I’ve used my existing microphone setup with a dedicated recorder since I picked up the equipment. While taking an online course on How to Record Bird Sounds, one of the setups they showed in the video utilized an external microphone connected to an iPhone running Merlin. This setup allowed them to get higher-quality recordings and get Merlin’s help IDing what was vocalizing.
What I used in this setup:
|Microphone with XLR output|
|Apple 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter|
|Rode SC4 TRRS adapter|
|Optional but highly recommended|
|Shotgun shock mount|
I decided to go down this rabbit hole of researching what I would need to connect my Sennheiser ME66 microphone to my iPhone. This setup should work with any XLR microphone. Check out my current setup for birdsong recording using a dedicated recorder.
Examining this video course closer (they didn’t go into the detail of the setup), I could see they plugged the microphone into the 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter with another dongle in between.
My microphone has an XLR output so I bought an XLR female-to-male 3.5mm cable and plugged it all in with the 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter. No dice. The microphone was being powered with its battery, but the phone was still using the built-in mic when running Merlin.
I learned that the microphone cable outputs its signal as “TRS” and needs to be converted to “TRRS” for the iPhone hence the extra dongle I mentioned above in the course’s setup.
Rather than wait for another online shipment, I found a camera store nearby that sells the Rode SC4 TRRS Adapter that I needed. The folks at the store were kind enough to help me plug everything in and confirm it worked before paying.
So, in short, to get things working properly plug all the dongles and cables together THEN plug them into the phone. This should allow the phone to recognize everything properly.
A quick test of this setup shows my audio being recorded in Merlin using the external mic while ignoring the built-in one. Enjoy!