If you have looked at my recent reviews, you know I’ve been looking for an external microphone solution for the iPhone 3GS, with a limiter bunt in, to adjust the input levels. Why Apple will not allow software to set this is beyond me. I have come up short on finding the perfect solution, and then I found it. The Mikey from Blue. This is my perfect solution… Or so I thought.
First, in fairness, the website and packaging does NOT mention compatibly with the iPhone. They DO however tell you that it is compatible in Airplane mode, but you’ll see the warning saying “the device is not made to work with the iPhone” blah blah blah… Whatever, it works!
I’m not at all happy with the connection into the phone. It’s not as solid as I had hoped, and unplugs quite easily. I have tried this both with and without a case on the phone, and it makes no difference. That seems to be a big flaw. The other minor complaint is the level select switch. It’s quite small, and feels a bit like an after thought on the part of Blue.
There are 3 different level selections to chose from, from ultra sensitive for whispers, or lectures, a normal setting, and then the setting for live music and loud noise recording. All 3 setting work well, and the quality of this mic is great. You get very professional sounding audio from this mic. I have yet to test it with live music, that I will try over the weekend.
So, this all sounds exactly like it’s what I need, right? Well… When I purchased the Mikey online, 5 minutes after my credit card was charged, it came to me… The mic is facing the wrong way.
The Mikey has the microphone portion on one side, and the speaker playback on the back side. When it’s docked into the phone, the microphone face the screen and NOT the camera, so quality is not optimum. Not at all. Even though the Mikey bends 90 degrees in either direction, it’s still not enough to face the microphone towards the camera lens.
I quickly started searching for some sort of solution. I was excited to find Radtech made a dock extender cable. I thought this was perfect, so with a small cable, I can connect the microphone, and be able to face it towards the camera. Perfect!
No. No dice again. The dock extender cable works for data, charging, and audio out. It does not however work for audio in. This must be a pin not supported by this cable. Certainly not Radtech’s fault, the cable is actually fantastic and I will find 100 uses for this, just not the one I was hoping for.
So I’m left with yet another dilemma. I can either try to find, hack and alter, or have made a dock extender cable that will work with microphone, or take apart and attempt to hack the Mikey to turn the dock port around the other way.
This is as close as I have come to a solution, and I’ll keep working at it.
So, the bottom line is, the Blue Mikey DOES in fact work with the iPhone, using both the voice recording app and the video camera. The drawback, the mic faces the screen and not the camera lens if you plan on using this or video.
After looking at the Mikey, and realizing how easy it is to get apart without ruining it, I decided to open it up, and look inside to see how it was put together. I’m so glad I did. The dual stereo microphones, and the speaker are held in place by a rubber piece, that slips over the top of the circuit board. Being very care not to harm any wires, I was able to reverse rubber holder, and face the microphones and speaker in opposite directions, making the stereo micas now face the camera side of the iPhone 3GS.
I would only suggest doing this, if you realize you can easily break a wire and render the mic useless. If you’re like me, I’m picky, and I wanted the mic’s to face forward, so I was willing to risk damaging the Mikey. It is a VERY easy hack, and all it takes is a gentile touch, and a little patience. Now, this is set up to be the perfect solution for me. I’ll test it with very loud live music tomorrow, and see if this is fact an ideal solution for recording live bands with the video camera.
Another huge disappointment today. I used the BLUE Mikey in a live music situation, setting the mic on the least sensitive setting, and it’s STILL not enough to capture clean sounding live music. The band was very loud, but I was still hopeful the mic would be able to handle this. Not at all. It’s not as bad as the built in iPhone mic, but still not nearly good enough to pass as acceptable. Maybe in a larger room, and a softer band, but for your average metal band, the Mikey just doesn’t cut it.
Back to the drawing board. 😦