The Apogee MiC is a super compact studio quality cardioid condenser microphone for iOS devices and Mac computers. MiC is compatible with iPad and iPhone via an included “PureDIGITAL” connection. The Apogee MiC is totally Bus-powered by iPad, iPhone or Mac as well. According to Apogee “Record any sound you can imagine, from vocals to vibraphones, acoustic to lap steel guitars, pianos to percussion and everything in between, and build a track right on your iPad with GarageBand.” Well, we will just have to see about this claim. But wait, I am an emcee and a beat maker, so I will spit a few verses instead.
The quality of recordings possible when using the MiC is rather unbelievable for such a small package. I recently had an opportunity to take the Apogee MiC for a spin and I am pleasantly surprised at the usability, build, versatility and quality. Frankly, I’d rather not give it back because it simply makes my recording life easier. This is another one on the want list.
Being on the road is often wrought with long busy days and even longer sleepless nights. Often having collaborations overdue, I usually record when back at the lab. But the Apogee MiC can certainly change all of this. I can easily envision a scenario where I am in a hotel room with an iPad, an Apogee MiC, a troth of mp3’s for collabos, already written lyrics, no laptop and nothing but time on my hands. In such a situation, I could use any number of recording apps for the iPad (Cubasis, Garage Band and Auria come to mind), import and audio file, connect Apogee’s MiC and proceed to lay down verses. When all is said and done, exporting my recordings and uploading to drop box or later downloading to iTunes or some other conduit is a cinch. Problem solved and my life will have been lived more efficiently for it.
The build quality is superb. The all metal construction is so necessary in terms of road warrior worthiness. I can easily throw this MiC, the tripod and it’s cables into a little snug inside pocket of my messenger bag or any of my many backpacks without worry of damage. However if there was ever a concern of protecting against the occasional bump or bang while tucked away in my bag, there is an available carrying case that, according to Apogee’s website “features a hard shell exterior and a custom foamed interior.”
In use I found Apogee’s MiC very simple to fire up and get going. How simple could it be? Unpack, mount on tripod, connect cable, fire up Logic and hit record.
My story goes something like this… I was asked to participate in a really cool project with four other emcees. All of the emcees are based in the US but we are all in different cities (mostly). The producer of the project is based in France. So there we all are collaborating remotely and my preamp is broken. My mic is just fine but my preamp is just useless. Well, worry not. Apogee’s MiC to the rescue.
When it arrived I had just stepped in from a weekend business trip. Having received an email from the project coordinator regarding keeping up momentum and dropping a single, one of which I hadn’t recorded my verse for as of yet, I figured this was a sign from the heavens to get it done. So I did just that. I fired up the MiC and pulled out my stash of rhymes.
The MiC made easy work of the recording process. I have to admit it was much less of a production to get going. I only wish there was a popper stopper made specially for Apogee’s MiC. At any rate I just used the huge popper stopper that I had on hand. Once I had a good level, I dropped my verse complete with leads, adlibs and backgrounds.
Let’s take a listen to the BBoyTechReport.com Apogee MiC test below
The adjustable gain on the side of the MiC was very useful considering I’m used to having an outboard preamp in the chain. Save for the fact that it would be rather tough to connect a usb mic to an outboard microphone preamp. It’s worth noting that Apogee’s MiC contains a “Studio quality microphone preamp with up to 40dB of gain.” Adding to Apogee’s MiC stellar quality is it’s ability to record at sample rates of 44.1/48 kHz and it’s ability to do 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion.
According to Apogee, the secret goes something like this “MiC is a digital converter with special circuitry that converts the analog signal of the Microphone to a digital signal and sends the digital information to iPad and iPhone through the digital pins on the 30-pin dock connector. This allows for a clean, high quality signal because the sound is converted inside of MiC instead of inside of the iPad. Audio converted inside the iPad may be affected by the noise of the iPad circuitry.”
Apogee delivers on their promise that “MiC is a premium digital converter featuring PureDIGITAL technology which delivers your voice or acoustic instruments true tone to your iPad, iPhone or Mac without compromise.”
Admittedly this was the first time I could sit in front of the computer while recording as opposed to standing next to the table where the computer sits and having to go back and forth between takes. Apogee’s MiC on it’s little tripod sat right on top of my MPC. Yes I said it. I mounted the MiC on it’s tripod and sat it atop the MPC, which sits in front of my laptop, which was a bit unorthodox but totally convenient and comfy. But let this not deter you. Apogee has a mic stand mounting kit that allows for the MiC to be mounted on your favorite standard Studio mic stand with ease.
Recording to the iPad was equally as simple. Maybe even more so in fact. As soon as the connection is made the light on the front facing panel of the MiC illuminates green just as it does when connected to the computer The green light is an indication that it is receiving bus power and is ready for use. The light is red when gain is too high and blue when connected but not ready for use.
A test of the MiC with Garage Band and Auria for iPad proved just as incredible. This brings new meaning to terms “total mobile recording studio.” And even for the interviewer and podcaster or for general use with iPad and Mac, Apogee’s MiC is a total winner. One thing that I would love to see Apogee add to the accessory line up is a popper stopper that conforms to the MiC design principles (pro quality, sleek & small). As a buddy said when I mentioned that, “you can make one yourself!” If you feel so inclined this is totally possible but a really neat machined one to match the MiC’s build would be dope.
Otherwise, weighing in at $199 it probably is not one of the cheaper usb mic options but the quality and versatility is pretty well worth the price of admission. Combine this MiC with any of the the available accessories to make the most of it’s versatility such as the carrying case for on the go, the mic stand adapter for easy integration into your existing studio set up, Zacuto Zgrip iPhone Jr. Kit for easy work as an iphone videographer. Maybe some day Apogee will even make available a mini popper stopper that easily fits the MiC’s form factor and carrying case (hint, hint… no rush but make it happen).
For more information head over to Apogee’s website