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Fostex AR-4i turns iPhone 4 into handheld stereo HD video powerhouse

Attention budding iPhone videographers! Before you start filming your magnum opus for next year's Venice International Film Festival, be sure to check out the US$149.99 Foxtex AR-4i Audio Interface for iPhone 4.

While the iPhone 4 does a pretty good job of capturing 720p video, the sound leaves a lot to be desired. There's only a small built-in mic, and the sound is recorded in monaural. With the AR-4i, your soundtrack can reach impressive levels of stereo awesomeness. The unit consists of a slide-on device that connects to the iPhone 4 through the Dock connector. Inside the device, powered by a pair of AAA alkaline batteries, is a AD / DA converter. You can either use the two small plug-in powered condenser cardioid mics that come with the AR-4i, or plug your own professional mics into the 3 stereo inputs on the device.

To check sound levels while you're recording, there's a 4-dot LED level meter within sight and a thumb wheel gain control. To do your professional recording, you'll want to use the free Fostex AR-4i app that provides filters and equalization. The mics can be switched around to the various input ports for horizontal or vertical video capture, or switched in direction to capture both an interviewer and interviewee.

Along with the stereo sound goodness, the AR-4i provides a screw-in hand grip, or you can place it onto your favorite tripod or monopod for extra stability. To demonstrate the use of the AR-4i, Fostex enlisted the help of winsome Japanese Ustreamer Ayano, who shows how the device works while wandering the famous Akibahara gadget district of Tokyo. Enjoy the video, and if you decide to buy an AR-4i, you can check 'em out at Amazon, J&R Electronics, or other retailers.