Bottom line: Take your iPhone videos to the next level with better quality sound.
Lightweight, compact design
Noticeably improved audio
Built-in windscreen and shock mount
Easy to use
Doesn't come with a Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter
Doesn't decrease background/handling noise much
You can always trust iMore. Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.
You can take some great video with contemporary smartphones like the iPhone 12. However, the sound can be lacking, detracting from the quality of your video. The best iPhone external microphones for video can improve the overall quality of your video a great deal.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 is a compact microphone that noticeably improves the sound quality of your iPhone video. It's a directional on-camera microphone with built-in wind protection and shock absorption to enhance your audio. It has a standard cold-shoe mount and comes with the cables you need to attach it, so you could skip the kit if you only plan to use the microphone with a DSLR camera. However, you need the whole kit in order to use it with a smartphone.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit includes a MKE 200 Directional Camera Microphone, a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod, Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp, fuzzy windshield, and two cables. One of the cables plugs into a smartphone while the other plugs into a DSLR camera.
The Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod is both a tabletop tripod and a small "selfie stick" when you pull the legs together. The Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp mounts securely onto the tripod (or any standard tripod, you're not limited to the Manfrotto.) Simply pull the clamp open to insert your iPhone. The top of the clamp has a cold-shoe mount so you can attach the microphone.
Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit: Price and availability
The Sennheiser MKE 200 alone runs about $100. With the kit (which you definitely need in order to use it with an iPhone) it will cost $130. It's available on Amazon, B&H, Walmart, and other brick-and-mortar big box retailers and online.
Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit: What's good
I first tested the Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit while taking a selfie video and didn't notice a huge difference in the audio quality. Frankly, the iPhone microphone alone is fine for close-up video in a quiet room. However, when I moved across the room from my iPhone, I did notice a big difference in the sound quality when I used the MKE 200. It was noticeably improved.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 has a built-in windshield and shock mount, which is meant to decrease wind noise and make your recordings sound clearer in an imperfect environment. I tested the MKE 200 standing under a fairly noisy ceiling fan. While the microphone didn't block out the fan entirely, it did decrease that background noise and bring my voice front and center.
I'm no videography expert, and I found the Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit extremely easy to use. There are no batteries, nothing to charge. You just screw everything together and start shooting. I appreciate that Sennheiser uses standard mounts, such as the cold-shoe mount on the microphone and the tripod mount on the bottom of the clamp, so you're not limited to using each part of the kit as a set. You can plug the microphone directly into a camera if you prefer. While the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod is a great, stable tabletop tripod, there may be times you want to connect your iPhone to something larger. You can attach the smartphone clamp to any size tripod, monopod, or selfie stick that has the standard mount.
Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit: What's not good
I performed another video test where I purposely made a lot of noise, banging the tripod around a bit. In this scenario, the MKE 200 didn't do a great job blocking out that "sound clutter" and focusing just on my voice.
Since every iPhone from the iPhone 7 forward lacks a headphone jack, it would be nice if this kit came with a Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. It doesn't, so you'll need to purchase one separately. Luckily those don't cost a lot.
Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit: Competition
RØDE VideoMic Me-L is a similarly compact microphone that plugs into your iPhone. There's a Lightning plug model so you don't need an adapter. You'll need to purchase a smartphone clamp and tripod as well if you wish to go beyond handheld video.
An extremely inexpensive option is the PoP Voice Lavalier Microphone. Attach it to your shirt and plug the other end into your iPhone. You'll need a Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter, and you won't want to move around too much lest you get tangled in the wire.
Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want to improve the audio quality of your iPhone videos
- You want a lightweight, compact, easy to use microphone kit
- You want to isolate your voice even at a distance and with wind sounds
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You tend to make a lot of handling noises
- You don't want to buy another dongle
- It's not in your budget
Consider the Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit if you want an easy-to-use, battery-free, compact microphone kit that isolates your voice even in windy conditions and will improve the overall audio quality of your iPhone videos. However, not all sounds are decreased, such as the intentional device handling noises I made in my testing. If it's not in your budget or you don't want to buy a Lightning port adapter, don't bother with this kit.
If you're a content creator, you can just use your iPhone to create quality video content. However, the same can't be said for audio. If the audio quality is lacking, being even being viewed on the small screen of a mobile device won't help. If you're creating content on your iPhone and want to take your videography to the next level without a lot of equipment, this is a kit to consider. The microphone enhanced my audio quality, particularly when shooting across the room, even with a loud overhead fan. However, the noises I made while bumping the tripod around weren't reduced quite so effectively. The Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit is easy to set up and use and doesn't require any battery power. Overall, I got much better audio in my iPhone videos when shooting with this microphone kit.
Bottom line: Isolate and enhance your voice for better quality audio in your iPhone videos.
Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.