Every other weeks comes a new app or accessory that helps the iPad scream “I’m a real boy.” From Pages at launch, to Garageband a year on there are a fair few apps that mail the tablet a serious contender for producing work on. The iPads (and tablets in general) are only useful for consuming content idea, which was much touted at launch could probably be put to bed (it won’t ever be put to bed). Adding to the vocal chorus of things screaming take iPads (and iPhones) seriously is IK multimedia’s iRig Mic.
Musicians and podcasters already have Garageband to sink their teeth into and the iRig gives them a (semi) professional level input solution. The iRig is fairly sturdy to the touch (rugged metal housing) and apart from the rubber connector, feels like a “real” mic and not a toy. The unidirectional condenser-electret capsule comes with a windscreen and plugs into the headphone socket of your iDevice. The plug also features a dual mini jack for real time monitoring – either to another set of headphones or to a speaker of some sort.
There are three input levels you can select – high, which records everyone in the room, mid for conventional use and low for “intense” vocal performances such as more extreme singing. The audio quality is excellent and recorded a few podcast interviews that sounded excellent.
Less excellent however is the VocaLive app. The buggy nature of the app means it crashes on almost every other load, which is immensely frustrating. It’s also not optimised for iPads – running in the quite frankly ridiculous emulator mode. Even the icon isn’t optimised for Retina displays. The software team needs to look into these as they detract from an otherwise promising app – the built in effects are really impressive for an £11.99 app (think how much hardware effects used to cost) and there is a lovely looking 4 track record available as an in-app purchase. Of course you can use the iRig with a number of applications – it plays nicely with Garageband and is excellent when paired with Everyday Looper.
A flawed yet promising start. But as must have accessory for anyone into recording audio on the iPad.