iRig MIC Cast Hardware Review

iRig MIC Cast Hardware Review

Sep 3, 2013

Stretching smartphone functionality will always be my hobby, and finding accessories that enable me in this quest is always fun. Checking out the iRig MIC Cast? Fun. And there is no need to wince at the name; yes, it supports iDevices, but Android is not just a cheap add-on; IK supports the platform fully.

The review box had the Cast and a handy dock included. Physically, the Cast is small and lightweight, almost diminutive, which makes it infinitely portable. It’s a small square with coaxial pin, and plugs directly into the 3.55 mm audio jack of Android phones. It has a sensitivity switch, and its own mini-jack for real-time audio monitoring via headphones.irig6

Thus, in use, the Cast sits securely on top of the device, not too large or big to be make the phone unwieldy. This is where the dock can come into use, as it can hold up the newly created microphone to be used without hands.

A big part of the Cast’s usability is tied into the companion app, which makes the mobile device a full fledged recording portal. After installing the app (I did the extra step of registering the app as well), user interface pops up and provides a record button. The rest is quite intuitive. Tapping the record button invokes the microphone to start recording. The app also helps with processing and trimming the recording, which is perfect for podcasting.

The actual recordings underline the usefulness of the item; I noticed some background noise, but the playback sequences were surprisingly clear, and with the distance toggle, it did create noticeably better recordings. The software editing tools are straightforward, and the end result of manipulations were favorable. The pro version of the software is required for advanced features. It will probably be off-putting to some users to have to shell out more money, but the free build may alleviate some discomfort in that regard.

All in all, the MIC Cast is a great idea that is implemented quite well. The amalgam of hardware and software is great for the price, and it’s true value is in its portable utility.

The iRig MIC Cast is available (at the time of this review) for $39.99 from the IK Multimedia website and for $37.49 from Amazon.

USB Audio Recorder Pro Review

USB Audio Recorder Pro Review

Mar 22, 2013

By default, Android doesn’t have much in the way of support for USB audio devices, which pales in comparison to iOS, which does support them on the iPad via the “Camera Connection Kit” which comes with a USB adapter. Now, eXtream Software Development has a solution with USB Audio Recorder Pro, a recorder app that works with USB microphones on devices that support USB host capability. This is available on devices like the Nexus 7 by way of using a micro-USB to full-size USB female port, though some devices actually have a full-sized USB port, like tablets or some docks. I found the app and became curious if I could use it as a way to easily use my high-quality Blue Snowball mic while on the go.

And well, it does just that!

This officially makes my Nexus 7 a high-quality recording device; I can take my Blue Snowball with me and record audio when necessary while on the go, like going to record an interview somewhere. This surpasses the iPad, which has at times required low-power mics because Apple reduced the power output of the dock connector. At the default highest allowable settings, the audio quality was identical (to an untrained ear like my own) to a recording made on my Mac with Audacity. There’s different settings like audio frequency, audio channels (if you want to output a stereo recording, though my mic is mono), and others for audiophiles. For a basic user like me, it works well.

Now, the USB connection is a bit finnicky because the app is using its own drivers. I frequently had to unplug cables and re-insert them to try and get the app to recognize my mic. As well, if you have another USB app like Nexus Media Importer installed, then an issue will arise with the mic not being recognized until that app is uninstalled; I saw this on Android 4.2.2, it may not exist on other Android versions or with other Android devices.

Now, not all mics may work but most mics that support USB audio will probably work; the free demo version is invaluable for testing this support out. There’s a list of supported mics at this link. This is a great companion with Audio Evolution Mobile for editing audio on the go, especially for podcasters who don’t want to have a laptop with them. As well, the USB functionality of this app will soon become integrated with Audio Evolution Mobile in a month or two for recording directly from within that app. This app will remain on the store with its own recording functionality, and will also serve as the way to unlock the USB recording functionality in that app.

CES 2013: iRig Accessories Gain Android Support

CES 2013: iRig Accessories Gain Android Support

Jan 8, 2013

The iRig range of accessories from IK Multimedia have been known as primarily iOS accessories; that’s what the lowercase “i” usually means! But soon Android owners can get in on the fun, as IK has announced at CES the impending release of iRig Recorder for Android. This supports the microphone range of accessories, including the iRig Mic, and iRig PRE, which serves as a pre-amp for professional-grade XLR microphones. This app can not just record input from these accessories, but it can also serve as a way to playback and edit the audio recorded from the accessories. Files can be exported as either WAVs or as OGG files. Files can be transferred via email, FTP, Bluetooth, or shared through the built-in device sharing. The app will come in a $4.99 full version with the editing functionality, and a free version that supports recording, with editing able to be unlocked via IAP. Note that the guitar accessories are not yet compatible with Android.