iRig Mic Field
Pocket-sized, stereo digital mic for mobile audio/video field recording
I remember in the 1970s and 1980s to get a good recording on anything other than professional equipment out in the field required something called a recording Walkman Professional WM-D6C. This was a cassette recorder made to very high quality specifications, with a counter, metal housing, leather case, built in speaker, designed for the pro on the move, with a built-in condenser mic but also a small directional microphone that you carried around and could use for radio recordings and for synchronized sound for independent video and film. Many a 1980s documentary and even feature film soundtrack had used them to get interviews, spot effects and ambient sound for backgrounds. One sound lecturer of mine at a film school in Melbourne Australia gave us the challenge of recording anything at all on campus with the things and 9 times out of 10 he’d be able to identify the sound.
The recording Walkman, and a near relative, the Sony TC-D5 Pro/Pro II are jewel-like exhibits in the archeological museum of analog audio today, but the modern equivalent of the humble pro-cassette recorder is the digital field recorder. Handheld recorders like the Zoom H4n Handy Recorder record at least as well as the cassette devices aforementioned of the analog days, but operate on AA batteries and record to SD cards. The contemporary smart phone, being a veritable powerhouse of computing, particularly the most recent models, can do the job of the field recorder easily but the microphones to come with the stock phone tend to be optimized for the user’s voice in synchronous phone communications mode. Dedicated recording of the broader world beyond the immediate sphere of the phone’s holder is mostly not the aim of the device, nor should it have been. A decent condenser microphone thus needs to be added to the smart phone in order for the device to become a true field recorder. So where to find a good microphone for turning that iPhone into a device worthy of a capturing the sound for a HD video documentary or radio play? A great option is IK Multimedia’s brand new iRig Mic Field microphone.
A few tests around the streets of San Francisco showed just how sensitive the mic is. Passers by were recorded to an iPhone 6 plus and playback was good enough for professional HD video or digital podcast or radio use no problem. The sound quality was AMAZING. Every single sound was crystal clear, and on playback it was as if I was right there back on the very same street corner I had just been recording on. The wheel type gain control on the side of the square-shaped mic allows for a boost to the signal. Too loud? Bring the wheel down until the levels are right.
I tried an interview with a colleague at work, setting up my phone about 5 feet from her face. Again, astounding results. With Garageband I recorded a vocal track and double tracked it with the iRic Mic Field and found that I could virtually do away with the standard studio mic I’ve been using for years. It almost makes no sense that a device so small can pick up so solid a signal and record it with such clarity. The only recommendation I would have is that IK provide a windscreen for windy conditions, but one of these could be easily made from a piece of light foam made to fit over the mic.
The iRig Mic Field is the first very lightweight (amazingly so – you can hardly feel it in your hand when you hold it) ultra-compact, stereo digital microphone designed for audio and video field recording with Apple’s range of Lightning-compatible iOS devices. Its two high-quality cardioid electret condenser capsules, 24-bit audiophile-grade A/D converter (with 44.1/48kHz sample rate), 115 dB maximum SPL rating and built in low-noise, high-definition preamp will capture pristine sound no matter what the project is.
Another great feature is the ability to swing it into position from directly facing down to the “L” right angle position for say interviews. A handy LED shows you if you are recording, a glowing green showing the recording in progress. And that side-position thumbwheel gain control again, is super handy for adjusting the levels on the fly in real-time. The mic is compatible with all Core iOS Audio and Video apps including Voice Memo and Camera, and Apple’s GarageBand and iMovie as well as all the standard social media video apps and services.
- Digital stereo field-recording mic that connects to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch via Lightning connector
- Lightweight and pocketable design
- Rotates 90° for optimal audio/video positioning and locks in place with comfortable to use controls
- Great for music recording, video shoots or any field recording application
- Integrated headphone output for immediate real-time audio monitoring
- Gain control and multicolor LED indicator for easy and accurate level adjustment
- 2 high-quality cardioid electret condenser capsules
- 24-bit, 44.1 – 48 kHz A/D conversion
- Elegant design with black finish
For more information visit: IK Multimedia iRig Mic Feild website