The iRig Mic by IK Multimedia is a Cardioid electret microphone made specifically for use with an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad. I would like to thank IK Multimedia for sending me the iRig Mic and making this review possible, and you can find their numerous high-quality audio products at http://www.IKMultimedia.com/.
The fact that the iRig Mic is an electret microphone means that it does not drain very much power, if any, from your iDevice when in use.
The microphone comes with a leather carrying case and mic clamp, as well as information papers such as a registration card, a pamphlet displaying other IK Multimedia products, and the User’s Guide.
The iRig Mic has three different gain settings at which one can record audio. There is a low gain setting, which picks up virtually every sound possible, including a lot of white noise. This would be good if trying to talk to the microphone from far away or record a quiet instrument. The middle gain setting is good for everyday use, and is the one I find myself most often using. One would use it to record an instrument such as acoustic guitar, or to speak into the microphone at a normal volume. The final setting, low gain, would be used to record a band or loud instrument such as drums, or to record someone who has quite a loud voice.
Other features of the microphone are a six foot cable and a wind screen. The cable is a nice addition, since the iRig Mic and the associated apps (more on those later) is compatible with an iDevice’s video feature. When you are doing close up work, the cable can get in the way, but it is, in my opinion, better to have the cable long rather than short. The wind screen, or the metal mesh that tops the microphone, isn’t the most effective wind screen, but it does filter out some noise when making “p” sounds and the like.
One awesome feature of the iRig Mic is the dual mini-jack. This plugs into your iDevice, and leaves another port open for headphones. When headphones are plugged in and the microphone is used with a corresponding app, the user has access to direct feed so that they can hear what they say, when they say it!
The mic clamp is useful, but it would be nice if IK Multimedia included a basic mic stand with the iRig Mic, because for those who do not have a mic stand, the mic clamp cannot be used for anything.
The two compatible apps for the iRig Mic are VocaLive and iRig Recorder. The full versions of VocaLive and iRig Recorder will cost $19.99 and $4.99 in the App Store, but there are free versions of both available. I used the iRig Mic with iRig Recorder, as it seemed to be the simpler of the two apps. You can control settings such as volume in and volume out using the app, and can export files in many different ways. However, if you do want to export in high quality, you will need to make an in-app purchase, so the easiest way I have found to transfer files from my iPod to my desktop is by e-mailing a file to myself, then moving it to iTunes before pulling it into my editing software.
You may think that that sounds like a complicated process, and it is a little time-consuming when trying to download numerous files, a downside of the microphone being built to work with iDevices.
When it comes to using the mic with computers, I found that it could be used with a Mac in programs such as iMovie or Garage Band, but with no direct headphone feed available. With the two PC’s I attempted to use the iRig Mic with, I had no results using the Sound Recorder program. The ability of the iRig Mic to work with a Mac but not a PC may be due to the fact that the microphone is originally built to work with an iPod Touch or iPhone, both of which are Apple products like the Mac.
Overall, I enjoyed using the iRig Mic in its sturdy metal housing, and commend IK Multimedia for the great quality of the product!
Again, you can find IK Multimedia’s website here: http://www.IKMultimedia.com/, and I would like to thank them for sending the iRic Mic out for review.