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Tuesday Tips: Best Microphone Set-Up



Best Overall: iPhone earbuds with mic

We asked 25 of some of the most active users on Sing! and 70% of them opted for iPhone or native earbuds for the best overall sound, convenience and consistency!  


“I’ve used all sorts of earbuds with mics… From Skull Candy to Beats to Bose… Apple earbuds have been hands down the most consistent on providing the best sound quality. What also plays a factor into your sound quality, outside of the equipment you use, is the placement of the mic (in front of me works best for me) as well as the acoustics in the room you record in. Try to find a room with as little echo as possible so that you get a more clear, crisp sound :)” –Annah_TV


You might also want to try the built-in mic on your phone:


“I’ve tried a few mics to try to see if my sound quality improves, and only 2 things work for me. They are the Apple ear buds that came with my phone and the built-in mic in my iPhone. When I use my built-in iPhone mic, I just need some cheap $10 ear buds, but they have to be ear buds only with no mic.” –Ailina_

But, sometimes, this doesn’t work for us, or we want to try something different to optimize for the best sound your voice has to offer.


Other quality mics:

“I opted for the Bluestark as external mic only for when I need to get a sound with more bass. But the fact that it connects through the lighting-cable is drains a lot of battery.So I prefer to stick to the regular earpods, they have the best rendition anyway when used correctly.” – Laura_tv

“If i am in a hurry Apple earbud is my go to mic, but if you wanna try something fancier here’s the trick, buy a tascam microphone interface (price around $50) then you can use any dynamic/condenser mic to connect it to your phone (i use shure sm58 dynamic mic) = see how big of Smerd (smule nerd) i am 😂😂😂” – Weezerden

“If you want to use a studio mic you can use the iRig pre and a headphone and you’re ready to go”  – SonnySinay

Placement is also important:

“I use the apple earbuds, but I find more important than the device is where you place the mic! I hold mine out in front of me because I feel it gives the most crisp and clear sound ☺️ experiment with placement and find what works best for you!” –JeffreyAKG_TV



If you start out with the Sing! App on your phone or tablet, you probably use a simple headset like the one that came with the device. And that is fine! The Apple EarBuds for example are pretty good for what they cost. But if you are looking for better options you will find that the professional microphones used on stage or in studios are meant to be plugged into a professional mixer, not a phone or tablet. But with a little device, you can use any professional mic in the Sing! app. There are two problems to overcome:

Audio cable jacks

Professional microphones use the XLR connector standard with three pins. Today’s phones and tablets use a 3.5-mm 4-conductor audio jack for analog audio input (microphone) and output (headphones). It is basically a tweaked headphone socket with an additional connection for the microphone to save the room for a dedicated microphone input socket. As a result, you can plug any headphone with a 3.5-mm jack into your phone, but not any microphone. The microphone cable needs to be specifically made to work with these 4-conductor phone sockets. So even microphones with a 3.5-mm phone connector, which might work for your computer or digital camera, won’t work with your phone or tablet without an adaptor—even though the jack fits in the socket. And XLR microphones aren’t meant to be plugged into phone ports at all. 


  • Left: XLR jack
  • Middle: standard phone connector jack with 3 conductors for left, right, ground (“TRS”—Tip, Ring, Sleeve)
  • Right: Typical smartphone connector jack with 4 conductors for left, right, ground and microphone/control signals (“TRRS”—Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve)

Phantom Power

Professional microphones, especially the ones used in studios, are often condenser microphones. They require a permanent power source to work. If you just plug a condenser mic in a regular mic input, you won’t hear anything at all. To make a condenser mic work with Smule, you not only need an XLR to phone connector adaptor, you also need to provide the necessary phantom power. But luckily there are several devices available to achieve this and they aren’t even that expensive. 


A common choice is the iRig PRE, which I use myself. You can plug in any XLR microphone including condenser mics. The phantom power is provided by a battery which lasts for about 10 hours (or 30 for dynamic microphones). There is a gain control knob on the side of the iRigPRE. You need to play around with it a little bit to find the perfect setting, so the mic input signal in Smule is neither too high nor too low. There is an additional headphone socket on the device, so you can still hear the audio signal from your phone or tablet. However, the sound quality is not as good as when you plug the headphones directly into your phone or tablet and the buttons of the Apple EarBuds also stop working. 

The iRigPRE output is an analog audio signal, so you can be sure it works with any app that supports the regular mic input port (so basically all of them). There is also the much more expensive iRig Pro I/O, which has a digital output and connects to your device through a lightning or USB cable. This should provide a better audio quality with less noise, but I haven’t tested it myself and can’t say if it is compatible with the Sing! app. 

Similar to the iRigPRE, both in price and functionality is the TASCAM iXZ. The advantage of it is that the input socket does not only support XLR jacks, but also 6.35-mm jacks for guitar/line input. As with the iRigPRE you can be sure this works with Smule and any iOS device with a 3.5-mm headphone socket. 


The discussion section below this article has been closed. If you have more questions regarding this topic, please use the forum. The many questions can be structured and answered better there. 

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Audio-Interface to connect a professional microphone to the Smartphone / Tablet

My technical equipment for singing on Smule

This page was originally created because I was often asked on Smule how I managed to connect a professional vocal microphone for Smule. Since it seems that many of you are interested in this topic, I have collected my experiences on this website. Also pay attention to the other subpages of the Smule section! With a professional vocal microphone you can improve the sound quality on Smule, but since Smule is designed for ordinary headsets, there are some things to consider. Nevertheless, I hope that my personal experiences, which I gained over a long period of testing and trying, will help or even motivate some of you!

As one or two of you may have noticed, I do not sing Smule with a conventional smartphone headset. Instead, I use a large-diaphragm condenser microphone. Consumer headsets, on the other hand, often provide only a very modest, dull and noisy sound quality, and your voice does not look as good in the modest sound quality as Smule would.

Smartphones and tablets are by default not designed for professional music production, but at best for a clear sound of the speaking voice and for listening to music. Therefore, the possibilities are initially limited from home, which can be achieved with a smartphone or tablet in terms of the sound of the vocal part.

Professional microphones can not be connected to a standard 3.5 mm jack but usually require an XLR connector including 48V phantom power for an extended power supply. Therefore, a connection to a smartphone or tablet is impossible without appropriate additional hardware.

Older iPhones and most Android devices have a 4-pin 3.5mm jack connector. This special connection combines sound input and sound output for headsets. Newer iPhones have no direct 4-pin 3.5 mm jack connection, but only a Lightning or USB-C connection. Here you have to connect the adapter from Lightning to Jack. This was partly the devices when purchased in the packaging, to connect a conventional headset or headphones to the iPhone.

In my experience, it does not make much sense to try out other consumer headsets or microphones for Smule in hopes of getting better sound quality. In the consumer area is usually the headset that came with the smartphone when buying, best matched to the analog-to-digital converter of the smartphone. Most third-party headsets degrade the quality. A serious quality improvement can therefore only be achieved by connecting a professional vocal microphone with 48V phantom power, which requires an audio interface for its operation.

To connect a (semi-)professional microphone to the 4-pin 3.5 mm jack of a smartphone or tablet, I bought the following analog audio interfaces for testing:

Currently I use the iRig Pre* to connect a vocal microphone directly. If I don't want to use a vocal microphone directly but via a mixing console, I use the Tascam iXZ Audio-Interface*. In addition to an XLR connector, the Tascam iXZ audio interface offers the option of connecting an upstream device with its own pre-amplification via a large jack plug.

On the front of the Tascam iXZ Audio Interface* there is an XLR connector to which a condenser microphone can be connected, for example. There is also a mode switch that can be set to Off, Instrument or Microphone. If it is set to Off, the device does not consume power. The device itself has no power supply, but is powered by two AA batteries* which is also used to supply the microphone with 48V phantom power. Here you should not forget to switch off the unit after use to avoid draining the batteries unnecessarily. If you want to connect a microphone directly to the audio interface, set the switch to microphone. If you want to connect the microphone indirectly to the audio interface via a mixer, set the switch to the instrument symbol.

Next to it is a switch for phantom power, which can be set to Off or On. Check in advance if you have a microphone that needs 48V phantom power and only switch the phantom power on in this case. If the phantom power is activated, a red LED will light up. If you don't connect the microphone directly to the audio interface, but to a mixing console in front of it, the phantom switch remains in the off position, because in this case the microphone must already be supplied with 48V phantom power via the mixing console.

On the far right is the input control for the volume. Always set it as loud as possible, but without making your recording sound distorted or overdriven when you sing more loudly. At the beginning try to set it to the middle position. If you hear scratching on the recording, turn it down. If the sound quality is rather modest, it may be because the sound was transferred with too low an input level, and turn it up a bit.

On the back of the phone there is a 3.5 mm jack plug which is plugged into the corresponding socket of the smartphone into which you have previously plugged your headset. Now the audio interface is connected here instead.

The iRig Pre audio-interface* has a switch for the positions Off, On (without phantom power) and 48V (with phantom power). Additionally, a gain control can be used to adjust the amplification. It is powered by an 9V block battery.

In addition to XLR connectors for the vocal microphone, all audio interfaces also have a separate jack for the headphone connection.

In my hardware setup I use an iPhone to sing with Smule. If you want to use an analog audio interface on an Android device, it must support the CTIA standard for headsets. If the Android device works with the OMTP standard for headsets, according to the manufacturer a jack adapter from OMTP to CTIA* necessary, which swaps pins 3 + 4. For Apple devices no adapter is necessary and the interface can be connected directly.

Most users have told me that an iPhone (6 or newer) gives the best sound quality in connection with the mentioned audio interfaces. Some Android devices (like many Samsung smartphones) are compatible, others are not.

In my experience, connecting a high-quality professional microphone to an appropriate audio interface increases clearly the sound quality of your vocals and voice with Smule as opposed to a consumer headset and also reduces background noise and muffled sound.

Which microphone is recommended for Smule?

With the variety of microphones available, it is very difficult to pick a particular concrete microphone out of the masses. Microphones differ fundamentally in their sound characteristics. The microphone influences the characteristics of your voice. And here the tastes differ.

Personally, I have used an AKG C4000B large diaphragm condenser microphone with 48V phantom power and XLR connector for over 15 years. In retrospect, it was definitely worthwhile to spend a little more for a microphone, considering the long period of use. The microphone hasn't been manufactured for a long time. Besides AKG, I also had good experiences with the brands Rode, Sennheiser, Shure and Neumann. I also like to use the Sennheiser E945 microphone, which is also very suitable for live vocals. But keep in mind that every manufacturer can have good as well as bad microphones in their assortment. A microphone also influences whether your voice sounds smokier or clearer. Make sure that your microphone has an XLR connection. A USB microphone cannot be used for Smule!

A small selection:

  • Rode NT 1A* - large diaphragm condenser studio microphone (XLR-cable is included according to the description, but I only recommend the microphone separately without the mixer bundles!)
  • AKG Perception 420* - large diaphragm condenser studio microphone (makes thin voices sound more powerful)
  • Sennheiser E945* - a great microphone also for live performances

If you want to know more about it, you can find my compact overview of professional microphones here.

If you are currently considering whether it makes sense to switch to a professional microphone, I have summarized my personal experiences on the page "Do I sing better on Smule with headset or with microphone?". If you are considering using a vocal microphone with Smule, you should definitely read this article.

Are you considering switching to new hardware or planning to upgrade to equipment that will allow you to sound quality of your voice on Smule, you can find my experiences here: Recommended hardware setups for singing on Smule.

If you are not satisfied with a purchase - for example, if the microphone does not sound as you hoped - then use your return right!

Using a mixer for Smule

Do not forget!

Do you want to switch from a consumer headset to (semi) professional microphone incl. Audio interface? You also need a XLR connection cable* for your microphone. In addition, depending on the microphone type, a stand with a corresponding microphone holder may also be useful.

Do you have your own experience with audio interfaces with Smule?

I would like to give Smule users an overview of which audio interfaces can be used with iPhone and Android devices on Smule. If you are singing with a professional microphone yourself, I would be very interested in your personal experience on the compatibility of audio interfaces for Smule on Android and iOS, in order to enable vocalists with less technical skills on Smule in the future.

More questions?

Please also consider that the purchase of technical products increases the complexity of your overall setup and you are up to the expected challenges! Only expand your setup if you have solved all technical problems with the existing setup.

If the article has not answered all questions, you can also contact me.

Note about affiliate links

*On this page, I share my personal experience with my own personal experience. If articles such as technical equipment are presented, this is not sponsoring by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to put affiliate advertising links to shopping sites. In the case of product sales on the linked website, the website operator receives a small commission - of course, without the article for the buyer is thereby more expensive. Affiliate advertising links are marked with an appropriate *.

Best Microphone for Smule in 2021 - Which Is The Best For You?

The 5 Best Microphones for Smule (and How to Connect them) (2021)


By Brian ClarkLast Updated: March 5, 2021


You need a good microphone to get great audio recording quality on Smule, the popular karaoke app.

There are two options:

  • Get a good microphone (options below) and use a device such as the IK Multimedia iRig Pre HD to allow you to connect this to your phone.
  • OR you can get a quality mic like the Shure MV51 that plugs directly into your phone!

Dynamic microphones work better if you’re going to have a lot of background noise or the acoustics of your room are not very good.

Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are much more sensitive. They record with great quality, but you need to be in a quiet house and a room that’s not very echoey.

(The iRig Pre HD even supports condenser mics. Just hit the “phantom power” switch on the side of the device, and you are good to go!).

Here are our recommended options for the best microphones for Smule:


The 5 Best Microphones for Smule – Our Pick

1. Shure SM58 (dynamic)

When you think about a microphone, chances are there is an image in your head that looks a lot like SM58. Shure’s model is one of the most used models in the world and for a good reason as well.

This is a dynamic vocal microphone, which allows for recording and emitting of both singing and speech as well. It comes with integrated wind and breath filters which combined with a hard metal grill do their job nicely. This is a great all-around microphone that will cover all of your needs and do it well.

2. Shure MV51 (condenser – plugs into your phone)

If you don’t want to get into all of the hassles of buying a microphone and interface and carry them around, but want to get a simple, all-in-one microphone, MV51 is your choice. This is a USB condenser microphone that is designed to be plugged straight into your phone.

It is really beautifully designed and has several very nice features, such as five different modes for recording according to your needs. You can connect it to your phone, tablet, or computer through a USB or lightning ports and it will work on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms easily.

3. AKG P120 (condenser)

AKG P120 is a great, quality-made, affordable microphone for everyday use. It is a condenser mic with a cardioid recording pattern. It has two switches to cut higher frequencies and can really record lower tones nicely.

This is a great microphone for anyone looking for a budget condenser mic. Whether you’re going to use this baby for singing or record a podcast or do something else, this is a great buy for any collection because of its quality/price ratio.

4. Rode NT1-A – (condenser)

Rode is a well-known name in the microphone world so it’s no surprise that it’s on this list. NT1-A is a great condenser mic that comes with everything you might need. It has a large recording head, meaning you’ll catch every sound you want.

The great thing is that it comes with a shock absorber and a pop filter. This means that you’ll be able to set it up for the best recording straight out of the box. Note that you’ll need to get a phantom power supply of 48v to use this mic.

5. Sennheiser E835 (Dynamic)

We finish off this list with another dynamic microphone from another well-known name in this industry. Sennheiser E835 is another iconic microphone that is well-known and loved around the world. This is the standard microphone that’s used for vocal and percussion recordings. It’s light and easy to use, as it doesn’t need any additional power.

The importance of using a pop-filter

If you’ve ever recorded something, you have noticed that on certain letters you can hear a pop when you say them in the microphone. This is a well-known effect of plosives – sounds that create a popping sound when being recorded straight into the microphone. This is the consequence of the air coming at really high speeds from your mouth when you say certain sounds. This high speeding air hits the microphone and creates that popping sound everybody hates.

To prevent this, people usually use pop filters – those circular meshes you can see in front of the microphones and you always wondered what those are exactly. Pop filters are really cheap these days and even if you don’t want to spend extra money, you can find really good tutorials online on how to make one yourself.

Also, check out our article on microphone stands if you need to get one.

Use this setup with other apps

Once you set up your recording equipment, you don’t have to use it just for Smule. This will work on any recording equipment, from your phone, computer, or even studio settings. Always keep in mind that this equipment is really easy to use and versatile, so play with it and see what you’ll get.

What is Smule?

Smule is a karaoke playing app. You can find it both for iOS and Android, and it’s the most popular karaoke app in the world. You can play it with your friends and you can also record and share videos of yourself singing for other members of the community to rate them and enjoy them.

You can choose from thousands of different songs from all ages and territories and adjust your voice through different filters and have different effects to set up your voice to sound just as you want it to.


We hope that this article was informative and helped you find the best microphone for Smule that suits your needs. Even though most people will use them just for karaoke, you don’t have to be restrained just to the Smule app – you can use it freely in different situations, experiment with them, and have fun!


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