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Thread: iOS audio bluetooth question

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David Schwartz

Posts: 137
Registered: 8/28/00
iOS audio bluetooth question  
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  Posted: Jun 28, 2016 8:40 PM
I have what I think is a simple thing that I'm trying to do, and just keep running into a brick wall.

I'm hoping to find someone who can either explain to me what's going on or point me to somewhere that explains it.

PROBLEM: I want to record a video on my iPad and use a headset mic connected to the iPad via Bluetooth, rather than the built-in mic.

The built-in mic is omnidirectional and it picks up all sorts of ambient noises, including the A/C and traffic noises from outside.

I have a great headset mic (AT Pro8HEx) that has an XLR connector on it. It's a dynamic mic, so it need to be plugged into a pre-amp. I have an external USB audio interface that's plugged into my MacBook Pro, and it works fine.

The GOAL is simple: take the headphone output from the mixer, send it to a BT device that's paired with the iPad and use it as the AUDIO INPUT.

The alternative is to take the headphone out and connect it via wire to the iPad's mic/headphone jack, but that won't work unless I use a splitter and also have a headset connected. Yes, thats' weird.

As far as BT hardware goes, I have a TaoTronics TT-BA07 TX/RX BT interface that I can pair with my iPad in RX mode. (I don't know why RX and not TX, but that's how it's done.)

I also have a BT headset that I configured for testing.

This is what I've found so far:

SCENARIO 1: Test something known:

I have a bluetooth headset that works with my phone. I can pair it with my iPad and ... all apps I've tried that have audio output will send it to the headset, but NOT all apps that have audio input will accept it from the headset. For example, I can use it with Skype and make calls; Skype uses the headset mic for input and sends output to the headset phones.

The iPad Camera app in Video mode uses the headset for OUTPUT ONLY. It will NOT accept the headset AUDIO INPUT. Strangely, it blocks the built-in mic and records no audio signal at all.

iMovie is similar: it will play back through the headset speakers, but it will not record through the headset mic.

I found a 3rd party app on the app store called "captures" (free) that takes a video and uses this BT headset for BOTH INPUT AND OUTPUT. This is PROGRESS!

It seems I can select the audio I/O channel by brining up the control panel at the bottom of the screen and selecting it from AirPlay, which makes no sense to me at all.

If the BT headset is connected, the "captures" app defaults to this for audio I/O. Otherwise, it uses the built-in mic and speakers.

SCENARIO 2: Test the TaoTronics TT-BA07

Disconnecting the BT headset, then connecting to the TaoTronics, I can see the channel appear in the control panel's AirPlay selector.

However, when I bring up the "captures" app, it mysteriously cannot see the TaoTronics device at all. It connects automatically to the built-in mic. And when I bring up the control panel at the bottom while it's running, TaoTronics device does not appear in AirPlay selector. But shutting off the recorder, it comes back.

The headset is maybe 10 years old, and probably only supports BT 2.x, while the TaoTronics device is brand spanking new and supports BT 4.1 and all of the latest whiz-bang BT features.

I'm wondering if the lack of both input and output on the TaoTronics device is creating a problem.

As I mentioned earlier, I know that if you get a splitter cable and plug it into the mic/headphone jack, it won't connect to a mic if there's no headphone plugged in. It's some kind of strange auto-sensing thing. You can plug in a headphone and a mic, and the system will sense the mic and an app can use it. If you unplug the headphone, it continues to work. But once you leave the app, the mic is disconnected.

Is this "logic" also affecting the use of the TaoTronics interface via BT? Does it need to have a corresponding output to connect properly to the input?

This seems so frigging simple: connect the audio input for a video recorder app to a BT audio source!

So what the heck is going on here?

I don't expect any advice on specific hardware here. What I'm looking for is any insight into why this may be caused by either iOS support for BT, or just BT in general.

Would it help to use WiFi instead of BT? Or are the same restrictions going to apply?

As an aside, the TaoTronics device is like a lot of similar BT transmitters that were designed mainly to be plugged into a TV or stereo and paired with BT headphones or a BT speaker. That is, it's designed as a one-way channel (in TX mode). But in TX mode, it won't pair with iOS. My iPad Mini 3 sees it, but won't pair with it, saying it "not a supported device". My iPad Pro simply doesn't see it in the list of devices. Their support people said that's because iPad is also a TX BT device, and can only pair with RX BT devices. So both iPads DO pair with it in RX mode.
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