Recording your DAW's audio straight into Instagram

Blogpost written by Tantu Beats. Read time: 8m.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You just made a brand new beat and you want to show it off to your Instagram followers. You crank up the volume on your speakers, open Instagram Stories and film your screen with your phone. And as a result... your beat sounds distorted and you got another noise-complaint from your neighbours.

Luckily, there's a better way. In this blogpost, I'll show you how to play your DAW's audio output directly into your iPhone's video recording apps (Instagram, TikTok, Camera, etc.). Here’s how it works and what equipment you’ll need:

Device output

You'll need to use the headphone output on your soundcard or computer to do this. This means that if you’re using an outboard soundcard, like I do, you'll need a 6.3 mm (1/4″ in the U.S.) stereo-jack to 3.5 mm (1/8″ in the U.S.) stereo-mini-jack converter like this one.


Cable #1

Next, you’re going to need a 3,5mm stereo TRS mini-jack to mini-jack cable. A TRS plug can be noticed by the 2 small black lines on the plugs; it means the plugs transmit stereo audio. These are the same mini-jack cables that come with headphones with detached cables. So if you have these, give them a try! Otherwise, a cable like this will work.


Analog to digital

The next item you’re going to need is the Axagon ADA-17 USB audio adapter. I researched USB audio adapters thoroughly and this was the only affordable one I could find with a stereo microphone input. If you’re going for a different one, you’ll most likely end up with a mono input. So make sure to not accidentally get the cheaper ADA-10 version, because it’s not stereo.


Cable #2

Now that the audio has been converted back to the digital world by the USB audio converter, we’re going to need a cable to bring it to our phones. I’m personally using an iPhone XS, but this standard Lightning to USB adapter from Apple should work for all iPhones. For android users, I’m not sure what options are available but I’m sure a quick google search provide your answer.


Connecting the parts

Connect one end of the mini jack cable to your computer’s audio output, and connect the other end to the stereo microphone input on your USB audio converter. Connect the USB audio converter with USB to Lightning converter, which you should then connect to your phone. It’s not the prettiest look, but your cable chain should look like this.


If all went well, the green light on the USB audio converter should now light up, meaning it’s being powered by your phone and working. Beware that, because of this long chain of cables and converters, it takes your phone about a second to recognize the fact that audio is being sent to it. This means that you might have to play a second of audio before your recording starts.

I also found that, when recording video and audio straight into my camera roll, some annoying audio crackles occasionally pop up in the recording. I have no idea why. Luckily, when I'm using the Instagram app to record a video, this doesn't happen. So even if I want to record something for a different platform, I just use the camera within the Instagram app.

And there you go! This method doesn’t only work for your Instagram stories, posts and reels btw. It can also be used for TikTok, Twitter and other social media platforms. I have no idea how this works on Android phones, but the general idea should work the same.


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