iRig Mic HD creates great sounding interviews with ease.
Last week was CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and it was the MacSources team’s first time attending. One of the assignments I gave to myself as a media representative was to record video interviews. I knew I needed gear I could trust for video production. I made the decision to travel light and use my iPhone 6s Plus’s iSight camera. It’s a solid camera and made sense for a traveling kit. The one big concern I had was audio recording. With it being such a big venue, I also knew that having a solid microphone that could handle filtering out ambient noise was essential to my camera kit. That’s why I turned to IK Multimedia’s iRig line of products. Earlier this week, another one of our media correspondents reviewed the iRig Mic Lav with the positive experience he had. Today, I’m going to run through my experience with the iRig Mic HD.
First of all, the iRig Mic HD is a handheld microphone. This was something I was looking for because I wanted to try and maintain the flow of the interview by directing the microphone at the subject and not just pin a lavaliere microphone on them. Plus, the handheld mic gave me the flexibility to work within my surroundings a lot easier. Looking at the iRig Mic HD, you would never know that it’s built to work with iOS devices. It’s a solid, heavy-weight microphone. It’s easy to handle and store with its included zippered pouch. From the look of everything out of the box, it was exactly what I had been looking for.
The microphone itself is powered directly by its Micro USB output plug. IK Multimedia packages the microphone with a custom Lightning cable and USB cable that has a Micro USB for the microphone. This is actually where I found some room for improvement with the iRig Mic HD. Because microphone operation is impossible with this special cable, I searched online to buy a spare cable and was actually hoping to find a longer cable so my camera person could move around easier to film the products on the table while I was conducting the interview. Unfortunately, it seems that longer cables do not exist. I tried visiting the IK Multimedia online store, but discovered that finding these cables online is nearly impossible. Fortunately, when I brought this up to the iRig staff at the CES booth, they gave me a spare cable. It’s not a longer one like I hoped, but it does help in case something goes wrong with the original.
Connection to your phone is quite easy. IK Multimedia provides a lot of specialized apps for users to record with, but the microphone also works with your regular Camera app on your iPhone. Using the microphone is as easy as plugging it in. The iRig Mic HD has gain control built onto the mic so that you can easily turn it up or down depending on your recording preferences. In addition to that, the mic has an LED on the side to show you if your audio level goes above the correct level. It flashes red when your target is too close to the mic while talking.
That brings me to the actual testing/use of the iRig Mic HD. I mentioned the weight of it. Well, I found that to be a comfort while recording. It feels like a professional mic should – not too heavy, but not too light either. I was really happy that the mic used the power of the iPhone because that meant I didn’t need to worry about charging it separately. If you’ve ever used a rechargeable microphone or one that takes a battery, you will know that when power starts running low, your audio can get distorted or even ruined completely. In the situation I was in – a one time shot to get interviews – I needed something with reliable power. This plugged-in set-up worked beautifully for me.
The audio quality for the videos was 100% perfect. The iRig Mic HD boasts and impressive high-quality 24-bit, audiophile-grade A/D converter and a 44.1 – 48 kHz sampling rate. As a test before I recorded in the field, I read a passage from a book while the TV was on in the background. I found that approximately 90% of the ambient background noise was filtered out. I found the same was true while I was recording at CES. The convention hosts approximately 170,000 people during the 4-day event. With that amount of people, there is a LOT of room noise. The iRig Mic HD took that loud rumble down to a soft whisper in the background while I was recording. If you check out our interview with Plantronics you will hear what I am talking about. The iRig Mic HD allowed for me to get clean, crisp interviews throughout the convention without all the background noise.
The iRig Mic HD is a wonderful option for people who are looking to do one-on-one interviews with their iPhone. It cancels out ambient noise and the interview subject will always be heard. And, at the price of $100, you’re not going to find a better handheld digital microphone that is universally compatible with iOS and computers. The iRig Mic HD is now my go to mic for every interview we do from here on out.