Category Archives: microphone

iRig Mic / iRecorder Review

irigOver 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.

XOEye Streaming Safety Glasses

XOEye LogoThere’s no doubt that wearables are where it’s at right now, but devices such as Google Glass or Recon goggles are very much luxury toys. XOEye Technologies have taken a more practical approach, developing safety glasses with built-in video cameras and microphones for use in business, typically manufacturing, construction and field service industry. Don and Todd talk to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye.

Currently in the prototype stage, the XOEye solution streams HD video and sound from the glasses across the internet to a remote viewing station, where an expert can review and discuss what the wearer is seeing, usually in an attempt to solve a problem. The wearer can hear the expert through small speakers installed on the glasses, so a conversation can take place between the wearer and the expert. Although still in the early stages of development, XOEye is exploring different materials for the glasses and a range of additional sensors, such as gyros and accelerometers, and other enhancements including a torch.

The final product is expected to come to market in June and there’s more information at

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgnc30
$.99 for a New or Transfered .com cjcgnc99 @
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgnc1hs
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgncwp1

MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone Review

mxl-bcd-1In 2004 when I started podcasting my very first microphone was from MXL that paticular microphone I still have in my arsenal and pull it out when I have a guest in the studio.

Over the years I have owned a variety of Microphones, and have found by and large that condenser based microphones have always been better for me than a dynamic microphones. So when I received the MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone I was concerned that I would not be happy with it..

My first test with any Microphone is to see how it does plugged directly into my Mackie mixer with no per-amplifier in front of it. This will be the configuration most podcasters will use this mic in, at it’s price range of $170.00

My test at unity on the mixer with 4 inches between my mouth and the top of the mic was met with a raised eyebrow. It performed better than I expected. The sound was loud and clear straight down the middle, with great noise isolation from the sides.

The rugged build will sustain abuse in the broadcast studio and that is important as mics can last a lifetime. For a podcaster this is a great microphone that will not break the bank and perform at a professional level. I like the size, and weight best @ 1.25lbs and 6.2 inches long and 2.0 inches in diameter the mic comes with an integrated mount that fit all standard mic stands and desk risers. It is painted glossy black and very nice to the touch. The BCD-1 features a cardioid, dynamic element that features its own isolation to minimize noise and includes a windscreen

My general advise to anyone using a dynamic microphone that they consider a quality pre-amplifier between the mic and your mixer. This will keep you from having to crank the gains to high on your mixer, and introducing white noise or hiss. Those microphone amplifiers really make a big difference. Choosing the right microphone for you is like trying on shoes, y0u need to test a couple before you know what works.

This is a great addition to the MXL line and how can you go wrong at $170


MXL Microphones

mxlmic Mxl which had previously concentrated on professional audio products has begun to develop consumer level products. They have four Categories of microphones that they showed off at CES 2013.

The first category is the traditional microphone which is a condenser microphone. It is made for vocal live performances and studio work. This microphone is being refined but there’s nothing really new coming out on it.

The second category is the audio microphones for video. These microphones allow you to produce professional audio for professional video. Anyone who has watched a video with bad audio knows that good video means nothing with bad audio. The DSLR audio kit includes a wireless audio transmitter and receiver which is specifically made to record with a DSLR. It runs at 500 mg range which is a high enough range that it is noise resistant. It can run on either chargeable batteries or AA batteries. These batteries are user replaceable. It has a hot shoe adapter that goes on top of the DSLR. There is a lavalier mic included or you can use an XLR microphone. The kit also includes a shotgun mic that sits on top of the camera. There is both a wireless and wired version of the microphone. All controls are easily accessible. The total set runs $399 and is available through the MXL website.

The third category of microphones is a USB vocal microphone. These microphones are made to be used with tablets, desktops or laptops. They look like traditional desktop microphone. They are omnidirectional and are made for vocal recording to applications such as GarageBand. These microphones were made with podcasters in mind.

The final category was about pro audio for web-chat. This microphone is made specifically for web chat in an office environment. It is a boundary mic that sits on the desktop. It picks up audio in front of it up to 25 feet radius and locks the sound coming from the back. At this point time it is a wired mic however they are working on a 2.4 g wireless version. They decide to go with the 2.4 gig version rather than Bluetooth because the 2.4 gig version has a longer range. This microphone is specifically made to interface with a professional conference setup and not a phone. The wired version which is available now should run around $99 and the wireless version when available should be between $149 and $159. The final thing they talked about was the photographer’s essential kit. This kit includes a handheld grip where the DSL are goes on the bottom and on top is a hot shoe mount when you can put a microphone lights and a monitor. MXL is also working on a microphone that would plug directly into a smart phone either android or iPhone and then record the audio directly into the smartphone.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

Support my Show Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgnc30
$.99 for a New or Transfered .com cjcgnc99 @
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgnc1hs
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgncwp1

Apogee Solves the Shaky Video Problem for You

No one wants to watch a video that is shaky. A camera that was unstable while recording can turn a video with the most amazing content ever into little more than a difficult to watch distraction.

Suddenly, the viewer is trying to discern what the camera was supposed to be pointed at instead of the event that was recorded. This type of movement can cause some people to feel ill. So, unless you are trying to film the next Blair Witch Project you want to take steps to avoid ending up with a shaky video.

This is easier said than done if you are recording video with your iPhone. Eventually, your arm is going to get tired, or your hand is going to become unsteady. How can you prevent this problem? Apogee has the perfect solution with their MiC/Zacuto Zgrip Jr. kit.

The Apogee MiC is the first studio-quality microphone to make a direct digital connection to Garageband on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The MiC uses PureDIGITAL technology, which delivers the natural tone of a musician’s voice, or instrument, right to the iPad, iPhone, or Mac without compromise.

The Zacuto Zgrip Jr. is an amazing little device that you can attach directly to your iPhone 4 or 4S before you start recording. It is a handgrip that has a cradle at the top of it. Your iPhone can snap right into the cradle, and your recording will be steady. The handgrip also has a 1/4 20” thread at the bottom of it that will allow it to be mounted to a tripod. There is also a 1/4 20” thread at the top of the handgrip that can be used to mount the Apogee MiC.

The kit includes the Apogee MiC, the Zacuto Zgrip Jr., a 0.5m cable for connection to iPad and iPhone, and a 1m cable for connection to a Mac. It comes with a Quick Start Guide, a desktop tripod, and a MiC stand adaptor. The MiC/Zgrip Kit retails for $298.95. This can easily make your next video be of professional quality and help you avoid making the dreaded shaky video.

Image by Apogee

Shure PG48 Microphone Review

Shure PG48I do a small non-tech related podcast and this month I decided I needed to upgrade my equipment. I had previously been using the headphones that I use with my android phone and after 10 episodes I decided it was time to do an upgrade. I have been following and listening to the Podcast Answer Man, Cliff Ravenscraft for several years now, and he recommends getting a dynamic XLR microphone for office recording. Although he does love the Heil PR40 it is a little steep for my bank account. I ended up getting the Shure PG48 Vocal Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. The microphone comes with a Mic clip, a 15 foot XLR cable and a carrying pouch. I also purchased a XLR female to 1/4 Male adapter separately. The Shure PG48-XLR list price is $49.00, but was on sale for $39.00 through Amazon. This is a dynamic microphone so it is built to pick up sound from the front while filtering out most sound from the side and back. It is supposed to be able to handle extreme volume level without distortion. It has a frequency response of 70 to 15,000 Hz. The microphone itself feels good and sturdy. It has an on/off switch which I love. I have done a short test of the Shure PG48-XLR which I have enclosed here.

Testing the P48

I still waiting for the mic stand I ordered and my mixer before my current setup is complete. If you listen to the audio above especially with headphones, you can clearly hear the difference. With the PG48 there is very little background noise and its much clearer. I have to admit I am not an audio snob, but even to my ears the PG48 sounds much better. At this point I am glad I purchased it.

MicW Announces New Additions To Microphone Lines

Beijing microphone maker MicW added a couple of new products to its i-Series, L-Series and M-Series microphone lines at the 2102 NAB Show in Las Vegas this week.

“Our aim is to have a microphone that’s right for almost any recording application, at price points that are attractive to anyone interested in recording.” MicW CEO Qunli Wu said.

Designed specifically for mobile journalism applications, the i-Series features microphones small in size, durable and rugged in design and easy to use on the go. The ultimate goal of MicW’s new series is to create perfect sound recorded to mobile devices. The i-Series includes recording, interview, shotgun, lavalier and headworn microphones for both the iPhone and iPad, as well as other smart phones.

The two new products added to the i-Series – the i825 omni lavalier mic and i855 cardioid lavalier mic – pad out the existing i-Series line of professional class general purpose and high sensitivity microphones for mobile devices.

i825-Omni Lavalier Mic for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and other mobile devices(i Series) i855- Cardioid Lavalier Mic (the same look with i855)








MicW also featured two additions to the L-Series – a line of lavalier mics – including the L825-Omni Lavalier Mic and L855 Cardioid Mic.

L825-Omni Lavalier Mic (L Series)on the left and L855-Cardioid Lavalier Mic (L Series)







The M-Series – a line of professional grade measurement microphones – now includes the M215-Professional Class 1 Measurement Mic and the M416 Professional Class 2 Measurement Mic













MicW is the recording microphone subsidiary of Beijing-based BWSA Tech Ltd, which has been manufacturing precision test and measurement microphones for the domestic Chinese market for over 14 years.

New Neumann Microphone Capsules

Neumann Microphone CapsuleNeumann is introducing two new microphone capsules the KK 204 and KK 205 for the Sennheiser 2000 Series at NAB (National Association of Broadcast Show).  The KK 204 capsule has a cardioid pattern. Which means the sensitivity pattern is heart shape. It suppresses the sound originating from 180 degrees to the rear. The KK 205 has a supercardioid pattern which maximize the sound coming from the front and minimizes the sound coming from the rear.

The KK 204 and KK 205 both have foam-lined grill to ensure smooth sound. They also offer excellent resistance to feed back. They are both built to dampen any popping sound the speaker may accidental produce. They come in black and nickel finishes. They are robust and easy to service.  A nylon bag is provided which can carry the capsules, a handheld transmitter, battery packs and other accessories. These capsules are made for microphones that are used for vocal or speech.

Neumann work with sound goes back to the early 1900’s with its founder Georg Neuman.  Neumann has been around as a company since 1928 and is based in Germany. It has won a number of awards for product designs and innovation. It is represented in over 50 countries worldwide by Sennheiser.  You can find further details about these microphone capsules at the Neuman Website.

Sennheiser SKP 300 G3

SKP 300 G3You have a wired microphone, which is perfect for a studio set up, but what happens when you want something wireless that is where Sennheiser comes in. Sennheiser has been making high quality products and solutions for recording and producing sounds for over 60 years. This year at the NAB(National Association of Broadcasters) show, they are introducing the SKP 300 G3 plug on transmitter the newest addition to their EW 300 G3 series.

NAB Coverage Sponsored by Save 25% on a 4gh Hosting Account Use Code NAB.

This transmitter allows any XLR–3 enabled microphone to become a wireless microphone. It has its own phantom power allowing it to work even with a condenser microphone. If combined with the Installed Sound Sector application and the EM 300 G3 rank mount receiver it can create a speaker podium without visible cables or wires. It is powered by two AA batteries or the BA 2015 Accupack. The transmitter is available in eight frequency range and synchronizes with its receiver by an infrared link. It can also be used along with the EK 100 G3 camera receiver by video journalist. You can find technical specs at the Sennheiser Web site. The SKP 300 G3 will run around $529.95 and is available starting in April.

New MXL Microphones at NAB

MXL NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) is this coming week April 16 through April 20 in Las Vegas. If you are attending it, you will want to stop by booth #C6419 to take a look at the new microphones that MXL will be showing off. They have three new microphones they will be emphasizing, the BCD–1 Dynamic Microphone, the MXL BCC–1 Condenser Microphone and the FR–310 Microphone for video.

The BCD–1 Dynamic Microphone has the traditional look and sound of a classic broadcast microphone. It produces natural vocal tones. It has side reject, the microphone picks up the voice in front of the microphone and rejects noise coming in from the side. This is great in a noisy room. This microphone is great for recording voice over application. It will have an MSRP of $249.95 and have the following specs.

  • Polar pattern: Cardiod
  • Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 40 Hz–15-kHZ
  • Sensitivity:–54 dB re 1 V/Pa
  • Impedance: 600 ohms
  • Size: 157.5mm x 50.8mm / 6.2 in. x 2.0 in
  • Weight: 1.25 lb. / 567g
  • Metal Finish: Black

The MXL BCC–1 microphone is a condenser microphone. It is a side address broadcast microphone, which makes it perfect for voice over work or interviews in a controlled studio environment. It has a high level of sensitivity so it picks up even the quietest sound. It has a base roll over switch to give more clarity to lower voices. It will sell for $349.95 MSRP and will have the following features.

  • Condenser broadcast mic
  • Small-diaphragm capsule for detailed, accurate recordings
  • Tuned grill that eliminates internal reflections
  • Bass roll-off switch
  • Built in shock mount

The final microphone they are going to be showing off will be the FR–310 video microphone. It mounts on either a camcorder or DSLr camera using a shoe mount It produces a tighter and clearer sound recording. It is a shot-gun microphone and shuts out sound from the side and back. It targets sound in front of the camera by picking up patterns. The gain can be adjusted to pick up sound close up or far away. It has a bass roll off switch to remove low-frequency noise. It also has an integrated wind screen. It will have an MSRP of $149.95 and have the following specs.

  • Three-position gain switch
  • Bass roll-off (high pass filter)
  • Standard hot shoe mount
  • Up to 500 hours per AAA battery
  • Integrated foam widescreen

MXL is a division of Marshall Electronics. MXL is a leading manufacturer of consumer and professional audio products, for both recorded and live productions. If you are unable to attend NAB you can find more information about their product at their website.

NAB Coverage Sponsored by Save 25% on a 4gh Hosting Account Use Code NAB.