Search this site


Entries in beau weaver (5)


Beau Weaver Reports: Studio Six Digital IAudioInterface2 vs Tascam iU2

Okay, this is what I was waiting for...     

The Studio Six Digital IAudioInterface2.  IAI2 is rugged and solid….built like the Sound Devices gear.  It has an internal battery for phantom power, so it draws nothing from the iPad/iPhone.  And, if you have the charger plugged in to charge the internal battery, it also charges the iOS device battery too.  $399.99 Pricey, perhaps, but it's actually a piece of pro gear… opposed to a consumer device like the Tascam iU2.  It even has optical output.
There is an App called AudioTools that gives control to inputs and outputs. When you close the app, it saves your preferences to flash ROM in the IAI2.   It might be a little daunting for a non-technical person, but gives much flexibility…….and the bonus of not being able to accidentally change settings while in the field.  The app also has a nerdy suite of test tools
You can actually plug the 416 right into the unit for a one handed operation (okay, two, if you are holding the iPhone).  And it has 1/4 jacks and will drive real headphones. 
The audio is very clean, with very little self noise……and I am a freak about that…….any discernible noise is not okay with me…..because of how heavily processed the end result may often be.  But this is very quiet.

Works great with TwistedWave for iOS.  
It's much better than the Tascam iU2.  The iU2 works with iOS devices….but it is designed to sit on the desktop, not work in the field.  It has a bunch of switches on the underside, which are inconvenient and it has no power source.  For portable, it must be plugged into a USB battery pack or USB powered hub.  It has way too much internal noise for my taste.  However, if one wishes to travel with only one audio interface device, iU2 works with Mac OS X Core Audio.  So, less to carry.
Still, the IAI2 is the winner.  Almost twice the price….but it is a real piece of PRO gear.  

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.


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, 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 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 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'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, 








Beau Weaver gives the iO Dock from Alesis a test run with the iPad

Just sharing what Beau sent me July 5th (sorry it took me so long)...

Alesis IO-DOCK Pro Audio Dock For iPad/iPad 2
Okay, Guys,
It works great.
Just took delivery of the Alesis IO Dock.  Works great.

The iPad slides into has built in preamps with phantom power.  It does require AC power connection, however.   
Twisted Wave for iPad works great with this rig.  Use your 416 or your Neumann, or whatever.   It has plenty of juice for headphone monitoring.  It's stable and solid.  Take phones, the mic and this thing.  Done.
TW for iOS will export to the TW server, and return you a link to an mp3 file on that server (thereby getting around apple's restrictions about exporting mp3 files.   Or, it can upload to your Dropbox account or, to ftp servers (it will memorize several folders settings, all but automating the process.   TW has some dynamics processing built in, but of course, more extensive processing will have to be done in post.
NOTE: counterintuitively, to record a mono file, the microphone must be connected to INPUT # 2  (to save you from thinking "hey it won't record!'
Here is a link to an audio file with me reading a script.......first pass is my big home studio.......second take is the iPad with the iO Dock. 
- Beau_Weaver_big-studio-ipad-iodock-compare.mp3
I am in the process of moving studios....when I am done, I will do you a little how to video.
Bleeding-Edgedly Yours,


Beau Weaver confirms CEntrance MicPort Pro works with iPad


Thanks to our technological bushwhacker, Beau Weaver, we've got confirmation that you CAN use a MicPort Pro with the iPad, with a few extra bits-n-pieces...

Take it away, Beau!!



I recently talked to the techs at CEntrance, maker of the MicPort Pro, who reported that the addition of an inexpensive USB battery will now make it possible to record on the iPad with the MicPort Pro and the 416 or other XLR mic requiring 48v phantom power!   


Photo courtesy of Beau Weaver

 You will need: 


1. Camera Connection kit USB adapter:   ($29)


2. Tekkeon MP1860A TekCharge Dual Port Power Pack ($49) 


3. USB A (male) to A (male) cable ($5) 


4. CEntrance MicPort Pro ($149) 


5.  Connect the microphone to the MicPort Pro.  Connect the USB mini to USB A cable to one of the USB ports on the Tekkeon Power Pack.  Connect the USB A to A cable to the other USB port on the Tekkeon Power Pack.  Connect the remaining end of the USB A to A cable to the apple USB adapter from the Apple Camera Connection Kit.  Power up the Tekkeon, and you will see the MicPort Pro light up.  Remember to turn on the phantom power on the MicPort Pro with the tiny push button on the end, near the USB port.  


Twisted Wave for iOS will use the MicPort Pro automatically when it is connected with no further change of settings or configuration.  


Audio quality is exactly comparable to that of the MicPort Pro on a full blown mac.


here is a comparison audio file: - Beau_Weaver-ipad-macbookair-bigstudio.mp3

1.) on iPad   2.) on macbook air OSX   3.) home studio with expensive preamp


Editing is a dream with Twisted Wave.  You can integrate with Dropbox, or upload to ftp servers.  And, you can even upload files to Twisted Wave's dedicated server, and receive an email link to an .mp3 file on send to your client.  This circumvents Apples restriction about exporting .mp3 files.


It works great.  Personally, I will continue to use the MicPort Pro with my macbook air 11 inch, rather than the iPad.  I prefer the flexibility of a full-on computer.  You can multitask with the iPad....that is to say, record in the background while reading a script from email or Pages......but it is a little klunky for my taste.   When I am operating remote, I want efficiency and ease of use.  But you may prefer the iPad.



CAUTION:  Turn the Power ON (on the 

Tekkeon Power Pack) BEFORE plugging the USB adapter into the iPad 30 pin connector.  If the iPad sees the MicPort Pro without it's battery power on, it gives you an error message and will refuse to work.  A reboot of the iPad seems to reset it.  But earlier versions of iOS would refuse to work with an offending device ever again!  Don't chance it!   Just make sure you do not turn the Tekkeon off while it is plugged into the iPad.  When you are finished, close Twisted Wave, and then unplug the white USB adapter before turning off the Tekkeon battery.


ONE MORE NOTE:   The white USB adapter from the camera connection kit, wants to unplug itself.  It is an awkward design.  Be careful that it is fully seated into the iPad.  It will work loose very easily if the cable is moved at all.  This sucks.  Watch.


YET ANOTHER NOTE:   This does NOT work with iPhone 4.


There are three other devices that will make working with pro XLR microphones much easier.


1.  The Alesis iO Dock  shipping in a few weeks 


2.  The Apogee Mic for iOS  (no ship date yet)  And this one claims that it will work with iPhone 4 as well. 


 3.  Another awesome interface, I cannot name yet.  Sorry.   So stay tuned.



That's it from the bleeding edge,





Macbook Air: It's for real

When the original Macbook Air was released, I was crushed. 
I thought it might be the ultimate VO2Go laptop computer, but due to several shortcomings, primarily the inclusion of a single USB port, it was a completely unsuitable, let alone over priced.  Steve Jobs surprised everyone with the announcement of the re-invention of the Macbook Air, and let me tell you, this time Apple got it right.  This truly is the netbook that we were promised never to see from Apple.   OK, that's not entirely true, but let me explain...
When netbooks came onto the scene, their small size, affordable price, and solid state drives made them winners.  I quickly adopted the use of netbooks for VO2Go kits because beyond size, they performed adequately for the needs of most voice-actors.  Netbooks do have shortcomings, mainly in the lousy keyboard layout and noisy fan that spools up quickly to handle almost any load on the tiny Intel Atom processor.   Dell's Mini 10 came the closest to perfection, when they briefly produced a model with zero moving parts:  No spinning hard drive, no fan, total silence.  But for whatever reason, perhaps the relentless price battle for cheap netbooks, they removed the option to include an SSD (solid state drive).   Even with a spinning drive, they are still a great option and operate nearly silently, but battery life and performance suffers.
To be fair, the Macbook Air is in a different class than a true netbook.  By definition netbooks almost unanimously utilize an Intel Atom 1.6Ghz single core processor, a maximum of 2GB of memory (1GB typical), and a 160GB harddrive.  The MBA's entry level model has an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4Ghz processor and 2GB of memory, with the option to upgrade to 4GB, the critical two USB ports, an mini displayport, a webcam, 802.11 b/g/n WIFI (the fast kind), and a 64GB SSD.  Beyond that, it runs the (what I consider superior) Mac OS operating system, and is built with the quality that Apple is known for.  It's thin and incredibly light, but doesn't feel flimsy at all.  The keyboard is no smaller than that on any other Macbook, and the trackpad is large and easy to use.   It lacks an internal DVD drive, like all netbooks, and in most cases you won't miss it.  If you do something as nutty as install Windows 7 (yep, I did), get the DVD Superdrive from Apple for $80 and make life easy.  
What really blew me away when I finally got my hands on one setting it up Bill Ratner was the snappy performance!  While on paper it doesn't sound all that impressive for a $1000 laptop, don't let that CPU speed fool you.  Ghz is only a part of the equation, which became evident when I first booted the laptop from off to desktop in under 20 seconds.  While RAM (memory) also plays another large role in performance, it still takes a long time to load all of the operating system and applications into RAM from the comparitively snail-paced hard drive.  The SSD reads and writes bits of information VERY fast, and makes the MBA in day to day use feel like a much higher spec'd Macbook Pro or iMac. 
I can go out on a limb and say that you could use this as your every day computer at home and on the road.  Yes, an 11" screen is pretty darn tiny for office use, but just connect a 24" LCD display for $200, problem solved.  All you need is the mini displayport to HDMI adapter and HDMI cable and you're set.  Store all of your audio on an external USB drive, 1 TB units are under $100, and storage is not a problem.  You get the best of both worlds with the lightning fast SSD for the OS and cavernous size of the USB hard drive for audio.  It also wakes from sleep almost instantly, like an iPad, and can use any USB audio device, NOT like an iPad.  I was surprised to see that it DOES have a fan, but you can only hear it if you place your ear directly to the vent by the screen hinge.  Brilliant.  
In the case of the system I setup for Bill Ratner, we loaded Windows 7 with the Bootcamp utility.  This gives him the option to boot the Macbook Air into Mac OS or Windows 7.  The ONLY reason to do this would be to run a special app that must have a native Windows OS running, AudioTX Communicator being the culprit here.  Bill likes having options and redundancy, so he's got that covered running ATX in Windows and Source Connect Pro or Twisted Wave in Mac OS.  With a Sprint 4G USB modem installed, Bill can work wirelessly anywhere via Source Connect or ATX, depending on the data speeds he can get at the location.  With a Shure X2u in one USB port, and a USB hub in the other carrying the load of the modem, iLok dongle, and USB mouse, the Macbook Air doesn't break a sweat. 

Special thanks goes out to Beau Weaver, our voice-over geek guru in the field, who gave me his full report on his Macbook Air experiences within days of its release to the public.  It wouldn't have been as brain-dead easy (and risk-free) to setup for Bill if not for Beau's first-hand experiments and thorough report.