Everyone has a smartphone. High-end audio recording gear, not so much, unless you’re a professional. Fortunately there are numerous devices, from studio-quality microphones to high-end editing software and high-fidelity headphones, that can vastly improve your smartphone’s recording abilities. Depending on who you are (journalist, vlogger, aspiring musician), and what’s being recorded (1-on-1 interview, public debate, concert) this is the essential gear you’ll need.
Here, the microphone is key. A good mic can capture high-res audio, even at low volumes, and it also reduces unwanted and obtrusive noise. Yet the device you’ll need will vary depending on your budget and what you’re looking to record — whether it’s interviews, audio sets, videos or voice-overs. Each of these recorders and microphones specializes in something different, as stated below.
On a Budget: Tascam IM2 Channel Portable Digital Recorder $26+
Mobile Videos: Rode VideoMic Me Directional Microphone $72+
Improved Skype Sessions: Samson Go Mic Connect USB Microphone $89+
Audio Interviews: Zoom iQ6 iOS Lightning X/Y Microphone $100
Vocal and Instrumental Recordings: Apogee MiC 96K $229
For the Ears
A pair of high-fidelity headphones is a luxury, no doubt. And while a pair of cheap headphones could probably get you by in reviewing or monitoring your recorded audio, they can’t compete with the impressive clarity and noise-isolating abilities (and, yes, price) of these options.
Earphones: Shure SE112 Sound Isolating Earphones $49+
Editor’s Pick: Blue Lola High-Fidelity Headphones $250
Over Ear: Master & Dynamic MH40 Headphones $399
High-End: Sennheiser HD 800 $1,025+
Yes, there are better recording apps than Voice Memos, which comes pre-installed on your iPhone. Below you’ll find apps that can record limitless and near-lossless audio, in copious digital formats.
For Interviews: Voice Record Pro 7 Free
For Jam Sessions: GarageBand $5
For Multi-Channel Recording: Music Studio $15
Mobile recording equipment can still use some help. A deadcat can minimize wind noise, the iRig PRE allows you to connect any studio microphone to your smartphone, and smartphone mounts and tripods can help you record hands-free.
Microphone to iOS Device Connector: IK Multimedia iRig PRE $39+
Mic Cover: Rode Deadcat $39
Mini Tripod: Manfrotto Stand $36
Arm Extender: Tiffen Steadicam Smoothee $150
Headphone Enhancer: Shure SHA900 Portable Listening Amplifier $999