Hands-on: Blue Microphones Mikey Digital iPhone microphone review
Blue Microphones is rapidly carving a niche for itself in the digital audio age. Long gone is the need for a massive recording set-up in order to record a podcast or demo, Blue's Yeti, Yeti Pro or Spark Digital will do those jobs with aplomb. Now you can lob that dictaphone away too, as the Blue Microphones Mikey Digital for iPhone and iPad can give you excellent recording quality, yet attach to something you may already carry around.
The concept is simple: the Mikey Digital - itself a successor to the Blue Mikey iPod mic - plugs into the bottom of an iPhone or iPad - directly if they have the old 30-pin socket, you'll need a Lightning adapter if not - and the smartphone or tablet automatically recognises it as an audio input device.
You then spark up any recording app you fancy and away you go. As the Mikey Digital is stereo, you are recommended to use something more feature-rich than the Apple Voice Recorder that comes with iOS, but it will work with that too - just in mono.
There are three level settings on the Mikey Digital, changed using a small silver switch on the back. It has two manual gain settings for soft and loud environments, and there's an auto gain option to allow the Mikey itself to adjust. We did find this latter option a little up and down in a straight voice-to-voice interview, with some pops above the line on Voice Recorder, but reckon it would perform much better given more sophisticated software to work with.
Regardless, the soft gain setting is excellent for interview situations, as long as you place the microphone on a flat, unobstructed surface. Hold it like an interviewer and you'll find you experience problems simply because you're not keeping a constant distance between it and the interviewee. You could end up spending a fair while in editing software just balancing the levels.
Basically, treat the Mikey Digital with the same respect as you would a more-expensive professional mic and you'll get far better results.
One of the best features we encountered was the Mikey's ability to bend over to rest it on a desk while pointed at the area you want to record. Whether this was during an actual interview (as evidenced in our talk with Warwick Davis a few podcasts back - and we hadn't even had the time to set it up properly) or in a busy, noisy press conference.
This way the mic can be used entirely directionally and is a godsend when you're trying to get specific people talking.
The Mikey Digital is a small device and comes with its own carrying pouch so would be brilliant for a getaway, such as the forthcoming CES. We have to say that we're mightily impressed with its performance and convenience so far.
You can find out more about the Blue Microphones Mikey Digital on the firm's dedicated website. It's available now for £99.99.