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I would like to get a better microphone for my smartphone for recording wildlife around my home and when out camping. This question asked about very inexpensive accessories, but in this case, I am willing to spend some money (maybe up to $100 USD if that is even reasonable?)

I am looking for recommendations for a casual user-grade microphone that would be an improvement over the factory/base one that comes with phones. I'm open to opinions on directional or not for this sort of application. I would primarily like it for bird sounds, but there are also bats in the area, so if I'm going to invest in one, being able to record bats as well would be a bonus. (I know from this answer the Wildlife Acoustics EchoMeter Touch is an option for bats specifically but that is more narrow of an application than I'm looking for).

I have an iPhone 12, so specifically an looking for recommendations for mics that would be compatible with that, but I left the question as general for smartphones since I'm sure people will have had experience with other devices and I might be able to find an adapter to use one of those.

Edit (following @WMXZ comment):

  • I plan to record with the phone either using BirdNET or using the SpectrumView app for iOS (at least to start - other app ideas here).
  • I am assuming these apps will allow me to integrate with an external microphone. I'm assuming this because:

(1) my wireless headphones have a built in mic and I'm able to make phone calls from them,

(2) for BirdNET specifically, I believe this is possible because I vaguely recall a discussion about this when I was working at the Cornell lab (but cannot remember any of the suggestions!) and

(3) there appear to be lots of relatively inexpensive external microphones available for social media type purposes. A quick Amazon search pulled up lots of hits, which was very overwhelming and is why I in part was looking to this community for feedback! I am guessing most of those mics are meant for human speech and hearing so might not be best for bioacoustics. I found this Zoom brand one which I actually think might be a great option for birds; BUT, the sampling rate is only 48 kHz, so no bats.

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    could you specify how you wanted to interface with phone? Are there apps available that allow external devices?
    – WMXZ
    Jul 13 at 18:46
  • Good question...I just assumed yes since my wireless earbuds have a microphone and that works....will look into that and add to the question
    – selene
    Jul 13 at 19:56

3 Answers 3

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I would highly recommend the Rode i-XY stereo microphone for casual field recording. Although I haven't used BirdNET, I would be fairly confident that the Rode microphone would be compatible.

https://rode.com/en/microphones/mobile/i-xy

Generally speaking, I've found it to be a highly versatile mic interface and Rycote manufacture a windjammer specifically for the model.

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Echometers by Wildlife Bioacoustics is a great smartphone extension for recording and identifying bat species.

ECHO METER TOUCH 2 FOR ANDROID (USB-C)- $179.00 [Sampling rate-256k]

ECHO METER TOUCH 2 PRO FOR ANDROID (USB-C) - $349.00 [Sampling rate up to 384k @16bits]

ECHO METER TOUCH 2 PRO FOR IOS- $349.00 [Sampling rate up to 384k @16bits]

Image courtesy - www.wildlifeacoustics.com

You can also use RØDE VideoMic GO for general recording.

Image courtesy www.macaulaylibrary.org

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You can take a look to Ultramics: www.dodotronic.com you can record both audio and ultrasound at the same time

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