Move Over Apogee MiC?

iRig Mic StudioWill the tiny but mighty Apogee MiC finally get a worthy competitor?

Absolutely!

At the Winter NAMM in January, IK Multimedia announced the release of the iRig Mic Studio. It’s a very portable microphone for ALL platforms.

The iRig Mic isn’t available yet, but looking at the specs, it’s possible to make a preliminary side-by-side comparison.

Both mics will fit into the palm of your hand. The iRig Mic Studio is 117 (4.61”) x 45 mm (1.77”) and weighs 218 g (7.7 oz). The Apogee MiC is 116 mm (4.57”) x 39 mm (1.54”), and comes in at 181.4 g (6.4 oz).

ALL PLATFORMS

The big news is that the iRig Mic Studio is compatible with nearly every mobile and desktop platform. You can plug it into iOS devices, as well as into many Android devices.* Apogee’s MiC is Apple-only.

Another difference is the diaphragm. The Apogee is a medium (¾”) diaphragm electret condenser microphone. The iRig Mic Studio has a large 1” diameter electret condenser capsule. Both are cardioids.

The second generation Apogee Mic offers up to 96kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion. The iRig Mic Studio has a 24-bit converter with 44.1/48Khz sampling rate.

Both mics feature a multicolor LED for status and sound level, and the built-in preamps have a gain range of 40 dB.

iRig Mic front viewThe Apogee has no on-board headphone jack for latency-free monitoring. That means your headphones must be attached to a host device. The iRig has a built-in 1/8” headphone output with dedicated volume control (see picture).

LOTS OF EXTRAS

The iRig Mic Studio comes with a suite of vocal apps such as VocaLive and EZ Voice, as well as with iRig Recorder, an app for sound capture and editing. Apogee’s MiC does not come with any apps.

The Apogee MiC ships with a table top stand, a lightning connection cable, and a USB cable. A microphone stand adaptor and travel case have to be bought separately.

The iRig Mic Studio comes with a mic clamp, a protective storage bag, and a mini-tripod. It also ships with a Micro-USB to Lightning for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; micro-USB to micro-USB OTG for Android; and micro-USB to USB for Mac and PC. A 30-pin cable is sold separately.

And what about the price? Well, the Apogee MiC retails at $229, and the iRig Mic Studio will sell for $179.

At least on paper the iRig offers more bang for less bucks, but since it’s not available yet, we don’t know which one is the better sounding microphone. The fact that the Apogee can record at 96kHz may seem impressive, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Be honest, has a client ever asked you to record a voice-over at 96kHz?

Massdrop logoARE YOU UPGRADING?

Now, if you’re in the market for new audio equipment and you wish to save a few dollars, chances are that you may find a good deal on a site called Massdrop. This site describes itself as follows:

“Massdrop is an online community for enthusiasts that provides people across several communities — from audio and electronics to quilting and cooking — a place to connect, discuss their favorite products and activities, and buy those products together.”

So, how does it work?

Let’s say you’re looking for a new preamp, and you’ve decided to get the FocusRite 2i2. On Amazon you’d pay $149.99, but at Massdrop you can get it for $119.99 including shipping (this “drop” ended on April 2nd). The FocusRite 2i4 portable interface is also discounted. Here’s how they do it. 

If you’re interested in a certain product in one of the Massdrop categories, you can start a poll. Other people on Massdrop can vote for that product, which indicates that they’re interested in buying it together.

Once a product has reached a certain number of votes, Massdrop contacts the vendor or manufacturer on behalf of the group, and negotiates a discount. The more that is bought, the more the price will drop. Please note: these price drops last for a limited amount of time, and limited quantities are available. Read the FAQ for more details.

The Pro Audio community regularly features deals on microphones, preamps, studio monitors, headphones, isolation shields, and recorders.

But wait, there’s more!

CUSTOMIZING THE GEAR

Last year, Massdrop entered a joint venture with AKG that resulted in an improved version of the 65th anniversary edition of their K702 headphones, named the K7XX. Get this: The anniversary edition retailed at $499. The Massdrop mod sold for $200!

Can you imagine what the international voice-over community could do on this site? What about a special VO version of the Sennheiser MHK 416, the Rode NTG 3, or the CAD E100S? Why not get a voice-over mod of the famous AKG K712 PRO studio headphones?

Collective bargaining power is a beautiful thing, especially for freelancers who are used to operating on their own all the time.

And who knows, one day the iRig Mic Studio might appear on Massdrop as well.

It’s supposed to be released in the first quarter of this year, and I already put in a request to review it.

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS My voice is for hire, but my opinion is not for sale. I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by IK Multimedia.

PPS Be sweet. Please retweet.

*The iRig Mic Studio is compatible with Android devices that support Samsung Professional Audio technology, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3 require Android 5. It’s also compatible with Android devices with USB (OTG) connector running Android apps that use USB (OTG) audio input, and compatible with any Android devices with USB (OTG) connector running Android 5.

About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of "Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs." goo.gl/ihVpMc

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Gear

25 Responses to Move Over Apogee MiC?

  1. Joell Ann Jacob

    Hi Paul,
    I knew you’d be the guy to check out what’s new! I’m going to get a USB mic and I love the idea of the headphone jack on the iRig. Have you had a chance to check it out yet since it’s now available? As always, thanks for all your contributions to the industry. 🙂 J-

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Hi Joell, in spite of repeated requests, I haven’t heard back from the iRig Mic Studio-people. I did find this review of the microphone: http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/ik-multimedia-irig-mic-studio. If you’re looking for portable recording USB-solution, this might be worth investing in. If you’re just looking for a USB-mic, I would go with a model like the Rode NT-USB USB Microphone.

    [Reply]

    Joell Ann Jacob Reply:

    Thanks Paul!
    Perfect! That Rode sounds sweet! It looks like it will be able to serve me in a bunch of ways. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I appreciate your time and expertise!

    [Reply]

  2. Maximilian Reid

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve been researching portable, project-quality microphones I can use when I’m traveling, and the Apogee MiC 96K was by far the frontrunner until I read this preliminary comparison. Since the iRig Studio mic has been released, have you had a chance to test it? My research so far hasn’t yielded nearly as much information as the 96K, which I’ll grant has the edge on marketing and established brand trust.

    I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are now about the iRig Studio compared to the 96K Mic.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Hi Maximilian, I have approached the manufacturer several times but never received a response. That’s not very promising, to say the least. I own the Apogee MiC, and at this point I still recommend that microphone for people with an Apple ecosystem.

    [Reply]

    Maximilian Reid Reply:

    Thanks for the information, Paul. It’s a shame because it’s difficult to find credible recommendations for the iRig compared to the Apogee, so I may make the investment in a MiC since it’s proven to be a reliable asset for so many vocal performers.

    [Reply]

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    Paul,

    Will this microphone be suitable for podcasters having a conversation around a table?

    Could you compare this product with Zoom’s handy recorders?

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    As far as I can tell, this microphone has not been released yet. That means that I’ve not been able to test it.

    For round table conversations I would not pick a microphone with a cardioid pattern. For that purpose I would probably pick another microphone that has not been released yet: The Beecaster from Neat Microphones: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1113577-REG/neat_microphones_mic_bcpdu_beecaster_professional_desktop_usb.html

    [Reply]

    Martin Lindeskog Reply:

    Thanks for your reply and the tip about The Beecaster from Neat Microphones!

    [Reply]

  4. Jeff Berlin

    I have no doubt my 3 year old Apogee MiC will sound far superior when the iRig fails after 3 months of use. You get what you pay for with the makers of iRigs. When I tried to return my iOS iRig Pro, the retailer couldn’t take it back, and said about 35% of them come back defective.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Although I do like my Apogee MiC, Android users have been waiting for a similar mobile recording solution. Let’s not judge a product that hasn’t been released and tested yet.

    [Reply]

    Jeff Berlin Reply:

    I switched from Android to iPhone specifically for the mobile recording capabilities. If iRig Mic can natively feed a digital signal via USB into an Android phone, that’ll be a huge breakthrough. I remain skeptical that between all the Android phone manufacturers and OS versions out there could be consistency in performance. Sorry to vent about iRig, but I’m very bitter about my experience with that company, and my only recourse is to deploy social media to warn colleagues that IK is building a reputation for shoddy build quality. For the record I still use a MicPortPro I bought in 2007, an Apogee MiC, and now an Apogee ONE, and heartily endorse these products after years of flawless use.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    There’s no doubt about it, Jeff: Apogee is a solid company making solid products.

    I own an IK Multimedia iRig Pre to plug in any microphone into an iPhone or iPad. It’s collecting dust because it’s not built for the professional market.

    Over a week ago I asked IK Multimedia for an ETA on the iRig Mic Studio and a review microphone, and I have yet to receive a response. That doesn’t impress me either. Nevertheless, I would like to get my hands on their new mic and take it for a spin.

  5. Lee Kanne

    the proof is in what it sounds like, because I was seriously underwhelmed by the Apogee Mic. At least on my voice

    [Reply]

  6. Kent Ingram

    Addendum: Paul, I just joined Massdrop! Found a deal on a microphone that I couldn’t pass up. So, if the right number of folks join in, I’ll be able to get that rock-bottom price. Impressive site, thanks!

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for “dropping” by, and welcome to the club! Enjoy your new microphone.

    [Reply]

  7. Paul Garner

    Thanks for the great information, Paul! I’m anxiously waiting for the comparison results.
    You can be sure I’ll be checking out Massdrop as well.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    I asked IK Multimedia for the release date and a review microphone, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

    [Reply]

  8. Kent Ingram

    The technology advances are truly astounding, aren’t they? I don’t know why I thought of this, but I was reminded of an episode of “Dirty Jobs”, hosted by Mike Rowe (Discovery Channel), one of the best voices in the biz. In this episode, Rowe was filmed in his hotel room, recording voice-over bits for another Discovery Channel show, “Deadliest Catch”. I seem to remember him taking what looked like a tablet device, with an attached mic, pulling the bed covers up over his knees and head, for soundproofing, and just recording away! His files, I’m sure, were then sent to an engineer, who fine-tuned them for the show. I was astounded at how simple that setup was! This seems to be where technology is taking us, in more simple, basic ways, yet sophisticated enough to sound almost as good as a professional studio. If that is, indeed, the future, will those expensive and elaborate studios go away?

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Give me the simple life, Kent. I love the song, and I love the philosophy. Many of our worries come from the fact that we needlessly complicate our lives. There’s a product for every problem!

    [Reply]

    Kent Ingram Reply:

    How right you are, sir! I’ve been a victim of my own complications, way too often!

    [Reply]

  9. Sally Blake ( Voice On Fire )

    Good Morning Paul,
    Thanks for doing the homework on the iRig and will look forward to your review when you record with it.
    By the way, Massdrop sounds very interesting. I will check it out.
    Have a great day !
    Sally Blake

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    You’re welcome, Sally. I can’t wait to get my hands join the iRig Studio Mic. My wife loves to quilt, and she too is keeping an eye on Massdrop.

    [Reply]

  10. Conchita Congo

    Great info,Paul. You are always ahead of the pack. That’s so helpful to me as I’m at the point where I am finally finding my lane.
    Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thank you, Conchita. I just hope that the iRig Mic Studio is all it promises to be.

    [Reply]

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