Sure the iPhone (and a few iPods) let us record sound, but the audio is captured in the flat doldrums of mono. Not with Blue Microphone’s new Mikey stereo microphone: You can elevate your iRecording from black-and-white to colorful, full-dimensional, recording-studio quality.
Mikey is a 1-ounce device the size of a Tic-Tac box. It attaches to iPods, Nanos, iTouch and all iPhones except the 4 (more about that below). Its clever rotating hinge allows it to swivel like Linda Blair, making it possible to capture sound from a 360-degree field.
Optimized for the iTouch and the earlier iPhones, the Mikey records sharp, clean voices and music using its free Blue FiRe(really, that’s the way it’s spelled) app. To avoid losing audio fidelity when recording in varying loud and quiet environments, the mike has three sensitivity settings. A blue (surprise) LED light corresponding to the particular setting indicates that the mike is powered on.
There are no batteries, power is supplied by whatever device it’s plugged into. A mini-USB connector on the Mikey can keep your iPod or iPhone powered when connected to a powered USB port on a laptop. And a 3.5-millimeter stereo input port lets you record stereo audio directly from another audio device, MP3 or otherwise.
You can use the Mikey with the iPod Classic or Nano, and you’ll get a rich, clear sound. But the input limitations of those devices reduce the Mikey’s stereo capabilities to mono. That might work for devout mono-mix Beatles fans, but is that enough for you?
The Blue FiRe app for the iTouch and iPhone is a scaled-back version of AudioFile Engineering’s $ 10 FiRe Field Recording app, which has a cornucopia of pro capabilities that better leverage the Mikey’s range. With the Sonoma Wireworks $ 10 FourTrack app, the Mikey shows off its true power with the ability to record and mix four separate music tracks either simultaneously or serially. Recording length is limited to the amount of available memory, but settings in the apps can customize times.
We reviewed the first-gen Mikey about a year ago. That version we liked a great deal despite its lack of compatibility with iPhone.
Now in version numero dos, there are more devices that will work with Mikey, but not the iPad or iPhone 4. Bummer. Still this is really a quibble with Apple swapping its 30-pin connector for a digital interface. We hope future versions of the Mikey will sync with the latest tech coming out of Cupertino.
WIRED Pocket-size microphone makes full-dimension stereo recording on the go. No batteries required. Three sensitivity settings adjust audio gain in loud and quiet environments.
TIRED Does not work with iPhone 4, iPad, 6th-gen Nano or 4th-gen iTouch. Because multifunction app works only on iTouch and iPhone, the Nano and iPod Classic can only use Mikey with their mono voice-memo function.
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