An iPad is an amazing tool for a content creator. The basic software can allow us to trim and edit audio and video in seconds. If you can connect a good external microphone to an iPad, then can you have a portable mini audio and editing suite in your pocket?
It is possible to connect an external microphone directly to an iPad or Apple device. However, you typically need additional hardware to make the connection.
The type of microphone you use, i.e. whether it is a USB or XLR connection microphone, will further determine what setup and extra hardware you might need.
Personally, I have found connecting a microphone to an iPad really easy and efficient for “on-the-go” recording. However, when I first tried this, I made a lot of bad purchases and got things mixed up.
In this article, I will discuss the main microphones on the market and the corresponding hardware and setup needed to connect your chosen microphone to your iPad, covering:
- How To Connect A USB Microphone to An iPad
- How To Connect A Dynamic XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
- How To Connect A Condenser XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
How To Connect A USB Microphone to An iPad
USB microphones are my preferred method of connecting a microphone to an iPad or iPhone.
As the name suggests, a USB microphone connects via a USB port.
However, you will notice that you do not have a USB port on your iPad, so how do you connect to this type of microphone?
To connect a USB microphone to an iPad, you will need an additional adapter to interface the USB microphone with your device. The adapter you need will vary depending on the model of iPad that you have.
Typically, the two main types of adapters are:
Here is what these adaptors look like with a link to the products on Amazon.
In addition, here is a very good explainer video on YouTube that tells you how to connect a USB microphone to your iPad or iPhone.
How To Connect A Dynamic XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
A dynamic XLR microphone is one of the most common microphone types.
XLR refers to the type of microphone connection.
There are a few ways to do this, but my favourite is using a USB-to-XLR cable, which turns your dynamic XLR microphone into a USB microphone.
You will still need one of the mentioned adaptors to connect your microphone to your iPhone or iPad.
Here is a great video explaining and doing an excellent demo of connecting a dynamic XLR microphone to an iPad.
How To Connect A Condenser XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
The key difference when using a condenser microphone is that you need an external power supply, often called a 48V phantom power, which is needed to operate the microphone. A condenser microphone needs this power supply to work.
Typically, using a USB audio interface that has a 48V phantom power option built-in is my favourite approach when connecting a condenser microphone to an iPad.
Below is an example of a typical setup when connecting a condenser microphone to an iPad via a USB audio interface.
Most USB audio interfaces will still need an apple adapter as already mentioned, however, there are some outstanding USB audio interfaces out there that connect directly to your iPad, for example, the PreSonus AudioBox iOne iPad/USB Audio Interface.
Here is an example of how this audio interface works and connects to an iPad without the additional adaptor.
For some alternative options, which include using the standard apple adaptor, this excellent video shows how to connect a condenser XLR microphone to an iPad via a USB audio interface with an Apple adaptor included.
It is possible to connect an external microphone to an iPad, but make sure that the adapter you are using is compatible with your device.
Personally, I find that the USB microphones work great, and in recent years the cost of these microphones has come down, while the sound quality is excellent.
iPads are great tools for content creators, and with the added benefit of excellent audio recording quality through an external microphone, we can start producing excellent content with our iPads.