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Is it possible to change the microphone sensitivity (input volume) on the iPad?

If so, how?

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Yes, it is possible to change the microphone sensitivity system wide on the iPad 2 and above, but only for external mics, as far as I know.

To adjust the audio input level you need two things:

  • Apple's $5,- GarageBand (I don't know about free apps that can adjust the mic level)
  • An external microphone: either attached to the the mini jack (headphone connector, like Apple's own white earbuds) or attached to the Apple 30-pins or Lightning connector using the USB adapter of the camera connection kit or the Lightning-to-USB adapter cable.

In the voice recording section of GarageBand, select the button with the audio plug. With a supported device you should see the audio-input level slider and other extra settings like a monitor switch. The microphone input level adjusted in GarageBand, works system wide.

Depending of the amount of current you USB-mic needs, it could be that the iPad cannot deliver sufficient energy to power the mic. In that case you can use the Griffin iMic, or a powered USB hub. My Samson C01U works perfectly without any additional power requirements.

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    "The microphone input level adjusted in GarageBand, works system wide." That's bizarre, but I tested it and it's true. So there's no other way to adjust input level from within the Camera/video app, for instance? – endolith Jan 19 '16 at 16:20
  • Yes, there are other free apps that can adjust it. Voice Record Pro by Dayana Networks is one. Confirmed that adjusting the level in there adjusts it system-wide, though it's a clunky way to do it. So there's at least one, but probably others that are better. – endolith Jan 19 '16 at 17:18
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What you can do with the built-in microphone is limited. You should investigate purchasing a third-party microphone, or better yet an audio interface with a microphone preamplifier, into which you plug a microphone. This will cost money but give you much more control.

Look for products from Tascam, Apogee, Line 6, IK Multimedia, and Griffin.

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