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Microphone that plugs into phone or camera: What’s the difference?

Microphone that plugs into phone or camera is a recording device that can directly connect to your phone or camera and capture target sounds. Compared to the mic built in your shooting device, it offers high quality audio and meets various needs like vlogging, live streaming. But as recording microphone, what are the differences between them? Toady let’s have a look.

Connector is key difference

3.5mm plug microphone has two kinds of connectors, TRS and TRRS.

Connector is the key to figure out whether it is a plug in microphone for camera or for phone. Plug in microphone for android usually features Type-C connector and Lightning is used for iPhone. Some of them also go with 3.5mm one called TRRS. And that one for camera recording uses either 3.5mm mini-plug jacks or XLR connector to connect.

It is quite simple to tell what a microphone is used for if it has Type-C, Lightning or XLR connector. But what if it is a 3.5 mm plug microphone? Here is the tip for you.

TRS stands for "tip, ring, and sleeve." It's most commonly found on cameras and other audio equipment. TRS is indicated by two black rings on the plug. Because this type of connector only carries one signal, you may have two of them on your device. The first is for audio input of on camera microphone, and the second is for audio output.

TRRS stands for "tip, ring, ring sleeve," and it's a feature seen in computers, smartphones, and other mobile devices. It differs from TRS in that it has three black rings and carries two signals. As a result, this jack may serve as both the input of plug in microphone for cell phone and an earphone output.

Differences in characteristics between microphone that plugs into phone and camera

When we use these two microphones, there are also different in the shooting performance.  

Sound quality

When we use a microphone, sound quality is the most important aspect to look in. Microphone that plugs into phone or camera captures and transfers higher quality sounds than inbuilt mic does, while external camcorder plug in microphone records the best audio, a result of XLR and TRS cable.

These two cables are balanced and relatively immune to noise that caused by interference like radio frequencies. How does it work? Actually, there are two identical versions of signal travelling along it but inverted in polarity, so is the noise signal. When it recombines these signals, the noise cancels each other out. This is why they captures better audio and are the standard for professional sounds.

SYNCO plug in microphones come with Type-C, Lightning, or 3.5mm plug.

Go and buy SYNCO plug in microphones at Moman PhotoGears Store

Recording time

Recording time also matters in filmmaking. A microphone offering long time shooting enables high efficiency. Generally speaking, the recording time is determined by two things, the battery life of your device and microphone.

For phone microphone, we know that charging port is usually used to connect microphone since many smartphones have removed 3.5mm jack. So no matter it is a plug in power microphone or powered by battery, it is not ideal for really long time recording. But luckily, some microphone manufacturers have noticed the problem and now mic with charging port for phone is available.

As for camera mic, things are different. Firstly, it doesn’t occupy the powering port so the dslr is able to work continuously. Moreover, if you use a device power one, the time can be even longer.

SYNCO G1L is the microphone that plugs into iPhone.

Photo by appletech2.0

Uses: They are suitable for different shootings

From the above we know that microphone plug in phone and camera perform quite differently. How about the situations they are used in?

Smartphone is commonly used in our daily life and usually taken with us, so a mic working for it is good at mobile recording due to its portability. For example, if you are playing a game and you feel like recording a narration for the game video, you can take out your mic, plug it into your phone and then start shooting immediately with a simple setup. Besides that, it is also a good choice to use the microphone for vlogging and other mobile recordings.

As for camera microphone, it is a perfect microphone for video recording requiring high end audio such as studio, podcast, etc.


Microphone that plugs into phone is a great audio solution to content creators, so is camera microphone. You can choose any device you want to record your video and they will help achieve excellent viewing experience.