Voice Recording on Mac, iPad and iPhone

Have you tried making a voice recording on a Mac in a noisy environment? Have you tried to use voice recognition software on an iPad or iPhone?

Voice Recognition Software Makes Mistakes in Noisy Environments

In my work as a speech language pathologist, I often use apps to help people work on their goals. For example, Reading Assistant provides 1:1 coaching while a student is reading aloud. This outstanding software can provide feedback on mispronunciations and force the student to rehearse the correct sounds or words.

Unfortunately, all voice recognition programs make mistakes when there is too much background noise. What can you do if you want to use the software in a typical noisy classroom?

Using a Headset solves the Problem

Voice Recording PC USBThe solution is to use a headset instead of the device’s internal microphone. The microphone will be close to the student’s mouth. The student’s voice will be the main signal and the background noise will fade away.

You can plug  a USB headset into a computer and have instant success. You will be able to make recordings, listen to yourself and learn from the feedback the software is providing. When my clients are using speech recognition software on a computer, I recommend the Logitech H540 headset. It is inexpensive, durable and works well.

It is much harder to solve the problem of background noise when you are using an app on an iPad. It is even more difficult to find a solution for children. Take a look at my explanation on this video.

How do you plug a Headset into an iPad?

Anna Krueger Explains how to make a Voice Recording on a Mac, iPad or iPhone

Macs, iPhones and the iPad have a Special Jack

The heaphone jack on Mac computers, iPhones and iPads accepts input from a microphone in addition to providing the audio output. You can plug your ear buds into your device and make voice recordings.

You have probably seen the ear buds that come with an iPhone. Look closely at the metal tip that you insert into the jack of an iPhone. You will notice that it has three rings, for a mike plus stereo audio.

When you are wearing the ear buds, the mike can be found on the cable, near your mouth.

By the way, the iPod cable also has 3 rings. It is made for video plus audio.

Headphone Cables


In contrast, standard stereo headphones have only two rings on the metal tip. The two rings represent the left and right audio signals. There is no microphone.

Three Solutions for iPad Voice Recordings with Children

Boy Using Reading AssistantHere are the solutions that I demonstrated in the video. If you haven’t watched it yet, make sure you do. The differences in the sound quality will convince you to try one of these solutions if you are trying to do recordings on an iPad in a noisy environment.

Review of iPhone Earbuds

  • they don’t reduce distractions for the child
  • they are too large for most children’s ears
  • touching the cable or mike produces sound distortion
  • they get very uncomfortable during a 30 minute therapy session

Review of the Sennheiser HD471i Headset

  • the ear cup helps reduce distractions for the child
  • the padding is very comfortable
  • the size can be adjusted to fit a child
  • the metal tip has the 3 rings that are needed for the microphone to work properly
  • this headset is made for the iPod, iPad and iPhone; it is a rare find.
  • the mike is located on the cable in a good position for adults, but it might be too far from the mouth for a child
  • touching the cable or the mike produces sound distortion
  • there is a background hiss during recording

Review of the Logitech G230 Headset

  • Adapter Gaming Headsetsthe ear cup helps reduce distractions for the child
  • the padding is very comfortable
  • the size can be adjusted to fit a child
  • it can’t be plugged into an iPad because it has separate jacks for the microphone and the audio
  • the adapter I used was the Sennheiser PCV 05 Audio Combo Adapter for PC Gaming Headsets; this has the 3 rings that are needed.
  • if an adult wants to hear what the child is doing, don’t use a regular audio splitter. The microphone input will be lost.
  • Adapter IpadI plugged the Sennheiser adapter into an Afunta U shape 4 pin Adapter to Two 3.5mm 4 Pin Earphone with Mic for Phones. This is the one with three rings. It was sold as a two-pack with a typical audio splitter.
  • even with two adapters, the sound quality of the voice recording was excellent.
  • the sturdy mike is a good choice for children; it can’t be twisted and bent.
  • the cable is covered with a durable layer of fabric.

I hope one of these solutions works for you! If you find other solutions that work well with an iPad, please let me know.






About the Author Neuroplan

Online speech language therapy and literacy apps. Available across Canada. Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Autism, Auditory Processing, Acquired Brain Injury, Stuttering, English Comprehension and Grammar.

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