Rode SmartLav + lapel mic and Audacity

I have Rode SmartLav + lapel microphone and macOS last version. When I connect Rode SmartLav + lapel microphone I cannot see this mic in Audacity, there is internal mic only.

What can I do?

Thank you, Roman

Which Mac and how did you connect it?

Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Sound > Input. Does the microphone appear there? If it’s not there then Audacity will never see it. Audacity gets sound from the Mac, not the microphone.


Your system location may be a little different from mine.


Later Macs demand that you set a permission for use. You need to look that one up in your Mac instructions.


See here in Audacity’s FAQ: FAQ:Recording - Troubleshooting - Audacity Manual

As far as I know, the Rode SmartLav is a purely analog mic (3.5mm jack) unless they have made other models with USB.
So unless your Mac has an external mic input, you will need an USB audio interface.

Thank you, so will the audio jack - USB be enough?

In theory yes, in practice it’s not that straight forward unfortunately.

1) Not all USB audio interfaces are created equally, some are good, others are real rubbish.
Generally the little USB interfaces with just a mic in and headphones out are terrible, avoid.
Units made by Presonus, Scarlett, Behringer, etc are much, much better but at a higher cost.

2) What kind of bias (DC supply) does the mic need?
There are generally three types of mics:

i) They don’t need any bias/phantom power, these are dynamic mics.

ii) The condenser type made for computers and smartphones need a voltage, somewhere between 3 and 5 volts.
(Please note that pc’s, smartphones and those crappy little USB interfaces, do supply this voltage).

iii) Then there are the more professional condenser mics that require a supply of 48V.
The brands I mentioned above, do supply the 48V, a.k.a. phantom power.

Which category does your Rode fall under?
If you feed 48V to a mic that is designed for 3-5V, there is a good chance that you will destroy it.

3) Connector type is also important.
I see that the Rode uses a 3.5mm 4 pole jack, so the connections are different to the “regular” 3.5 mm 3 pole jack.
You will have to figure out if you need an adaptor/converter before feeding the mic into a USB audio interface.

Best do more research so you don’t land up buying bits of kit you don’t need or are disappointed with.
Perhaps someone else that has one of those Rode mics that have successfully interfaced it to their Macs, will post here.

Accoding to Rode that mic is meant to be used with a smartphone that has a TRRS headphone/microphone jack.
How do you intend to use the mic? It might be easiest to record on your phone then transfer the recording to Audacity for editing.
– Bill


billw58’s solution of using the mic to record on your phone and transferring it afterwards, is by far the easiest.
Since it’s confirmed that the Rode is meant for phones, you will be jumping through hoops to interface it directly to your computer.

I’m doing this from spells and incantations, but I believe the four conductor connection in my phone is the same as the headphone connector on the side of my Mac Air.

Specifically, Left Headphone, Right Headphone, Microphone and Ground. The physical microphone has no use for the two headphone signals, but the microphone and associated 5 volts should be common between an iPhone and the Mac.

That round thing on the right is labeled a headphone, but it’s really a headSET, combination of stereo headphones and microphone on a boom.

Given also that Apple has been carefully stamping out that connection in new products, you may end up with a digital adapter in the middle anyway. It’s worth a shot to plug that thing into either your Mac or your phone and see it it works. None of those systems has 48 volt phantom power.

I stopped recommending a phone for quality recording because although it’s easy to get terrific sound in, it requires an act of congress to get it back out. I shot a small sound test with my iPhone and three days later I bought the appropriate software to hardware transfer it to my Mac/Audacity. Some of the older transfer services are no longer supported. We were not pleased.

Oh, and do post back when you get something to work so we can tell others.

The Youtube channel “Wonderhussy Adventures” shoots almost all of her desert trips on her phone with a plug-in directional extension microphone and wind screen. That’s it.


Oh, and a selfie stick.


Thank you all for your answers.

I’m looking for a mobile solution for recording podcasts outside the studio - Macbook + Rode SmartLav + Audacity. But that’s probably not possible…

Thank you…

I use a Zoom H2 (plenty of other portable recorders available), record as WAV, and then put the flash card into my computer and drag the WAV files onto my computer for editing in Audacity.

a mobile solution for recording podcasts outside the studio

OK, here’s where you take that show you have in your head and write it down so we have a fighting chance of describing how to shoot it.

Field (outside broadcast) shoots can be scary. Your ears and head automatically filter out a lot of real-life trash. For example, you can’t shoot anywhere that has background music. That’s an automatic copyright violation, and no, there’s no software that can automatically filter it out.

I thought I was certifiably insane for wanting to shoot an interview here.

Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 4.34.43 AM.png
But no. One time while I was enjoying my In-N-Out burger I saw someone else shooting an interview here. When he was done, we talked about the challenges of this location. Yes, yes, jet noises. You build that into the interview. “Here we are at an LAX restaurant between flights.” But. Regard the palm trees in the background. There’s also a 30 knot beach breeze. LAX is a block away from Dockweiler Beach. I don’t know if you ever tried to get a microphone to work in a high wind, but it’s not fun. This is a repeating theme, but if it’s bad enough, there’s no software to filter it out.

There is a Hollywood way out of this. Take a recorder to your desired location and shoot background/environment. Then shoot the actual interview in your home studio and mix them together in editing.


Zoom H2

A real legacy H2? Not an H2n?

Those are insanely desirable recorders. When Zoom stopped making them, the price went up on the used market.

Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 4.49.22 AM.png

Yes, an H2.

That’s quite surprising as the H2n has better pre-amps for external mics (though unimportant for me as I always use the built-in mics, which are surprisingly good). I’m not sure that I’d go for the H2 if I were buying now as there’s a lot of alternative competing products these days that didn’t exist when I bought it.

Let’s start over.

The jack on the side of your Macbook may, indeed, be a TRRS connector that works with, for example, the old Apple wired earbud/microphone combo. If that is the case, it should work with the RODE.

Plug in the RODE. Go to Apple (menu) > System Preferences > Sound > Input. Do you see the RODE there? If not, then it won’t work with Audacity (or any other program on your Mac).

If you do see the RODE, follow the instruction in this post.

Now start Audacity and see if you can select the RODE in the Device Toolbar.

– Bill

I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) and the Rode microphone is not visible there.

On the second Macbook Air 2020, you can see it in the Sound tab. Do you know why? Thank you.

My guess is that the Macbook Pro does not have the TRRS jack for a headphone/microphone combo, whereas the Macbook Air does have that connection. The tech specs from Apple are no help as both say “3.5 mm headphone jack” with no mention of microphone input.

Can you record from the RODE with Audacity on the Macbook Air?

– Bill