6 Best Cell Phone External Microphones in 2024

In the ever-evolving world of smartphone technology, capturing high-quality audio often falls by the wayside. Whether you’re an aspiring vlogger, a journalist on-the-go, or simply looking to record clearer calls and videos, an external microphone can dramatically improve your audio game. But with a plethora of options on the market, choosing the right one can be a tricky affair. Fear not, because we’ve put our ears to the ground to bring you the best cell phone external microphones, ensuring your recordings are crystal clear every time. Get ready to raise your audio experience to new heights!

When hunting for the best cell phone external microphone, there are several key criteria to keep in mind to ensure you pick a device that meets your needs. Here’s a compact guide to understand what to consider:

  1. Compatibility: Ensure the microphone is compatible with your cell phone, whether you’re using iOS or Android, and check for the required connector (USB-C, Lightning, or 3.5mm jack).
  2. Audio Quality: Look for a mic that provides crisp, clear audio with minimal background noise. It should capture sound accurately, whether you’re recording a podcast, a song, or a video.
  3. Directionality: Consider the pickup pattern (e.g., omnidirectional, cardioid, etc.). Cardioid mics are good for focused recording, while omnidirectional mics capture sound from all around.
  4. Portability: A good external microphone should be compact and easy to carry. You’ll want something that’s not bulky so you can take it on-the-go without hassle.
  5. Ease of Use: It should be plug-and-play without requiring complex setup or additional equipment.
  6. Durability: Quality construction that can withstand regular use is vital, especially if you’ll be using it in various environments.
  7. Additional Features: Features like built-in headphone jacks for real-time monitoring, adjustable gain control, and included windshields or mounts can enhance your recording experience.
  8. Price: Evaluate the microphone’s features against its cost. Aim for the best balance between quality and affordability.

Now, let’s dive into a list of the top cell phone external microphones that meet these criteria.

Please note that for the most accurate information you should check the latest details since specs and prices can change over time.

Feature / ProductHollyland Lark C1Shure MV88Rode VideoMic Me-LSaramonic SmartMicBoya BY-M1PowerDeWise Lavalier
TypePortable Wireless mic for Android and iPhonePortable iOS MicrophoneDirectional Microphone for SmartphonesMini Condenser Flexible MicrophoneLavalier MicrophoneLavalier Lapel Microphone
CompatibilitySmartphones with USB-C and lightning connectorsiOS devices with Lightning ConnectorSmartphones with Lightning ConnectorSmartphones with 3.5mm TRRS headphone jackSmartphones, cameras, computers (with 3.5mm jack)Smartphones, tablets, cameras, computers
Polar PatternOmnidirectionalMulti-pattern (adjustable)Cardioid DirectionalOmnidirectionalOmnidirectionalOmnidirectional
Frequency Response20 Hz to 20,000 Hz20 Hz to 20,000 Hz20 Hz to 20 kHz35 Hz to 18 kHz65 Hz to 18 kHz50 Hz to 16 kHz
ConnectivityUSB-C and LightningLightningLightning3.5mm TRRS3.5mm TRRS (with 6.5mm adapter)3.5mm TRRS (with additional adapters)
Dimensions (LxWxH) / WeightTX: 48 mm x 21.5 mm x 10 mm / 11.5 g

RX: 48.3 mm x 27.6 mm x 9 mm / 7 g
67 x 25 x 35 mm / 40.5 g73.5 x 20.2 x 25.7 mm / 28 gNot specifiedLength: 6 m (mic cable) / Weight: Not specifiedCable Length: 2 m / Weight: Not specified
Additional FeaturesActive Noise Cancellation, 32 hours battery, simultaneous charging and recording, and real-time playback5 DSP preset modesNo battery required, windshield includedNo battery requiredNo battery required, includes lapel clip, foam windscreenNo battery required, noise cancellation
Price Range (approx.)$ (budget-friendly)$$$ (premium)$$ (mid-range)$ (budget-friendly)$ (budget-friendly)$ (budget-friendly)

I have presented broad categories like price range and additional features, as prices can vary and features like included accessories or software can be critical to your decision. Remember, prices can change due to sales, new models, or other market factors, so always check the latest prices from a reliable retailer. For the most accurate and updated specifications, consult the manufacturer’s website or product listings.

Hollyland Lark C1

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The Hollyland Lark C1 wireless microphone is manufactured explicitly for Android and iOS. It offers a complete solution for content creators seeking excellent sound quality when shooting videos from their cell phones. Designed to connect with Android phones and iPhones quickly, the Lark C1 is a device you can bet on for professional-grade audio recordings.

lark c1 box

Hollyland Lark C1

One-Step Wireless Microphone for Mobile Phone.

The Hollyland Lark C1 consists of a receiver (RX) that directly fits your Android’s USB-C or iPhone’s lightning port. The system also includes 2x transmitters (TX), which act as lavalier microphones, giving a total hands-free operation. The kit also has a solid charging case to help refill the drained batteries of both TX units.

One of the notable features of Lark C1 is the 2.4GHz adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) technology. This ensures a clean and interference-free transmission range of up to 650ft LOS and 130ft NLOS. Besides, the AFH automatically adjusts transmission frequencies when used in crowded places to avoid interruption from other devices. 

The built-in omnidirectional mic in both TXs has a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response and a 110dB maximum sound pressure level. Additionally, the Hollyland Lark C1 is compact enough to attach to your clothing without degrading the audio quality. Apart from its outstanding audio performance and user-friendly setup for cell phones, this wireless microphone kit can also be used with audio recorders.

Specs:

  • Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Dynamic Range: 86 dB
  • Battery Capacity (TX and Charging Case): 1400mAh
  • Operating Time (TX): 8 hours
  • Operating Time (with Charging Case): Up to 32 hours
  • Charging Time (TX and Charging Case): Up to 1.5 hours

Pros:

  • Users admire its wide wireless range without losing audio signals
  • It has an excellent battery life, making it a reliable device for outdoor shoots
  • Unlike other wireless mic brands, the Lark C1 shows no technical problems to the users
  • This microphone has an impressive performance even in some of the most challenging environments

Cons:

  • You will need to install the LarkSound app to enable real-time audio playback without unplugging the RX

Price:

Currently, the Hollyland Lark C1’s Android kit (duo version) is $99, whereas the iOS version is available for $109 on Amazon US. 

The Lark C1 wireless mic system provides matchless audio quality for Android and iPhone video recordings. It clearly surpasses the internal microphones and has a simple plug-and-play operability. It is a convenient microphone that’s easy to travel with.

lark c1 box

Hollyland Lark C1

One-Step Wireless Microphone for Mobile Phone.

Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone

image 687

The Shure MV88 is a compact, high-quality microphone designed for use with iOS devices, leveraging the lightning connector for plug-and-play convenience. It’s a smart choice for on-the-go podcasters, vloggers, and mobile journalists. When testing out the MV88, the first thing that struck me was its robust build quality. The mic feels substantial and well-crafted in the hand, and the adjustable joint is a nice touch, allowing for optimal positioning.

The ShurePlus MOTIV app – which complements the microphone’s functionality – is intuitive, providing real-time adjustments for gain, EQ, and stereo width. In practical use, the quality of the recordings was outstanding. The sound captured was crystal clear, with the directional pick-up pattern doing an excellent job at isolating the speaker’s voice from ambient noise.

Specs:

  • Transducer Type: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Adjustable Gain: 0 to +36 dB
  • Built-In Headphone Output for Real-Time Monitoring

Pros:

  • Its direct lightning connection to iOS devices makes for a seamless integration and user experience.
  • Excellent sound quality that captures a wide range of audio frequencies and nuances.
  • Adjustable mic elements provide flexibility in recording configurations.
  • The metal construction and sleek design give it durability and a professional appearance.
  • Real-time headphone monitoring is a game-changer for live recording scenarios.

Cons:

  • The reliance on a proprietary app may dissuade some users who prefer plug-and-play solutions.
  • Compatibility limited to iOS devices can be a limitation for those with multiple operating system environments.
  • Pricier than some other external smartphone microphones on the market.

Price:

The Shure MV88 sits at a higher price point, often retailing around $149. While this may seem steep for a mobile microphone, the investment is justified for anyone serious about their mobile audio recording quality.

In conclusion, the Shure MV88 is a standout option for anyone looking to significantly upgrade their audio recording capabilities on an iOS device. The superb sound quality, robust build, and user-friendly application make it a worthy companion for any mobile content creator. The price may put it out of reach for casual users, but for those who want uncompromising audio quality on the move, it’s a top contender that’s hard to overlook.

Rode VideoMic Me-L Directional Microphone for Smartphones

image 688

The Rode VideoMic Me-L is a compact and highly directional microphone designed to connect directly to iPhones and iPads via the Lightning connector, providing a significant quality boost to your mobile audio recordings. It’s incredibly user-friendly and is built with content creators in mind, particularly those looking to step up their audio game without carrying around heavy equipment.

My personal experience with the VideoMic Me-L has been overwhelmingly positive. This microphone impresses with its ability to capture crisp and clear sound while effectively minimizing background noise, which is essential in on-the-go recording scenarios. Whether you’re vlogging, interviewing someone outdoors, or capturing live music, the directionality of this mic ensures that your subject is heard loud and clear. And it’s not just about functionality; the build quality is robust enough to withstand the rigors of mobile journalism or travel blogging.

Specs

  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure-gradient electret condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid, which means it is most sensitive to sound coming from the front and less from the sides and rear
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Connectivity: Lightning connector
  • Included Accessories: Furry windshield for reducing wind noise, and a detachable rubber mount for shock absorption

Pros:

  • The microphone is plug-and-play; there are no complicated setups involved.
  • Its directionality is fantastic for focusing on the audio source and reducing unwanted peripheral sounds.
  • Superb build quality from Rode, which has a great reputation for making durable and reliable audio equipment.
  • The included windshield is extremely useful for outdoor shoots where wind noise can be problematic.
  • The sound quality it delivers is a cut above built-in smartphone mics, granting clarity and depth to the audio.

Cons:

  • The Lightning connector limits its use to Apple devices only, which might be a downside for users of other smartphones.
  • The mic’s design, while compact, could still be slightly obtrusive when attached to a phone, especially when navigating through crowded spaces.
  • It doesn’t come with its own app, which some other smartphone mics offer to add functionality and control.

Price

Quality often comes at a premium, and the Rode VideoMic Me-L is not the cheapest option out there, typically retailing between $70 to $80 USD. That said, the investment seems justified when you experience the audio quality and the build standards that Rode is known for. You’re not just buying a microphone; you’re also buying a piece of professional gear that raises your mobile audio recordings’ caliber significantly.

Saramonic SmartMic Mini Condenser Flexible Microphone

image 689

Overview:
The Saramonic SmartMic Mini is a compact, lightweight, and unobtrusive microphone that’s specifically designed for smartphone users who are looking to step up their audio game without the burden of carrying heavy gear. It’s incredibly easy to use: just plug it into your phone’s headphone jack, and voila, you’ve significantly improved your audio quality. From my experience, the SmartMic Mini particularly stands out for its flexible design, which allows you to angle the mic for better sound capture, a feature that’s handy for on-the-fly adjustments during a vlog or an impromptu interview.

Specs:

  • Type: Condenser microphone
  • Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Response: 35 Hz to 18 kHz
  • Connector: TRRS (3.5mm jack)
  • Dimensions: 71mm x 18.2mm x 18.2mm
  • Weight: 21g

Pros:

  • Extremely portable and user-friendly
  • Flexible neck for easy positioning
  • No battery required, which means one less thing to worry about while recording
  • The omnidirectional pickup pattern captures sound from all directions, which is great for capturing ambient noise or group conversations

Cons:

  • May pick up unwanted background noise due to the omnidirectional pattern
  • Built-in shock mount isn’t the most robust; handling noise can be an issue if you’re not careful
  • Audio quality isn’t as full or rich as higher-end models, but that’s to be expected at this price point

Price:
The Saramonic SmartMic Mini is quite affordable. Pricing tends to hover around the $20-$30 range, which makes it an excellent entry option for improving your smartphone’s audio without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that prices can vary based on the retailer and any additional accessories you might need.

Boya BY-M1 Lavalier Microphone

image 690

Overview:
The Boya BY-M1 is an omnidirectional lavalier microphone designed to offer clear, accurate audio recording for various applications, from video production to podcasting, all while being very budget-friendly. My personal experience with the Boya BY-M1 has been largely positive. It’s a microphone that punches well above its weight, considering the price point. The simplicity of its use — just clip it on, plug it into your device, and go — is a significant advantage for anyone new to audio recording or for professionals seeking a no-fuss, reliable backup mic.

Specs:

  • Transducer: Electret Condenser
  • Polar pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Range: 65 Hz ~ 18 KHz
  • Signal/Noise: 74dB SPL
  • Sensitivity: -30dB +/-3dB / 0dB=1V/Pa, 1 kHz
  • Connector: 3.5mm (1/8”) 4-pole gold plug
  • Battery Type: LR44 (included)
  • Cable length: 6M (20ft)

Pros:

  • Remarkable clarity for the price, offering value that’s hard to beat.
  • The lengthy cable provides ample room for movement, especially handy when recording interviews or vlogs.
  • It’s incredibly versatile, working with a range of devices from smartphones to DSLR cameras, thanks to the included adapter.
  • Battery power ensures it operates with devices that don’t supply power through the microphone jack, adding to its versatility.

Cons:

  • The battery compartment can be a bit fiddly, and keeping track of a tiny LR44 battery may be a minor hassle.
  • The omnidirectional pattern is great for general use but can pick up unwanted background noise if you’re not careful with your recording environment.
  • The lengthy cable, while convenient in many situations, can become a tangle hazard if not managed properly.

Price:
The pricing is where the Boya BY-M1 truly shines. Typically available for under $20, it’s almost unbeatable for those on a budget looking for reasonable quality audio. The value proposition here is the main selling point, as it allows for a very low barrier of entry into better quality audio recordings without a significant investment.

In conclusion, the Boya BY-M1 lavalier microphone is an excellent starting point for content creators on a budget or pros needing a no-nonsense backup. Its audio performance is impressive for its cost, and although there are minor inconveniences related to its design, they hardly detract from its overall worth. It’s a small investment for a significant upgrade from built-in microphones on most devices.

PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone

image 1038

The PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone is a fantastic choice for anyone in need of high-quality audio recording without the professional studio price tag. It’s a discreet little microphone that you can clip onto your clothing, which makes it perfect for interviews, podcasts, live streaming, or even just video calls where clear audio is a must.

In my opinion, what sets this mic apart is its ease of use. It comes with a lengthy cable that allows for significant movement while recording and doesn’t require batteries or complicated setup procedures. Simply plug it into your smartphone or camera, and you’re ready to go. The sound quality is surprisingly good for such an affordable piece of gear; it captures voice with clarity and detail, minimizing background noise quite effectively.

Specs:

  • Transducer type: Electret Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz – 18kHz
  • Signal/Noise: 74dB SPL
  • Sensitivity: -30dB +/-3dB / 0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz
  • Connector: 3.5mm TRRS Jack
  • Cable length: ~6 meters (20ft)

Pros:

  • Omnidirectional pickup pattern captures sound from all directions, ensuring consistent audio levels even if the speaker moves.
  • The lengthy cable provides flexibility and freedom of movement during recordings.
  • No battery required; it draws power directly from the device it’s connected to.
  • It comes with additional accessories like a wind muff, extension cable, and storage pouch, which adds to the overall value.
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices thanks to the 3.5mm jack.

Cons:

  • Might require an adapter for devices without a 3.5mm input, like newer smartphones.
  • The extremely long cable, while useful, can become cumbersome if not managed properly.
  • While the sound quality is good for the price, it may not match that of higher-end professional lavalier mics.

Price:

The PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Lapel Microphone often falls under the affordable range for external microphones, typically found for under $50. This makes it an excellent value for those who need a reliable microphone on a tighter budget. The exact price can vary slightly depending on the retailer, but it remains a very cost-effective solution for improving audio quality.

In conclusion, the PowerDeWise Lavalier Lapel Microphone is an impressive little performer for its price. It’s a no-frills, plug-and-play solution that can significantly improve your recordings. Whether you’re a budding YouTuber, a podcast enthusiast, or a professional looking for a backup mic, this could be the ideal option. You get more than your money’s worth in usability and performance, making it a smart purchase for those venturing into better audio recording without breaking the bank.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, choosing the best cell phone external microphone can significantly enhance your audio recording quality, whether you’re vlogging, conducting interviews, or capturing special moments. The right mic should match your specific needs, providing a blend of portability, sound quality, and ease of use. With various options available, from clip-on lapel mics to shotgun-style attachments, there’s a perfect mic out there for every budget and requirement. Investing in an external microphone is an investment in the clarity and professionalism of your audio content.

FAQs:

  1. Can external microphones be used with any smartphone?
    Most external microphones are compatible with a wide range of smartphones, either directly through the headphone jack, USB-C, Lightning port, or wirelessly via Bluetooth. However, always check the compatibility with your specific phone model before purchasing.
  2. Do I need any additional equipment to use an external microphone with my phone?
    Some microphones may require additional accessories, such as adapters or mounting equipment, to ensure compatibility and stability with your phone, especially if your device lacks a headphone jack.
  3. Does an external microphone improve video calls or just video recordings?
    An external microphone can improve the audio quality for both video recordings and calls. Clear audio is a key component in any form of communication, and an external mic can provide a significant improvement over built-in phone microphones.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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