How to Use a Headphone Jack for External Audio

If your main switcher device has a headphone jack, you can use that to input to get external audio into Switcher

Note: Using the headphone jack to connect external audio only supports Mono audio. If you need stereo audio you'll need to connect using your device's USB-C or Lightning port.

This article outlines:

How to Determine if your Device has a Headphone Jack

The headphone jack is a small circular input/output on either the top or bottom edge of your device. Compatible devices and headphone jack locations are shown in the diagram below.

If your device does not have a headphone jack, you'll need to use either the lightning port or USB-C port.

Required Preamp, Cables, and/or Adapters

  1. Preamp: A preamp is an audio device that converts an external audio signal, like that of an XLR microphone, into a signal that your Apple device can recognize.

  2. 1/8" (3.5mm) TRRS cable: In order to plug your preamp into the headphone jack of your Apple device, you will need a 1/8" (3.5mm) TRRS cable. Some preamps include the cable or have one built-in, while others may only have an output jack. There are several preamps that will work, but we recommend the Saramonic SmartRig II, which also has a built-in 1/8" (3.5mm) TRRS cable.

  3. XLR or 1/4" TS/TRS cable: You will need either an XLR or 1/4" TS/TRS cable to connect an external microphone or mixer to the preamp. The type of cable you need will be determined by the available outputs of the mixer or microphone.

How to Connect an External Microphone

When using a traditional XLR microphone you'll need a preamp.

  1. Connect one end of the XLR cable to the microphone and the other end to the preamp's input jack.

  2. Then connect one end of the 1/8" (3.5mm) TRRS cable to the preamp's output jack and the other end to the Apple device's headphone jack.

  3. Your main switching device will now recognize the preamp and connected microphone as the main audio signal for your videos.

How to Connect an External Audio Mixer

  1. Connect external audio devices like microphones and laptops into your mixer.

  2. Connect your mixer's output into the preamp's input. Most mixers have a section labeled "main outputs" that are either 1/4" outputs, XLR outputs, or sometimes both. Depending on which mixer you have, you will need the appropriate cable to hook into your preamp.

  3. Connect the preamp's output into the Apple device's headphone jack using the 1/8" (3.5mm) cable.

Note: Many mixers have both Left and Right audio outputs for stereo, but many preamps are not stereo and the headphone jack on your iOS device is limited to mono audio only. By default, plug your output cable into the Left output of the mixer. Some mixers default to mono if nothing is plugged into the Right output. Be mindful that if you have a microphone or other audio signal that is panned to the Right and you are only using the Left output, you will not hear that signal on your video.

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