Sure the Blue Snowball is great. Yeah the Blue Yeti kicks it up a notch. The thing is that neither of those mics are what you’d call “portable”. So if you want to do recording on the go; you’re going with a lot of great to tote around. On the other hand, if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad you can just use the built in mic on one of them. Yeah, you could but you might not *want to, because the built-in mic, while really good, isn’t pro quality. What should you do when you need pro recording on the go (or at least rather portable) and you don’t want to break the bank? You, my friend, should look at the iRig Mic (~$60) from IK Multimedia.
IK makes a lot of pro-level gear (and apps!) for iOS users that doesn’t break the bank. Oh and sounds really awesome too. IK sent me an iRig Mic (you might have seen the iRig amplitude devices before for hooking up guitars and basses to an iOS device), promo codes for iRig Recorder (free or $5 for the full version—well worth the price IMHO) and VocaLive (free or $20 for the version with all filters), as well as another goodie I’ll talk about in another post. I gave the iRig Mic (and apps) a whirl yesterday as Social Media Week Vancouver wrapped up yesterday and, yeah, I was impressed. Very impressed.
The iRig Mic itself is very clever. You plug it into the headphone jack of your iOS device and … that’s it for the mic part. No batteries needed. There are three (yeah three) gain settings for soft, normal, and loud sounds (so like a distance speech, normal interview, and a singer) and even a nice no latency headphone jack for a pair of headphones so you can hear how the recording is going live. The mic feels pro and solid (nice aluminum body and the heft that means it has some great stuff packed inside) but is still really easy to hold. The mic cord is long enough that you don’t have to be right with your iOS device to make the recording so you could easily do a video recording using the iRig Mic for the audio portion.
As for recording quality, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a mic in its price range. Solid, clean and pro. For my recordings I used the iRig Recorder app (the paid version so it comes with nice filters…very nice actually) and here is what you’d get if you downloaded the free version of iRig Recorder (because the free version doesn’t have post-processing):
I think the quality is great and I would be cool with uploading that as is for an on the go podcast. However, because I was able to tap into the post-processing filters (which are non-destructive, hence how I have an unedited version of the track), I did a little volume optimization, clarity and clean up on the track:
Yeah, noticeable difference. I didn’t play around with the app and processing settings much. There is a preview button and a slider to apply more or less of the filter, so you can really play with the recording to give it extra polish. One piece of advice is to disable the built-in mic when editing. I found it hard to tell sometimes how things were improved until I wasn’t hearing what was coming through the mic on my iPhone.
Bottom line, this is a solid portable mic. If you have a mic stand, it comes with a mic clip (if you don’t have one…I didn’t so I appreciated it) and a carrying case for the whole package. I’m really looking forward to using this mic more for interviews and podcasts on the go. No, it doesn’t replace my Yeti for screencasts, because the iRig Mic is for my iPhone and iPad, not my Mac, however if I just feel like recording something I might just hook it up for a quick podcast. You never know.
Originally posted on the Future Shop Tech Blog.