Review – MicW iOS Microphones – i436, i456, i266
MicW was born from origins as a manufacturer of affordable measurement microphones for industrial use, so it’s no surprise that their first offering for the pro audio iOS market is a Class 2 omni measurement microphone. Since I do a fair amount of studio construction and treatment, I was intrigued by the idea of using your phone or tablet as a low-cost audio analyser. A look at the frequency response graph of the i436 reveals it is almost perfectly flat down to 0 Hz, with just a small boost at around 15kHz (the resonant frequency of the diaphragm), which can perhaps be adjusted for in software. This makes it a pretty effective analyser, dependent on the app you use with it. I ran some tests in my own live room, and was quite impressed to see the mic identified all of the major room modes. I also did some SPL measurements with it, comparing with a dedicated SPL meter, and found it to be accurate there too. Considering handheld analysers can run into hundreds and even thousands of pounds, this could be a great choice for most analysis applications.
That’s all well and good you say, but I’m only interested in a mic to record my song ideas or band practises. Well the i436 still deserves some serious consideration. I tried recording an acoustic guitar and voice with it, placing the mic midway between both sources, and was impressed by the open, expansive sound and low noise. The omni polar response will be useful in a variety of musical situations, but the obvious example would be recording a rehearsal of some sort. Simply place the mic in the center of the performers and rest assured that it will pick everyone up equally.
That said, MicW have since released two more offerings for iOS devices that may be better suited to musical applications. There’s the i456 – with a cardioid response offering greater directionality and the i266, with its larger diaphragm built to deliver a fuller, more flattering sound. Each one is also available with a kit of useful accessories including splitter and extension cables, stand adapters, a hard case and lapel-style clip.
Of all the new microphones aimed at the emerging iOS pro audio market, in my opinion the MicW ones look the best. We all know it shouldn’t matter yet we all know it does! The build quality seems very good and since each microphone is individually calibrated prior to leaving the factory, you can be assured that yours will perform just as well as my review unit.
Classy design and impressive sound quality make the MicW iOS mics stand out from the crowd. They might not be the cheapest in their class, but after working with them I’m surprised they’re not more expensive. Highly recommended for iOS musicians and audio professionals.