Improving the recording of playing and singing using an iPad or iPhone

I have posted a couple of AVOYP with just the guitar playing and I want post some with me singing as well, but have come across an issue.

When I play and sing as I do normally and record it, the guitar completely drowns out the singing. Should say it is an acoustic guitar and strumming.

So which is the best option, I have tried them but not sure which is the way to go

  • sing louder
  • Play quieter
  • Both

Also wondering if I am too close to iPad/iPhone and I don’t think they have an adjustments that can be made.

I don’t have a microphone, audio interface etc etc not a rabbit hole I have gone down yet but feel I an getting near the edge.

So just wondered if anybody had any advice.


Where you aim the phone can make a big difference.

I have a cheap tripod, and raising it to mouth level significantly improves the volume of my vocals on the recording.

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@sairfingers your recordings are very good for a phone recording. Can you give Michael some pointers on your setup mate.

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Hi Michael. Unfortunately you’ve pretty much summed it up. The one thing you’ve missed out is framing your video. That really is the governing factor if you’re using a phone to record yourself and you want your head, shoulders, guitar and hands in frame. There is no other way to adjust your sound levels other than singing/playing more loudly/more quietly. You’ll find it’s your vocal you have to increase to get the balance.

I can’t offer any advice other than experiment. Not much help I know.
I put my phone on a music stand about 3 feet away and at top of guitar sound hole height (sitting down) so it’s more or less equidistant from mouth and guitar. It really then is a matter of recording yourself singing and playing at various sound levels until you achieve a balance. You’ll find once you’ve got that balance you’ll start to get a ‘feel’ for things and can judge how loudly to sing and strum/pick.

If you play via an amp with either an acoustic or an electric guitar it’s the amp volume you have to experiment with. That tends to be more difficult as your amp will be further away and in order for the phone to pick it up you need the volume up quite high as phones are designed to pick up closer sounds. You then have to really sing loudly in order not to be drowned out by the amp.


Great advice from all above Michael. I also record all my posts with just an acoustic guitar and an iPad. I also sit about 3 feet back with the IPad at mouth level and it seems to work ok. It did take take a bit of trial and error to find what worked but that set up seemed to do the trick for me. I am also a pretty soft strummer so my vocals are not drowned out by the guitar. Hope this helps.


Not that I need any more gear, but I’ve been thinking about one of these as an alternative to a Zoom H6 or H4. It might work well for you in your situation and help you to fill in the rabbit hole too before you’re further tempted to fall down it.

EDIT: a short lighting cable extension would also be very advantageous.

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@Tbushell @Socio @sairfingers @Eddie_09 @Richard_N

Thanks all for your responses

Will look to trying different positions but I think the solution is going to be changing the volume of both playing and singing.

Thanks for passing on the post

I appreciate your lengthy reply, as you say the solution is probably a bit of both, so I think I have got a bit of experimenting to do. It is just me and the guitar so no other complications at present.

When I got the new Strumming course Grade 2, I noticed there was a lesson on dynamics, I had a brief look at it then but need now to study it in more detail.

Yes, I am going to try a few diffident orientations to see what works best for sound and vision

That bit of kit looks interesting, but I think I am going to hold back for a while. But when I go down the rabbit hole, I think it is going to be microphone, audio interface, headphones etc. However, I think that is going to have to be later in the year.

Cheers all



Michael. Another thing I’ll add to my previous post is learn your song lyrics off by heart. Singing more loudly to cut through the guitar part means you need to have confidence in your vocal and you won’t have that if you’re not sure of the words or if you’re trying to read them off a song sheet at the same time as playing/singing.

If you’re recording yourself for feedback on the AVoYP section here then a modern phone/tablet will give you totally acceptable results in terms of audio and video.
Clearly if you want to look and sound more professional with multitracks and multi camera angles etc. then the rabbit hole from which you may never emerge awaits. :smiley:


Gordon @sairfingers
Thanks for your further input. You are right it is recording for AVOYP.
You are correct you need to know the lyrics off by heart. The way I approach a new song is to work on the chords but independently and at the same time learn the lyrics, then put them together when I am reasonably happy with both. Memorising the lyrics is the hard part for me, don’t think it is an age thing as I had trouble remembering poems at school, complicated formula no problem at all. I have started by trying to play the guitar a lot quieter will then have a go at recording both in the next few days.

The only time I played live we all had the lead sheets in front of us, it was my first gig at the guitar club’s recent Christmas concert. I had to learn six songs in a short space of time. I didn’t have a microphone in front of me to sing but did sing along as it helps me with when to change chords. Interestingly the advice from the others who were are very accomplished guitarists, was to have the sheet, they said if you get lost look at the sheet and keep your strumming hand moving and come in when you are sorted out, fortunately it didn’t happen.

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Old thread I realize.
For the people @Eddie_09 who attempt recordings using an iPad, do you simply use the camera app (on video of course) for this, or is there some other app (such as iMovie) or something that you use? Thanks much.


Hi Mike, yes just the camera app on the iPad as you say. I will eventually get into more sophisticated recording but for now that’s all I use. Hope this helps.


I often record audio straight to my iPad using the VoiceMemo app. It’s usually the easiest and quickest way to capture a recording.

Note that sound quality and levels can vary a lot depending on where the iPad is placed. For example, voice recordings seem to work better if the device is elevated to mouth level.

When singing and playing at the same time you can roughly vary relative levels of voice and guitar by positioning the device closer to ore or the other.

For video, I find the iPad rather clunky because its size makes it hard to position. I bought a cheap tripod off Amazon, and use my iPhone for that, and let iCloud automatically copy the recordings to my iPad for viewing and editing.

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