Audio interface experiences survey on using professional microphones on Smule

I would like to be able to give as many users on Smule as possible good information on how they can achieve the best possible audio quality for their singing. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that I can recommend to Smule users to get a professional microphone running for Smule, as there is a wide variety of different smartphones to sing with.

Older iPhone devices have a 4-pin analog jack connection, later iPhone devices only have a Lightning connection, some iPads USB-C.

The problem with Android is that a large number of different sound chips with different latency properties are used. The analog jack connections often have different channel assignments that do not strictly adhere to a specific standard. However, some users were able to get professional microphones up and running via digital audio interfaces on Android devices. Others were successful using analog interfaces such as Tascam iXZ or iRig Pre.

In order to be able to give as many users as possible information about compatible setups, I would like to find out which device combinations can be combined with each other.

I know from many of you about the chat that you experimented a lot and spent time to find working device combinations. It would be nice if not all of us would have to reinvent the wheel and even less technically savvy singers would have the chance to find a reasonably practical solution for their smartphone without major technical fuss, in order to get the best possible sound quality with their microphone on Smule to sing.

I think it would be great if we form a really strong smule front of talented singers with high quality audio quality. If you want to help and have tried to operate a professional microphone for Smule yourself, you can support the community by filling out the following form. The aim is to find setups that harmonize with each other or that were not compatible with each other. Afterwards I will evaluate this collected information unpersonified (!) And hopefully be able to present some setup combinations that are also useful to other Smule singers.

Your experiences

Please tell me about your experience with audio interfaces when using professional microphones on iPhone and Android smartphones for Smule, so that we can put together an overview of compatible hardware configurations. This should enable users of different smartphone device types to later look up which hardware setups are compatible for their device. With your experience, I would like to be able to provide even more precise information on this website in the future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

The current evaluation of possible equipment and compatibility

I was currently able to collect the following information. However, since I am currently still looking for further empirical values, this provisional information should be enjoyed with caution.

Assured information: On iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6S Plus, the Tascam iXZ audio interface* works without any problems using a 4-pin jack connection.

Most likely compatible: There is no longer a 4-pin jack connection on iPhone 7 and newer. For this reason, an adapter plug from Lightning to jack must be inserted between them. The corresponding adapter is: Original Apple Adapter Lightning to jack* A Tascam iXZ audio interface can then be connected to this adapter. The questions are still open: Does the Lightning to jack adapter deteriorate the audio quality? Is there an adapter with which it is also possible to charge the iPhone at the same time as singing, which maintains the audio quality? From iPhone 7 and newer, is a digital audio interface preferable to an analog audio interface?

Possibly compatible (probably device-dependent): Individual users were able to successfully operate both the digital Steinberg audio interfaces UR12* sowie UR22* and the digital Yamaha mixing consoles AG03 und AG06* on both iPhone and Android. Digital audio interfaces that draw power from the smartphone, on the other hand, do not work in conjunction with Smule. All digital audio interfaces must be connected via an independent power supply (power pack, battery if necessary) to ensure a stable, continuous power supply for the vocal microphone. Whether this configuration works depends on the smartphone. On Android, the latency adjustment of the Smule app will most likely have to be used. The questions are still open: Which Android smartphones work right away with the specified digital audio interfaces? Did certain audio versions of Smule have problems with digital audio interfaces? Does the headphone return channel work reliably on Android?

Possibly compatible (depending on the Smule version and the device): There are digital audio interfaces such as the Shure Motiv MVi without their own power supply. This means that the audio interface does not need its own power supply or batteries, but instead draws its power from the smartphone. At times there was the problem with certain versions of Smule that the power supply is only activated when Smule opens a microphone connection. The power supply for a 48V phantom voltage may also not be sufficient. In some Smule versions, users also reported incompatibilities in connection with the Livejam. Unfortunately, I am currently lacking more experience on how compatible these digital audio interfaces without their own power supply are with Smule and certain smartphones (both Android and iOS). If you use such a digital audio interface (Lightning or USB connection without power supply), please let me know how compatible or incompatible this is with Smule.

Unfortunately only works on some Android smartphones: The analog Tascam iXZ audio interface is stated on its product description and packaging as Android compatible - unfortunately, Android smartphones have different connections and channel assignments, which are not documented in more detail. About 30% of all users were able to successfully use the analog audio interface on Android. If the Android smartphone does not have a 4-pin CTIA jack connection, it is most likely not compatible. Here I would like to compile a device list of which Android smartphones work successfully with the specified analog audio interface and which did not work. Have you tried to connect this audio interface to your Android smartphone, please let me know via the form whether it worked or not.

Most likely incompatible: According to my information, third-party headsets on Huawei smartphones generally cause problems for both analog audio interfaces. Users who do not use an original Huawei headset seem to frequently encounter the problem that the headphone input is automatically inserted into the microphone input again and fabricates a loop. Huawei users who want to sing with a headset other than the original Huawei headset included should explicitly pay attention to the advertised device compatibility. However, digital audio interfaces (see above) may work instead on Huawei. Further empirical values would be helpful for this.

Plan B - a used iPhone 6S Plus: Do you have problems with an Android smartphone to connect a professional microphone via audio interface, because your Android smartphone is not compatible ... A currently sensible device combination is the Tascam iXZ audio interface* on an old iPhone 6, 6S, 6 Plus or 6S Plus to use. If Apple doesn't appeal to you, you don't have to use the phone in everyday life, you just have to sing to Smule. Smule is optimized more stable on iOS devices than on Android. Used iPhone 6S Plus smartphones* with 64 GB may be sufficient for this. Buying an iPhone especially for Smule is certainly an expensive solution, but can possibly avoid the time-consuming search for suitable hardware configurations. Maybe someone in your circle of friends has an old iPhone that is no longer needed.

If you have information here that will help me, please enter it in the form above - especially if it concerns information about the outstanding questions. But also in general, every experience of working and non-working configurations helps me and the community!

iRig Pre Universal Microphone Interface*

iRig Pre Universal Microphone Interface

Tascam iXZ Audio-Interface*

Smule Audio Interface

The Tascam iXZ is an audio interface to connect a professional vocal microphone to the iPhone or smartphone.

TC-Helicon Go Vocal*

TC-Helicon GO VOCAL

OMTP to CTIA adapter* for using the Tascam iXZ audio interface on OMTP Android devices that do not support CTIA

OMTP/CTIA Adapter

If the Tascam iXZ audio interface is to be operated on an Android smartphone that uses the OMTP standard for headsets instead of the CTIA, according to the manufacturer an OMTP on CTIA adapter is necessary, which swaps pins 3 + 4. The adapter works in both directions. Unfortunately, I have no own experience, to what extent the Tascam iXZ audio interface works without restriction on Android.

Apple users do not need an adapter to connect the Tascam iXZ!

Steinberg UR242 (digital audio interface)*

Steinberg UR242 (digital audio interface)

AKG Perception 420*

AKG Perception 420

Rode NT 1A*

Rode NT 1A

Sennheiser E835-S*

Sennheiser E835-S

AKG K-240 Studio Headphones*

AKG K-240 Studio Headphones

These headphones (without integrated microphone) can be connected to the Tascam iXZ audio interface.

XLR microphone connection cable*

XLR microphone connection cable

AA batteries*

AA batteries