External Microphones for Android: Types, Uses, Benefits & More

The built-in microphones on Android devices are convenient for basic audio recording like phone calls or voice memos. However, they have some limitations when it comes to recording higher quality audio for uses like music, podcasts, vlogs, or interviews. The small microphone opening and lack of manual controls like gain make it difficult to achieve professional-level audio quality.

Using an external microphone can help take your Android audio recording to the next level. External mics designed for mobile use often have better sensitivity, noise reduction, and input controls compared to built-in phone mics. This allows you to capture audio with more detail, clarity, and flexibility. External mics also let you position the mic closer or farther as needed, helping improve sound quality.

This guide will provide an overview of the different types of external microphones available for Android devices. We’ll look at popular options like lavalier mics, shotgun mics, and USB studio mics. We’ll also cover how to set up and get the best sound out of external Android mics for different uses like vlogging, interviews, or music recording.

Why Use an External Microphone?

External microphones offer better audio quality than most built-in smartphone or computer mics. They can capture clearer, richer sound with more detail. For example, an external mic will provide much higher fidelity than a laptop’s built-in mic.

External mics also help reduce background noise that can be distracting in recordings. Their directional pickup patterns focus on the desired sound source while minimizing ambient noise. Additionally, they can be positioned closer to the sound source for a stronger signal.

With an external mic, users gain more control over the audio. You can adjust the microphone’s positioning, gain/volume levels, and pickup patterns. Advanced users can take advantage of EQ and audio processing tools for even greater customization.

Overall, external mics lead to higher quality recordings with clearer vocals or instrument reproduction, reduced noise, and more tuning options. For vlogging, interviews, music, and other recording needs, an external microphone is a worthwhile upgrade.

Types of External Mics for Android

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

Wired vs. Wireless

Wired mics connect directly to the Android device’s microphone jack or USB-C port using a cable. Wireless mics use Bluetooth or a radio transmitter to connect wirelessly. Wired mics don’t require batteries or charging and have no potential for interference, but wireless mics allow more flexibility and range of motion.


Lavalier or lapel mics (as cited from https://www.amazon.com/external-microphone-android-phone/s?k=external+microphone+for+android+phone) clip onto clothing near the mouth. They provide clear voice pickup and are compact. But they can rub against clothes causing noise.


Shotgun mics (as cited from https://www.movophoto.com/collections/microphones-for-android) are directional mics optimal for capturing audio in front of the mic. This makes them good for interviews, events, or videos. But they require proper positioning.


USB mics simply plug directly into an Android device’s USB-C port, making setup easy. But they limit mobility since the mic is tethered to the device.


XLR mics provide professional quality audio but require an XLR adapter or mixer to connect to the Android device.

Setting Up an External Microphone

Setting up an external microphone on your Android device is easy once you know the steps. The key things to do are connect the microphone properly, adjust your Android settings, understand microphone modes, and configure compatible recording apps.

To connect your external mic, first identify the type of connector it uses – generally either USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, or Bluetooth. For wired mics, plug the connector directly into your Android device. For wireless mics, pair your Android device using Bluetooth settings. Refer to your microphone’s documentation if unsure of how to connect properly. Source

Once connected, open your Android settings and navigate to Sound settings. Here you can select your external microphone as the preferred device for audio input. You may also have options to adjust input volume and other settings. Test your mic and adjust Android settings until the input volume is adequate.

Understand the different microphone modes – omnidirectional picks up sound from all directions, unidirectional focuses on sound in front of the mic, and bidirectional picks up from front and back. Select the appropriate mode for your recording situation. Some mics have a switch to change modes, while in software you can choose mono or stereo recording.

Finally, launch your preferred recording app like Camera, Voice Recorder, or a third-party app. Configure the app to use the external microphone as the audio input source. Do a test recording and adjust any necessary settings in the app, like gain levels. Once configured properly, your external mic will provide high-quality audio recordings on Android.

Best External Mics for Vlogging

When recording videos for vlogging on your Android device, audio quality is crucial. The built-in microphone on most phones is not sufficient for vlogging, as it picks up a lot of background noise. Using an external microphone can dramatically improve your audio by capturing clearer voices and minimizing ambient sounds.

Here are some of the best external microphones for vlogging with an Android device:

On-Camera Microphones

On-camera microphones attach directly to your phone and are a convenient option for vlogging. The Rode VideoMicro Compact (https://www.movophoto.com/collections/vlogging-microphones) is a popular directional microphone perfect for vlogging. It reduces background noise and has an integrated shock mount to minimize handling noise.

Lavalier Microphones

Lavalier or lapel microphones clip onto your clothing near your mouth. The PoP Voice Professional Lavalier Microphone (https://andrewstapleton.com.au/vlogging-microphone-for-android/) provides crisp, clear audio for vlogs and interviews. Make sure to get a lavalier mic compatible with your Android device.

Shotgun Microphones

For shooting videos at a distance, shotgun microphones are a great choice. They capture focused audio from the direction they point at. The Movo VXR10 (https://www.movophoto.com/collections/vlogging-microphones) is a lightweight shotgun mic perfect for vlogging on the go.

Pay attention to microphone connectivity and get one compatible with your phone. With a quality external microphone, your Android vlogs will sound as good as they look.

Best External Mics for Interviews

Interviews require capturing clear audio from both the interviewer and interviewee. The two most common external microphone types for interviews are lavalier and shotgun mics.

A lavalier mic (Movo) clips onto clothing near the mouth and provides crisp, up-close audio capture. Lavaliers excel at picking up the voice while minimizing background noise. Popular lavalier models like the Rode SmartLav+ (Riverside) work well with Android devices.

Shotgun mics are directional mics designed to capture audio from a single direction. They reject off-axis sounds, making them ideal for interviews where you only want to pick up the speaker’s voice. Shotgun mics like the Rode VideoMic GO II can be mounted on the phone to target the interviewee.

Omnidirectional mics pick up sound equally from all directions. While they provide flexibility, they also capture more background noise. Directional mics like shotguns focus only on the desired sound source. For interviews, a directional mic usually produces better results.

Best External Mics for Music Recording

If you want to record high-quality music with your Android device, you’ll need a studio-grade external microphone. Here are some of the best options:

The best mobile microphones for 2023 – Engadget

Condenser microphones like the Shure MV88 or Apogee HypeMic offer flat frequency response and excellent sound quality for vocals and acoustic instruments. These mics connect via USB-C or Lightning and don’t require additional equipment.

For more versatility, consider a condenser mic with an XLR output like the Rode NT-USB. You’ll need an audio interface with an XLR input and phantom power, allowing you to record directly into your recording software.

Large diaphragm condenser mics like the Audio-Technica AT2020 are ideal for vocals, guitars, drums and other instruments. Pair it with an audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for professional studio-quality recording.

Make sure to record in a quiet, sound-treated space for best results. Use a pop filter for vocal recording. And consider adding effects like compression and EQ during mixing to get a polished, radio-ready sound.

Tips for Using External Mics

Using an external microphone can greatly improve your audio quality for videos, music, interviews, and other recordings on your Android device. However, there are some tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your external mic:

Proper placement of the microphone is important. For general use, keep the mic pointed at your mouth and 6-12 inches away. For interviews, place it equidistant between you and the other person. Use a windscreen for outdoor recording to reduce wind noise 1.

Gain staging refers to setting the appropriate recording levels on both the mic and in your camera app settings. Start with lower gain on both, then increase slowly while monitoring levels to avoid distortion. Adjust the mic distance if needed. Monitoring levels with headphones helps ensure quality audio 2.

Consider using an app like Open Camera which provides greater control over audio settings versus the default camera app. Test recording first before an important take. With some experimentation, you can achieve great sounding audio with an external mic on Android.

Audio Editing & Processing

After recording audio on an Android device, editing and processing can help improve the overall sound quality. There are a few options for audio editing apps and software:

AudioLab is a full-featured editor that allows you to cut, trim, split, and merge audio files. You can also adjust volume, speed up or slow down recordings, and add effects like echo and reverb. AudioLab has tools to remove background noise and can export your recordings to common formats like MP3 and WAV (Source).

WavePad from NCH Software is another robust editor for Android. It includes cut, copy, and paste tools along with options for noise reduction, amplification, equalization, and more. WavePad works with most common audio formats and makes it easy to improve your recordings (Source).

For more advanced editing, Audacity is an open-source software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While not designed solely for Android, you can transfer files from your device to a computer and use Audacity’s tools there. Features include noise removal, pitch shifting, amplification, and detailed audio effects (Source).

When editing audio from an external microphone, focus on noise removal, normalization of volume, compression, and EQ adjustment to get the best sound. Always save an original copy before making edits.


To summarize, using an external microphone with your Android device can significantly improve your audio quality for a variety of needs like vlogging, interviews, and music recording. External mics provide better sound isolation, higher quality components, and more versatility than built-in smartphone mics.

For vlogging, an on-camera shotgun mic like the Rode VideoMicro is a great choice to capture crisp, clear narration without background noise. For interviews, a handheld mic like the Shure MV88 provides professional results with convenient portability. And for music recording, a studio condenser mic like the Audio-Technica AT2020 delivers superb audio reproduction tailored for vocals and instruments.

No matter your audio needs, investing in an external mic designed for Android can take your videos, podcasts, music, and other recordings to the next level. Just be sure to get a mic with a TRS or TRRS connector to plug into your headphone jack or USB-C port. With quality components and proper setup, external microphones unlock the full potential of your Android device’s recording capabilities.

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