By Chris Scott Barr
The great thing about smartphones these days is that they can effectively eliminate the need to carry around a bunch of extra devices. Calculators, PDAs, MP3 players and even personal recorders are all obsolete when you have the latest technology. I personally use my iPhone for all of the above, and then some. I never thought that I had a need to record voice memos, but now that I have a phone that can do it, I use the feature quite often. The audio quality isn’t bad, but it’s not the best in the world. Thus, having an external microphone to attach could prove rather useful.
I’ve had a chance to take a look at the i-Microphone, which is a tiny mic designed specifically for Apple devices. If you own an iPhone, you’ll quickly find out that just plugging in an ordinary mic won’t work. This is because it uses the same jack for audio input and output. So how well does this little device perform?
The first thing you’re going to notice about the i-Microphone is its small size. When plugging into your phone, it only protrudes less than an inch. This is one of the best and worst features of the mic. It’s super easy to carry around, and not needing to add a bunch of extra bulk to your iPhone is always a plus. Of course, on the flip side, it’s going to be very easy to lose. With that in mind, just remember to slip it in your pocket when you’re finished using it (and take it out before you put your pants into the hamper).
Included with the mic is a small foam windscreen attachment, which as you can imagine, is good for blocking out wind noise. It only adds a small amount of bulk to the device, which is easily offset by the benefits of not having so much wind noise in your recordings.
So how does this little mic do with recordings? Well, being an omnidirectional mic, it is good at picking up sounds in most environments. When compared to the standard mic in the iPhone, the audio is a good deal louder, and in most cases, clearer. I’d say that it is most beneficial in situations where you are either recording at a distance, or trying to pick up sound from a variety of sources. This is due to the omnidirectional nature of the device.
As with any omnidirectional mic, if you’re trying to capture from just one source (think an interview, or personal memo), you are going to pick up some background noise. The i-Microphone is no different with this. It’s not necessarily a drawback, just something you have to keep in mind when selecting a microphone to use.
So is the i-Microphone worth the $25 you’ll spend on it? Definitely. There is no question that it improves the quality of the audio you record. Also, with its small size, you don’t have to worry about carrying around extra bulky equipment just to get a better sound. Just remember to keep track of it, since it can be easily lost.
[ i-Microphone ]