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.

Phiaton PS 20 NC Headphones Hardware Review

Phiaton PS 20 NC Headphones Hardware Review

Jul 30, 2013

Phiaton has major cred when it comes to personal audio accessories, so getting an opportunity to review the PS 20 NC wired headphones is something to be looked forward to, even if it isn’t Phiaton’s newest product.

The packaging is tidy, and the review piece came with a standard extra bud tips of different sizes and single AA battery for the noise canceling box.

They are solidly crafted, and feel somewhat weighted in hand without being cumbersome. The rubber coated cables are quite thin, and emanate cleanly from the central control piece in either direction. On the one end, the ends are firmly pieced together, with brass-colored metal serving as a sort of frame for the multifaceted ear buds. The other end tapers into the standard 3.5mm pin. It looked slick in ebony, though I admit to being a bit taken aback by the bronze 2013-07-18 14.05.29highlights.

I don’t claim to be the world’s biggest audiophile, but I do like to think I have an ear for good hardware. My home, during Wii time, is the perfect environment for testing the professed noise canceling feature. With the abject cacophony that accompanies Lego Batman, this set of headphones are/were quite capable of setting me adrift on memory bliss of, uh… you? Seriously, the design of the ear buds and their expansive attribute work better than advertised, as being gloriously awash in only Dre instrumentals can attest to. Yep, they cancel extraneous noise quite capably even without being activated; the Everplay feature allows for music to play on in the event of battery depletion. The half in-ear design just worked well in my ears.

One thing that did irk me a tiny bit is the somewhat unwieldly nature of the cable. The provided pouch was excellent, but just stuffing it in there was not optimal, and it kind of felt like there wasn’t a natural way to wind them up without getting tangled.

Still, for a fairly mature offering, this piece seems quite deserving of the “premium” tag. It is a clear sign that wired sets are not going to be completely supplanted any day soon, and also proves that great audio accessories do not need to be delicate.

The Phiaton PS 20 NC wired headphones are available on Amazon for $99.99 at the time of this review.

Stitcher Update Includes 2012 Election Focus Section

Stitcher Update Includes 2012 Election Focus Section

May 2, 2012

Stitcher today announced an update to their app that now includes a special section on the 2012 US Presidential election.

Stitcher has always been a great app to go to for audio content. They have now implemented a new feature that allows then to create focus sections on a particular category. The first of these sections to launch will the a 2012 Presidential election that includes audio endorsed by the candidates themselves.

“The majority of Stitcher users listen to news and political content, so creating the Election Center was a natural step for us,” said Noah Shanok, CEO of Stitcher. “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it. We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry. We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.”

The new Election Center allows you to follow news about your candidate or candidates of choice. It also allows you to focus on particular sources or topics. Using transcription, Stitcher will allow you to search in the transcribed text of the audio features to find mentions of the topics you are interested in.

Election Center is just the first step. Expect to see Stitcher roll out the focus areas to other topics in the near future. But for now, the updated Stitcher with Election Center should be available now. Grab it now at [Google Play].