IK Multimedia iRig Microphone (Review)

Feb 4, 2011
Let’s face it right now, I am a huge freak when it comes to audio. Even though headphones and earphones are what I love to review the most, I know good quality microphone sound when I hear it. Let me begin off this introduction with a little story of mine, short and sweet. I absolutely hate using the built in microphone in the iPhone 4, it sounds muddy, choppy, and very boomy at times. I’m planning on going to both CES and the Macworld Expo next year and needed a good portable microphone for my interviews and podcasts. It had to be cheap, lightweight, and work with my iDevices. The iRig Microphone did just that, and from the few weeks that I have used it, the iRig Microphone has impressed me to no end. So, want to hear a little bit more about this spectacular product? Read on for the full review of the iRig Microphone to find out.

As always, let’s take a look at the packaging that the iRig Microphone comes in as well as some of the goodies you get. With the iRig Microphone you get some pretty simple cardboard packaging showcasing the iRig Microphone and IK Multimedia’s logo as well as some information on the actual product itself. Taking a look inside the packaging you will of course find the iRig Microphone itself, a nice synthetic leather carrying case, a manual on how to actually use the iRig Microphone, and a very nice mount that works with all types of mic stands. Keep in mind that if you get the iKlip for the iPad 1 or 2, it makes a pretty ideal combination for podcasting and recordings. Now that we have the packaging aside, let’s take a quick overview of the iRig Microphone itself. Starting at the bottom you will find a dual mini jack connector that allows real time monitoring with headphones and earphones. Moving up the iRig Microphone you will find a nice black rubber cable that seems to be about five or six feet long. Next we have the actual body of the iRig Microphone that seems to be made out of a very nice and sleek looking matte metal material. You will also notice three sensitivity settings, which I will discuss a little bit later once we get to audio quality, as well as the iRig Mic logo on the top. Lastly we have the diaphragm that is surrounded in a nice aluminum mesh casing.

Now, the iRig Microphone is very easy to set up and took me a mere two to three minutes. First, you hook up the iRig Microphone to your iPod, iPhone, or iPad with the jack (and you can alway hook up some headphones to the opposite end as well) and open up any voice recording application (Voice Memos as an example) and start recording. Now, the fun doesn’t stop there. IK Multimedia even includes a plethora of App Store applications that you can download. VocaLive is an app that allows for real time vocal editing with a bunch of different effects. There is also AmpliTube which allows for real time editing of bass and guitar effects, as well as the iRig Recorder, which can be used for professional audio recording and processing. I will put links down at the bottom of this review in case you guys would like to check out any of the applications listed above. Up next is sound, the most important part of the iRig Microphone, so let’s get started.

Now, as far as durability and design go, the iRig Microphone has some great quality components for a $60 dollar condenser microphone. The cable and the jack are very nice and if you were to use the iRig Microphone with an iPhone that is coupled with a case, it should fit with almost all types of cases. The cable is a nice and thick black rubber and has not presented any tangling issues as of thus far. The body of the microphone which seems to be made out of metal, as I stated in the above paragraph, seems to be very durable due to the strong housing it’s in. That being said, all those sexy looks and design do come at a few downsides. Firstly, the matte body does seem to pick up some scratches quite easily, and will show quite easily. Also, even though almost all microphones have a pretty good amount of bulk on there backs, I found that the iRig Microphone is pretty heavy, especially for a portable microphone. The casing at the top of the microphone is made out of aluminum, does not show any scratches, and the quality and durability are on par with high end condenser microphones.

I won’t go into a huge detailed review of what the iRig Microphone sounded like, but rather give a brief summary of what the sound is like. I mainly used the middle sensitivity setting for my podcasting and such, so I can’t really talk much about the quality of the other settings. From what I have heard on the mid level setting, the iRig Microphone performs exceptionally well for a $60 mic. There is absolutely no hiss or any white noise present in the background, boomy-ness and impact are nowhere to be found when speaking when recording in higher tones and I found that recording deeper voices worked exceptionally well too. Lastly, even though the iRig Microphone kind of fails to reproduce the complete real world tone of the speakers voice, the iRig Microphone was crystal clear and there was no echoing to be found.

For $60, I can highly recommend the iRig Microphone for it’s superb attention to detail, sound quality, simplistic design, and ease of use. If you are an on the go user that needs a mobile recording setup then the iRig Microphone may very well be for you. The iRig Microphone can be purchased on IK Multimedia’s website as well as a bunch of different audio gear. Hit up the link for more information and don’t forget to check out some of the apps that can be bought to join forces with the iRig Microphone.

Rating: 4.5/5
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Jun 15, 2010
I've used the iRig Mic as well, mostly for recording band practices. It does a pretty good job (I always have to use it on the highest sound level). I used to use the Blue Mikey on my iPhone 3g but I couldn't use it on the iPhone 4.

I always record with the FiRe field recorder app.

I still have my iPhone 3G and I recently found that the Blue Mikey gives me a better recording than the iRig Mic. Mostly I get better bass sound with the Mikey than the iRig (with the iRig the bass sound was almost completely lost).

I've found that the highest sound level on the iRig is quieter than the highest sound level on the Blue Mikey. This means that you should be able to use the iRig in louder environments than the Mikey, but for my uses the iRig cuts the sound by too much on the highest sound level.

I think the iRig would be great for doing podcasts and interviews, but I also find the Blue Mikey to be more convenient because it's small enough to fit in your pocket and I can start recording and put the phone in my shirt pocket with the Blue Mikey sticking out.

Of course the Blue Mikey doesn't work with the iPhone 4 so that is a HUGE draw back. Maybe Blue will get a new version out that works with iPhone 4 before the iPhone 5 comes out, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Also most people don't still have the 3G if the upgraded to the iPhone 4

In conclusion I think the iRig Mic is a great mic for the iPhone, I just think that the Blue Mikey did a better job when it came to recording music.