IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav
By Phil O'Keefe |
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav
Designed for voice, can it be used for musical instruments too?
by Phil O'Keefe
IK Multimedia's iRig line seems to be ever-expanding with new and useful tools for modern musicians on the go. Recently we reviewed an impressive mobile-friendly, large-diaphragm condenser microphone from them called the iRig Mic Studio, and today we'll look at a new iRig Mic with a different and more compact approach - the iRig Mic Lav. Is a lavalier microphone useful for musicians, and if so, for what sorts of tasks?
What You Need To Know
- The iRIg Mic Lav is a small-diaphragm omnidirectional electret condenser microphone with a 30Hz-16kHz frequency response. At about an inch long and a quarter inch in diameter, the lavalier capsule itself is quite small. It's permanently attached to one end of a 66" cable, which has an iOS-style 1/8" male TRRS plug at the other end. There is a short 3" cable length between the TRRS plug and a "line lump" that houses a female 1/8" TRRS jack. This allows you to plug in your earbuds or headphones for monitoring what you're recording in real time.
- iRig Mic Lav is compatible with iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch) as well as Android devices. It will work with any audio app that accepts audio from the headset input. Power is supplied by the device the iRig Mic Lav is plugged into - there's no need for batteries or external power supplies.
- Probably the most unique feature of the iRig Mic Lav is the ability to daisy-chain two of them together by plugging the second unit into the TRRS headphone jack of the first. A pair of earbuds can still be plugged into the headphone output of the cascaded unit. A small switch on the side of the unit sets the jack in the line lump for either earbud/headphone or cascaded iRig Mic Lav use. IK Multimedia offers a "2 Pack" bundle with two iRig Mic Lavs at a discounted price for those who wish to take advantage of this feature.
- A suite of recording apps comes bundled with iRig Mic Lav, including IK Multimedia's VocaLive, iRig Recorder Free and EZ Voice.
- The iRig Mic Lav includes a nice set of accessories, including a removable foam windscreen for the mic itself, a tie clip mic holder, and a cool zippered travel case.
- While the accessories that come with iRig Mic Lav are useful, no instrument-friendly mounting clips are included, which I feel is a major omission and oversight. While the tie clasp is great for attaching the iRig Mic Lav to your clothes when using it for interviews or for recording narration, it isn't really suitable for attaching the iRig Mic Lav to your acoustic guitar's sound hole or saxophone's bell - and this mic is well-suited for those purposes. For acoustic guitar use, IK Multimedia's iRig Acoustic would probably be a more appropriate choice.
- An omnidirectional model is often the choice of professionals for lavalier microphone use, but is more susceptible to feedback than directional microphones. Because of that and the type of plug it's equipped with, iRig Mic Lav is really not suitable (or designed) for live use with a large-scale PA system, although it can be used as part of a mobile PA for smaller groups and meetings as outlined below.
- There is no way to adjust the level of the individual microphones when cascading two iRig Mic Lav units. As long as both people wearing them speak at similar volume levels, this is a non-issue, but it can be a notable limitation when dealing with one person whose voice is much louder or softer than the other.
This is a really good-sounding mini mic that unfortunately isn't quite as useful to musicians as it could be. If you spend a lot of time recording spoken word, narrating or serving as the on-camera host for videos, working on podcasts or working with social media apps like Periscope, or just want something that sounds good when humming song ideas into your phone and if you need to work hands-free, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav could be a very useful tool for you. The ability to daisy chain two units without needing an external mixer is a very cool and uncommon feature that will make life easier for many users who need to mic up more than one person at a time for an interview or on-camera appearance.
It's also a clean and crisp-sounding omnidirectional condenser for recording various musical instruments on-the-go, but the lack of mounting clips beyond the tie/clothing clip means you'll need to rig (sorry!) something up yourself to hold the mic where you want it while preventing damage to your instrument's finish. If you want to use it as a mini-PA for voice, it will work fine in that capacity when coupled with your mobile device and a small powered bluetooth speaker such as the IK Multimedia iLoud for mobile presentations to small groups. But I keep coming back to the lack of good instrument mounting clips for this microphone. I suspect IK Multimedia would sell a lot more of these to musicians for on-the-go recording purposes if they decide to make them available. Here's hoping they will consider it.
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav ($69.99 MSRP, $49.99 "street")
IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav 2 Pack ($79.99 "street")
IK Multimedia's product web page
Buy the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav from Sweetwater
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.