By site editor Dan Chung:
RØDE microphones today announced an interesting looking microphone for field recording using an iPhone or iPad.
The iXY is a plug in stereo microphone module that promises high quality recordings up to 24-bit/96kHz. Importantly for video shooters the accompanying RØDE Rec app that runs on the iPhone or iPad is capable of recording at a more video friendly 48kHz too – which should make for easier syncing in dual-system sound setups. Rode are pitching the iXY at DSLR shooters in particular because of its small form factor that should allow it together with an iPhone to be mounted easily on top of a camera. They also suggest feeding the headphone output of the iPhone or iPad to the camera to provide a scratch audio track.
Rode describe the iXY as a “matched pair of ½” cardioid condenser capsules, ﬁxed in a perfect 90 degree ‘near-coincident’ alignment resulting in immersive and true-to-life stereo recordings, captured in incredibly high detail”. In other words the stereo mics are positioned in a similar way to built in mics on the popular Zoom H4n and Tascam DR100 recorders. It doesn’t look like external mics can be plugged into the iXY.
The iXY connects via the Apple 30-pin connector on the iPhone 4, 4S and the first three generations of iPad.
Launched on the Apple App store along with the iXY are two versions of RØDE Rec app. A free LE version with limited sample rates and functions, and a paid for version that has full bitrates up to up to 24-bit/96kHz. The App can be bought separately and looks very similar to the popular FiRe 2 app (not entirely surprising given that Audiofile Engineering, LLC is listed as the developer for both apps on the App store).
It will be interesting to see how the quality of the recordings from the iXY compares to other popular iOS microphones from the likes of Tascam and Fostex, as well as the cheaper external recorders like the Zoom H1. My personal preferred recording option for iPad is the inexpensive Tascam iXZ XLR audio adapter which relys on users connecting to their own microphones. The Tascam is an analogue solution that plugs into the headset jack, the RØDE connects digitally and so could potentially have much higher fidelity.
The iXY comes with a carry case and foam windshield, price is yet to be announced. The compact size and pocket-ability is certainly attractive and I’ll be keen to test it out.
You can read more about it on RØDE’s dedicated website.