RØDE brings the big guns to iOS with the iXY
RØDE iXY Podcast
However good they claim to be I’ve always been a bit leary of using iOS devices along with the loads of 3rd party plug-in devices for anything remotely related to audio. Most surmount to little more than toys with sketchy build quality and laughable user interfaces that inevitably result in more irritation and poor quality sound than the price of admission. Australia based Rode Microphones hopes to change that perception with the introduction of their iXY Stereo Microphone.
Immediately out of the box its clear that Rode has brought the proverbial gun to a knife fight. The iXY is unquestionably one of the most professional looking iThings to plug in to the 30 pin dock of an iOS device. Side note – sorry iPhone 5 adopters there isn’t an iXY for you – yet. The Rode iXY features twin stereo capsules in a clever X/Y stereo configuration and is housed in a rather attractive silver alloy casing. Machined allen-head screws complete with Rode’s trademark gold pickup area dot and a built-in power on indicator light fill out the look. Construction is in fact so robust that in hand it feels almost as if Rode constructed the iXY out of a solid block of aluminum. The 30 pin connector fits rather tightly into the base of your iOS device leaving little concern for getting dislodged. Along with the iXY unit comes twin foam wind screens as well as a compact hard zipped carrying case. Rode also provides a recording app – RØDE Rec – for download in the iTunes store. More on that below.
I tested the iXY with a variety of sound sources from spoken voice to acoustic guitar as well as a rather loud metal concert. The iXY seemed to handle all with relative ease and had more than enough headroom to preserve the original recording without clipping or phasing issues. The noise floor was reasonably low for a field recording microphone with minimal background noise when recording in quieter settings such as acoustic guitar. However, as expected, the Rode did prefer to be as close to the source as possible especially when dealing with soft spoken tracks. Overall the iXY gives any high quality field recording array some solid competition from the standpoint of preserving the original source.
While the Rode iXY is an impressive piece of hardware on its own the available Rode Rec iOS app is what makes the iXY shine. Starting with the ability to track in 24-bit 96 khz resolution the Rode Rec app also features built in editing much like a DAW as well as the ability to add various effects such as compression, EQ and some additional processing courtesy of Izotope. While recording you also have the option of live monitoring through the iPhone/iPads build in 1/8″ mini jack. The main recording transport screen features quick rather accurate metering that’s a nice bonus and when the device is flipped sideways the transport gives way to simple yet intuitive editing screen which allows for simple to more complex fades and trimming. Once you complete your recording tapping the ‘Share’ tab reveals a rather complete set of file sharing including SoundCloud, Dropbox and the usual email and iTunes options.
When it comes high quality field recording for iOS devices Rode brings their A-Game with the iXY. They’ve managed to package high quality hardware with a clever and complete recording application that in our opinion negates the need to carry around a separate field recording device. The Rode iXY is available now for $199.00 on the street. The Rode Rec (not included) is available for $5.99 in the iTunes store. ~TN
|Acoustic Principle||Pressure Gradient|
|Frequency Range||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Maximum SPL||120dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)|
|Sensitivity||-42.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (8.52mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz|
|Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted)||18dB-A|
|Power Options||(Powered by iOS device)|
|46.00mmH x 55.00mmW x 40.00mmD