Using Boya BY-A100 External Mic with A Smartphone in A Thick Cover

So I got a Boya BY-A100 omnidirectional condenser microphone. Even though I was happy with its performance, there was a problem.

I was going to use it with my then main smartphone Oppo R17 Neo. I have it in a relatively thick cover, and because of this cover, my Boya BY-100 will not go into the 3.5mm audio port. Actually, my main smartphone will be Oppo Reno A, but it is very close to R17 Neo in its physical size, so I am actually using the cover for R17 Neo on Reno A. So the problem will not disappear. What should I do?

One idea was to make the access hole of the cover to the audio port big enough for the BY-A100 to go in. Not only would it entail manual carving, which I do not know if I can handle, but also it would inevitably compromise the structural integrity of the cover, which is not a good thing. What is the point of using a thick cover if it does not protect the smartphone? But you might be able to make it work with different types of cover, an avenue I intend to explore later.

Another solution would be to use some sort of extension audio cable. That would probably make the mic dangle around, which in turn would make it hard to have it stably point in the desired direction, but it is better than not being able to use it at all.

What you need to make sure in choosing such an extension cable is that the signals are simply passed through as they are, and not converted or swapped in any way. The problem is that oftentimes the purpose of such cables are that very conversion (such as TRS/TRRS, CTIA/OMTP — see “Understanding TRRS and Audio Jacks – Cable Chick Blog” ), so most of the products do not meet this requirement.

Still, I found two products that seem to satisfy the requirement.

One is FDBRO Extension Cord Cable Audio Plug Jack 3.5mm Male to 3.5mm Jack Female Extend Wire Plug Connector. There is no clear explanation of what this connector does, but given the fact it is meant to give you access to the 3.5mm audio port of your iPhone when an external battery is attached the back of it and blocks your usual access to the 3.5mm port of your iPhone (see pic), I think it is safe to assume this connector just passes the signals through.

Another is 90 Degree Right Angled 3.5mm Male To Female Audio Converter Adapter Connector L Type Stereo Earphone Microphone Jack Plug. This one clearly states the following:

Contact definition: 1-1/2-2/3-3/4-4 (through straight in connection, extended use. Non mode conversion function)

So it looks promising. If the plug securely stays in place in the receptacle of the smartphone, then the mic will not either, so this will be the better solution. So I ordered this, but maybe I should have ordered this instead. It seems to have the same spec, but looks a bit cooler and only marginally more expensive.

By the way, a very similar looking product called 1Pcs/5Pcs Universal 3.5mm OMTP to CTIA Earphone Converter Adapter Cable Male to Female Aux to Aux 3.5mm Connector is an OMTP-to-CTIA converter, exactly the kind of product I needed to avoid.

We’ll see.

Boya BY-A100 Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone

I was looking for a unidirectional “shotgun”-type condenser microphone for use with smartphones to shoot videos of objects far away in “External Microphones for Use with Android Devices” (and eventually ended up buying a MIC-07 shotgun mic. While I was at it, I bought a Boya BY-A100 omnidirectional condenser microphone on eBay for ~$19, or a little over 2,000 yen. Clearly, this was for an entirely different purpose.

Once I shot an interview video with a smartphone without any external mic, the interviewee’s voice was recorded at such a low volume that when you watch the video, you have to crank the volume all the way up to be able to hear what he was saying. So I knew I needed an external microphone for possible similar situations in the future.

To shoot an-interview-and-an-interviewee videos, probably a stereo mic would have been better, but as I wrote in the article above, it is generally not easy to record audio in stereo using a smartphone with an external mic, so basically I just settled.

BY-A100 is obviously a discontinued product, but I managed to find its PDF manual, but there is not much useful info there.

I thought BY-A100 would be easy to use because all you have to do is to plug it into the 3.5mm headset port of a smartphone (and possibly use third-party auido/video recording apps that support external mics if the built-in ones do not, just as I did in “Oppo R17 Neo Supports Audio Recording in Stereo.”) Since such usage is assumed, I was certain that it had a TRRS plug (which was obvious from the photos too), and I would not need a TRS-to-TRRS converter.

When it arrived, I did a very basic testing with an old smartphone (Xperia UL) and there was a noticeable improvement in sound volume (listen to the recording below). Actually, I realized there was a problem using it with my then main smartphone Oppo R17 Neo, but I will talk about this in a separate article.