Will the tiny but mighty Apogee MiC finally get a worthy competitor?
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).
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.
The 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?
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.