Want Better Audio from Your iOS Device? Get the Zoom iQ5 and Get Recording

1 Gear Diary Zoom iQ5 Feb 10 2014 4 21 PM 50

If you want to record better audio with your iOS device, or have better-sounding videos shot with an iPhone or iPad, you’ll want to check out the new Zoom iQ5. Designed specifically for iOS devices with a Lightning connector, it adds a great-quality microphone to your mobile device for under $100. Check out both our video demos of the iQ5.


The Zoom iQ5 adds a high-quality mid-side stereo condenser microphone to your iOS device. It is small, easy to take everywhere and simple to use. Best of all it really works.

Here’s a look at the iQ5 on video.

And here it is when used with an iPad mini.

As you can see, I don’t think the iQ5 is perfect, but I am pretty impressed with it.


You simply snap the iQ5 into the Lighting connector on the bottom of your iOS device. Unfortunately the short length of the connector and the design of the iQ5 means it won’t work properly if your iOS device is in most cases. It is a shame since it potentially limits the usefulness and simplicity of a great product.


The microphone rotates so you can orient the iOS device in any direction. In one orientation it captures stereo audio while shooting video. In the other it lets you hold the iOS device flat and capture audio the way you might if interviewing someone. And by using the free Zoom Handy Recorder app you can really up the quality of the audio you capture with your iPhone or iPad.


The iQ5 has two microphone elements: a directional mid microphone that captures audio coming directly at it and a bidirectional side microphone. a setting on the front of the iQ5 lets you choose the width of the stereo being captured. As Zoom explains,

Stereo width can be set to 90° or 120° according to the recording situation, or you can opt to record the mid and side mic signals as RAW data and then use Zoom’s Handy Recorder iOS app to adjust the stereo width from 30o to 150o. This allows you to go from a tight sound focused on a single instrument to a wide image that includes the surrounding ambience and reverberation. The app even allows you to collapse the signal into phase-coherent mono, which is great for interviews, narration and other voice recordings.

A gain control on the side gives you additional control. If you are using the Handy Recorder app you can set the iQ5 to Auto Gain and choose from three different presets: Concert, Solo and Meeting. The iQ5’s built-in Limiter lets you avoid input overloads.

Finally, a 3.5mm headphone jack lets you monitor the signal being captured by the iQ5 and a mini-USB port lets you charge your iOS device while using it to record. That will come in handy for extended sessions carpeting video.


If you use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to record video or audio, this accessory is one you may well want to consider. It ought to come with a protective case and the short Lightning connector is an issue if you use a case on your device but other than that the iQ5 is a winner. Learn more here.
Click here to get it through our Amazon Affiliate Store.

MSRP: $99.99

What I Like: Does a great job of letting iOS devices capture better audio; Easy to use; Works with an assortment of apps or the free app from Zoom

What Needs Improvement: No protective bag or case include; Doesn’t work with many (most?) cases

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

Categories: Reviews

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1 reply

  1. I was wondering if there was one that works with the new connector! :-)

    I need to get another iRig as that’s the only way I can get decen audio from my phone or tablet currently.