Provides: Audio input for iOS devices
Developer: Blue Mics
Minimum Requirements: Supported iPod or iPhone
If the built-in microphone of your iPhone or other iDevice isn’t cutting it, there aren’t a ton of options available to you. Of course, you can always hook up a bluetooth microphone or use the headset/headphones that came along with your iPhone, but if it’s quality you’re after, you’ll have to look elsewhere. One of your only choices happens to be a great (albeit expensive) one at that. Blue Microphone has updated their Mikey mic for iDevices. And it’s a great mic, as long as you don’t need to use it with an iPhone 4 or iPad.
I’ll address the cost issue up front. Mikey is not cheap, not by a long shot. With an MSRP of $79.99, you probably need to have a specific use in mind for this microphone before purchasing. But Blue products are all about quality of sound, and you get what you pay for here. If you’re perfectly able to use the built-in mic on your iDevice without complaining about its quality or abilities, this probably isn’t the product for you. If, however, you desire higher quality, then $80 isn’t really that bad for this level of audio fidelity, especially when you consider how portable it is.
Alright, let’s continue.
Mikey 2.0 allows for CD quality audio recording with only the use of it and your iPhone or iPod. That alone is pretty awesome. You’ll note that the microphone itself connects via the dock connector and is able to pivot to one of 7 different angles. This makes it convenient to lay the iDevice on the table and point Mikey up, or hold the iDevice upside down as if it were a handheld mic.
On the back of the dock connector, there’s a gain switch to set the mic for the expected noise level. Whether you’re recording someone who constantly hears the phrase “What?” or a Metallica concert, Mikey can handle it. On the bottom of the mic, there’s a 3.5mm stereo input. This is so you can record directly if you have a source that outputs as such. And finally, there’s even a USB port on the side so you can charge your iDevice while in use. You can’t dock via this port, though; it’s for recharge use only.
In use, the audio quality is superb. By adjusting the gain switch, you really can capture anything from barely audible to painfully loud without loss of quality.
One thing I’d like to see changed, possibly for version 3, is to make the dock connector the same shape as Apple’s own dock connection cable. Mikey is bigger, making it incompatible with a number of cases that have dock pass through slots.
Also, I think I’d prefer it to use the older, locking style of connector instead of the current, easily removed connector. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about knocking it loose from your iDevice.
And yes, it does seem a bit strange that even though this mic has only been on the market for a short time, it’s not compatible with iPhone 4 and iPad. This isn’t really Blue’s fault, as Apple changed the standard pin connections with iPhone 4, and thus iPad. Should they have waited longer and made this compatible with iPhone 4 and iPad? I don’t know. I do imagine we’ll be seeing Mikey 3 before too long with support for Apple’s new dock connection, though.
Until then, this is an issue of which you need to be aware.
In order to get the most use out of Mikey with an iDevice, Blue recommends you use the Blue FiRe app that’s free on the App Store, and so do I. This app is great for quickly recording audio and doing so with full quality. You can use Apple own Voice Memos app, but I trust I don’t need to explain why you should look elsewhere if at all possible.
Blue FiRe is free; just download it.
Overall, Mikey 2.0 is a great (though somewhat expensive) microphone for iDevices. Obviously, it’d be a lot easier to recommend if it worked with iPhone 4 and iPad, but it’s still not wholly Blue’s fault.
If you have a supported iPod or iPhone and a good enough reason to require a better microphone than what’s built in, you’ll be very pleased with the audio quality that Mikey 2.0 is able to deliver.