Macworld 2010: Hands-on with the Blue Mikey
Blue Microphones are on the show floor here at Macworld, and they invited us by their booth to take a look (and a listen) at the newest version of the Blue Mikey iPhone microphone. And with most of Blue's products (I have a Snowball that I use for podcasting, and it works and sounds great), it's quite impressive, producing excellent sound in a well-designed and easy-to-use form.
Earlier this year, Blue announced the second revision of the Mikey, with enhanced features for $20 more than the first $79 version. That's the one we used, and it looked and worked great. They've added a line input (for recording guitars), and a USB passthrough, as well as put the entire body on a swivel (so it can even swing all the way around and point forward while shooting video on the 3G.
Construction is quite solid, as with all of the Blue mics, and the sound is terrific -- we held the mic at about chest level while recording, just randomly pointed in the air away from us, and the played-back audio, even on a crowded convention floor, sounded as if we were speaking directly into a studio microphone. Blue also played back a full band recording for us that had been done with the Mikey, and while the mix wasn't perfect (it never will be when you're recording a full band with just one microphone), you could hear both the highs of the cymbals and the lows of the bass and the kickdrum as the jazz band played. It's not the best mic ever, but for a microphone this portable that's recording into an iPhone, it sounded very impressive.
We're not the only ones who think so -- we were told that Butch Walker heard the Mikey and actually recorded an entire song on it. The mic works along with the Blue FiRe software on the iPhone to record, and the software itself is nothing super special, just a quick recording, playback, and audio organization app, which is actually a free Blue-branded version of the FiRe field recording applications. You can FTP the files off the iPhone to a local webserver to mix and edit them later as well, so the Mikey can actually be used as a full-fledged mobile recording platform.
Blue also told us that they were very excited about the iPad -- while they expect the Mikey to work with Apple's tablet, obviously they haven't been able to do much more than run apps in the simulator yet. But the rep from Blue told us with certainty that they planned to develop for the platform, and that they were excited about the possibilities of a more complicated recording app with the bigger multitouch screen.
The new Mikey is a solid mic -- you will not find a better iPhone microphone for $99 guaranteed, and the sound actually rivals some higher end mics designed for standard recording. Blue hasn't disappointed yet -- if you need a worthwhile microphone but don't want to carry a lot of recording gear, it's worth a look if not a purchase when it releases later this year.
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