Available from: GAK
IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic Lav is a very well made lavalier microphone that sounds good and has a small footprint, but could use some level controls.
On first impression, the iRig Mic Lav looks like a very solid capsule microphone. Encased in metal, it’s a world apart from the plastic ones you pick up on the cheap. The cable is just over 1.5m long, which should be good enough for the average vox pop. On the cable, you’ll find a small box which bumps the signal to line level and provides headphones monitoring of the incoming signal.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the iRig Mic Lav is its ability to daisy chain two microphones for combined mono use. Simply plug a second microphone into the headphone monitoring jack and you’re good to go, but things are not exactly perfect. Without a control for individual levels, things can get messy when people are speaking at different volumes. In our testing, we paired it with another microphone and found plenty of natural audio inconsistencies simply because our interviewee spoke at a different volume. We suspect IK Multimedia will bring out an updated version later down the line and when they do, including an in-line volume control for the second microphone wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Audio quality from the iRig Mic Lav far surpasses your typical smartphone microphone, though we found that it can very greatly depending on the device. Smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, Apple iPhone 7 and HTC 10 all managed decent results, while cheaper handsets seemed to be a bit noisier. It has a 30Hz – 16kHz frequency response which is perfectly tailored for human speech, though it seems to work less well with instruments. The omni-directional pick-up means that you will get a bit of background noise in your audio, so critical sound recordings are probably not the best place to use the iRig Mic Lav. That said, IK Multmedia is not marketing this microphone as an instrument solution, so we’ll let it slide for now.
The iRig Mic Lav works on pretty much any device that accepts audio from the headset port. IK Multimedia throw in a bunch of free software to get you started including EZ Voice and VocalLive, through the truth is that any half decent voice recorder app will be able to work with the iRig Mic Lav. We even tested in on Windows Phones and found success, so long as you get a voice recorder application which accepts microphone input.
The iRig Mic Lav is a product designed for a very specific use and in that department it works very well. If you’re looking for a solid presenter microphone that can be quickly attached to any smartphone device and produce decent audio, it’s a decent option.