By Andrew Liszewski
You may not realize it, but one thing that sets apart the ‘good’ YouTube videos from the crappy ones (or 99% of YouTube’s content from 99% of Vimeo’s) is the sound quality. The built-in mic on the iPhone, Flip or even digital camera that’s often used just isn’t up to snuff when compared to a full-sized camcorder. But, if you’re damned that you’re going to give up your iPhone 4 as your main content capture tool, please consider the Fostex AR-4i housing.
It’s a fairly hefty add-on for the phone that interface with the device’s dock connector, adding 3 stereo inputs for connecting multiple microphones or even a line-in source. It comes with 2 powered condenser cardioid mics that can be positioned side-by-side for creating a stereo recording, or pointing in 2 different directions for capturing a two-person interview. A basic, but functional, 4 LED meter lets you monitor sound levels as they’re being captured, and a simple gain wheel lets you dial things back if they get too loud. And the whole thing’s powered by a set of 2xAAA batteries good for 8-10 hours, so it’s not a drain on your iPhone 4’s own battery. With a price tag of ~$150 though, it’s clearly designed at professionals who are using their iPhone 4 to make a living. Not a parent looking to capture baby’s first steps.