Recording guitar via headphone jack - possible?

edited January 2012 in Equipment

I have an iPhone 4 with LoopyHD and am trying to record my acoustic-electric guitar by connecting it through the headphone jack. I have one end of a 1/4" guitar cable plugged into my guitar and the other end is plugged into a 1/4" --> 1/8" adapter, which is then plugged into the iPhone headphone jack. When I do this, though, no sound is being detected.

I've tried the same thing with GarageBand and with the native VoiceRecorder app on the iPhone with the same results - no sound is detected. However, I can plug into the mic (line-in) on my laptop via the same method and everything works fine (in other words, no problems with the guitar, cable, or adapter).

Any idea what I'm doing wrong? Is there an input level I need to change somewhere on the iPhone? Is there a setting I need to change in Loopy in order to change the input source to the headphone jack? Or is this simply not possible? I'm thinking of getting an iRig or something like it but wouldn't that just be the same thing?

Thanks for your help!!


  • iphones use a special 4 section jack (left, right, ground and the mic). I have yet to find a way to hook up a stand alone mic to an iphone. However there are some mic packages made to connect to the iphone. Just search for iPhone microphone and they should pop up
  • You need a TRS Jack. Normal Headphone jacks for example have 2 rings. But a TRS has 3 -->Left, Right and Mic

    I think the iRig is the Minimum Hardware to use. I already tried to find a cheaper way, but the iRig is the cheapest for direct input. If you need a Mic, you can use the iRig Mic.

    My setup is like this: Mic/Guitar (To connect both things at the same time you could use an A/B(Y)-Switch)

    --> EQ-Pedal (as a preamp) and a few guitar effect pedals e.g. Delay, Chorus, Distortion,...

    --> iRig

    --> iPodTouch with Loopy

    --> Amp/PA

    Works fine ;)

    Hope that I could help you ;)
  • Thanks for the help, folks - both of your comments make sense and I appreciate the input!!
  • I stand corrected I was counting the bottom of the jack as a ring. Beethekook is correct it only has 3 rings. I also forgot to mention that I have this cable made by griffin which has worked fine for me:
  • @Chongolio This cable looks more useful than the iRig. I think it´s "stupid" to put jack on the top and one on the bottom, the TRS-cable is also a little bit too short. I works fine, but it could be better. How is the sound quality of the Griffin cable?
  • @beethekook I am by no means a seasoned audiophile (more like a seasoned noob) but I have had no issues with the sound quality from Griffin products. I also use their iMic adapter. I have a video I put together using the Griffin cable and iMic adapater, the ishred app, a diddley bow and a looping app that I will leave nameless out of respect for Michael and Loopy. If interested you can check it out at:
  • Wow, nice vid ;) I think i will check it out ;)
    Thanks! :)
  • Thanks man @beethekook I plan on another video soon using the Loopy app and another diddley bow I just finished up. I will post it to the forum when I finished
  • nice! I think i will try to make a diddley bow, too! I think it´s a nice thing! ;)
  • @beethekook Check out for some inspiration. There are some amazing homemade instruments over there!
  • edited November 2014

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