Mobile Mics

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When it comes to social media content, video and short-form video in particular is huge.

It’s a competitive landscape and each passing year it’s harder for creators to stand out. Everybody is looking for tactics that will give them an advantage. Thus, it’s surprising how many people overlook tweaking their filming habits to boost their sound quality.

Authentic content that’s in the moment is capturing both people’s attention and imagination right now. Sometimes you need to put production concerns aside and just hit record before the moment is gone. Nevertheless, if speech is a key component in your video it needs to be clear and easy to understand. Otherwise, the point of the video will whiz over your audience’s head or they’ll keep scrolling.

Why Exactly Are Internal Mics Mediocre or Even Poor?

When you consider how tiny the components of a smartphone are, it’s astonishing that phones perform as well as they do. The quest to make everything small brings compromises, and microphones are no exception.

The mic in your smartphone is a tiny electret condenser. Condenser mics have been around for a very long time. E.C. Wente invented it in 1916 for Bell Labs.

If you were to get a standalone condenser mic today the choices in brands and styles are vast. If you break it down in terms of the size of the diaphragm inside the mics, it gets much simpler.

There are small, medium, and large diaphragm condenser mics. Each has its pros and cons. However, in terms of sound, it’s notable that large diaphragm condenser mics give you a big, rich sound.

This is where internal mics in phones struggle the most: bass. They do capture the mid frequencies and highs of the human voice adequately with proper technique. Ultimately, speech without post-processing that was recorded with a phone sounds flat. And that can make it challenging for your audience to understand what’s being said.

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Audiences appreciate the realness and rawness of TikTok. At the same time, the bar keeps getting higher in terms of production quality. It’s common to come across impeccably-produced, well-edited videos like you’d see on YouTube.

Videos that have higher video and audio quality tend to perform better. That’s why TikTok’s top creators tend to look and sound great.

People are there for the creativity, to see rare talent, and for laughs. But when the production component is on point the message is delivered with clarity and it’s simply effortless to take in.

Sound Quality is Key

Improving your audio is one of the simplest changes you can make as a TikTok creator to stand out.

A study led by researchers from the University of Southern California and Australian National University found that speakers with high-quality audio were perceived as smarter and more likable than speakers with low-quality audio. Additionally, audiences perceived the content as more significant and enjoyed the experience more when the audio was good.

Smartphone cameras are generally excellent on any flagship or mid-range phone. The tiny built-in microphones in phones are another story. Unless you’re speaking into the phone’s mic from the sweet spot, the audio lacks definition.

It’s generally better to use an external mic to create content whenever possible. It’s understood that most TikTok creators want to make spontaneous short videos. Luckily, there’s a mic for every application that won’t get in the way of your creativity. Whether you reach for a wireless lavalier or a podcasting mic, you’re rewarded for delivering clear, easy-to-understand audio to your audience.

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The top YouTubers may have vastly different content, but they have two things in common.

They all look and sound good.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean they have professional-level production. Rather, their video production amplifies their message rather than distracting from it.

When it comes to audio, your voice doesn’t need to have polished sound like you’re a guest on The Howard Stern Show. But it does need to be clear and intelligible to your audience.

When you consider the narrow frequency range and low output of speakers on phones and laptops, it becomes apparent that you need to ensure your audio is translating across all devices.

In most cases you’ve got just several second to grab people’s attention. And if your audio level is too low, is distorted, or is flat and muffled-sounding, there’s a good chance you’ll lose people that would have otherwise been interested.

Operation Rising Star winner Melissa Gomez

Traditionally, one of the most important purchases home-recording singers and songwriters made was an audio interface.

Modern music has changed, with much of the hooks and musical phrases now produced by electronic instruments in-the-box. A growing segment relies on libraries and loops; so the ability to record real instruments isn’t a necessity to them. Dedicated singers and rappers who collaborate with other musicians or a producer don’t necessarily need an interface either.

It’s substantially cheaper to merge the mic with USB technology rather than take the established professional route of plugging an XLR mic into an audio interface. It’s also easier to setup and less can go wrong with technical aspect as you won’t have to worry about channel selection, engaging phantom power, etc.

USB mics are thought of as prosumer products, so truly high-end USB mics aren’t here, at least yet. The value packed into USB mics by Blue, Audio-Technica and others is astounding. This makes USB mics the perfect choice for an aspiring singer looking to get his or her feet wet.

IK-Multimedia-Rig-Mic-StudioBest known for excellent music production software like Amplitube and SampleTank, IK Multimedia has been building their line-up of affordable audio hardware similar to Apogee’s entry-level offerings.

Like the Apogee MiC 96k, iRig Mic Studio may be small in stature but it’s a serious tool aimed at musicians on the go and podcasters.

It can’t reach sample rates of 96kHz like the Apogee, however it’s priced lower and can record 24-bit up to 48kHz. Many professional recording studios don’t use sample rates any higher than 48kHz, so this is plenty for the budding musician or podcaster recording at home. At one time 24-bit was only available in the priciest USB mics to it’s encouraging to see technology advanced to the point IK Multimedia can offer it at such a low price point.

IK Multimedia is emphasing it’s 133dB SPL rating. This means you can record anything from a whispering voice to cranked guitar amps and snare drums.

Frequency response is rated at 20Hz to 20kHz. Sound quality is good with clear slightly exaggerated top-end, which makes it good for recording vocals.

The mic’s design is simple and sleek. On the front there are two knobs: one for recording gain and the other for headphone monitoring volume. There is a 3.5mm/1/8” jack on the back for connecting headphones.