Mic W i266 for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch

December 16, 2011

Mic W i266 for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch

Being a musician, Im always looking for a way for a portable way to record live music, take notes, or capture some unique sound I may want to add into a song at a later time. I’m a stickler for quality, and even when I use my iPhone camera to video record, in many instances the internal microphone just isn’t good enough. Apple has made vast improvements on the iPhone 4S, and what used to be acceptable alternatives to the iPhone 3GS are now inferior to the internal Mic. I’m sure you’ve seen external Mics before. Most are quite small, some are thumb tack shaped, some look like a fat pill. The one thing they all have in common, is they lack in quality to the internal iPhone 4S.

No one has come out with a better, portable headphone port mic… Until now.

After searching for years, and with Blue Mic’s seeming to be dropping the ball on the Mikey for the iPhone 4 series, I found a company called Mic W, and reached out them, explaining my needs, and that I would love to review a Mic. The good people at Mic W sent me out the i266.

The i266 is a cardioid broadcasting microphone, designed specifically for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. This cardioid mic has high sensitivity, and Mic W recommends using it for high quality sound recording, specifically for broadcasting, live radio interviews, and other live applications.

It comes in a clear plastic box with with foam and informational print surrounding the mic. My exact initial impression was “Wow. That’s bigger then I expected.” That’s what she said.

Since every external mic I’ve used is fairly small, I expected more of the same, but with the i266, there is no comparison. This mic is beautifully designed. You can tell the design team wanted something sleek, and industrial, to match the iPhone 4, and they achieved this. It’s made from metal, not plastic, and has real weight to it. Not making it too heavy to carry, but just enough to know you have something solid in your hand. This Mic is PURE class.

I started testing the mic. First I recorded normal speaking into the iPhone, using it’s internal mic, then repeated the test using the i266. Right away, you notice a difference. Where the internal iPhone mic may be slightly better with canceling out room and background noise, the i266 records a richer, more professional sound.

You do get a better sound speaking into the top of the i266, as apposed to the side of the mic (which has holes in it) but this mic is highly sensitive, so getting too close causes distortion. I found keeping the mic about 8 to 12 inches from my face, speaking at a normal level worked best.

Knowing this was a broadcast mic with such high sensitivity, I already knew the answer to this next test, but for the sake of science, and being as thorough as I could be, I tested the mic recording a live band in very high volume. This is not the mic for that, as it distorts horribly, but I knew that, and they don’t advertise the mic for use in that way. I had to try it though. I was that kid when mom said “Don’t touch that pot, it’s hot” the first thing I would do, was touch the pot.

This is only my initial impression, and testing. This is something I need to use much more, field test this, and do another review later down the line.

I have 3 minor complaints…

1) You need to put the iPhone into airplane mode to achieve the best sounding recordings. As with every other mic I’ve tried, you get a periodic static on your recordings if you don’t do this. Audio, or video, if using this mic, use Airplane mode for sure. I was hoping Apple had fixed this, but not yet.

2) I always keep my phone in a case, but to use this microphone, I need to remove the case as the mic’s circumference is large at the base, and will not fit into the headphone jack. This could have been resolved if they had added a small spacer as many companies are doing now, for this very reason. BUT, I did find that an adapter does work, and Mic W sells a kit with an external wire.

3) The mic can’t be bent and repositioned. There is no hinge on this mic, so once it’s plugged in, it points straight up, and that’s it. Now, for interviewing or speaking, this is fine, but if I wanted to use this mic for video recording, I have to keep in mind, the mic’s best position is now facing to the side, and not facing the subject I’m recording. Again, this is solved with an adapter wire, but then I need to clip or mount the mic facing front.

All minor complaints, as the recording quality on this is suburb, and the recording quality outshines the negatives. I would highly recommend this Mic to anyone who needs or wishes to capture broadcast quality audio on their iPhone. Right now, I’d be hard pressed to find a headphone port mic that offers better quality, although, Mic W does have a couple other, higher end models. I can only imaging how great those sound.

Keep an eye on Mic W, they are a major player in the portable audio, with some of the very best design, build quality, and sound quality I’ve come across so far. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

I will be adding a Youtube video on this Mic, and comparison audio in the future.

 

You can check out and purchase the i266 from Mic W by following this link… http://www.mic-w.com/


ZooGue Smart Case for the iPad

June 30, 2010

I have followed the journey of Tim Angel for months, ever since his story was posted on a Mac forum I frequent. His goals are that of many inventors, and start up business owners out there, only this man has taken it beyond a dream, he actually put all his time and savings into an idea. What makes this story unique, is that he has archived his entire story on youtube, from beginning through now. He moved to China for months to oversee the production of his product. He’s posted his visits to a Chinese hospital… It’s been quite fascinating to watch his struggle, and I found myself cheering him on, wanting to see the underdog win, and admiring his drive, dedication to his dream, and the enormous set of balls to actually put everything on the line for his company.

So, reaching out to Tim, he was kind enough to send me out a Smart Case to review, and I have to tell you, this has no impact what so ever on my thoughts, and opinion of this case. So, without any other boring text from me, here’s what I think…

I will start with the very basic, the packaging. Right off the bat, you realize from the box the case sits in, this is going to be quality. The box is thick, with a magnetic clasp in the front holding the lid closed, and the images are printed in full color on the box. Hell, the box alone is so nice, I may try to find another use for this.

Once you open the box, your nose get’s slammed with the scent of leather. Quality leather. Being a metal head, I own several leather motor cycle jackets and vests, and I love quality leather. This surprised me. Most cases other then a company like Vaja, uses second grade materials. Not ZooGue. This is top notch, and you’ll know from the small.

The build quality of this case is superb. Every stitch is dead straight, with no loose strings hanging anywhere. The leather is soft, and clean without blemish. The inside of the case is very soft, and will not hurt your ipad in any way, quite the opposite. It feels like a very solid, well made, quality piece. I can only attribute this to Tim living in China, and overseeing the detail. This feels like a labor of love, and we get to reap the benefit of that.

Putting the ipad in the case, the first thing you notice is how nicely the ipad fits into the case. Unlike the Apple case, which makes it almost impossible to easily put your ipad in and out of the case, the ZooGue Smart Case is made to easily slide the ipad in and out. (That’s what she said.) There is a small leather strap and snap on the top, to lock in the ipad to the case. All of the openings are perfectly cut, giving access to all the ports, speaker, and volume controls. No issues there at all.

This is a folio style case, and when closed, the lid that covers the screen is solid, and protects the screen well. It closes flat, and when you open the lid, it folds all the around, also flat, so holding this case in your hand, open or closed, is quite comfortable. the outside of the case has two strips of soft velcro. This is used for the Smart Case’s most unique feature, and what in my opinion, makes this case “smart.” There is a flap on the back of the case, which is also secured closed by velcro, and when opened, this flap can be positioned so the case doubles as a stand for the ipad, allowing the iPad to be set at almost any angle, for watching a movie, to typing. It’s a fantastic feature and at first, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it, and it turns out, I use it a lot. I use it so much, my wife is now jealous, and keeps demanding me to give her this case when i’m done with this review… I don’t think I want to take this off, so Mr. Angel will be getting business from me after all. I need to buy one for my wife!

You’ll love the fine details, like the elastic strap which serves several purposes. Holding the case closed, securing the case to a head rest in a car for the kids in the back seat, holding the lid back while the iPad is opened and in use, and a strap to put your hand through while holding the iPad. Don’t overlook the small detail, like the indent in the leather, where the strap rests so the case sill lay flat on a table… It’s all been thought of here. Sitting on countless airplanes, vans, and tour buses, this is something I will use all the time.

Are there cons? Sure. I have a couple things I personally would change on future editions. The dock connector port needs to be opened up wider, so the camera kit will sit flush. As it is, the camera kit will work, but doesn’t lock in. I would also like to see the lip around the screen a bit smaller. Right now, it comes to the edge of the viewing area. This makes it difficult to do anything that you need to tap or scroll near the edge. I’m also concerned on how well the elastic strap will hold up over time. Elastic looses it’s elasticity over time, so this could happen if you use the strap a lot. Time will tell.

I know from reading the forums, Mr. Angel has taken some grief from forum regulars about the size and placement of the companies logos on the case. I have to be honest, seeing photos, it bothered me. Once I got this in my hand, I don’t notice it as much, mostly because I’m so taken by the quality and workmanship of this case. Could they be smaller? Sure they could. Will it stop people from buying this case? Yeah, I’m sure for some people will be bothered by this. I myself, like plain looking cases, but I have to tell you, if I made something of this quality, I’d want my name all over it too. Those who will overlook this case due to this… It’s your loss, trust me.

I HIGHLY recommend this case, in every way. I was happy with my Belkin Grip Vue, and didn’t think I’d ever need another case… Until ZooGue. I’m sold.

You can pick this up from http://www.ZooGue.com for $49.95