IK Multimedia's iRing MIC Cast is now shipping for iOS devices, we go hands-on

Back at CES, IK Multimedia unveiled a trio of music / recording accessories for iDevices. One of which was the diminutive iRig MIC Cast to handle those on-the-go podcasting and voice recording duties. The outfit has announced that the ultra-compact microphone that plays nice with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is now shipping. Let's have a quick refresher, shall we? The kit plugs into your Apple device's 3.5mm audio jack and sports a headphone output of its own for monitoring purposes. Inside the kit, a unidirectional condenser capsule goes to work to isolate the audio you want recorded instead that pesky background chatter. If you're looking to snag one, it'll set you back $40 (€29.99) and includes a stand for your handheld inside the box. But before you take the leap, head on past the break for some of our hands-on impressions of the device.

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You won't have to worry about the iRig MIC Cast taking up much space in your backpack, that's for sure. The mic portion of the device isn't much larger than a quarter -- a quality we think is a real plus for this mobile recording accessory. On the exterior, you won't find anything overly flashy. The aforementioned headphone jack rests on the right side and a lo / hi toggle switch on the front keeps those input levels in check. We didn't really care for the kit's plasticky frame due to the fact that it seemed to give the mic a cheap feel. However, once we got the rig plugged in and ready to use, we found that the performance overcame the facade.

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Like other iOS accessories we've test driven before, this one is very much a plug-and-play type peripheral. Once you've downloaded at least one of the requisite applications, you're in business. Two free apps are available for use with the iRig MIC Cast: iRig Recorder for more general use and VocaLive for voice processing tracks from those with a decent set of pipes. Of course, you could always splurge for the $4.99 version of the former app if the unpaid version just won't cut it. Looking to add some better audio to those FaceTime and Skype chats? This add-on can help with both of those, too.

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We mainly used iRig Recorder for our testing purposes and found it to be quite useful for capturing voice (read: speaking) tracks. During the process, we were pleasantly surprised by how clear our recordings were. In a room with little to no background noise, our informal prose and spoken word performances remained crystal clear on playback through both earbuds and the iPhone's speakers. If you're looking to snag a compact kit for recording interviews, voice notes and the like, the iRig MIC Cast should definitely be a consideration -- especially if you can get past its somewhat deceiving exterior.

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IK Multimedia iRig MIC Cast Now Shipping Ultra-compact microphone for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad designed for podcasting, vocals, video calls, music and more

May 2012 – IK Multimedia is proud to announce that iRig™ MIC Cast, the ultra-compact microphone for the iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad® is now shipping.

iRig MIC Cast is a miniaturized microphone, that plugs into the iOS device mini-jack, designed specifically for recording podcasts, interviews, videoconferences, lectures, voice memos, speeches, music and more.
iRig MIC Cast provides a pocket-sized voice recording solution with crystal-clear aural quality thanks to its tight pickup pattern that minimizes background sounds so that you can capture the audio you want while canceling out extraneous noise. The unidirectional condenser capsule isolates the intended audio source, yielding dramatically better results than an integrated microphone. Uses include:

-Capturing interviews and presentations for Podcasts
-Transmitting a clear audio signal on FaceTime®, Skype™ videoconferences
-Recording notes, meetings, speeches, and lectures
-Creating videos with greater intelligibility and an improved audio track
-Documenting your own recitals and performances -- or for concerts

The iRig MIC Cast also features a dual gain setting that provides two different sensitivity settings for either close-up or distant sources. So, whether you are recording a one-on-one interview or a class in a lecture hall – the iRig MIC Cast can be adjusted to accommodate the situation. Users can have confidence in what is being recorded, via a stereo mini-jack headphone output that enables real-time monitoring.
The iRig MIC Cast is literally about the size of a large coin and its bumper-friendly jack makes it possible to plug in -- even if your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad is in a protective case. It can easily fit in your pocket, briefcase or computer bag for easy transport.

The included tabletop stand makes it possible to set up your iPhone or iPod touch so that users have a clear view of the screen and so the camera can "see" the user for FaceTime or Skype meetings. For recording, simply place the stand wherever convenient for hands free operation.
As with other IK Multimedia microphones, two free apps are available for the iRig MIC Cast: iRig Recorder, an easy-to-use voice recording/editing app, and VocaLive, a multi-effects processing app for singers.

iRig MIC Cast Features:

-Stereo mini-jack headphone output which enables real-time monitoring of what is being recorded using headphones or speakers
-Includes an adjustable desktop stand for convenient iPhone/iPod touch positioning during recording
-Incredibly flat frequency response with zero tonal coloration
-Ultra-compact profile that can be carried anywhere with ease
-Has a bumper-friendly mini-jack connector that fits the majority of iPhone/iPod touch cases
-Works also with all regular phone calls and any Voice-Over-IP app

Pricing and availability:

iRig MIC Cast costs $39.99/€29.99 (excluding taxes) and is available from electronic and music retailers around the world.