Over the past 10 years I have reviewed over 50 microphones across all price points. So when Don Baine and I stumbled across the iRig® Mic for iPhone, iPad & compatible with most Android phones at CES I really wanted to put the microphone to the test..
The true beauty of this setup is that you can have a podcast studio that you carry around in your backpack for $59.99 be up and running in literally a minute or less.
The iRig Mic is the first condenser mic for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. While there are plenty of dynamic mics out there this mic raises the quality bar for mobile device recording. Personally I have never been able to get the vocal range out of dynamic mics. and have always used condenser mics in my studio.
I am quit critical when it comes to microphones, and I judge a microphones performance on isolation, sound quality, low noise and build quality.
- Let’s start with isolation, like any condenser mic you have to understand that the mic is actively amplifying what comes into the mic so using this mic in a heavy noise area will result in background noise. But for the price point they have done a great job with isolation.
- The sound quality was much better than I expected, and comes with 3 level gain settings with the best results mid-range. On the highest amplification setting the mic was susceptible to white noise, and in my testing you will want to stay away from the highest amplification setting.
- Noise level: Every microphone has what I call a sweet spot in the distance your mouth should be from the mic. This mic seemed in my testing to have a sweet spot of about three inches. They appear to have some foam or other material inside the mic capsule which will help if this mic is used outdoors to reduce noise that will be picked up with wind. It will be important for the person using the mic to do a test recording and find the best configuration for the mic in position and amplification settings.
- Build quality the mic is solid, has good weight to it. The body and capsule of the mic appear to be made of aluminum and it has a smooth finish which is very nice to the touch. My only concern was the cable I would not swing this mic by the cable like some rockers do.
It is critical that you utilize the iOS iRig Recorder software for the real time monitoring, most other iOS recording apps will work but you will not get the real time monitoring. The iRig Recorder software was very simple to use, and great for podcasters if you are going to want to have greater control over effects you will want to download the VocalLive app versus the iRig Recorder.
I like the iRig recorder because its just simple to use, and perfect for spoken word. It has a mini editing package to trim the media file, and some processing tools to optimize the recording. You can optimize tone, cleanup, brighten voice, smooth voice and even tools to preview what the audio will sound like before you apply it. You can even apply a pitch shift which I thought was a nice touch.
The price point of $59.99 is really hard to beat for what you get with the package. Mic, Mic Holder for a mic stand, and cable with dual mini jack.