Using a USB Microphone with an iPad

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The iPad is known as a great media consumption device for kicking back on the sofa to surf the ’Net, watch videos and read electronic magazines, but with a little effort, an iPad can be transformed into a powerful media creation device as well. With just a couple of readily available accessories, it’s surprisingly easy to record great-sounding audio into an iPad, even though it doesn’t have an obvious microphone input. I recently got my hands on a Samson Meteor USB Microphone and an iPad Camera Connection Kit and within minutes the microphone was live and I was recording. This is a pretty interesting solution for recording musical instruments or voices for video productions and podcasting. Read on to find out just how easy this is to get going.

Before I started this article, I had never recorded audio with an external microphone into my iPad. In fact, I didn’t even have an audio recording app on my iPad. However, after a quick visit to the Apple app store, I located and downloaded a free audio recording app (it's called AudioMemos SE) and I was good to go. The only thing I needed to do was to plug the equipment into my iPad and figure out how to get it running. 

When you’re using an iPad, you don’t have to deal with pesky little things like “files” and “software drivers.” All of this stuff is essentially handled behind the scenes by your apps. The same holds true when you use an external USB microphone with an iPad. There’s pretty much no set-up process involved at all. The most time-consuming portion of my test was opening the boxes that the equipment came in (and both boxes were pretty easy to crack open).

The Apple iPad doesn’t have a USB port or a memory card reader. The only digital connectivity on the device is its 30-pin docking connector. That’s why the iPad Camera Connection Kit is required when you want to attach external hardware. Obviously, this kit does more than just enable you to connect a camera to an iPad. The kit comes with two separate 30-pin adapters, one with a “standard A” USB port and the other with an SD Card slot. The SD Card adapter lets you feed images from a camera’s SD card directly into your iPad, and the USB adapter lets you connect cameras (and other hardware) to the ever-popular tablet. 

I opened up a new iPad Camera Connection Kit and removed the USB adapter. I simply attached the USB adapter to my iPad’s 30-pin connector and moved on. Next, I busted out the new Samson Meteor USB mic. The Meteor comes with a USB cable, and the only thing I needed to do was to connect one end of the cable to the iPad, the other end to the rear of the Meteor. Done.

Before I elaborate on how easy it was to use the Samson Meteor USB Microphone with my iPad, I’d like to take a moment to tell you how well designed this product is. The Meteor has a very handsome looking retro-futuristic design. I was pleased to discover that it’s made out of real metal, as opposed to a metallic-looking plastic. The folding tripod legs are very clever and useful, and it has little rubber-like nubs at the base of its feet which help to cut down on vibration noise. There’s a 5/8th thread at the base of the mic for mounting it on a mic stand. Since a USB Microphone acts as the soundcard of the computer or device it’s attached to, the Meteor has a stereo 3.5mm headphone output. The dial on the front is your headphone volume knob, with a button in the center that mutes the microphone. A blue LED light lets you know that you’re connected to the computer, and the light turns yellow when muted. The mic itself is so attractive looking that you’ll be tempted to leave it out on display to show it off.

There was no set-up involved for this microphone to work with the iPad (the Meteor is compatible with the iPad 1 and iPad 2, as well as Mac OS X and Windows XP, Vista and 7). I didn’t have to open and adjust the iPad’s Settings or anything. I plugged the Meteor USB Microphone into the USB adapter in the iPad, the blue LED went on, and I was ready to record. It doesn’t get any easier.

I launched AudioMemos SE, the free audio recording app I had downloaded. I tapped the on-screen Record button and I was rolling. Next, I launched the iPad’s stock Camera app, and switched it into video-recording mode. I started shooting video on the iPad and wouldn’t you know it, the Meteor microphone was picking up the audio for my video footage as well. The Meteor USB Microphone and the iPad Camera Connection Kit are sold bundled together as a B&H kit

It may be painfully simple to get a USB microphone to record into an iPad, but if you strive to make a professional-sounding recording of a voice, there are many more factors you must consider (such as room ambiance, processing and critical monitoring). The best way to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs is to read the B&H InDepth Voice-Over Equipment Buying Guide.

If you have any more questions about the Samson Meteor USB Microphone or about recording audio into an iPad, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.

113 Comments

I'm trying to find a way to synchronize content recorded on an iPad and an iPhone.  One solution could be to stream audio from a single microphone to the iPad and iPhone, and have all three devices share the same clock.  Do you know if this is possible?  

Hi Noop - 

We haven't tried this technique and streaming the microphone signal to these mobile devices sounds problematic. You might consider using software in post:

Red Giant PluralEyes enables you to sync video footage with externally recorded sound at the press of a button in just seconds, as long as you simultaneously also recorded the sound in-camera. It does this by matching up the waveforms of the external recording to the in-camera recording.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions: AskBH@BandH.com

Im using an audiotechnica 2100 with an ipad, the issue Im having is the volume is max in the facetime app, is there a way to adjust the Mic volume?

Hi - 

Since you are connecting a wireless bodypack receiver to the iPad I would assume you are using the included TRS connection.

The iPad requires a TRRS connection from the microphone.  Try this litttle lifesaver:

The SC4 3.5mm TRS to TRRS Adaptor from Rode is designed to let you connect a microphone with a 3.5mm output, such as the Rode VideoMic, to smart devices with a 3.5mm TRRS input. It features color coded, gold-plated connectors, with gray indicating the TRRS connector, in addition to shielded construction. The SC4 is compatible with stereo microphones and combines left and right channels to a mono signal for TRRS compatibility.  

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions: AskBH@BandH.com

Hi,

I just bought Samson meteor mic, lightning to USB Camera Adapter, and try to use it at Smule app... but it just didn't work... any solution? 

Hi David - 

The app may be the issue.  This combination is normaly pretty fool-proof. Try recording with a free app like we did from the Apple iTunes store: 
Audio Memos Free - The Voice Recorder -By Imesart S.a.r.l.

Hi,

I'd like to buy this combo but am wondering if I can play back a recording with sound in the Ipad without having to physically remove the external mic.  The reason I'm asking is that I tried a friends Tascam external 30pin mic and when plugged in during playback there is no sound. When I removed the Tascam from the Ipad there was sound...thanks

Hi Bil -

You can leave the external mic plugged in - just select the internal mic from the iPad settings > Audio

Hello!  I bought the Apogee mic for my iPad 3rd generation but the mic came with a USB and a lightning connector.  Do you sell an adaptor that would be like a female USB to iPad 3 30 pin for a mic input?

Hey guys, thanks for the information...

I bought the Meteor to do voice overs for my podcast on my computer..   It was awesome!!  So I decided to research how to go moble...  I purchased the "fire to USB" adapter and two more mics..   I can get one Meteor mic to work great with the iPad Air but when I connect the USB hub I get a warning that says something about not enough power and it doesn't work.  

Do you have any suggestion how to get 3 Metore mics to work on an iPad Air?

Thanks

David

Anonymous wrote:

Hey guys, thanks for the information...

I bought the Meteor to do voice overs for my podcast on my computer..   It was awesome!!  So I decided to research how to go moble...  I purchased the "fire to USB" adapter and two more mics..   I can get one Meteor mic to work great with the iPad Air but when I connect the USB hub I get a warning that says something about not enough power and it doesn't work.  

Do you have any suggestion how to get 3 Metore mics to work on an iPad Air?

Thanks

David

I forgot to mention that the USB Hub is powered...

Is this all specific for the Meteor microphone or do other USB microphones work as well?

Hi Greg -

Although this article is written about the Samson Meteor USB microphone, typically this work-flow should work with most USB microphones.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hello, I just tried your suggestion and the meteor mic blue light will not turn on, it doesn't seem to be powered and I tried with my laptop and it works fine there. Any thoughts? 

Hi Tasha -

Try selecting Preferences > Settings > Samson Meteor USB Microphone.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I have an iPad2. Is it capable of recording in two tracks (stereo)? If so, can a pair of Behringer C-2 mircophones be adapted to work on it? I am interested in nature sounds and want the separation. Thanks, Charles

Hi Charles -

The iO Mix from Alesis turns an iPad into a portable studio capable of recording multiple microphones or instruments directly into GarageBand or any other compatible Core Audio app. All the basic connections are provided, including four combo XLR-1/4" input jacks, and balanced stereo 1/4" outputs. A 1/4" headphone output is also available.

There are no dongle connections or USB cables needed since the iPad integrates seamlessly within the familiar mixing console setup, and is completely enclosed and secure. Further, it allows for connecting virtually any piece of recording gear to an iPad - microphones, instruments, speakers, headphones and more.

Each input channels features trim, channel gain, pan, and low and high EQ controls located on the front of the unit. High-pass filters are available on each channel to eliminate low-frequency interference in live mixing and recording situations. Switchable 48V phantom will power condenser microphones, while a guitar-direct switch makes guitar recording easy. A switchable limiter delivers clip-free recordings.

With the iPad in place, the combo is the perfect portable studio. Not only that, access to other audio or multimedia apps is always available, while wireless audio playback is possible using Bluetooth enabled speakers. A video output makes it perfect for everything, from presentations and corporate meetings to home entertainment and live performance visuals.

Mixer/multi-channel interface for iPad

Mix and record up to four channels, or a stereo mix into an iPad

Works with microphones, instruments, speakers, headphones, video monitors and projectors

Four combo XLR-1/4" input channels, each with trim, channel gain, pan, and low and high EQ

48V phantom power for use with studio condenser microphones (switchable in pairs)

Guitar-direct (DI) switch for guitar recording without an amp

Balanced stereo 1/4" outputs and 1/4" headphone output with separate volume controls

Direct Monitor switch for latency-free input monitoring while recording

Switchable limiter for clip-free recordings

Hinged door completely encloses and secures the iPad

Core Audio-compliant - works with virtually any app in the App Store

Video output for connection to TVs and projectors, perfect for presentations, meetings and VJs

Mountable to a microphone stand using the Alesis Module Mount (sold separately)

Complete routing and signal-management controls

Power supply also charges the iPad

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

you cant use the samson meteor mic with this as it had a USB connnector

,

Hi,  I purchased your Samson microphone and plugged it into my Windows 8 computer and it is not recognized. Further more I purchased a Lightening to USB Camera Adapter to try and use it with my iPad, downloaded the free Audio Memo app and it doesn't work either. Please help.

Rita

Hi Rita -

Hi  -

I have not encountered this problem before.  Be sure to power-up the iPad first before connecting the mic. If you have followed the instructions detailed on page 9 of the owner's guide and this issue still occurs - please contact Samson Tech Support:  1-800-3-SAMSON (1-800-372-6766)

Also, be sure to choose the USB device (Samson Meteor Mic) from the hardware menu.  The lightning connector adapter may no longer work with newer iOS devices with the camera connection kit.

The Samson G-Track is a unique USB recording microphone designed to help singers, songwriters, musicians and Podcasters capture those sudden moments of inspiration quickly, efficiently and with minimal setup. It is Mac and PC compatible.The G-Track features a high-speed USB port for direct connection to any computer without additional audio cards, interfaces, etc. The USB bus-powered microphone requires no additional batteries or external phantom power for complete plug-and-play operation.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

good info very helpful. One thing, the app audio memo se is not free ($2)

I used my Samson Meteor with my iPad successfully in the past. Now I'm on ios 8.2 and it won't work. Any advice? Thanks!

Hi Dan -

You may need to update the recording software you are using for compatibility with iOS 8.2

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I'm quite impressed with what I'm reading here. I have an Apple io7 ipad. I'm engaged to write a biography of an old lady of 96, a heroine of WW2. I'll need to interview her and then convert my files into text, from which I will write the biography. Is this the setup I would use?

Ian

Hi Ian -

You will need to identify exactly which connection your iPad employs before committing to a USB microphone. If your iPad uses the 30-pin dock connection, then the set-ups we recommend above will work fine. You can check your iPad type at this link:

Apple iPad Tech Specs

If your iPad is one of the latest generation with a lightning connector, then you will need to choose a different option:

The Spark Digital Studio Condenser USB/Lightning Microphone for PC/Mac/iPad by Blue is designed for driverless plug-and-play audio recording to a PC, Mac, or iPad (30-pin and Lightning connector versions or 30-pin version with available Lightning adapter) in applications such as music, voiceovers, and podcasting. The large diaphragm condenser Class-A circuit design is suitable for recording sounds such as vocals, drums, piano, speech, location sounds and more.

The microphone connects to your PC or Mac via USB or to your 30-pin or Lightning connector iPad using the supplied y-connector cables with integrated zero-latency monitoring headphone jacks. It utilizes a 16-bit 44.1 kHz analog to digital converter to record .WAV and .MP3 files on your computer or iPad using your DAW or recording application of choice. The front of the microphone body features onboard controls for volume, gain, and instant mute as well as an LED meter to provide visual feedback.

The microphone features a Focus Control switch for either increased low frequency sensitivity in normal/off mode or greater clarity and detail in the treble range when the Focus Control is engaged. This circuit is not a simple low-pass or high-pass filter, but rather a switch to change the voltage loading of the input driver for the microphone capsule itself. This provides for an output signal that is uncolored with different dynamic properties and a different frequency response to expand the versatility of the microphone. The unit comes with an adjustable desk stand with a built-in shockmount, a USB cable, and a Lightning cable. A 30-pin connector cable is available for older iOS devices (sold separately).

Focus Control
Changes the voltage loading of the input driver for the microphone capsule to provide two different frequency responses
LED
Provides visual feedback of the microphone status
Desk Stand with Integrated Shockmount
Reduces the transmission of surface vibrations into the microphone capsule and enables proper microphone placement on a desk or table

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hello. I recently purchased an iPad mini, an audio technica USB mic, and a camera connection kit to record podcasts. The audio quality is excellent, but the only problem I've had is that the volume keeps muting on the iPad every time that the USB mic is connected. I've just about tried every troubleshooting and still haven't found the solution online.

If you guys know about this type of problem, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hi Juan -

We will need to know which model microphone, iPad mini and which recording app you are using.

Please send these details and any additional questions you may have  to us via e-mail:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi. Can you clarify whether the same USB set up (with adaptor) will work to record audio when doing a video recording on the camera of the iPad? Thanks!

Hi Sally -

Yes it will - just choose the USB mic as your recording hardware from the IOS Menu.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

You said this works for Ipad gen 1&2.  How about gen 3? 

If not, what do you recommend for an ipad 3?

Hi Tory -

The Apogee MiC Studio Quality USB Microphone with iOS Lightning Cable delivers professional, fully digital audio to your Mac, iPhone & iPad. Record vocals, instruments and other audio sources with confidence, and the fidelity expected of a leading manufacturer in digital audio products. The large diaphragm microphone features a USB output for direct connection to your Apple Mac, iPhone or iPad. Its compact size (about the size of an iPhone) makes it the perfect option for field and remote recording applications.

The package comes with a Lightning iOS cable, a 30-pin iOS cable, USB Mac cable and a desktop tripod stand.

PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality
Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone
Lightning iOS cable, 30-pin iOS cable and USB Mac cable included
Desktop tripod stand included
44.1/48 kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion
Studio quality microphone preamp with up to 40dB of gain
No configuration, just plug in and record
Control knob allows easy input level adjustment
Multicolor LED for status indication and input level monitoring
Designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording
Also great for recording interviews, podcasts, voice overs, and audio for DSLR video
All metal construction
Extremely compact and portable
Works with GarageBand
Bus-powered by iPad/iPhone/Mac (no batteries or external power required)
Made in the U.S.A.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I also do not want this Samson mic I want the portable Samson go mic. Will it work for video recordings on the camera app

Hi Jose -

 The Samson Go Mic USB Microphone is a compact, plug-and-play solution that requires no drivers and is completely Mac and Windows compatible. The Go Mic features a USB audio output and a 1/8" (3.5mm) headphone output. A folding clip allows for laptop screen mounting. For use with an iPad please note that the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit is required.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I want to know if you can use a usb mic for recording videos with the actual camera of the ipad 

Hi Jose -

Yes you can.  Just be sure to choose the USB mic from your audio preferences so that the internal mic is not used.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Very interesting. I am downloaded an App called TABLA on my iPad 2. This App has an interesting feature called microphone. That is you can sing along with the Tabla. With USB microphone with iPad, can we play & record together by connecting iPad to the external speaker? Your prompt feed back is appreciated.

Hi Suresh -

The TABLA app sounds like fun and would pair nicely with this microphone:

The Apogee MiC Studio Quality USB Microphone with iOS Lightning Cable delivers professional, fully digital audio to your Mac, iPhone & iPad. Record vocals, instruments and other audio sources with confidence, and the fidelity expected of a leading manufacturer in digital audio products. The large diaphragm microphone features a USB output for direct connection to your Apple Mac, iPhone or iPad. Its compact size (about the size of an iPhone) makes it the perfect option for field and remote recording applications.

The package comes with a Lightning iOS cable, a 30-pin iOS cable, USB Mac cable and a desktop tripod stand.

PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality
Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone
Lightning iOS cable, 30-pin iOS cable and USB Mac cable included
Desktop tripod stand included
44.1/48 kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion
Studio quality microphone preamp with up to 40dB of gain
No configuration, just plug in and record
Control knob allows easy input level adjustment
Multicolor LED for status indication and input level monitoring
Designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording
Also great for recording interviews, podcasts, voice overs, and audio for DSLR video
All metal construction
Extremely compact and portable
Works with GarageBand
Bus-powered by iPad/iPhone/Mac (no batteries or external power required)
Made in the U.S.A.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi.  Can the meteor be attached to a mic stand?

Hi  Lee -

Yes, there’s a 5/8th thread at the base of the Samson Meteor mic for mounting it on a mic stand.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

You mentioned the following: "I launched AudioMemos SE, the free audio recording app I had downloaded. I tapped the on-screen Record button and I was rolling. Next, I launched the iPad’s stock Camera app, and switched it into video-recording mode. I started shooting video on the iPad and wouldn’t you know it, the Meteor microphone was picking up the audio for my video footage as well."

My question is this: Does the resulting video file saved on the iPad contain the audio recorded through the external mic? Or is the audio associated with the video file the same audio you'd hear if recording with the onboard mic, meaning you'd then have to incorporate the audio file recorded with the external mic into the video file via some video production software (like iMovie or something)?

Thanks.

Hi Mark V. -

Yes - that description is correct but may need clarification.  The audio is no longer sourced from the iPad's embedded microphone. It will now be delivered through the Samson Meteor, effectively bypassing the embedded iPad mic.  These apps were designed to allow each other to work together since the audio is not conflicting with the video camera functions. The resulting audio is synced with the video just as it would be with the iPad's internal microphone.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

do you need a jailbreak to do this?

Hi Nicola -

You do not need to "jailbreak" the iOS device.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

...great...except its still not possible to write anything while recording on your iPad. Would be great if there was an app like onenote (yes there's onenote..but its a striped down version with no real features on iOS)that way you could write notes and record interviews and actually let people play there music without having to stop them all the time.

I thank for information with i pad is recording. I tried without apps and isn't being supported. one more time thank you very much.

The NEW Ipad3 or HD IPAD uses the new fire wire cabl, just like the iPhone 5. The new apple power connector already has the USB and the SD card reader on one side and the new apple connection on the other. A little nicer since they come with 2" I'd cord so they can bend out of the way and they don't have to be directly under the. iPad.

THE USB AND SD CARD READERS WITH THE NEW IPAD (with the smaller and newer apple power plug) does NOT generate any power and will NOT turn on the USB Meteor Microphone.
In the article it says for IPad 1&2.....

If it doesn't work with the NEWEST Apple equipment - Athen tell us and be up front. I'm returning mine now, just b/c you had to be coy with your wording and were afraid of sounding like you we're contradicting yourself if you had to qualify that what you were telling us became outdated in December of 2012.
Yes - The meteor mic is unbelievable when I owned it back in march for my older iPad. The ipad bbroke so I returned the meteor mic for $99. Now it's only $69!
Best looking and lose tobestquality - just no new apple products will work within bc th enew fire wire connections on the new iPad 3 and iPhone 5 do not provide power. What a huge negative apple. VERY SNEAKY!!!!!!!!!

I've tried to research it but can't find any info that says if the Samson G-Track is or isn't compatible with an iPad 3...if so any chance you can direct me to what exactly I'll need to get it to work. I'm looking for a workaround because evidently XP doesn't play nice with USB mics and keeps randomly muting the system.

TIA

That is no longer correct,as many other replies have stated,

It changed with iOS5

Hello . Please help me. On approximately spring of April, I bought the Meteor Mic. and tested it right away. On first day, everything was ok. Btw I used Beats Headphone connected to the Meteor Mic on the 1st day. But on the 2nd day, I try to use another Beats Headphone,the one that use battery. Connect them to ipad normally. Unfortunately, the sound voice produce was very noisy and broken. The LED is blue same like the 1st day. But since I used that Power-Headphone on that 2nd day, The high noisy produce is still even I use back the previous headphone.

Fyi, both days I connected them with camera connection kit. 1st day were very good and freaking awesome. but 2nd day~ I'm bery disappointed. Is there any solution for this problem?

Hi -

I suggest contacting SAMSON directly for service under warranty. If it was purchased less than 30 days ago we may be able to exchange it for you.  Please contact our customer Service Department regarding exchange:  

 Customer Service:  Tel: 800.221.5743 or 212.239.7765  or via e-mail:  CS@BandH.com
 Samsontech:           Tel: 631-784-2200   or  via e-mail:   info@samsontech.com

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

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