Zoom iQ5 Review: Compact Professional Stereo Mic for Lightning Devices

Zoom iQ5 Review: Compact Professional Stereo Mic for Lightning Devices

For those who need to record audio directly onto their iOS devices while on the move, the options have been somewhat limited, especially for newer models equipped with the Lightning connector. Zoom, known for their high-quality digital recorders, has introduced the Zoom iQ5, a compact stereo microphone that connects via the Lightning port, designed to enhance audio recording quality.


Zoom iQ5 Review: Compact Professional Stereo Mic for Lightning Devices
  • Retail Price: $99.99

  • Size: 58.6 x 62.45 x 38.5 mm

  • Weight: 30.5 grams

  • Audio Resolution: 44.1 kHz/16 bit

  • Connections: Lightning connector, USB Mini-B (for charging), stereo mini jack output

  • Type of Microphone: Mid-side stereo mic with adjustable settings

Design Features

The Zoom iQ5 is notably compact, featuring a spherical microphone that can pivot 90 degrees for optimal stereo sound orientation. It offers settings to adjust the mic’s pickup pattern from directional to omnidirectional, capturing sound with clarity and depth using its dual microphone system.

Users can manipulate the stereo image post-recording using Zoom’s HandyRecorder app.

For more insights, check out this informative video from Zoom.

The iQ5 also includes a gain control switch with settings for different environments, such as live performances or meetings, and a manual gain adjustment wheel.

Practical Usage

It’s important to note that the iQ5 requires direct access to the iOS device’s Lightning port, which may necessitate removing protective cases. The device powers on with a visible red LED once connected.

While initially skeptical of its performance compared to dedicated recorders, the iQ5 proved capable of capturing high-quality audio. The HandyRecorder app is straightforward, though it lacks some features desired by professional users, such as FTP file transfer capabilities.

During tests, there were minor interference issues when using an Apple headset with a built-in mic for monitoring.

It’s advisable to use a headset without a microphone to avoid potential feedback.

Final Thoughts

The Zoom iQ5 is an excellent solution for high-quality, portable audio recording with iOS devices, suitable for a variety of applications from interviews to live music. Its compact size and lower price point make it a valuable tool for mobile recording enthusiasts.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars


One fortunate reader will win a Zoom iQ5. Entry details are as follows:

  • Eligibility: Open to residents of the 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), age 18 or older.

  • Entry Method: Complete the form below and submit.

  • Deadline: Entries must be submitted by January 27, 2014, at 11:59 PM EST.

  • Entry Limit: One entry per person.

  • Prize: One Zoom iQ5 Professional Stereo Microphone valued at $99.99.

  • For full rules, Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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Larry is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the Apple news community. With a keen eye for detail, Larry covers everything from the latest iPhone releases to in-depth reviews of the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His insightful articles help readers stay informed about the ever-evolving world of Apple products. Larry’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valued member of the TUAW team.