Connecting an External Microphone to an Android Device (How to)

Connecting an external microphone to an Android device can significantly improve the audio quality of videos recorded with the device. The built-in microphones on smartphones and tablets often pick up a lot of background noise and are unable to isolate the desired sound source. An external mic provides much better sound quality by getting closer to the sound source and minimizing interfering noises.

According to Audio Quality: Why is It Important and How Can I Improve It?, “Audio quality is extremely important when creating educational video because 1) you want your students to understand what you’re saying, and 2) we often focus on the visual elements and underestimate the importance of audio.” Using an external microphone can dramatically improve the intelligibility and overall audio experience.

Types of External Mics

There are several common types of external microphones that can be used with Android devices:

Lavalier Microphones

Lavalier or lapel microphones are small microphones that can be clipped onto clothing near the speaker’s mouth. They provide clear audio pickup and are commonly used for interviews or speaking situations. Lavalier mics connect to the phone via a 3.5mm jack.

Example: RODE smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone

Shotgun Microphones

Shotgun microphones are directional mics designed to pick up audio from one specific source while rejecting background noise. They are useful for filming videos or events. Shotgun mics typically connect via an XLR cable and require an adapter or interface to connect to a phone’s 3.5mm jack.

Example: Rode VideoMic Pro Shotgun Microphone

USB Microphones

USB microphones connect directly to an Android device’s USB-C port, making setup quick and easy. Many USB mics have built-in audio interfaces, providing high-quality sound. They work well for podcasting, voiceovers, or music recording.

Example: Samson Q2U USB Microphone

XLR Microphones

Professional XLR microphones require an audio interface or mixer with XLR inputs to connect to a phone. While more complex to set up, XLR mics provide the highest quality audio pickup possible. Dynamic and condenser XLR mics are common options.

Example: Shure SM58 or Audio-Technica AT2020 XLR mic + interface like the Shure X2u.

Microphone Compatibility

Not all Android devices have a microphone jack. You’ll need to check compatibility to make sure your Android phone or tablet actually has a 3.5mm headphone jack before trying to connect an external microphone.

Many newer Android models, especially flagship phones, have removed the headphone jack in favor of USB-C ports for charging and data transfer. This allows for a slimmer design, but it means you won’t be able to directly plug in a 3.5mm microphone.

According to Android Central, some of the best Android phones in 2022 that still retain the 3.5mm jack include:

– Asus Zenfone 9
– Google Pixel 5a
– Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21+
– Motorola Moto G Power (2022)

Of course, there are also many budget and mid-range Android phones that still have headphone jacks. Be sure to research the specific model you have or plan on buying to ensure microphone compatibility.

Required Equipment

To connect an external microphone to an Android device, you will need the following equipment:

  • External microphone – There are several types of external mics you can use, including lavalier, shotgun, and USB microphones. Make sure the microphone is compatible with your Android device.
  • Appropriate cable or adapter – Most external mics use a 3.5mm TRRS connection, while Android devices use USB-C. You’ll need an adapter or cable to convert between these connections, such as a TRRS to USB-C adapter.

One recommended adapter is the Movo UCMA-1, which allows you to connect a 3.5mm TRRS microphone to a USB-C Android device (Movo). Make sure to get an adapter designed specifically for connecting microphones, as regular audio adapters may not work.

The external microphone you choose will determine the type of cable/adapter you need. Do your research to ensure you get the right accessories and connections for your mic and Android device.

Connecting a Lavalier Mic

Lavalier mics often connect via a 3.5mm audio jack, so you will likely need a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter to connect it to your Android device ( Here are the steps for connecting a lavalier mic:

1. Attach the lavalier mic clip to your shirt near your mouth. Run the cable under your shirt to keep it hidden.

2. Plug the 3.5mm connector into the female end of a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter.

3. Plug the USB-C end of the adapter into your Android device’s USB-C port.

4. Open your camera or recording app and select the lavalier mic as the audio input source in the settings.

5. Do a test recording and adjust the mic position to optimize sound quality before proceeding.

With the lavalier mic connected directly to your Android device, you are ready to record high-quality audio for videos, interviews, and more.

Connecting a Shotgun Mic

A shotgun mic can provide high-quality audio capture for videos recorded with your Android device. Shotgun mics are directional mics designed to pick up sound from the direction they are pointed towards. This makes them ideal for recording videos where you want to isolate the audio from a specific source in front of the camera.

To connect a shotgun mic to your Android device, you will need:

  • Shotgun microphone
  • XLR to 3.5 mm adapter cable
  • 3.5 mm to USB-C adapter (if your device has a USB-C port)

Since most shotgun mics output audio via XLR cables, you will need an adapter cable that converts XLR to 3.5 mm. This allows you to connect the mic to your Android device’s headphone jack. If your Android device uses a USB-C port rather than a headphone jack, you will also need a 3.5 mm to USB-C adapter.

Once you have the necessary equipment, connect the mic to the XLR to 3.5 mm adapter cable, and plug the 3.5 mm end into your device’s headphone jack (or USB-C adapter). Make sure the mic is pointed at your desired audio source. You can monitor and adjust levels using a recording app like Open Camera.

The directional nature of shotgun mics makes them ideal for videos where audio clarity is important. With the proper adapters, they can provide professional quality audio when recording video on your Android device.

Connecting a USB Mic

One of the simplest ways to connect an external microphone to an Android device is by using a USB microphone. Most modern Android devices support USB On-The-Go (OTG) which allows you to connect USB accessories directly to your device. To connect a USB mic you will need:

  • A USB microphone
  • A USB OTG adapter or cable

The most common USB mics used with Android devices are the Blue Yeti and Blue Snowball. But you can use any USB microphone as long as your device supports USB OTG.

To connect the USB mic:

  1. Plug the USB OTG adapter or cable into your Android device’s USB-C or micro-USB port.
  2. Connect the USB cable from your microphone into the USB adapter.
  3. That’s it! Your Android device should now detect the USB microphone.

One thing to note is that not all Android devices support USB OTG, so you’ll want to double check your device supports this feature before buying any equipment. The USB mic will draw power from your Android device so make sure your battery is charged before long recording sessions.


Mic Setup in Camera App

The default camera app on your Android device may or may not have settings to select an external microphone as the audio source. You’ll need to check your camera app’s settings menu to see if there is an option to switch the audio source.

On some Android devices like Samsung Galaxy, you can go into the camera settings and change the microphone option to use an external mic. The steps would be:

  1. Open the Camera app
  2. Tap on the Settings icon in top left
  3. Go to Shooting Methods > Audio Input
  4. Select External Mic

This allows your external microphone to be used when recording video directly in the stock camera app.

If your Android device doesn’t have this setting built into the default camera app, you may need to download a third party camera app that supports external microphones. Open Camera and Cinema FV-5 are two highly rated camera apps on Google Play that allow you to use external mics.

Once you have an app that supports external mics, go into the settings and select your external mic as the audio input source. Then you can start recording videos with your mic as the audio source.

Recording Audio

To get the best audio quality when recording with an external microphone on an Android device, follow these tips:

Position the microphone close to the sound source, but not too close. Lavalier microphones should be clipped to a collar or lapel 3-6 inches from the mouth. Shotgun mics should be 3-6 feet away, pointed directly at the sound source.

Avoid handling noise by securing cables with clips or tape and using a tripod or mic stand to eliminate movement. Windscreens can reduce wind noise when recording outdoors.

Reduce background noise by moving away from HVAC systems, computer fans, and other ambient sounds. Turn off nearby electronics. Record in an enclosed space when possible.

Set input levels appropriately to avoid clipping or peaks. Start with medium gain settings and adjust as needed while monitoring with headphones.

Use camera apps with manual audio controls like Open Camera or Cinema FV-5 to adjust levels, limit compression, control monitoring, and enable metering.

Monitor audio with headphones to ensure clean capture without distortion or background noise. Evaluate test recordings and adjust placement or settings as needed.

According to this external microphone guide, proper mic technique will greatly improve audio quality over built-in smartphone mics.


If you are having issues getting your external microphone to work properly with your Android device, here are some troubleshooting tips:

No Sound or Muted Microphone

First, check that the microphone itself is not muted or volume turned all the way down on your Android device. Go into your Android settings and look for the microphone or audio settings to make sure the mic is not silenced. You may also need to check your specific camera app settings to ensure the mic input is enabled and unmuted.

Try cleaning out the microphone port and headphone jack on your Android device with compressed air to remove any dust or debris that could be blocking the connection. Make sure there is nothing obstructing the microphone itself as well.

If you are connecting a USB microphone, try plugging it into a different USB port on your device. Some ports may not transmit enough power to external mics.

As a last resort, you can try restarting your Android device to reset the audio systems.

Cable Issues

Double check that all cables are fully inserted into the ports on both the microphone and the Android device. Try removing and reinserting connections or plugging the cables into a different port.

Test the cables and microphone with another device to rule out any defects with the wires. Swap out cables if needed to isolate the issue.

For lavalier microphones, ensure the mic’s TRS connector is properly adapted to TRRS for compatibility with Android. You may need an adapter cable.

If using long extension cables, shorter cables may provide better signal strength. Try switching to a 3-6 foot cable if possible.

Check cable connections for damage, bent pins, corrosion etc and replace damaged cables.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *