It is possible to connect a microphone directly to an iPad or Apple device, however additional hardware is typically needed to make the connection.
The type of microphone you use, whether it is a USB or XLR connection microphone will further determine what setup and extra hardware you might need.
Personally, I have found connecting a microphone to an iPad really easy and efficient for “on the go” recording, however, when I first tried this I made a lot of bad purchases and got things mixed up.
Here are the main types of microphones on the market and the corresponding hardware and setup needed to connect your chosen microphone to your iPad.
Connecting A USB Microphone to An iPad
USB microphones are my preferred method of connecting a microphone to an iPad or iPhone.
As the name suggests, a USB microphone connects via a USB port.
However, you will notice that you do not have a USB port on your iPad, so how do you connect this type of microphone?
To connect a USB microphone to an iPad an additional adaptor is needed to interface the USB microphone with your device. The adaptor you need will vary depending on the model of iPad that you have.
Typically, the two main types of adaptor are:
Here is what these adaptors look like with a link to the products on Amazon.
In addition here is a very good explainer video on YouTube that tells you how to connect a USB microphone to your iPad or iPhone.
Connecting A Dynamic XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
A dynamic XLR microphone is one of the most common microphone types.
XLR refers to the type of microphone connection.
There are a few ways to do this, but my favourite is using a USB-to-XLR cable, which turns your dynamic XLR microphone into a USB microphone.
You will still need one of the mentioned adaptors to connect your microphone to your iPhone or iPad.
Here is a great video explaining and doing an excellent demo of connecting a dynamic XLR microphone to an iPad.
Connecting A Condensor XLR Microphone to An iPad or iPhone
The key difference when using a condenser microphone is that you need an external power supply, often called a 48V phantom power, which is needed to operate the microphone. A condenser microphone needs this power supply to work.
Typically, using a USB audio interface that has a 48V phantom power option built-in is my favourite approach when connecting a condenser microphone to an iPad.
Below is an example of a typical setup when connecting a condenser microphone to an iPad, via a USB audio interface.
Most USB audio interfaces will still need an apple adaptor as already mentioned, however, there are some awesome USB audio interfaces out there that connects directly to your iPad, for example, the PreSonus AudioBox iOne iPad/USB Audio Interface.
Here is an example of how this audio interface works and connects to an iPad without the additional adaptor.
For some alternative options, which include using the standard apple adaptor, this excellent video shows how to connect a condensor XLR microphone to an iPad via a USB audio interface with Apple adaptor included.
Related Microphone Articles
How to find some great budget USB microphones for under $100:
Learn about where you should place your microphone for the best sound quality when recording speech:
Learn how to pick the right microphone when recording audio for your content:
Learn what the three most popular types of microphone are: