You might not be keen on spending hundreds on a portable, digital recorder. “Can't I just plug a mic straight into my smartphone?”
Yes, you can! The iRig Mic is a hand-held condenser microphone compatible with most devices, i.e. iPhones and Android mobiles.
The iRig Mic dual mini-jack connector allows you to monitor your recordings in real time without disconnecting from your from your recording device i.e. smartphone or tablet.
The mini-jack output can be connected to traditional headphones and earbuds, or you can hook it up vialine input to mixers, powered speakers, amplifiers, and PA systems.
The mic has a gain switch with 3 settings, depending on how noisy or quiet your environment is. So if you're in a small room recording an interview on a 1-to-1 basis, you can set your gain accordingly. Similarly, if you're in a noisy pub or at a the race-track, you can go the other way with your gain to minimise any peaking and distortion.
It's the hand-held style we've all loved since we were kids standing in front of the mirror holding a hairbrush – just like a proper singer's microphone.
This is great for interviewing people because rather than the obtrusiveness of sticking it in someone's face, you can let them hold the mic. Putting them in control means they're more likely to relax and give you the best content.
Also, it comes with a proper bracket which allows you to mount it on any standard mic stand, which is handy.
The iRig Mic also comes with VocaLive, a realtime effects processor suite, but this is more aimed at singer and vocalists. However, it's a great way for you to keep an eye on levels. The mic also works with a wide variety of other vocal and audio processing apps for the iOS platform.
The iRig mic is suitable for most, if not all, vocal applications from singing to speech. It's easy to set up – more or less just plug in and go – and comes with its own app for real time monitoring.
The sound quality obviously can't compare with a professional studio mic, but what it lacks in high-end quality, it makes up for with its portability, cross-brand compatibility and affordability.
Clearly, this mic is aimed at singers and performers, but for less than $60 (£45), podcasters will certainly find value for money here.