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Entries in recording (8)

Tuesday
Jul102012

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…..as 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.  
Friday
May182012

Book 1 on 1 time with George Whittam at VOICE2012

Attending VOICE 2012?
Have a lot of burning technical questions you really need addressed?

Book a private meeting with George to:

  • Walk you through your tech issues
  • Discuss ways to make the most of your home studio
  • Sketch out ideas for a new studio design
  • Learn some editing or audio processing techniques to make your auditions really sell
  • Try a new recording software

 

Slots are available during the conference Wednesday through Friday.  

You can conveniently request options for 30 minutes to 2 hours of time, and I'll confirm of the options you provide what works best.

SPECIAL PRICE ONLY FOR ATTENDEES OF VOICE 1/3 off my normal rate!  

ONLY $50/30 minutes!

Just choose the number of 30 minute "service credits" for the amount of time you desire.

After you make your purchase, visit my scheduler to request timeslots.

Qty

Wednesday
Nov022011

QUICK REVIEW: TASCAM iXZ iOS device audio interface

The Tascam iXZ just popped up on my radar.  

I don't usually buy new gadgets for which I haven't read a review previously, but at $50 I couldn't resist.  So I figured why not be the first to review this affordable audio interface and see how well it works?

It seems that recording professional audio into an iPhone was never part of Steve Job's master plan.   

While we wait for the ultimate audio interface that connects to the iPhone via the dock connector with a digital signal, other products some to be coming along to fill the gap.   The Tascam iXZ is the first one I've seen that really boils the features down to the basics in a very portable package, while still accepting a phantom powered studio condenser microphone.  

The iXZ's multifunction XLR/phono combo jack will allow connection to a standard 3 pin XLR mic cable, or to a 1/4" guitar cable.  It provides 48V phantom power at up to 5ma, enough for many modern mics.  I metered the XLR connector and sure enough there's about 46V DC with a fresh pair of AA alkaline batteries.  It's enough to power my Audio Technica AT3035 microphone with appearant ease.  There's a variable input gain control dial, which isn't calibrated.  It also has an 1/8" mini headphone jack for playback purposes.  Sadly, it doesn't provide a "Zero latency monitoring" function to listen to the mic in your headphones while recording.

The iXZ does not come with any software, which is just fine with me.  I'd much rather not waste time with some inappropriate for VO bundled application.  Buy TwistedWave from the app store for $10, plug in the iZX into the headphone jack, plug in your mic, power it on, engage phantom power, hit record, set your levels, and you're recording.  TwistedWave is incredibly feature reach for an iOS app, even providing the ability to process the audio through effects and FTP files.  It can also deliver MP3's via their own server, a necessary workaround since Apple won't permit encoding to MP3 on an iOS device.  

But does it work?

That depends on what you want to use it for.  If your intention is to replace your Macbook or other laptop and audio interface with this unit for all of your work, I wouldn't go that far.  Take a listen the this recorded sample using an Audio Technica AT3035 studio condenser mic and judge for yourself.  CLICK TO PLAY

It's definitely quite useable for making an audition happen while traveling.  And with proper noise gate settings, you might even pull off a job here and there in a pinch.  Here's the first segment of the previous audio sample after processed with a noise gate in TwistedWave.   CLICK TO PLAY

NOTE:  Beau Weaver tested with an iPhone and DID NOT get the same results we did with the iPod Touch!  The audio quality differed.  In his audio test he records first with his home studio system, next with his Sennheiser 416 into the iXZ, then with the iPhone mic.  LISTEN TO HIS TEST

I did test it with my T-Mobile MyTouch 4G phone, and it DOES work.  However, my phone's recording quality was no where as good as the iPod Touch's.  A good deal of the recording quality is thanks to the iPod itself.

To summarize, here's a Pros and Cons list.

PROS:

 

  • Cheap, only slightly more than an XLR adapter cable to connect a dynamic mic 
  • Very compact and light
  • 15 hrs on a pair of AA batteries when using phantom powered mics
  • Works better than the price would imply
  • Will work with an Android phone, as well as most all Apple iOS devices

 

CONS:

 

  • A tad bit noisy (no worse than a Blue Snowball)
  • No "zero latency monitoring" for headphones while recording
  • Connects to analog line input instead of digital dock connector
  • Very short cable to connect to device, making it hard to read a script from your phone while holding it

 


Tascam iXZ and iPod Touch 4th gen

Tuesday
Jul052011

Tell your family or roommates to be quiet with a button for $20

If you are like most of us, you don't live alone and your studio isn't an impenatrable fortress of solitude.

I decided to take care of this problem by setting up the simplest, easiest to install, and cheapest "On-air" light I possibly could.  All you need is a remote power switch and a lamp of your choosing.

I picked up this unit from my local hardware store, and a short rope light, totalling around $20.

Plug the receiver into an outlet outside your studio, plug the rope light in and position in any way that tickles your fancy, test the range from your mic position to be sure it triggers the light, and that's all there is to it.

You could make your own light-up sign with some 1x2" wood and a piece of weatherproof paper, which is printable, translucent, and very tough.  Print the design of your choice, mount it in the frame, stuff the rope lights in the frame, put a back on it of cardboard or wood, and voila!  

If anyone takes the time to try this, send photos and I'll share it on the blog....

Wednesday
Jun222011

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!!

 

Friends,

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)

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A

 

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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OC0122/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_2?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0017KH6OU&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0ZGK7RAMZJC8D97FR084 

 

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

http://www.amazon.com/Type-Male-Cable-Version-Black/dp/B000I9B2AU/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1308771658&sr=1-2 

 

4. CEntrance MicPort Pro ($149)

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MicPortPro/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=audio&utm_term=micport_pro&gclid=CIDdj_eiyqkCFQEHbAodBDZaMQ 

 

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:   

https://beauweaver.box.net/shared/7b3ckzj58l4oqyonc88k - 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  

 http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/iODock 

 

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

http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/mic.php 

 

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

 

 

That's it from the bleeding edge,

 

Beauregard