual microphone to plug-in to your iPhone, the iRig Mic retails for $59.99. This comes with a jack that connects via the 3.5mm headset jack and works with an assortment of apps. The iRig Mic HD $99.99 is a newer model that provides 24 bit quality with support for both Lightning and USB cables.
If you are looking for a Bluetooth microphone, you’ll need something like the Nolan MIC Bluetooth Wireless Microphone. You’ll need an app that supports voice recording using Bluetooth microphones. Reviews on Amazon are middling, at best. For a more reliable product, always opt for a wired connection.
Using your iPhone as a microphone is just one in a long line of amazing things that can be accomplished with the iPhone. Whether you are creating voice memos, talking to a live audience over a PA or singing and recording your next big hit, leave your microphone at home and use your iPhone.