Use your iPhone as a handheld voice or field recorder? I do.
At this year’s annual videogame trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) I found myself using my iPhone as a recorder for most of my interviews. While the iPhone’s built-in microphone is nice, it’s pretty barebones. That’s what IK Multimedia hopes to solve with the Mic Cast.
We tried it out on our iPhone 4 along with the free iRig Recorder app, which is more versatile than Apple’s built-in recording application (granted, that’s just a throwaway that Apple put in for quick memos and notes). There is also a $4.99 version of the application that has some additional features, and VocalLive, a vocal processing app, that is also by IK Multimedia.
The Microphone itself is about the size of a quarter, but rectangular. It’s about as thick as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It will easily fit in your pocket or laptop bag while on the go. We were initially a bit concerned about the grille of the microphone being crushed under the heavy weight of other things in our bag, but it actually seems to be pretty solid and hasn’t been an issue yet.
We also tried it out in different environments. It obviously works well in a quiet room, but we found that background noise isn’t much of an issue with this microphone. Under ideal circumstances, the persons speaking will be closer to the microphone’s diaphragm than the outside noise. We turned up some loud music and spoke into the microphone from a distance of about a foot and a half. This was basically me sitting in my bedroom with some loud music playing while relaxing on my work chair and setting the iPhone on my computer desk. My voice was loud and clear on both settings (hi and low). Setting it to high made the recording seem to peak out, but there didn’t seem to be any distortion when playing back the recording. However, we didn’t push the mic to that extreme. We just used it under settings that would seem more realistic for a user. That said, we’d be particularly interested in using for for filming a band at a very loud show. In this case, we would want to hear them over the crowd noise. That test will have to wait for a concert.
Also cool is the small iPhone stand that is included in the package. This prevents us from having to hold the handset upright to get a decent recording. It also keeps us from wanting to move the microphone near the person speaking, which is just a natural tendency when recording an interview or conversation. However, it has a consequence of making slightly breaking the flow of the interview.
A nice touch that may be easily overlooked is that the microphone is set up do that it can plug into the headphone jack while your iPhone has a case on it. We’re sure it works for some, but not all cases.
It will set you back $39.99, which is on par or less than most handheld recorders.
You can check out the iRig Mic Cast at IK Multimedia’s website.