Fostex Ar4i test with Apple Lightning to 30pin dock adapter and iPhone5

Ive been waiting to test the iPhone5 with the Apple Lightning to 30pin dock adapter and the Fostex Ar4i – just to see will the electronics work. Well I got the chance to put the kit together this morning and on first look it appears to work, the sound was quite hissy, but as Im down with a serious case of man-flu I cant discount the fact that my voice sounds like Im on whiskey and smokes so the additional gain might account for the hiss. OK – it goes without saying that the form-factor of the iPhone5 is different to the 4/4s so it doesn’t “snug” fit the cradle but if this test is correct then it means that Fostex might only have to adapt the cradle and build in an extended base for iPhone 5 compatibility – this is bearing in mind that Fostex hope to have the  recently announced Ar101 on the market early in the new year.

What remains to be seen is will the Ar101 work with the lighting adapter too….


About vjmentor
Innovation Lead, RTÉ | VJ & MoJo (Mobile Journalism) Trainer -Circom Regional | Photographer | HDSLR shooter| Views are strictly personal, not those of my employer.

6 Responses to Fostex Ar4i test with Apple Lightning to 30pin dock adapter and iPhone5

  1. I really liked the Fostex Ar4i, in that it fit the iphone snug and had cold mounts. i threw the wireless receiver on the side and used it as one part handle, thus leaving room for a small LED ring light on top. I wish Fostex had made a version for the iphone 5 as there are not several manufacturers of the small clip on lens to compliment the design at the other end of the camera. I don’t particularly care for the “on top” newer version.

    • I really like the Ar4i too. I would like to rig an iphone 5 with the adaptor to it. I don’t mind if
      it doesn’t fit snugly, but I’d really like to know if the sound recording will work. Fostex is cagey
      about it because they want to sell their new AR101. It’s not clear from the test posted here if the electronics work. Can someone let me know if it works or not?

      • vjmentor says:

        Hi Diana. I tested the iPhone5 with the Apple Lightning to 30pin adapter. Though it fits (sort of) and the sound does come through there is distortion in the upper frequencies which would prevent you from using it for professional sound. Hope that helps

  2. It helps though I wish the opposite were true. I’ve been shooting movies with my 4s which is now 18 months old and experiencing terrible battery drain when shooting video or even photos. So now I have to decide whether to replace the battery and stay with my AR4i or upgrade the phone and have to also upgrade to AR101. The first may not really work and the second is expensive. If you have any other insight let me know. Thanks!

  3. I’ve used the AR-4i with my iphone 5s using the 30-pin to lightning adapter. The adapter holds the phone in the unit fine, and I have not noticed any difference in the audio quality on my videos. The one big drawback I’ve noticed is that the phone no longer charges when the phone is shooting video. I used to use a power brick to run the unit so I could record a few hours. Now the phone dies quickly and I don’t get much recording time. Interestingly, the phone does charge when the camera is shut off and not running. It might still work for doing audio capture / bootlegging a concert, where the phone will last a lot longer. For video, it isn’t the best option with the iphone 5s. I’ve heard that the new AR101 has noisier preamps, but I haven’t actually tried one.

    • vjmentor says:

      Thats interesting to know, thanks for sharing. When the iPhone 5 was released I tested it using the 30pin adapter and I got a strange high frequency hiss on the soundtrack :/

      I was a huge fan of the Fostex AR4i when it came out but I used several of them during a big mobile journalism workshop and realised a design flaw, if the 4s wasn’t 100% into the dock the iPhone would record no audio but because the monitoring was done indevice you would still hear the sound leading you to think all was ok. We lost 2 really important interviews as a result and I was forced to abandon it as a result. 😦

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