By Ashley Davidson
April 25, 2012
Want to know which microphones are compatible with the Voices.com iPhone App?
Who better to ask than an audio engineer, music producer and voice-over actor?
You're traveling - perhaps on your flight or camping in the woods (that last one happened to me) - and you get the message that you landed that voice over gig. Oh, and they want it tomorrow. What do you do? Well, there are several choices. You could turn down the gig (uggh!). You could find a commercial recording studio nearby, which is expensive and very time-consuming and might not even have any open slots available. Or you could find a quiet spot, reach into your carry-bag for your mobile mic, and record the script on the spot.
That last one seems to be the best option, at least assuming you could provide the client with your usual professional sounding audio. But what if you don't already have a mic in your bag? And if you do, how will you edit and save the audio files? Here are a few good options for that inevitable (on my last 3 camping trips, I've been notified of 2 gigs while on the road - maybe I should plan a camping trip every week!) need to record while you are mobile.
Probably the fastest way to make the recording is with a portable hand-held recorder, such as one of the Zoom H-series (H1, H2 or H4), Tascam DR-series, or Sony PCM series. These are not your cheap dictating-type recorders I'm talking about. They are powerful digital recorders with excellent converters capable of professional 24 bit/96KHz recording. Most of them can record in WAV AND MP3 format. They also record to portable media, such as micro-SD cards, so you can quickly get them onto any computer for editing and sending to the client.
Of course that requires that you actually have access to a computer. Most of us travel with laptops these days, so just make sure you have a copy of Audacity, Reaper, Audition, Garage Band, or whatever software you usually use to record and edit your voice-over jobs.
If you don't travel with a laptop, but instead use a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad, you can now get high-quality microphones that hook up to these devices. There are several new and exciting products available, especially for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Here are a few of them.
IK Multimedia has a couple of products you can use for mobile voice-over recording. The first is the iRig Mic, which is a condenser mic specifically designed to plug into an iOS device (iPhone 4, iPad2 and iPod Touch). You can download free apps to your device to use as your recording studio software. You'll want to get the iRig Recorder Free and VocaLive Free apps immediately. The iRig Recorder is an incredible app that lets you record AND edit or process audio right from your device. The recording format is 16-bit 44.1 kHz uncompressed, another way of saying "CD quality," which is amazing for a set-up of this size.
Once you finish your recording you edit and process it from within iRig Recorder and then e-mail it from within the app, use iTunes file sharing, or use FTP upload of SoundCloud (the social audio-sharing site). Check out this published review of the iRig Mic.
The iRig PRE is the newest IK Multimedia product (not even available yet from all major suppliers) for recording into you iOS device. It is not a microphone, but a mic preamp/interface with a standard XLR input. You plug it into your device and it allows you to plug your high quality condenser mics into your iPhone or iPad. Then you record using iRig Recorder as with the iRig Mic. This is great if you travel with your favorite mic.
Blue recently released the Blue Spark Digital, which is the iPad version of their USB mic, the Blue Spark. This incarnation can act as both a USB or an iPad mic, making it useful for home and the road.
As with the Spark, Blue released a new version of an existing microphone called the Mikey, which was always designed to work on all the iOS devices. Rather than a full microphone, the Mikey Digital is just an enclosed capsule that plugs into the 30-pin iOS connector, sort of turning the device itself into a portable mic. It has a 230-degree rotating design, records in stereo (has two capsules actually), and has a line input. It also has a "USB pass-through" connection that allows you to charge the mic at the same time as it is recording, which helps relieve the drain on the device. It works with all the popular recording apps.
This is another type of mic that is both a USB and an iOS mic, depending on how you want to use it. When being used with your iPhone or iPad, it plugs into the 30-pin connector. It is charged by the device itself and doesn't have the simultaneous recharge capability of the new Mikey, but it will last a good couple of hours. The mic is relatively small (compared to dragging around your Rode NT1, for example), and comes with a portable tripod desk stand, making it very portable, fitting easily into small and convenient spaces.
So there you have it. Just because you're on the road, or even in the woods, you don't have to pass on that voice-over gig. There are lots of options for mobile recording out there, whether it be a portable recorder or a mic you attach to your phone or tablet
To download the Voices.com iPhone App click the following link:
For more information on the Voices.com iPhone App visit, https://www.voices.com/iphone
Ken is the Owner, Co-Founder at Home Brew Audio. Ken Theriot is a singer, songwriter, audio engineer, music producer and voice over actor. In 2009 he founded Home Brew Audio, a website dedicated to teaching others how to record professional audio with modest home recording studios. Home Brew Audio currently has tons of articles, tutorials and tips for setting up and using a home recording studio at any budget, for both voice over and music recording.