If you know anything about creating content, then you know the importance of good audio. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Peter McKinnon, Matti Haapoja, or anyone else making vlog-style videos, the sound design is what keeps viewers around.
But, when you’re starting out as a content creator, it can tough to buy all of that equipment. One way to save a little cash from the outset is to find a decent phone microphone so that you don’t have to buy a dedicated camera and accompanying audio gear. Instead, you can use the camera you always have on you – your smartphone – and add a shotgun phone microphone for less than $20.
The Neewer CM14 will instantly improve your phone’s audio for less than the cost of an adapter cable from Shure or Blue. If you aren’t ready to drop $100 plus for a phone microphone to start your Youtube channel, then this budget-friendly compact directional microphone is the one for you.
First off, it should be noted that the CM14 works with devices other than smartphones. In fact, this offering from Neewer will work with any device with a built-in microphone. If you have an iPhone, though, you’ll need a lightning adapter to use an external microphone. It sucks, but you should go ahead and buy Apple’s version so that you don’t run into licensing issues (I didn’t when I purchased a home projector, and it was a big hullabaloo.).
It’s worth acknowledging that there’s a minor difference in sound quality between the CM14 and the microphones listed in our Is the Best Microphone for Youtube a Phone Mic. I note this because the linked guide focuses on professional-quality phone audio equipment, whereas this guide is highlighting a viable budget option for beginners.
Neewer CM14 Phone Microphone Specs
- Uni-directional microphone
- 5.3 oz in a compact design
- Reasonable sensitivity of -44±2KΩ
- Powered by device via the 3.5mm jack
- Max Input of 110 dB is more than you should need
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio of 66 dB means it’ll be tough to drown out your audio
How to Use the Neewer CM14
So, is it really as easy as plug it in and start recording? Well, almost.
The included two cables have stickers denoting use – 3.5mm to TRRS and 3.5mm to TRS – so it’s immediately clear which chord you should choose for your needs. The fur and foam windshields are easy enough to put on the microphone, and it’s obvious which shield is for which environment (fur is for outside, and foam is for inside).
Neewer includes a shock mount as well, which significantly cuts down on vibrations and their resulting noises when recording. The shock mount is easy enough to attach to any cold shoe mount.
Attaching your external microphone to your phone is a bit trickier. I shoot in the Filmic Pro app when recording video so that I can have manual control over my camera settings. In addition, the app gives you control over audio input levels, which is a great touch for vloggers and livestreamers alike. If you’re shooting in a third-party app like Filmic Pro (others include the Moment Pro Camera App and Beastcam), then -to change your audio source – search for some variation of:
- settings < audio < camera microphone < external microphone
If you’re recording video in your native camera app, then first, you should consider finding a way to gain manual control over your phone camera. If that option is not available to you, then – if you’re shooting on iPhone – at least lock your exposure. You can lock exposure by pressing and holding on the screen until a notification – AE-AF lock – appears. Unfortunately, exposure lock isn’t widely available on Android devices, and, as a whole, photo and video recording and editing apps are sub-par on the operating system.
Your phone should automatically acknowledge the fact that an external microphone has been plugged in and will prompt you to connect it.
While Neewer’s website says the optimal recording distance is 20-39 inches, I haven’t had any issues getting quality audio from upwards of five feet (60 inches) away. Perhaps the audio could be better, but it’s not noticeably bad. For less than $20 the increase in audio quality is pretty spectacular.