What's new

Question About Recording Live Music


New Member
Aug 27, 2022
Reaction score
Okay, so I am an iPhone 13 user, and I have a bunch of questions. I will stick to the topic of live music.

A little quick background: I am a musician and singer and for the last 10+ years have been using Zoom recorders for live and rehearsal recordings. Currently, I use a Q8. Now the caveat with ZOOM is that the sound is absolutely amazing compared to any budget camcorder or even current mobile devices. But the video can most charitably be described as horrible. I recently recorded a bunch of live footage, and the sound is quite serviceable, particularly for a device I paid just $350.00 for.

Recently I have come to the realization that the new iPhones are (and maybe this is my aging eyes lol) jaw-droppingly amazing for video! I mean, I was blown away by how unbelievably good the footage looks, not just compared to my Zoom's horrendous video, but even much higher priced cameras and camcorders. But unfortunately the sound is not very good. This is not a knock on apple or the phone. I wouldn't expect it to be. There is simply no way that the tiny little microphone in a phone is going to compete with even the built in good quality mics atop my Zoom Q8, and it would be unreasonable to expect it. So in my last recordings I realized I should fix the video problem.

My initial idea (one I am still considering) is to record both with my iPhone and my Zoom, dump all the raw footage into my A/V workstation (I use Sony Vegas) and then discard the Zoom video and the iPhone audio. This is an all right plan, in that I can get the best of both worlds, but the last party I did (a block party oddly enough on my block) I recorded like 9 hours of footage and broke them all down into almost 100 full songs and medley videos. If I have to start trying to use visual waveforms and my ear to line up the audio and video from two different sources for more than a small handful of tunes, I will kill myself. So the option I am considering is putting the Zoom out to pasture and investing some money in an external microphone for the iPhone. There are some nice ones by Shure and Sennheiser, for instance, which are companies I use their mics for live all the time as they are industry standard. So obviously I would have no problem buying an iPhone/mobile mic from one of them; however, this comes with some problems or potential problems:

-I had no intention of recording with this phone when I bought it, so I didn't get the Pro version, and I only have the 128 GB model. I am using a bunch of space for pictures and a ton of music, but I can off load all that stuff to my PC and the cloud, so it's not a big deal to free up, say 100GB for recording use. I always have my laptop at gigs, events, and rehearsals, so I can dump all the footage onto the laptop several times a night if I have to. Hell, I have to do it sometimes with the Zoom anyway. What can be problematic with this approach is that I don't know how much storage the phone uses for good quality video. I am flexible here, as I can dial it back to a lower resolution and visual settings and it will still look ten times better than the Zoom video. The other problem I can foresee is that MANY consumer-reviews of the various microphones complain that even with a high quality lightning splitter, say from Belkin, the iphone battery drains really quickly, and the charger doesn't work with the external mic connected. Note that this is an inconsistent complaint and consumer reviews can be dubious, so this may not be a real problem. If the battery can stay at 100% with a splitter to the mic and the USB charger, then this would be a non-issue. By the way, Zoom actually makes an iPhone version of the same mics I have on my Q8, and I may actually be able to remove the Q8 mics from the Zoom and use them with my phone with a lightning adapter.

This brings me to the second concern I have, which is the iPhone mic pre-amps! This may be a huge concern. I do sound for my band and have a great PA system, and when buying my mixer, one of the first things I learned is DO NOT skimp on the mic pre-amps in cheaper mixers, because they can seriously diminish live sound quality. I bring this up because I have no Earthly idea if using an external mic on my iPhone would bypass any of the mic input preamps in the phone. If not, then this could be aurally problematic, as the mic can only do so much if the internal iPhone pre-amp is crap. Which I would NOT blame Apple for if it is. The thing is a damned cell phone lol and at the end of the day, it is what it is. But will an external mic bypass any of the audio pre-amps in the phone? Does the iPhone even have internal mic preamps other than the one in the built-in mic? If not, and the phone would then use the mic pre-amp in an external mic, then this would actually be the best case scenario.

Also, in terms of file size, is there a guide somewhere that compares recording time with video quality? I know, for instance, with the settings maxed out on my Zoom, a mere 64 GB memory card gives me like 7 hours. But with the high quality video that the iPhone 13 outputs, I would guess that minute for minute, the file sizes on the iPhone 13 would be WAY larger. So, say I can clear off enough music/pics/vids on my phone to have conservatively 100 GB of space. I wonder how often I would have to offload the files to my laptop to start recording again at the various video quality settings?

As per above, do you guys know which Lightning-Splitters would allow for simultaneous microphone use and charging so my phone battery doesn't die?

Edit: Okay, I should have probably done a little more research before posting this, as at least one of my questions is answered on sites like Lifewire. If this site is right, then it looks like if I use HEVC encoding, available in the settings, and I free up 108 GB, I can record in 4K at 30fps for a whopping 10 hours and 30 minutes. That is insane, and apparently the storage/file-size on my iPhone is WAY more optimized than my Zoom, which gives me about 7 hours at the WORST 1080i I have ever seen (looks more like a 1970's TV to be honest) on a 64 GB card. Even if I cared about 60fps, which I really don't (for gaming, yes, but not for recording my music) I would get about 4.5 hours. If I kicked the resolution down to 1080p at 60 fps, I could get 20 hours, and at 30 fps, I could get 30 hours. If this site is correct, those are amazing numbers. Honestly, for what I am doing, I would be willing to bet that even 1080p at 30 fps would be beautiful recorded on this phone, once transferred to a PC or for Youtube. 4K is great and all, but for videos of me and other musicians pretty much standing there playing and singing, I don't think that 4K would look that much better to my eyes than 1080p. But of course I could be wrong.
Last edited:
Sorry, just making a second post before abandoning this thread. Does anyone have a response or suggestions to my questions above?