In this tutorial, we show you exactly what you need to know in or

We’re going to show you 4 different ways to connect a phone to an audio mixer to play music at a live event. These same methods will work for your tablet and laptop too.

Quick Answer: A 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable offers a simple solution when the phone is within 10′ of the mixer. For greater distances, add a DI box to the setup, as this allows you to use balanced cable. We never recommend relying on Bluetooth at a professional live event.

Audio Mixer Assumptions & Required Equipment

We’re focusing on connecting a phone to your mixer in this article, so we’re assuming you already know how to set up your mixer and speakers. If you’re not sure how to get to that point, check out our guide to using an audio mixer.

All of the methods we show you require a 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable. If you have an iPhone without a headphone jack, you’ll also need an Apple lightning to headphone jack adapter.

Method 1: 1/8″ to Dual 1/4″ Cable Using Mic Inputs

Phone headphone jack > 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable > Mic-level mixer inputs.

With this method, we’re connecting a line-level source to mic-level inputs. So you’ll need to use the audio mixer’s Pad button to reduce the strength of the signal to mic-level.

Then all you have to do is turn up the level on each channel, panning them to the left and right, respectively, to maintain the stereo sound coming from your phone.

The downside to this method is that it uses up 2 mic inputs. On smaller mixers, like our Yamaha MG10, you only have 4 to play with. The following method addresses this issue.

Method 2: 1/8″ to Dual 1/4″ Cable Using Line Inputs

Phone headphone jack > 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable > Line-level stereo pair mixer inputs.

Many mixers will have a series of dedicated stereo pair 1/4″ inputs; the Yamaha MG10 in the accompanying video has 3 of these pairs. As this method utilizes line-level inputs, there’s no need to reduce the signal.

These stereo inputs were made for this, so it’s a much better solution than taking up 2 mic inputs. All you have to do is turn up the channel volume, and you’re good to go.

The downside to this method is that it uses an unbalanced cable, which can only be run for up to 10′ – 20′ before the audio degrades. If you need a longer cable run than this, the balanced solution we’re going to show you next is for you.

Stereo DI Box

Phone headphone jack > 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable > DI Box > Dual XLR cables > Mic-level mixer inputs.

The DI box outputs a balanced version of the signal, reducing it from line-level to mic-level at the same time. So, all you need to do is connect it to the mic inputs on your mixer using XLR cables.

Turn up the channels and pan them left and right, respectively, to maintain the stereo sound from your phone. The cable run between the DI box and mixer can be much longer than 20′, giving you greater flexibility.

The downside to this solution is that you’re back to using up 2 of the mic inputs on your mixer. If you’re limited to 4, this is far from ideal. Next, we’ll look at a DI box solution that mono sums the left and right signals to a single channel.

Mono Sum DI Box

Phone headphone jack > 1/8″ to dual 1/4″ cable > DI Box > XLR cable > Mic-level mixer input.

This method brings together everything we’ve seen so far. The line-level signal from the phone is split into left and right, arriving at the DI box via 2 x 1/4″ cables.

The DI box reduces the incoming signals to mic-level, and mono sums them to a single balanced output that it can send to the mixer over a long XLR cable run.

This frees up a mic input on your mixer while maintaining the benefits of using a balanced cable!

Wireless Audio & Bluetooth

There are plenty of wireless and Bluetooth solutions out there, and we recently reviewed a Radial Bluetooth to XLR receiver. While it worked in our controlled test environment, we never recommend using a Bluetooth connection at a live event. Why…?

  • User Error
    When we’ve been pushed to use this solution, the person with the phone often walks out of range, killing the music.

Reliability
There is too much wireless interference, especially at large events where hundreds of guests connect to WiFi and use other wireless devices. Bluetooth just isn’t a reliable option for professional use in such environments.

How To Connect Phone To Audio Mixer

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Connecting a phone to the audio mixer of your sound system can be very helpful in playing music at your event or on your livestream.

  1. Plug an adapter into your phone to go from it’s lightning/usb-c port to a headphone jack.

    If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, you will need an adapter. For iPhones, you’ll need a lightning to headphone jack adapter.

  2. Connect a 3.5mm or 1/8′ to dual 1/4″ Cable to your headphone jack.

  3. Connect 1/4″ connectors to your audio mixer.

  4. Turn the volume up!

Equipment For Connecting Phone To Audio Mixer

Connect Phone To Audio Mixer Chapters

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:21 – 1/8″ to Dual 1/4″ Cable Into Mic Input
  • 1:33 – 1/8″ to Dual 1/4″ Cable Into Line Input
  • 2:05 – Stereo DI Box
  • 3:30 – Mono Sum DI Box
  • 4:30 – Wireless Audio & Bluetooth
  • 5:16 – Final Thoughts