For the four years I was in college, I was a reporter for my school’s newspaper. This would mean that I needed to interview people for various assignments. I used to have a digital voice recorder that I would habitually lose, or it would run out of battery at inconvenient times – such as in the middle of an interview.I wish the iRig existed back then, it would’ve made my life easier. The $60 iRig Mic from IK Multimedia is a microphone for iOS devices. It’s easy to use – just plug it into the headphone jack, open a voice recording program, and talk away.
There’s a headphone jack on the plug, so you can have real-time monitoring. Unfortunately, this does not work in every application, like iOS’s movie recorder.
Quality of the recording is the most important part of this review. Why would you buy a microphone if it had lousy voice recording? Fortunately, the iRig creates wonderful voice recordings. During my quality test, I recorded myself reading a page out of Timothy Ferriss’s “The 4 Hour Body” during which I played a documentary about the font Helvetica simultaneously. The movie had a lot of speech and music. In order to fully test the iRig’s capabilities, I played the movie very loud.
On the iPhone’s built-in microphone, my voice would sometimes be lost in the background noise, especially if I started whispering or mumbling. When using the iRig, there was no background noise, period. The only thing you heard was my voice. However, I will mention that the recording made by the iRig was fairly quiet. There are three gain levels on the mike itself, and even at the top level, the recording is fairly quiet. You can alleviate this by using the apps designed for the iRig.
These apps include iRig Recorder, VocaLive and Amplitude Fender. Unfortunately, prices can run high on the iRig apps. VocaLive, for instance, can run up to $20. There are free versions, but you’ll get bombarded by notifications telling you about missing features and how awesome the paid version is. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I would recommend skipping the apps entirely. The iRig works just fine on the basic iOS apps.
The iRig doesn’t have to be used on an iOS device. It can work on other smartphones as well, but your mileage will vary on how well it works.
This microphone could be a great asset for those whose jobs (business men and women on the go) and hobbies (podcasting, interviewing, songwriting) require the recording of vocals in busy or noisy places. If you find yourself doing these type of things, then the iRig Mic is worth the $60 investment.