Why can't I record audio on my iPhone?
January 28, 2020 7:13 PM   Subscribe

I am going into the field Thursday to record some on-site interviews. I have been testing the equipment tonight and can't seem to record any audio. What am I doing wrong?

Here is the equipment I planned to take with. The latter two are links to where I purchased them so you can actually see them.

• iPhone 11 Pro (brand new)
• Movo LV20 Dual Lavalier Microphone
• Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphones Metal Case Jack Adapter Cable

I have the adapter cable plugged into iPhone's Lightning port since there is no audio headphone jack any more. I have the Lavalier Microphone's 3.5 mm" jack plugged into the adapter. And when I try to record something on my iPhone using Voice Memos, the built-in camera, etc. -- all I get is silence. No audio.

Do I need to purchase an additional adapter of some sort? What am I doing wrong?
posted by zooropa to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My guess is that since you're using a mic with a 3-pole plug, the iPhone and/or headphone adapter don't think a mic is attached (most phone headsets use 4-pole plugs), so you'll need some sort of 3-pole to 4-pole mic jack adapter, as explained in this video.
posted by enigmango at 7:31 PM on January 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think enigmango pretty much has it - here's a page from Audio Technica explaining it with diagrams. The standard for 3.5mm jacks & plugs on phones is that the connection is 4-conductor or Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve (TRRS) with the microphone connection being the ring furthest from the tip of the plug. Your mic only has TRS, so without that separate ring connection the phone doesn't recognize that a mic is connected.

Unfortunately, there's a chance that an adapter still won't work properly. I can't really find any tech info on that Movo mic, but if it's doing something "clever" where one mic is connected to the Tip and the other is connected to the Ring, you might not get audio from both mics.

The 2-lapel microphone set looks like it has all the right connections, but since time is tight I agree with spitbull that your best shot to get things to work is to try the find the right gear in person. Your profile suggests you're at least near a city - you could also try camera stores (lots of people shoot video on their DSLRs and so need mics and adapters), any remaining Radio Shacks, or even big music instrument stores like Guitar Center.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:50 AM on January 29, 2020

I have a different little Movo shotgun mic (a Movo VXR10) and I used it to record a bunch of singing over Christmas break with it, directly into an iPhone 7. So their stuff does work!

It came with a TRS cable and a TRRS cable -- can you check your mic's box, and see if you have the correct cable in there? (The product pictures don't show it, so you probably do need an TRS/TRRS adapter.)

(And I also put the iPhone in airplane mode to record, and then copied all the audio onto Dropbox when I got home, then cleaned it up with Audacity on a MacBook.)
posted by wenestvedt at 6:34 AM on January 29, 2020

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