iRig Mic Lav provides professional quality audio for iPhone users.
One of the things that I like about tech is finding those devices you didn’t know you needed. Let me be clear, I have known about phone camera rigs, lighting and headphone jack microphones for a while. However, up until this point, they have not been needed. I have had to use some specialty lenses previously, fisheye and macro view from time to time, but I have had little need for sound amplification or capture, as I have predominately completed technology reviews for products and app/game reviews. CES was an all new situation and luckily, iRig had a solution.
I was given the iRig Mic Lav to review. This microphone worked wonderfully for me at CES 2016, as the ambience was very high energy, loud with marked background noise. This was the perfect venue to test the omnidirectional microphone and the noise filter. Also, this was the venue to test to make sure that the microphone would not fail after just a few uses. The microphone and speakers, on my iPhone 6S Plus, proved more than inadequate for CES. Neither could I capture specific audio, I could barely hear the audio that was captured. Thus, I looked for a microphone/ear bud solution. I was given the option of this device (iRig Mic Lav) vs a competitor (lav mic using the Lightning adaptor port). Let me say that I am glad that I chose this option. I had 2 problems with the Lightning adaptor microphone. First, my phone has been nestled inside of an Otterbox Defender, since purchase. Companies that do not make their lightning devices with narrow plugs, have issues with some cases: to include Catalyst, Otterbox, Lifeproof to name a few. Second, the lightning adaptor was occupied by a charger cable. Power, specifically portable power, became a rather regular necessity. It was a sight to see, there were multiple charging stations set up throughout CES.
The device weighs in at 6.4 ounces, and fits nicely inside of its zip-up bag. The device measures 4.5 inches from the tip of the 1/8 inch TRRS jack to the control box. The control box is 15/16” tall by 15/16″ wide and 1/2″ wide. From control box to tip of microphone is 62″. This provides more than adequate cordage (probably a little too much, please see below) to your phone and lapel. The case measures at 2 3/4″ long by 3 1/4″ wide and 1 1/2″ tall. It is sleek black with grey lettering. This easily fits into a pocket, cargo pocket or bag pocket. The device is small, easily portable, which is a major plus for this type of device.
One of the problems that I had at CES 2016 revolved around cable management. I would clip the lavalier microphone to my lapel and would have a dangling cable to deal with. With just over 5 feet of cord, this is easy to grab onto tables, bags of passers by or onto doors, etc. On more than one occasion, this was ripped from either my phone or my shirt, as cable dangled in front of me. On day 2, a solution presented itself; Nite Ize was present and had cable ties. I used the cable tie to shorten the cable and solved my problem (black twist tie used in the image below). It may be of benefit for the company to consider including a Velcro cable strap to allow the user to shorten the cable at their whim. I suspect twist ties would work as well, but I really Iike the Nite Ize products.
This microphone made interviewing easy. I would unclip the microphone and hold this in my hand, while the interviewee talked. I used this similar to a hand held microphone, and it performed better than I expected. I was also able to clip the microphone to the persons lapel while my father, John Walters, filmed the interviews. This microphone felt great and directly connected to my iPhone 6S plus, via headphone jack. The lightweight nature of the microphone made sure that this was packed and ready to go each day at CES 2016. This allowed me to capture audio much clearer than the phone itself. The microphone is touted to have an omnidirectional capsule with a 30Hz-16Hz frequency range. This is perfect for conversational speech. The iRig Lav control box has an output for headphones to allow you to hear as you are obtaining audio signal. Simply slide the slider on the side of the microphone control box to the headphone image. This feature is a bonus, as this allows you to control the distance from the subject to the microphone with more accuracy.
I was unaware of an included feature of this microphone, until I began reviewing it further. It is reported to be the first microphone to allow chaining. That is, you can combine 2 microphones in series to capture multiple sources of audio. Simply slide the slider on the side of the control box to the double microphone option. Then, plug a second microphone into the iRig controller jack, thus chaining the 2 microphones together. Unfortunately, I do not have 2 microphones to test this feature as I was only given one microphone. If this feature is interesting to you, you can purchase the iRig Lav Mic 2 pack from amazon.com or from ikmultimedia.com (49.99 single with carrying case or 79.99 2x iRig mic Lav plus carrying case).
This microphone does have a vocal pop filter, which does control vocal plosives, wind noise and background noises. For those of you who do not know, as I did not know before reviewing this microphone, plosives are “constants that are produced by stopping the airflow using lips, teeth or palate then a sudden release of air” (thanks thefreedictionary.com). Examples of plosives include t, k, p sounds and d, g, b endings.I will say that the foam cover did make a marked difference vs when the foam cover was removed. The microphone has a very strong mounting clip, which attaches to clothing nicely and firmly. This also doubled as a hand grip, allowing me to hold the microphone during my interviews.
The microphone works with just about any app that can capture audio/video. I tested this with the camera app, with an app called Recorder, with Notes and with voice to text using Pages. There are other offerings from iRig, such as handheld mic (16-bit, 48 kHz) and mic HD (24-bit 96 kHZ) using TRRS or lightning/USB connection, iRig Mic Cast (lightning), iRig Mic Field (lightning connector 24-bit 48 kHz), iRig Mic studio (Lightning, USB, microUSB with 24 bit 48 kHz max). These microphones have their place and seem bigger/more cumbersome than this lavalier microphone.
Again, I am not an audiophile, nor a professional microphone user. I am a father of 3 and full time medical doctor who loves technology and to learn about new offerings. This microphone served its purpose, filled its role and recorded audio nicely for me, when I needed it. Would I buy this again? Absolutely! You too can purchase this microphone through amazon.com. I would rate this device at 4.5/5 stars. Reviews posted on Amazon show only a few reviews, with one giving it poor review based on failing after 5 minutes. I will tell you, I recorded multiple videos and audio alone, throughout my CES trip in 2016. This device was tested regularly and harder than I would have tested it at home and was found to act beautifully.
BUY FROM AMAZON