6 Lightning iOS USB microphones

There are currently just a few lightning iOS USB microphones that can connect directly to an iOS device via Apple’s Lightning (or 30-pin dock connections). These allow you to turn your iPad or iPhone into a high quality audio recorder, with the help of the many audio recording apps for iOS. And all without resorting to using a Camera Adapter Kit!

What’s more they’ll connect seamlessly to your Mac or PC using a standard USB (1.0 or 2.0) connection.

Here we’ve rounded up 6 of the best iOS/USB microphones, each of which will provide surprisingly good performance!


IK Multimedia - iRig Mic HD - USB microphone for iOS, Mac and PCiRig Mic HDApogee - MiC - USB Microphone for iOS and MacMiC & MiC 96kLine 6 - Sonic Port VX - USB microphone for iOS, Mac and PCSonic Port VX
Blue Microphones - Spark Digital - USB Microphone for iOS, Mac and PCSpark DigitalLewitt - DGT-650 - USB microphone for iOS, Mac & PC DGT-650Apogee - ONE - USB microphone for iOS and MacApogee One

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iRig Mic HD

Manufacturer: IK Multimedia
Bit / Sample Rate(s): 24-bit / 44.1 & 48 kHz
Compatibility: iOS, Mac and PC (and some Android devices)
RRP: $129 / £99

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability

IK Multimedia - iRig Mic HD - USB Microphone for iOS, Mac and PC

The iRig Mic HD by IK Multimedia is a traditionally styled microphone that’s received plenty of praise for its sound quality, versatility and ease of use. It’s condenser electret microphone capsule has a directional cardioid pick-up pattern making it suitable for a range of different recording tasks.

An upgraded version of IK Multimedia’s popular iRig Mic (which plugs in via your iOS’s headphone port). This enhanced ‘HD’ version also boasts an upgraded ‘electret’ condenser microphone capsule, improved Analogue-to-Digital sampling capabilities (24-bit up at 44.1 & 48kHz sample rates) and iOS Lightning port connectivity.

An integrated gain control provides 40dB of gain adjustment and the built-in multi coloured LED gives visual connection and audio level indication.

It comes bundled with a case, mic stand/clip, 5/8″ to 3/8″ thread adapter, USB cable (1.5m) to your a Mac or PC, and a Lightning cable (1.5m) to connect to an iOS device.

Users of older iOS device with a 30-pin dock connector will need to purchase this cable type separately.

iRig Mic HD is available in Black or Silver (although the Silver version is exclusively available at the Apple Store).

Android users may be interested to know that, although iRig Mic HD will work with some Samsung phones and tablets, when used with the correct OTG cable, another version, the iRig Mic HD-A, is specifically designed to work with Android devices

Pro’s:

  • High quality 24-bit / 48kHz sample resolution
  • Direct digital connection
  • Adjustable microphone gain control
  • Also compatible with some Android Samsung Galaxy smart phones and tablets (using the separately sold USB to OTG cable)

Con’s:

  • No headphone port for monitoring
  • No latency free monitoring
  • 30-pin dock connector iOS cable sold separately

Links (iRig Mic HD)

iRig Mic HD – Homepage | IKmultimedia.com

Reviews (iRig Mic HD)

iLounge.com (Rated 4.5/5) | Ultimate-Guitar.Com (Rated 7.5/10) | TUAW

Availability (iRig Mic HD)

UK: IK Multimedia (Direct) | Amazon (UK) | Thomann (GB) |

US: Amazon (US) | B & H | Sweetwater |


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MiC 96k

Manufacturer: Apogee Electronics
Bit / Sample Rate(s): 24-bit / 44.1, 48, 88.1 and 96 kHz
Compatibility: iOS and Mac
RRP: $229 / £199

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability

Apogee - MiC - USB microphone for iOS and Mac

Apogee have put their long standing experience producing high end pro audio hardware to work with MiC and MiC 96k. Creating a highly portable, yet high performance USB cardioid condenser microphone.

MiC been acclaimed for it’s ability to capture high quality audio with warmth, character and very low noise, thanks to its built-in mic pre-amp.

MiC has been designed with vocal and acoustic instrument recording in mind, but also provides excellent all round recording performance.

There are 2 versions of MiC available; MiC and MiC 96k. They’re both styled the same, but the original MiC has 44.1kHz and 48kHz sample rates available and MiC 96k has 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz sample rates available. Both record with high quality 24-bit sample resolution.

MiC & MiC 96k come with Lightning and standard USB connections for connecting to your iOS device and your Mac computer (30-pin dock cable sold separately).

Pro’s:

  • High quality low noise audio recording
  • Low noise built-in pre-amp
  • Bus powered
  • Solid Construction

Con’s:

  • No zero-latency monitoring
  • No headphone output
  • No official support or drivers for PC’s

Links (MiC & MiC 96k)

Mic – Homepage | Apogee.com

Reviews (MiC & MiC 96k)

Engadget | Wired | Sweetwater (Customer)

Availability (MiC & MiC 96k)

UK:

MiC: Amazon (UK) | Thomann (GB) | Gear4music | Scan | KMR Audio

Mic 96k: Amazon (UK) | Thomann (GB) | Scan | KMR Audio

US:

MiC: Amazon (US) | Sam Ash |

MiC 96k: Amazon (US) | Sweetwater | B&H | Sam Ash |


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Sonic Port VX

Manufacturer: Line 6

Bit / Sample Rate(s): 24-bit / 48 kHz
Compatibility: iOS, Mac and PC
RRP: $199 / £139

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability |

Line 6 - Sonic Port VX - USB microphone interface for iOS

Building on their success with the first Sonic Port, Line 6’s Sonic Port VX integrates a host of well thought out features that will particularly appeal to guitarists, as well as anyone wanting to record live acoustic audio.

Inside Sonic Port VX are three built-in professional condenser microphones. A matched stereo microphone pair and a mono microphone. These can be selected using the switch on the side of the Sonic Port VX.

There’s also a Stereo mini TRS Aux Line input (for plugging stereo sources such as ) and a Mono (TRS) instrument input for plugging in a guitar or bass.

The Sonic port also has 2 standard TRS stereo outputs for plugging in a couple of pairs of headphones for monitoring. These outputs can also be switched to provide zero-latency monitoring!

Overall Sonic Port VX provides a very comprehensive set of features for mobile audio recording and playback. The only thing some may feel that’s missing is the ability to plug in a MIDI keyboard (like the DGT650, mentioned later in this post) but bearing in mind its design as a mobile guitarist tool, it’s not a surprising omission or one that will likely be missed by most users.

Pro’s:

  • High quality 24-bit/48kHz sampling with high 120dB dynamic range guitar input
  • Zero latency monitoring mode – routes audio from any if the analogue inputs directly to the stereo outputs
  • Bus power with ultra-low draw
  • Compatible with iOS, Mac and PC platforms
  • Optional USB power connection (for powering the Sonic Port and iOS device)
  • Free mobile POD iOS app with thousands of amps, effects and speaker presets, and a built-in tuner

Con’s:

  • Short power connection lead
  • Only bundled with Lightning cable and not the 30-pin dock connector cable found on older iOS devices, although a Lightning to 30-pin adapter can be used!
  • No MIDI I/O

Links (Sonic Port VX)

Sonic Port VX – Homepage | Line6.com

Reviews (Sonic Port VX)

Review: Line 6 Sonic Port VX Audio Interface | The HUB

Line 6 take the Sonic Port to the next level | Music App Blog

5 Star Customer Reviews | Amazon

Availability (Sonic Port VX)

UK: Amazon (UK) | Thomann | Gear4music |

US: Amazon (US) | Sweetwater | Musicians Friend |


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Spark Digital by Blue Microphones

Manufacturer: Blue Microphones
Bit / Sample Rate(s): 16-bit / 44.1 kHz
Compatibility: iOS, Mac and PC
RRP: $199 / £289

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability |

Blue Microphones - Spark Digital - iOS USB microphone

When first release back in 2012 Blue Microphones billed the Spark Digital as ‘the first studio grade mic to offer both USB and iPad connectivity’. Supporting driverless operation for iPad, Mac and PC the Spark Digital offers a great desktop recording solution, packed with features and look great too.

It comes with complete with a shock mount/desk stand as pictured above and has a number of innovative features, as you’d expect from a Blue Microphones product.

Gain, volume and ‘instant mute’ are all controlled by the dial/push button on the front of the device.

On the rear there’s a ‘Focus Control’ selection button which provides 2 ‘sonic options’ to modify the sound pickup characteristics of the Spark Digital. When Focus Control is engaged the sound pick up is said to become a little warmer and richer.

The Spark digital was originally bundled with 2 y-cables (one USB and one dock connector type) which each incorporate a stereo headphone output to enable you to do zero-latency monitoring of your audio source.

It’s now also available as a Lightning cable version for connecting to the latest iPads.

Pro’s

  • Headphone output for monitoring with Zero-Latency
  • Compatible with iPad, Mac and PC
  • Onboard gain and mute control
  • Unique ‘Focus Control’ to enhance audio pickup
  • Now available with Lightning cable

Cons

  • Bulk of unit and stand may not suit mobile use
  • High noise floor report in some user reviews

Links(Spark Digital)

Spark Digital | Blue Microphones)

Reviews (Spark Digital)

Customer Reviews (average 4.5 stars) | Amazon (UK)

Blue Microphones Spark Digital review | Engadget

Blue Microphones Spark Digital review | Digital Trends

Availability (Spark Digital)

UK: Amazon (UK) | Thomann (GB) | Gear4music |

US: Amazon (US) | Sweetwater | B & H | Sweetwater |


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DGT-650 by Lewitt

Manufacturer: Lewitt
Bit / Sample Rate(s): 24-bit / 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz
Compatibility: iOS, Mac and PC
RRP: $579

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability

Lewitt - DGT-650 - USB microphone for iOS, Mac & PC

Lewitt refer to their DGT-650 USB microphone as ‘The New Digital Multi-Tool’ and a microphone with of 0dB self noise! Already a manufacturer of Pro XLR microphones the, DGT650 add to a microphone range with a good reputation.

The DGT650 comes with standard USB and Lightning iOS connection cables, together with a breakout box to accommodate addition inputs to the microphone such as line-in and and MIDI

Because the DTG650 circuitry requires power in addition to what an iPad can supply, a built-in lithium ion battery (can be charged via USB) provides extra power.

Other features include an onboard analogue pre-amp, for output to high impedence headphones and zero latency monitoring, a switchable high pass filter and 2 pad/attenuation settings to help get your audio keep level under control.

There’s even a MIDI connection that allow you to hook up a Midi keyboard and record to a midi sequencer on your iPad, Mac or PC. An interesting addition that mean you don’t have to carry around a separate Midi interface.

Pro’s

  • High quality 24-bit – 44.1, 48 or 96kHz sampling resolution
  • 4 recording modes (including mono and stereo mic recording)
  • MIDI input
  • Stereo line input recording

Con’s

  • Expensive compared to other options
  • Not widely available at retailers
  • Breakout box for headphone monitoring, MIDI and line in
  • Build-in battery will need recharging

Links(DGT650)

DGT 650 product homepage | Lewitt

Reviews (DGT650)

Lewitt Audio DGT 650 | RecordingHacks.com

Availability(DGT650)

US: Front End Audio | B & H |


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One by Apogee

| Video | Links | Reviews | Availability |

Apogee - ONE - USB microphone for iOS and Mac

ONE draws on Apogee’s legendary experience in high performing audio products to produce a USB audio interface with USB microphone functionality built-in. Capable of recording 48kHz audio at 24-bit sample resolution, ONE is an incredibly versatile mobile recording tool, for your laptop and your iPad.

It’s worth noting that like the Apogee MiC there are a couple of versions of the Apogee ONE. In the case on Apogee ONE there’s a version for use with iOS and Mac, and an older Mac only version.

Connection wise, ONE will accept a standard balanced XLR microphone input, and it’ll even provide 48v phantom power too. You can also plug in a standard mono instrument like a guitar. Making ONE a good choice if you want to be able to multi-track your performances, with apps such as Auria.

Clearly aimed at singer / songwriters, wanting to record several sound sources simultaneously. It also carries the Made for iPod, iPad and iPhone Apple logo, and has been acclaimed for it’s excellent sound quality, once again living up to what’s expected from Apogee.

Pro’s

  • High quality digital pre-amps
  • Up to 96kHz / 24-bit recording
  • Dual Microphone and Audio interface functionality
  • Low self noise

Con’s

  • Short connection cable
  • Some may find the break out cable a clumsy way of connecting up instruments

Links (Apogee ONE)

ONE for iPad & Mac – Product Homepage – Apogee Electronics

Reviews (Apogee ONE)

Apogee One (original Mac only version) – Review | Sound On Sound

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Apogee ONE | Geakbeat.com

Availability (Apogee ONE)

UK: Amazon (UK) | Thomann (GB) | Gear4music | KMR Audio

US: Amazon (US) | Sweetwater | B & H | Sam Ash |


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Novation combines audio interface and USB hub for Mac, PC and iOS

Novation - AudioHub 2x4 - USB audio interface for Mac, PC and iOS

Novation have teamed up with Focusrite to create a USB audio interface compatible with Mac, PC and iPad.

Combining a 2 input, 4 output interface (built upon Focusrite audio technology!) with a three port USB hub, so not only can you get down to sampling and recording, but you can also plug in your MIDI devices such as keyboards, sound modules and controllers.

The features and portability of the Novation AudioHub 2×4 it a pretty interesting solution not just for home recording, but also for mobile DJ’s or a live performance rig.

Novation AudioHub 2x4 example setup

As with the current trend with new interfaces, the AudioHub is an Audio Class Compliant device. But sadly there is no direct iOS cable connection. In order to get the AudioHub connected to an iPad you’ll need to connect up via an Apple Camera Adapter.

AudioHub doesn’t compromise on audio quality either, providing recording and playback capabilities at sample rates up to 96kHz with 24-bit sample resolution.

For those who don’t already have DAW software, the AudioHub comes packaged with Ableton Live Lite 9 and 1Gb of Loopmaster Samples to get you up an running.

Tech Specs

Rear Panel

  • 2 TRS Balanced jack outputs
  • 4 Unbalanced RCA outputs
  • USB type B socket for connection to computer
  • Power jack for included power supply
  • Kensington security slot

Front Panel

  • 2 RCA Line Inputs with selectable gain switch
  • Input Monitor switch
  • Headphone socket with output select switch
  • 3 USB type A sockets for connecting USB devices to the hub

Top Panel

  • 2 Volume controls for outputs 1&2 and 3&4
  • Signal/clip LEDs for outputs 1&2 and 3&4
  • Input signal/clip LED
  • Headphone volume control
  • LEDs to indicate USB ports in use
  • LEDs to indicate Audio interface and USB hub function

Product Compatibility

  • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (class compliant)
  • Window 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 (ASIO drivers included)
  • iOS 7, 6 (class compliant)

Links

AudioHub 2×4 – Product Homepage | Novationmusic.com

Availability

UK: Amazon |  Thomann | Gear4Music | Scan

US: Amazon | Sweetwater | B&H | AMS

Canada: Amazon

Germany: Thomann

 

Snowball Mic Gets New Limited Edition Colours

Image of the Blue Microphones Snowball in each of the Limited edition colours For a limited time Blue Microphones are making their classic Snowball USB microphone available in five hot new limited edition colours.

Available exclusively at Amazon’s US store, the range of available colours has now been extended to include: Bright Orange, Electric Blue, Neon Green, Hot Pink and Wicked Purple.

But only for a limited time!

Whether you want to record vocals, instruments or podcasts, the Snowball is an all round performer that looks and sound great, with the convenience of USB connection.

With Christmas just around the corner, a uniquely styled Snowball mic could be just the gift to impress a friend or loved one!

About the Blue Microphones’ Snowball

The Blue Microphones Snowball is a Plug-and-Play USB microphone for Mac and PC, capable of capturing CD-quality audio (44.1kHz/16-bit).

You can even plug the Snowball into an Apple’s iPad using the the Apple Camera Adapter Kit!

The Snowball’s innovative exterior houses two condenser capsules (the same as Blue’s award-winning Yeti USB microphone) and also incorporates three switchable sound pickup settings; cardioid, omni-directional and cardioid with -10 dB pad.

If you’re looking for a great quality USB mic that can perform in a variety of situations, the Snowball won’t disappoint.

Links & Further Reading

Snowball USB Microphone – Product Page | Blue Microphones

Snowball Microphone Video’s | YouTube

Snowball USB Microphone | Amazon.com

Find new and used Blue Microphones Snowball | eBay

Apogee USB audio interfaces compatible with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks

Apogee Electronics, US based pro audio electronics designer and manufacture have now confirmed their range of USB audio interfaces compatible with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks (the latest Mac OS X update, available for free!).

image

Evolving hardware and software

They’ve also been introducing tweaks and improvements across their product range, adding lightening cable options to support the latest iOS hardware.

Other features, such as dedicated hardware control software Maestro, for both Mac laptop/desktop platforms and iOS 7 devices, native iPad charging, MIDI interface hosting and low-latency monitoring are helping push back the boundaries of what can be done with iOS devices.

Use them with Core Audio compatible iOS audio Apps such as AudioBus (multi-App audio routing software for iOS) and the excellent Auria (48-track digital audio recording system for iOS), or many other iOS instrument and audio tools, as well as your Mac based DAW, to enhance your creative potential.

No longer do you have to make the choice between iPad or your Mac computer for your pro audio hardware!

If your not familiar with the latest Apogee range of devices for use with Mac, iPad and iPhone, here’s a round up:

Jam Lightening

Front image of the Apogee Jam USB guitar interface

A USB guitar interface perfect for stashing in your guitar bag.  Perfect if just you want to get your guitar ideas captured to iOS device, or your Mac.

Highlights

  • 44.1/48 kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital recording
  • 1 x TRS input for your Mac, iPhone or iPad
  • Gain Control
  • Now available with Lightening, 30-pin dock connector and USB cables

http://youtu.be/xxN2x-cFw5w

Links

Apogee Jam – Product Page | Apogee

Apogee Jam – Review | Engadget

Apogee Jam | Amazon Find new and used Apogee Jam | eBay

MiC

Front image of the Apogee MiC USB Microphone

Studio quality USB microphone for iPhone, iPad and Mac. This mic has received much praise for its versatility, ease of use and superb recording results.  Available accessories include: Mic stand adapter, carry case

Highlights

  • Studio grade cardioid condenser microphone
  • 44.1/48 kHz – 24-bit A-D recording
  • Built-in pre-amp with 40dB of gain
  • Now available with Lightening cable, 30-pin and USB cables

Links

MiC for iPhone, iPad and Mac – Product Page | Apogee Electronics

Apogee MiC – Review | Engadget

Apogee MiC – Review | Wired

Apogee MiC | Amazon Find new and used Apogee One | eBay

One for iPad and Mac

Front image of the Apogee One 2 in 2 Out USB audio interface with integrated microphone

This 2 in/2 out USB audio interface with built-in USB microphone for use with iPad and Mac, is a newer addition to the Apogee range.

Apogee One is also available as an older Mac only USB variant.

Highlights

  • 44.1/48kHz – 24-Bit A-D/D-A audio interface
  • Mic/instrument input breakout cable
  • Balance XLR microphone input
  • 48v phantom power
  • Unbalanced ¼” input
  • 1/8″ stereo headphone/line output
  • Multi-function control dial
  • DC power charges iPad

Links

Apogee One – Product Page | Apogee Electronics

Apogee One – Review | Sound on Sound magazine

Apogee One | Amazon Find new and used Apogee One | eBay

Duet

Front image of the Apogee Duet 2 IN x 4 OUT USB audio interface

A 2 in 4 out USB audio interface for iPad and Mac with MIDI I/O. There’s also a breakout box available if you’re not keen on the breakout cable version packaged with the Duet.

Highlights

  • 24-Bit A-D/D-A conversion up to 192kHz
  • 2 Analog inputs with mic preamps and selectable 48v phantom power
  • MIDI Input and Output
  • Touch Controls and OLED display
  • Multi-function control dial
  • Also compatible with iPhone and iPod touch
  • DC power supplies charge to iPod touch, iPhone or iPad

Links

Duet for iPad and Mac – Product Page | Apogee Electronics

Apogee Duet (2) – Review | Sound on Sound Magazine

Apogee Duet – Review | TheNextWeb

Apogee Duet | Amazon Find new and used Apogee Duet | eBay

Quartet

Front angle image of the Quartet USB audio interface for iPad & Mac<br /><br /><br />

Bridging the gap between the Apogee Duet and thier flagship Apogee Symphony I/O modular audio interface.

The Apogee Quartet provides multiple analogue and digital I/O and a versatile control surface. Quartet is designed to sit at the heart of your DAW set up.

Highlights

  • 24-Bit A-D/D-A conversion up to 192kHz
  • 4 inputs with studio pre-amps
  • 8 outputs, with independant speaker and phones outputs
  • 3 pairs of speaker monitoring output
  • Multi-function data input dial
  • Touch controls
  • OLED display
  • Low latency monitoring
  • Selectable 48v Phantom Power
  • ADAT/SMUX digital inputs
  • MIDI I/O
  • DC power supplies charge to iPod touch, iPhone or iPad

Links

Quartet for iPad and Mac – Product Page | Apogee Electronics

Apogee Quartet – Review (2012) | Sound on Sound Magazine

Apogee Quartet – Review | Gigaom

Apogee Quartet | Amazon Find new and used Apogee Quartet | eBay

High quality audio playback for iOS by Onkyo

Onkyo, has recently released HF Player, and iPhone App which provides high quality audio playback for iOS devices.

Onkyo - HF Player iOS app

Free functionality includes a 16,000-band FIR equaliser, with the ability to create and save your own presets to truly customise your music playback experience.

There’s also collection of built in EQ presets optimized by musicians for Onkyo headphones.

Onkyo - HF Player iOS app

What’s more, an in-app purchase (£6.99/$9.99) also enables the Onkyo HF Player to playback high quality FLAC, DSD, WAV, AIFF and Ogg-Vorbis audio content at sample rates up to 192kHz, with 24-bit resolution!

Although not officially supported, 96 kHz and 192 kHz audio files can be output to a compatible USB audio interface using the Apple Camera Connection Kit for iPad. So iPad users can now use the Onkyo HF Player to enjoy listening to high resolution versions of their music library via their favourite class compliant interface too.

The in-app purchase also enables selectable up-sampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz, and it adds an HD phase-linear equalizer with an incredible 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode.  DSD-IFF and DSF formats are converted to PCM before playback.

Here’s a short video demonstrating what the powerful FIR equaliser is capable of:

Useful Links

Press release – Onkyo

Link to Onkyo HF Player – iTunes Store