Open Mic Night: IK Multimedia’s iRig Voice Microphone (Review)
If you’re like a majority of surveyed people, you want to sing. You also want to write what you sing. Singer/songwriters are a very common person type. Other than a good singing voice and an audience, you need some basic equipment with which to record your masterpieces, namely a microphone and some recording equipment. These days, your required recording equipment can be emulated with software. You can record, mix, add effects, and export your works to a variety of formats for public consumption.
The iRig Voice microphone is a standard microphone with a 3.5mm jack, but also includes a free working lite recording studio app named EZ Voice. The input jack also features an earphone jack so that you can speak and listen through the same interface.
The EZ Voice App (Free) allows you to do some basic voice recording, add some live effects, and record foreground vocals with your songs. But, the iRig Voice microphone is compatible with other multimedia apps as well. It works on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, newer Mac models and Android devices. I’ve personally tested it on my iPhone 5, iPad 4, Mac mini, Windows Phone (Nokia 928B) Metro, and my Android-based HP Slate 7+. All successful and perfect.
Audio App Compatibility List
- EZ Voice
- Dragon Dictation
- SP Multitrack
- Garage Band
I recorded a short message using the EZ Voice app for you as a demonstration.
I don’t sing well enough to record a music demo, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
The microphone feels and sounds like any professional microphone I’ve ever used. The mic and apps worked together the first time without any issues. I did have to turn off Siri on my iPhone and on my iPad, but that might just be my experience and not yours. Siri kept popping up when I spoke into the mic during testing, so to avoid that annoyance, I disabled Siri.
This is one of the few products that I’ve ever reviewed that I’m absolutely convinced that the pricing is spot on. At $39.99, the iRig Voice is a great value. It performs as well as any microphone that I’ve ever used. I do suggest, as I would with any microphone, that you purchase a pop filter (about $3.00) to alleviate wind noise, pop, and some ambient noise.
Don’t use the mic when you’re charging your device because it creates a little bit of static, or it did for me, on my iPhone.
Why it’s Frugal: The iRig Voice microphone is frugal because its $39.99 price tag is perfect for anyone who wants to get into podcasting, song recording, or voiceover acting without spending a huge amount of money. It’s a great microphone at a great price. It’s an excellent value. Sure, you could spend $1,000 on a better microphone, but why would you?
The microphone’s clarity is demonstrated very well when using it with the Dragon Dictation app on the iPhone or on the iPad. I’m not the best at enunciating my words (It’s a Texas thing), but the software picked up and correctly typed out every word I said on my iPhone and on my iPad. That’s impressive. I’ve never had that happen before and I always use the same lines for testing:
“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party” and “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function”.
Those are two fun phrases that can confuse dictation software due to speech patterns. If you don’t think you can confuse the software, try it by using your device’s built-in microphone. It almost never gets them perfect.
- Handheld vocal microphone delivers professional sound quality
- Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, newer Mac models and Android devices
- Compact cardioid pattern minimizes feedback
- Constructed of durable, lightweight thermoplastic
- Available in 5 colors: Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink and White
- Comes with EZ Voice app
- Works with dozens of karaoke, sing-along and music making apps
- Headphone jack for real-time monitoring
- Convenient on/off switch located on the mic
EZ Voice, while free of charge, does prompt you to purchase sound effect add-ons for $0.99 each. I purchased Tune and Morph, although I’m not sure exactly how to use them. I tap the FX icon and then tap the settings but the same list of settings shows up for each, so I must be doing something wrong. I’m not sure at this point if it’s me, that the app isn’t intuitive enough, or that it’s working as designed and I just don’t realize it.
In either case, $2.00 isn’t a lot to spend trying out an app. It’s just too bad that it isn’t more obvious how to use the effects. There is a long list of effects that cover everything from arena to robotic to extremely deep to childlike. The effects are a lot of fun. There is one very cool effect called ‘Diana’ that changes your voice into a normal sounding female voice. It’s useful in case you need to sing a female part or speak a female part but don’t have a woman to provide the voice for you. It would work great for recording script dialog or for creating a voiceover for a product or service. It’s very impressive and I recommend it.
The app also allows you to sing along with and record your favorite songs. The instrumental parts are normal volume but the original vocals become background for you. EZ Voice is very well constructed and well thought out app. I do wish it were more obvious how to use the effects, but that isn’t a major flaw, but a little annoying.
I really like the iRig Voice microphone and the EZ Voice app. The microphone is a welcome addition to any musician’s, aspiring singer/songwriter’s, or voice artist’s toolbox. It’s cool to have multiple colors from which to choose. The only problem is that you might not be able to choose a color without a little buyer’s remorse. I suppose that you could collect all six and have one for every mood or gig.
I chose the green one for review because that lime green color has a special meaning for my daughter and me. The microphones are sturdy and well-built. They’re heavy on the end, just like you’d expect, and although IK Multimedia sells a professional digital microphone (iRig Mic HD), this one feels right and sounds right to me. But, this mic is probably best suited for song demos, podcasting, and voiceover work where extreme quality isn’t needed. The ads tell you that it’s perfect for karaoke and portable vocal studio. I’d have to agree, but you won’t be at all disappointed with the quality or the good looks of this mic. For $40, you can’t go wrong.
Recommendation: Buy it, have some fun, and maybe hit the big time!
Note: I tested the iRig Voice microphone on my Windows Nokia 928B phone. This is not an officially ‘certified’ product and IK Multimedia does not endorse the use of the microphone on the Windows phone, so your mileage may vary. I tried it just to see if it would work and it did without any issues, but don’t blame me or IK Multimedia if the mic doesn’t work on your Windows phone.
Also, check out the complete range of iOS accessories and apps for vocalists and recording!
– iRig MIC HD, digital handheld microphone for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Mac
– iRig Voice, new colored handheld microphones for smartphones and tablets
– iRig MIC, the first handheld microphone for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Android
– iRig MIC Cast, ultra-compact microphone for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Android
– iRig PRO, universal audio/MIDI interface for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Mac
– iRig PRE, XLR microphone interface for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Android
– iLoud, studio quality portable speaker
And also check out IK‘s:
– iKlip, range of stage and studio support and stand for your mobile device
– iLine, range of quality audio cable adapters
– All the music creation accessories and apps
– All the music software for Mac/PC
IK Multimedia is a “Musicians First” music technology company. It makes a complete range of sound and tone solutions for Guitar & Bass players, Keyboardists, Sound Designers, Engineers, DJs and Producers. You can check out their full line of professional mobile and studio performance products at www.ikmultimedia.com.