Category Archives: microphone

Bluetooth Versus Wired



Coloud The Snap Active EarbudsFor some months now, persistent rumors have been flying that the next iPhone will do away with the 3.5mm wired headset port. There have been plenty of people arguing both against and for this idea. Some people say that the demise of the wired headset port is inevitable.

As an over-the-road truck driver, I’ve been using Bluetooth devices for years. To be perfectly honest, the majority of Bluetooth headsets suck, regardless of price. They typically suffer from poor audio quality, especially those intended for phone calls.
I have yet to find a Bluetooth microphone that produces anything approaching acceptable quality for anything other than phone calls.

Bluetooth stereo is great for certain uses, such as in the car or for use with certain Bluetooth speakers intended for casual listening.

With this in mind, let’s examine how a smartphone would work without a 3.5mm wired jack for the way people use these devices today.

I see plenty of people using wired headsets, day in and day out. That tells me that, unlike the floppy drive, which was dropped because most software was being shipped on CD-ROM’s, the wired 3.5mm headphone jack is NOT obsolete. The 3.5mm headphone jack is NOT falling into disuse. There are still millions and millions of people using wired headsets with their smartphones on a constant basis. Wired headset use is NOT dropping off.

Modern smartphones are also extremely good high-definition video cameras. While they have built-in microphones, because of the 3.5mm headphone jack it is also possible to plug in a wired microphone. Wired microphones on traditional consumer camcorders have either been absent or an option for costlier prosumer models. Take the 3.5mm wired headphone jack away and the option of plugging in a superior wired microphone goes away with it.

If Apple takes the 3.5mm wired headphone jack away, it doesn’t matter to me, because I don’t have an iPhone and don’t want one. There will be plenty of remaining Android models to choose from that keep their senses.

In fact, there have already been Android smartphones available on the market that leave out the 3.5mm wired headphone jacks. The Chinese company LeEco released three jack-less phones in April of this year. Ever heard of them? Me neither, until I did a search. I don’t get the impression they are burning down the barn with popularity.

I make extensive use of Bluetooth as well as the 3.5mm jack on my phone. I will never buy a phone that doesn’t offer a 3.5mm jack any more than I would buy a phone that doesn’t offer Bluetooth or WiFi.


Neat Microphones Look as Awesome as they Sound



Neat Microphones logoMicrophones do not have to be a boring grey color. They can have style! Neat Microphones, a member of the Gibson family, have two lines of aesthetically pleasing microphones that look like pieces of art. They look as awesome as they sound!

Scott spoke with Product Manager of Neat Microphones, Clayton Harrison, at CES 2016. They talked about both the Bee Line and the Widgets line of microphones. Each style shows that microphones don’t have to look dull – they can be fun!

Four of the microphones in the Bee Line are available now. All of them are high end USB mics. The Beecaster and the Bumblebee give you high quality, professional, results without the need for all kinds of extra equipment.

The Bumblebee is intended for speech (and would be great for podcasting, Skype, and video blogging). The Beecaster has stereo capability and is good for music. Each comes with microphone pre-amps. They have headphone output and headphone amplifiers – which let you do direct monitoring without the latency associated with USB.

The King Bee and Worker Bee mics are for professionals and aspiring professionals who already have a rig. They are also great for podcasting and provide top notch sound.

The Widgets line have a super fun aesthetic and would be great for YouTube or Twitch where a person can be recording and seen at the same time. The microphones in the Widgets line are $99 each. You can find more information about the Bee Line microphones, and the Widgets line of microphones at NeatMic.com.

Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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iKlip A/V Smartphone Mount



IK MultimediaYou’re covering an event and travelling light with a smartphone for video. For audio, you’ve got your radio mic but where’s the receiver to go? IK Multimedia have got it covered with the iKlip A/V smartphone mount for broadcast professionals. Daniel gets a demo from Starr.

The iKlip A/V is the first portable mount with a built-in pre-amp, allowing HD video from the smartphone to be matched with high quality audio from a radio mic. The mount can hold most standard-sized smartphones, and on the other side, there’s a XLR connection for the receiver. Output from the amp is a TRRS 3.5mm jack which is plugged into the smartphone to give great sound quality.

The iKlip A/V is expected to go on sale in Q2 2016 for around US$179.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Marshall Electronics Targets Pro Portable Audio



Marshall Electronics LogoSmartphones, and in particular the iPhone, are beginning to replace the video camera for on-the-spot interviews especially when it’s a one person gig. While the video side of the recording is well covered by the iPhone, the audio isn’t, mainly because the camera has to be six feet away from the subject rather than the the six inches preferred by a microphone. Marshall Electronics have been thinking about this problem and Don gets a world exclusive on their newest product from Perry Golstein.

Marshall have been working on a set of portable accessories for the iPhone which connects pro gear for high quality audio recordings. Brand new is a battery-powered pocket-mixer with four audio inputs, headphone monitor and an analogue output. In addition, the mixer has a digital out over USB: connect the mixer to the iPhone via Apple’s camera connector and the audio can be recorded digitally. The mixer will be available later in the year with a target price of $249. Very neat.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Samson’s Go Mic Direct Gives Crystal Clear Communication



Samson Go Mic DirectSamson’s Go Mic Direct is an ideal portable audio solution for Skype, FaceTime and voice recognition software. It can also be used for recording audio for YouTube videos, lectures, podcasts, and webinars.

The Go Mic Direct features the Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software (Mac OS X/Windows) allowing you to capture pristine, accurate vocal communications and recordings in any environment. Sound Deck uses patented noise cancellation algorithms to minimize recurring background noise such as fans and hiss, ensuring only clean, high-integrity audio reaches your computer applications.

It also has a custom, ultra-compact design that features a built-in USB connector which allows the mic to be plugged directly into your Mac or PC without blocking surrounding ports. The connector is retractable for maximum portability and safe transport when not in use. Comparable with both Mac and PC, Go Mic Direct offers convenient plug-and-play operation with no driver installation required.


Samson Meteorite Falls Into CES



Samson LogoAudio specialists Samson today announced the new Meteorite, a USB condenser microphone for capturing high-quality recordings on a laptop or desktop. Meteorite is perfect for podcasting, creating audio for YouTube videos and recording music on your favourite software or apps, and to top it all, looks great.

Samson Meteorite

The Meteorite will be better than any computer’s internal microphone and soundcard, which is often provided at the minimum possible cost. The Meteorite’s studio-quality 14 mm capsule and dedicated audio conversion path provides a smooth, flat frequency response to capture the natural characteristics and dynamics of speech.

The Meteorite mounts to a magnetic base that lets you tilt and swivel the microphone to customise its positioning to your exact preferences. You can even take the microphone off its base and speak directly into it for recording or communicating in crowded noisy environments, and when combined with the iPad using Apple’s Lightning USB Camera Adapter or Camera Connection Kit (for 30-pin), the Meteorite is a great for recording on the go too.

The Metorite is priced at only $39.99 and to find out more visit Samson at CES South Hall 1, booth 21935.

I want one purely because it looks cool!


Marshall Electronics Launches Family of Broadcast-Ready Products



Marshall ElectronicsMarshall Electronics, is a privately owned American company. They recently released a family of products for broadcasters. Many were demonstrated at NAB 2014. They include a new encoder/decoder, some new hybrid broadcast cameras, a professional monitor with 4K display, and the Micro Studio.

The do-it-yourself Micro Studio allows anyone to record HD videos with high quality sound from their homes or businesses. It consists of the Marshall CV500-MB 2.2 Megapixel HD-SDI 1080i/59.94 Miniature Camera and CV340-CSB 2.2 Megapixel HD-SDI 1080i/59.94 Compact CS Tube Camera, MXL CR77 Dynamic and FR-355K Lavalier Microphones, an audio/video switcher, Marshall V-MD173 monitor, and PS-102-HDSI encoder (which is powered by the StreamVu content distribution network).

The V-4K 3110 is Marshall Electronics’ first true 4K professional display. This monitor is designed for cinema and broadcast professionals to provide an accurate and repeatable viewing experience. It has a true 4K IPS panel with a native resolution of 4096 x 2160. It also supports 3840 x 2160 (UHD), 1080p, 1080i and 720p.

The V-4K 3110 has a true 10-bit panel that eliminated “banding” and scaling artifacts. It also has 178 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles. The monitor has an 850 cd/m2 maximum brightness, 450:1 contrast ratio, and a wide color gamut within 2% of DCI P3 specification. It has four modular 3G-SDI inputs.

The VS-104-3GSDI encodes and decodes all the popular HD resolutions up to 1080p 60fps and 1080/23.98PsF with embedded audio. This allows HD content to be sent and received as a real time IP stream. It is an all-in-one solution for broadcasters. Marshall’s VS-104-3GSDI Encoder/Decoder has configurable inputs and outputs: CVBS, HDMI, SDI, HDSDI, and 3GSDI. Unicast, multicast, push and pull streaming are supported and controlled by a common, easy-to-use browser interface that now features 4:2:2 Color Space.

Marshall’s VS-577-3GSI dome camera and VS-547-3GSDI box camera are true broadcast cameras with the hybrid function of live streaming. Each hybrid broadcast IP camera has an ultra low latency 3GSDI output together with four H.264 HD streams up to 1080p/59.94. Each can utilize the optional VS-TKC-100 Joystick/Keyboard control that can follow PTZ (Pan, Tilt & Zoom) action across the set. The cameras internally run at 120 frames, which allows them to offer Flickerless WDR (Wide Dynamic Range).


Sennheiser has Unveiled its New MK 8 Microphone



Sennheiser MK8Sennheiser unveiled its new MK 8, large-diaphragm, condenser studio microphone at NAB 2014. The new microphone features five selectable polar patterns. They are: omni-directional, wide cardioid, cardioid, super-cardioid, and figure-of-eight. The MK 8 also has a low cut/roll-off filter and selectable pad.

The MK 8 was designed and manufactured in Germany. It echos the sleek design of the MK 4 studio microphone. The fixed cardioid MK 4 was designed for plug-and-play simplicity. The multi-pattern MK 8 offers additional control for the refined recording engineer.

The new microphone has a one-inch, dual-diaphragm capsule, precisely spattered with 24-carat gold and elastically mounted to reduce structure-borne noise. It also has a three-position filter that allows the user to either eliminate low-frequency noise below 60 Hz (-18 dB/octave, low-cut position) or introduce a softer roll-off effect from 100 Hz down to compensate for the proximity effect in close miking (-6 dB/octave, roll-off position).

The MK 8 is encased in a sturdy metal housing. This gives it relatively low sensitivity to humidity, as the impedance conversion is done within the capsule. It is packaged with a microphone clip and protective pouch. Optional accessories include an elastic suspension, a foam windshield, a pop filter, and a hard case. The new MK 8 microphone will be available in late summer of 2014.


Mogees Makes Music at The Gadget Show



The Gadget Show has all kinds of tech on display, from mainstream suppliers with latest tablets to niche fun products that bring a smile to your face and Mogees is definitely in the latter camp. Many of us will have seen those vibration speakers that turn any surface into a speaker….Mogees does the reverse, converting any surface or object into a musical instrument. Here’s a Mogees on a bicycle.

Mogees Microphone

Mogees on a Bicycle

Developed on the back of Kickstarter funding, the Mogees microphone connects into an iPhone running a Mogees app that converts the vibrations into musical tones and with a bit of skill, a tune. The app does a great deal of audio processing to help produce the music in a tuneful way so learning to play your chosen object is fairly easy, however bizarre the instrument is.

The Mogees will be available towards the end of the year and I interview Bruno about the development of Mogees: there’s a demonstration of the instrument in the audio too.


iRig Mic Cast Review



irigmicastAfter reviewing the iRig Mic which includes a full sized microphone. I really did not know what to expect in Audio quality from the iRig Mic Cast for the iPhone/iPod/iPad & most Android Devices. But knowing what the IK Multimedia folks had accomplished with the iRig Mic my expectations where high.

I attend a lot of conferences where  like to record the speakers, the biggest challenge when recording with the iPhone is to eliminate background noise or actually for the recording to be loud enough to hear it on playback. So this is where I really wanted to see if the iRig iMic Cast can help out.`

The iRig Mic Cast comes with a stand & microphone. The Microphone has two settings Low and High you can also plug in a headset to the microphone to get real time monitoring.

I did a test recording with the iPhone then connected the iRig Mic Cast and repeated, the iRig sound quality was cleaner, and 2 to 3 times louder. I ran the mic on the high setting and would only likely go to the low setting during one to one interviews.

I did offset testing as well, where I was about 10-15 feet away from the rig and it picked my voice up fine. The mic records equally well on both sides of the mic. The included stand makes it easy to have it set on a desk or table and will come in handy during panel recordings.

This setup is perfect for conferences, training, and one on one interviews. In a interview situation I would hold the iPhone and position the mic appropriately. I have tested other similar mics for the iPhone, and it works as well as others I have reviewed. The $39.99 price point is perfect for a solution that you can literally carry around in your pocket.