How-to

Make the next hit TikTok beat with just your iPhone

A little bit of hardware, a few apps, and you'll be ready to upload the next hit in no time.

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Recording your own music is a lot easier than it used to be. With loads of affordable audio interfaces on the market, plus all of the fantastic music apps out there for iOS, you don't need a full studio to make some sick tracks.

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No matter what your reasons are for choosing an iPhone for your music recording needs (space limitations, mobility, a deep and unwavering love for Apple products...) we're going to break down exactly what you need.

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First, let's start with...

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Hardware

First: What kind of recording you're going to be doing? If you think your endeavors will consist mostly of software and electronic sounds or non-acoustic instruments like an electric guitar, your hardware choices will differ from someone itching to record their eclectic collection of hand drums.

Say you're recording more acoustic sounds...

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Microphones

Getting a good recording is key. If you plan on recording live instruments, consider spending some money on a microphone upgrade. Microphones (at least mics worth buying) won't be cheap, but they will have a big impact on the tone and overall quality of your work.

Input may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by Input's editorial team.

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Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone

Maybe you want to keep things simple and portable, in which case external mics like this Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone should suffice as long as you're not planning on recording raucous amps or drums. Conveniently, the Zoom iQ6 plugs directly into the Lighting port of your iPhone.

$80

The Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone is currently marked down from $100.

The Zoom iQ6 Stereo X/Y Microphone

Optionally, if you're feeling like you want to spend additional funds on a more sophisticated microphone setup, you could buy a standalone condenser mic (a versatile option for vocals and guitar) and a separate audio interface that helps power and connect the mic to your phone.

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There are plenty of well-received condenser mics currently available for about $100, including the Audio-Technica AT2020 and the MXL 770, and either of these should cover all your vocal and guitar or guitar-adjacent bases.

Pictured: Audio-Technica AT2020

In order to use those mics, however, you'll need to purchase a separate interface with an XLR connection and phantom power, which sends electricity to the condenser mic's preamp. This interface from iRig (a company we'll return to in a second) will connect and power a condenser to your iPhone without breaking your budget.

The IK Multimedia iRig PRE Mic Pre

$30

Right now you can buy the IK Multimedia iRig PRE Mic Pre on sale ($10 off) through Guitar Center.

Guitar Center

So, what if you're recording electric?

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If you want to record directly into your phone using a line-in, you can also buy an interface (not just an adapter) that allows you to plug a quarter-inch jack directly into the lightning port in your phone. This will allow you to use software like Garage Band to record your electric guitar.

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IK Multimedia iRig HD

In this department, you might want to consider a compact interface and preamp like the IK Multimedia iRig HD, which comes with two channels for either guitar or bass (or both) and allows you to connect to an iPhone or iPad. With the adjustable gain, the iRig will also help to ensure your signals are coming in crisp and clear.

$100

The IK Multimedia iRig HD will run you $100.

The IK Multimedia iRig HD

Flip

Alternatively, if you're trying to get into sampling, check out Flip from YouTuber and musician Andrew Huang. Flip makes sampling a breeze, and you can also do a ton of stuff to work with the sound. Highly recommended.

From Andrew Huang on YouTube

$10

Flip is also one of the most affordable music apps at just $10.

Flip on the App Store

Cubasis 3

Cubasis 3 is a multi-featured DAW (digital audio workstation) for both iOS and Android (Editor's note: Thank you, Cubase ๐Ÿ˜ญ) that will let you do a wide variety of recording, sequencing, and basically everything you need to do, all in one app.

Cubasis also has a pretty robust library of sample drums and plugins that can conjure up rhythm and synths for your track and, like Garage Band or Logic, lets you record live instruments if you're not in the mood to use programmed sounds exclusively.

$49.99

Cubasis 3, the latest version of the app, will run you just shy of $50.

Consider Garage Band

Garage Band isn't the most sophisticated software for making music, but you can actually do a lot with it, and best of all, you can download it for free.

Garage Band comes preloaded with various digital synthesizers, amp simulators, and a smattering of pre- and post-effects for dressing up live and programmed instruments.

$0

I mean, how can you beat free?

FL Studio Mobile

FL Studio Mobile is another DAW you may want to consider if you're looking for an experience beyond just Garage Band. Like the desktop version, FL Studio Mobile comes with baked-in effects like audio compression, delay, phasing, and more, all with FL Studio's intuitive interface. You'll be flying without some of FL Studio's best tools (like their Edison audio sampler), but for a mobile DAW, FL Studio is a good mixture of simplicity and capability.

Plus, if you're lacking a MIDI controller, FL Studio's piano roll is a pretty amazing way to program sounds like synths and drums without totally losing your mind.

Picture: Image-Line

$13.99

FL Studio Mobile can be yours for just $14.

Fl Studio

Headphones

If you're making music and you want to really hear what you're doing, and want to keep your partner / roommate / parents from killing you, a good pair of headphones is a must.

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Sony MDR7506

Sony's MDR 7506 are the headphones you see a lot of video editors using. It's because they're relatively cheap and provide neutral, high-quality sound, and are comfortable enough to wear all day.

$89.99

You can nab these headphones for about $90 right now.

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Koss Porta Pros

Koss' Porta Pros are a classic pair of over-the-ear headphones that launched all the way back in 1984 and are still on sale today. How can a pair of headphones stand the test of time for almost 40 years? Because they sound fantastic for the price.

$50

You can buy the Porta Pros for around $50 (or sometimes cheaper) depending on the seller.

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While there's plenty of other hardware you could add to your iPhone-centric home studio (perhaps an Orba?), a microphone, interface, Garage Band, and some decent headphones are enough to get you up and running with enough tools to record just about anything short of an entire drum set, orchestra, or brass band.

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