Posted on Wed 09 February 2011 in entries

Expanding on the success of the highly popular iRig Guitar/Bass interface, which lets you plug in your precious instrument to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, IK Multimedia have announced the release of the inspired iRig Mic; the first handheld quality condenser microphone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad! With portable recording devices becoming increasingly popular, I decided to explore further, and discover for myself whether the iPhone really could become the future of music making…


It’s…a…microphone! D’uh! But if you were after a little more information, then the iRig Mic is actually a highly unidirectional condenser-electret microphone capsule, which is designed for both quality and flexibility. Whether you want to record in close mic or long mic conditions, the iRig Mic is up to the task, and it even provides real-time monitoring with it’s dual mini-jack connector.

To add to it’s flexible capabilities, the iRig Mic features a three-level gain switch, which makes it instantly adjustable to adapt to any sound pressure recording condition, whether you’re speaking softly, or thrashing away on your guitar!

What’s more, despite the iRig Mic being unique in the way that it integrates with the iPhone, it keeps to a familiar microphone form, making it ideal for natural handheld performances. It can even be mounted on any regular microphone stand, leaving both your hands free to play about with a recording application on your device’s screen. The fact that the microphone is encased in a rugged metal body also adds to it’s appeal for the mobile musician.


The iRig Mic is ideal for singers and vocalists who would benefit from capturing their voice in high fidelity, for real-time audio processing during live performances or recording sessions. But that’s not all, as the iRig Mic is also a fantastic idea if you’re recording a musical instrument, writing a speech, or recording a lesson or video soundtrack. Why not use the iRig Mic and associated software to record practice takes? Or run your live speech through your iPhone and out to an amplifier and use the application to tune the speaker output to the acoustics of the room? Or use it to record an instrument jam to draw ideas out of later? In fact, the iRig Mic can be used for a whole host of purposes, with its portability and ability to capture and reproduce loud, high quality, crisp, clean sounds (even in noisy environments) without distortion making it an ideal choice of equipment!


The iRig Mic comes complete with the Vocalive free application, IK Multimedia’s brand new real-time effects processor suite. Vocalive is the first professional practicing, performing and recording vocal processor for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and so is perfect for any singer/songwriter who wants a portable, yet flexible vocal tool. The application includes a host of real-time and processing vocal effects that can be combined on a 3-processor vocal rig chain to achieve a thoroughly professional finish to your recordings. VocaLive also includes dozens of presets to help you get up and running in seconds.

With VocaLive, you can record (single or multi-track), sing along with your iPod song library (with voice cancel included), and warm up with the included vocal tools, giving you the most complete, portable vocal solution available. Whether you’re recording vocal ideas, practicing for a performance, mixing vocals, or simply just having fun, the VocaLive application is made to deliver. And, it can also be used with the in-built iPhone microphone, or with earbuds with built-in mics, although of course, if you want to get the best possible quality of recording from the application, then the iRig Mic is the perfect solution.

But thats not all! If you purchase the iRig Mic, then you will also receive iRig Recorder, the new IK free audio recording app (perfect for recording song or speech ideas) and Amplitube free, the best selling app for guitar players and songwriters! If you are unfamiliar with the awesome Amplitube app, then click here to read my recent blog review on it and find out more! But before you click the link, wait a second because there is more! With the iRig Mic, you are not just constrained to working with the applications listed above. The iRig Mic also works with a multitude of other vocal and audio recording/processing apps for the iOS platform, so get out there and start recording!


One really useful feature of the iRig Mic is that it plugs in with a dual in/out mini-jack connector, which means it is possible to monitor your recordings in real-time without disconnecting the mic from you iPhone, iPod or iPad. For example, with the iRig Mic and your headphones both plugged into the mini-jack connector you can listen to your processed vocal performance whilst you sing in real-time! Or take out the headphones and hook it up to a PA system and perform to a crowd in a completely unique way whilst affecting your voice on your chosen iPhone application.


The iRig Mic is designed to be simple to set-up and operate. After all, it’s supposed to be perfect for swift, on-the-go recording! The three level gain switch (for low, medium and high sound pressure sources) makes customising the microphone to any environment a simple process, and it’s 2m/6.5ft cable make it possible to record a sound source whilst keeping your iPhone, iPod or iPad at a convenient distance, meaning you can alter settings on the fly without worrying about interfering with your precious recording.


Whilst I would still feel much more comfortable using a dedicated high-end studio mic and workstation to record a musical track for a piece of work (whether it be vocal or otherwise), I think that the iRig Mic is a fantastic piece of equipment for on-the-go recording. Whether you’re away for the weekend and want want to practice for an upcoming performance without the hassle of lugging around your laptop, external soundcard, wires, etc, or you unexpectedly want to capture a useful sample for one of your productions, then the ultra-portable iRig Mic is the perfect solution. It’s also ideal if you just love singing, as it’s quick and easy to set up, and you could also easily take it to a party, hook your iPhone up to a stereo system, and start up some karaoke!

So that’s my verdict! A useful and fun piece of equipment to have (especially for the vocalist), but not going to replace good old fashioned studio recording just yet!

[Purchase the IK Multimedia iRig Mic]