Wired vs Wireless External Mics for Android: How to Choose

Using an external microphone with an Android device can significantly improve the audio quality of videos, podcasts, interviews, music recordings, and more. The built-in microphones on smartphones and tablets pick up a lot of ambient noise and don’t provide the crisp, clear sound that an external mic can deliver. External mics for Android devices come in both wired and wireless options, each with their own pros and cons. This article will provide an overview of the benefits of external Android mics, a comparison between wired and wireless models, guidance on choosing the right connectivity for your needs, mic types to consider, setup and usage tips, and recommendations for great mics to pair with your Android phone or tablet.

Wired Mic Pros

Wired microphones tend to be more affordable and budget-friendly compared to wireless options. As Croma notes, you avoid the extra costs associated with wireless transmitters, receivers, and batteries. The simpler construction of wired mics leads to lower prices in general. This makes wired microphones a great choice if you’re on a tight budget but still want decent audio quality.

Wired mics also avoid potential interference issues that can disrupt wireless signals. The physical connection ensures a steady, reliable audio feed. This consistency can be especially important for vocal performances where drop-outs are unacceptable.

Wired Mic Cons

One of the main downsides of using a wired microphone is the limited mobility and movement they allow. Since wired mics need to be connected directly to the recording or amplifying device via a cable, the length of the cable restricts how far you can move while using the mic. This can be problematic for performers, speakers, or other users who need to move around during their presentation or performance. As this source points out, the cables of wired mics can “be a disadvantage for performers or presenters that are moving around on stage.”

The cable of a wired mic can easily get in the way or become tangled as the user moves. As described in this article, “Wired mics will restrict your movement to some extent. The wired microphones are tethered and have limited mobility.” Tripping over cables or having them limit your motion can negatively impact a performance or presentation. As a result, wired mics may not be the best choice for users who need freedom of movement.

Wireless Mic Pros

One key advantage of wireless microphones is the freedom of movement they allow. Since wireless mics do not have a physical cable connecting them to the device, the user can move around freely without worrying about getting tangled up or limited by the length of a cable (Georgesmusic). This mobility makes wireless mics well-suited for presentations, performances, and other applications where the speaker needs to move around. Wireless systems prevent tripping hazards and allow the speaker to make full use of the space available.

Wireless mics also make it easier to scale up a production with multiple mics and speakers. There’s no need to run cables across a stage or room with wireless systems. The lack of cables can greatly simplify setups with multiple mics and provide a cleaner look (Powerdewise). Overall, wireless mics deliver exceptional mobility and flexibility compared to wired options.

Wireless Mic Cons

Wireless microphone systems tend to be more expensive upfront compared to wired microphone systems (The Limitations of Wireless Microphones). The transmitters and receivers required for wireless systems means additional costs for hardware. Multi-microphone wireless systems get especially pricey. According to one source, wireless microphone systems can cost over $1000 while wired systems are available for under $100 (What are the pros and cons of a wireless microphone system?).

Wireless microphones also require batteries or charging to operate. The transmitters typically run on AA or 9V batteries which need periodic replacement, adding to long-term costs (The Limitations of Wireless Microphones, Wireless microphones| what are Pros and cons of wireless microphones?). Rechargeable batteries avoid this problem but may eventually lose capacity over time. With wired microphones, power is continuously supplied through the cable connection so batteries are not a concern.

Audio Quality Comparison

When it comes to audio quality, wired microphones often have an advantage over wireless. As Shure notes, wired microphones receive no interference from radio frequencies, WiFi, or Bluetooth devices. This allows them to deliver pristine, high-quality audio without any chance of dropouts or interference that can occur with wireless microphones.

Wireless microphones have improved greatly in audio quality over the years, but there is still potential for some loss of quality and range with wireless technology. The audio signal has to be encoded and transmitted wirelessly, which can introduce latency and compression. Wired microphones have a direct, analog signal path that eliminates these concerns.

For critical audio applications like recording vocals in a studio, many engineers still prefer wired microphones to ensure the cleanest, highest-fidelity sound. While wireless mics have their advantages for live events, wired models deliver unparalleled sound quality for studio and high-end audio use.

Mic Types

There are several common types of external microphones to choose from for Android devices:

Lavalier Microphones: These small microphones clip onto clothing near the mouth and provide clear voice pickup while allowing freedom of movement. Lavalier mics are commonly used by podcasters, vloggers, and video journalists. Their small size allows them to be easily hidden on camera. Popular lavalier mic brands include Rode and Shure.

Shotgun Microphones: Shotgun mics are directional mics designed to pick up audio from the direction they point while minimizing background noise. Their narrow pickup pattern makes them ideal for interviews, events, and outdoor recording where isolation of the sound source is desired. Some shotgun mics like the Rode VideoMic Pro are made specifically for DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Handheld Microphones: These are the typical mics used by performers on stage. Their advantage is the ability to easily manipulate proximity and angle. Handheld mics excel at picking up vocals or instruments at close range. Popular options include the Shure SM58 and Sennheiser e835.

Headset Microphones: Headset mics combine an earpiece with a microphone arm positioned near the mouth. This provides clear voice audio pickup without requiring hands. Headset mics commonly connect via 3.5mm or USB. Gamers and voice assistant users often use over-ear headset mics.

Choosing Connectivity

There are a few main options for connecting external mics to Android devices:


Some newer Android phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series have adopted the Lightning port, which is commonly used on iOS devices. Lightning mics can easily plug right into these phones, providing high quality audio transfer.


Many modern Android devices use USB-C ports instead of traditional USB. There are mics like the Samson Go Mic Mobile (source) made specifically for USB-C devices.


Most Android phones still have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so 3.5mm mics will be compatible. However, you may need an adapter like a TRS to TRRS adapter to get the mic levels correct.


Bluetooth mics provide a wireless connection, but may introduce latency and connectivity issues. Newer Bluetooth 5 mics offer improved quality and range.

When choosing a mic, consider your phone’s ports and whether wired or wireless best suits your needs. Pay attention to connector types and required adapters for a seamless setup.

Mic Setup and Use

Connecting your external mic to your Android device is the first step. For a wired mic, use the appropriate adapter or cable to connect it to your device’s USB-C or 3.5mm port. Wireless mics connect over Bluetooth so just pair it with your phone. Ensure your phone’s settings allow access to the mic.

Some condenser mics need phantom power which your phone cannot provide. You’ll need a phantom power adapter or audio interface for condenser mics. Dynamic and lavalier mics don’t need phantom power.

Set your mic’s gain correctly to optimize the audio level without clipping or distorting the sound. Start with gain low and increase slowly while testing the level. Position the mic properly – a lavalier mic should be clipped to clothing near the mouth, a shotgun mic just out of frame.

Adjusting these elements will provide clean, quality audio when using your external mic with any Android device. For more mic setup tips, check out this guide: How to Connect an External Microphone to Your Smartphone.


Based on the pros and cons of both wired and wireless microphones, here are some top picks for Android devices:

Top Wired Microphone for Android: Rode VideoMic Me-L. This mini microphone plugs right into the headphone jack and provides excellent audio quality in a compact form factor.

Top Wireless Microphone for Android: Saramonic Blink500. This wireless lavalier system transmits audio up to 65 feet and includes a mini receiver that plugs into the charging port. Great for interviews and mobility.

For music recording, consider the Shure MV88. It has multiple polar patterns and an integrated stand for optimal mic placement.

If you want an all-in-one wireless handheld mic, check out the Movo WMIC70. It has an internal battery and records directly to your phone wirelessly.

For the best versatility, the Rode VideoMic Me is a great choice. It can be used wired or wireless, and delivers excellent sound quality.

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