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Wednesday
Jan182012

Beau Weaver reviews the Tascam iM2 mic for iOS devices

Hello from Nerdville;

Finally a super portable microphone for iOS that, with some care, and in a decent sonic environment can produce voice tracks on your iPhone or iPad that are actually air-able.  In fact, if you take time to listen to my line by line comparison audio file I have posted here, you will be pretty damn impressed.  You can hear the difference, but by the time they finish with post, it will be more than adequate.
The mic is the Tascam iM2 for iOS. It's about 80 bucks!  It connects via the 30 pin connector.

im2_with_iphone_grey.jpg

Caution: there is another Tascam product that you do not want (the Tascam iXZ) an iOS audio interface with XLR and phantom power..... but sends analog audio through the 1/8th inch mic/headphone port.  Bad bad bad!  That mic port has a radical "telephone filter" eq baked in, so there is no way to get broadcast quality audio through it.  No no no, fluffy.  You want the Tascam iM2!

NOTE:  George tested the iXZ with an iPod Touch with good results, but it's lousy with the iPhone. 

The audio app you use to record is TwistedWave Mobile for iOS.  
It makes rough editing quite easy, and it will export to Dropbox, memorized FTP folders, and, using a nifty workaround, allows you to send a link to an .mp3 file on Twisted Waves webserver.   Apple will not allow native export of .mp3 due to their contracts with record companies, and their general control-freak nature!
So, Twisted Wave allows you to send an uncompressed file up to their server, and creates an email with the link from which your client can download the .mp3.   However, remember, uncompressed audiofiles are huge......so, you will want to upload only the buy takes, or plan to sit there forever, especially on a 3G connection.  Hopefully, you have found a Starbucks.   I think a better option is using AAC files...which are better quality than .mp3........and most digital audio workstations will read them.  Email or FTP.
I have posted a line by line comparison audio file of a couple of scripts, recorded simultaneously in the studio on the 416 and the Tascam.  I compare my home studio with the 416 to the Tascam iM2, and the built in iphone mic.  I did no processing, except clipping out breaths.  

                                        Check out this WAV file (to download to your desktop)

                                        OR this MP3  (this one will stream in your browser)

 

After the line by line comparision, you will hear the complete reads all the way through.....  1:   416  2:   Tascam iM2  3:   iphone built in mic.    I am favorably impressed.

 

I set the volume almost wide open......with the limiter on the iM2 switched off.  I worked it about 5 inches away to the side, at about a 75 degree angle, to minimize plosives and wind.   I have ordered an extension cable, so that I will be able to read a script off the iPhone while recording.

 

You really  have to be careful to hold the mic very still....it is very sensitive to movement and wind.  Note: switch the iphone to "airplane mode" or you may pick up some RF noise, and be disturbed by notifications.   

 

In either case, iPhone or iPad, you can start recording and multi-task.......that is, switch to the email client.....by double clicking the home button, and selecting the email icon.  Twisted Wave will continue recording in the background with no problem, and will indicate this by the red bar notification at the top of the screen.  You then return to TW  at the end of your read by double clicking on the home button and selecting the TW icon.

 

You will not want to try to narrate a documentary with this, but certainly for tags and short promos.......it's not bad at all.  And it may save your client's bacon when you are nowhere near a studio and they have an emergency.   I had equally good results on the original iPad.

 

There are a couple of other interfaces in the pipeline that will allow us to use the 416 in the field with iOS ......but the ship dates keep getting pushed back. 

 

In the meantime, for 80 bucks, and something that is truly pocketable, this is not bad at all.

 

 

As always, 

 

 

 

Beauregard

 

 


 

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