Issues with the Rode iXY while recording Video via RockyBiasi

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“Rocky” left a comment on my post about the Rode iXY microphone for iOS. He asked if he was doing something wrong with the iXY as he wasn’t able to record audio while shooting video if the iXY was connected to his iPhone 4s. I was somewhat intrigued…I hadn’t tested the iXY while shooting video, to be honest (as I asked Rocky) why would you…the XY config mic is in effect sitting at a 90degree right angle to the camera so I assume the audio will be less than ideal (even if it was working) however I still decided to do a few tests to see if I could spot an issue/find a solution.

Its raised some very interesting observations actually…
1. Rocky is 99% correct, if you connect the iXY to the iPhone 4s and shoot video with the Native Camera App the audio level is unusably low (not non-existent)

2. I tested the iXY with the Rode Rec App and its working perfectly, I also downloaded the FREE Rode Rec LE App as it has a Firmware update which I applied to the iXY and tested again but the result was the same.

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3. I then tried using the iXY with the latest version of FiLMiCPro v3.3 but had the same issue as with the native camera App – Audio very low

4. Next I tested the iXY using FilMic Classic heres the result:

By the way I have to apologise for the shoddy, handheld, low light camerawork, but it is 2am here in Ireland and Im more than just a little knackered! :/

One tip, Make sure you enable the iPhone speaker when playing back the recorded clips. [Double tap home button, scroll left and tap the AirPlay symbol if it shows beside the volume slider – select iPhone Speaker if it in the list, if its not then it should be automatically selected.]

Im sure the guys from Cinegenix (who are the developers of FilMicPro) could shed more light on this if asked! Anyway Rocky, to answer your question: if you want to use the iXY to record audio on your video clips then FilMic Classic seems to be the solution.

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I had high hopes but alas Im dissapointed | RØDE Microphones – SmartLav

RØDE Microphones – smartLav Im just back from a week long Mobile Journalism training course in the beautiful Santiago De Compostella, Galicia, Spain. This is the second Circom Regional Mobile Journalism course Ive led with my colleagues Karol Cioma from Circom, John Inge Johansen from NRK Norway and Darko Flajpan from HRT Croatia. Im really looking forward to sharing some of the stories that the participants shot. As soon as Circom posts them to their YouTube channel Ill embed them here also.

Anyway that preamble brings me to the purpose of this post. I was really excited to try out my theory of a budget MoJo kit consisting of just a Glif+ and a Rode Smartlav while on the course. There was a substantial array of different holders and audio accessories ranging from Owle Bubos, Phocus Accents, Makayama iPad holders, Glifs and Fostex AR4i. During the interview excercises I asked a number of the students to try out the SmartLav with the simple holder. The results were very disappointing. I had tested the Smartlav in one of our radio soundbooths and under those controlled conditions it performed pretty well, but when in a moderatley noisy environment – a shop for instance, the audio quality was abysmal. The audio was distorting on several of the interviews and no matter where we positioned the mic the level was always too loud or too much ambient sound. (We were using FilMicPro as our camera app and the SmartLavs were plugged directly into the iPhones (4s/5) ) I will email Rode to ask if we were doing something wrong but Im already anticipating their response. On the website the SmartLav is shown in use with the Rode Rec App which has an integral gain control for the mic. When used with FilMicPro no such audio gain is possible though of course you can see the audio level on the screen you cannot hear it as A. A split adapter would be required and B. FilMicPro currently doesnt support realtime audio monitoring while recording. (Though I am reliably informed that this is something Cinegenix are working on for a future update) Anyway the up shot of all this is that the students themselves refused to use the SmartLav for their actual stories preferring instead to use the IK Multimedia iRig Pre  with pro-grade lavalier mics like the AKG C417.

One other surprise was with the iPhone 4s using the Fostex Ar4i . If you are using the Ar4i as your audio interface via the Apple 30pin dock connector you will know that it can support two separate audio inputs. We were using the latest version of FilMicPro (V.3.2.1) which will show two separate audio meters / audio channels when connected to the Fostex -However, every time we clicked into the media review button to check back a clip and then closed it to go back to the FilMic Camera the App would loose its connection to the Fostex, showing only one audio track and in some cases defaulting back to the iPhone mic. This issue caused some problems for some of our interviews which was quite annoying. I need to investigate the issue further to identify if its a particular version of iOS, a version of FilMic or a firmware update with the Fostex Ar4i – but watch out for it! ALWAYS CHECK BACK YOUR AUDIO BEFORE LEAVING THE INTERVIEW!!

UPDATE! RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch @rodemics

UPDATE: So today I took the Rode iXY and the Tascam iM2 and iM2X into one of our radio voiceover booths to record some samples. This is not a scientific experiment by any means but if you can excuse the occasional audio pop ( I had no pop-shields for the Tascam devices so didnt use the one that comes with the iXY either)  it is as fair a comparison as I can make under relatively controlled circumstances.

Here are the details: I used the Rode Rec App for ALL RECORDINGS and the sample rate was a constant 44000Hz with the exception of the last (as stated at 96KHz)

I tried to keep the phone in the same position and the same distance from my mouth for all these recordings- as shown. The iPhone was switched to Airplane mode to avoid any interference. Gain (within the Rode App was constant accross all mics except for the iPhone internal which I state in the recording, however both Tascams have an audio dial on the device itself, I tried to set these both around 75%- 80%.)

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What do you think? Comments welcome.

Final point the Rode iXY retails for around €179 which includes a protective case, and windscreen. The Tascam Im2 retails at around €75  and the iM2X at around  €77 with no additional accessories included.

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RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch.

I previously blogged about the Rode iXY after it was announced at CES and have been waiting to get my hands on one since. Last week I was at the #roodagen conference in the Netherlands delivering a presentation on Mobile Journalism with Karol Cioma from Circom Regional. I had included the iXY in the presentation and mentioned that I was waiting to get one and a member of the audience said he had ordered one direct from Rode and had it with him if I wanted to see it.

So at the end of the presentation, as is now customary, I invited the audience up to see and play with all the accessories I have amassed for use with the iPhone and iPad, and I finally got my hands on the iXY.

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First impressions:

To begin with can I say I have several Rode Mics and have always been impressed with the build quality (with the sole exception being the fidgety battery cover on the VideoMicPro). Anyway the initial product images certainly made it look impressive but until I held it in my hand I really couldn’t appreciate the absolutely beautiful build quality.

I have tested lots, and I mean LOTS,  of iPhone audio accessories, Tascam, IKMultimedia, Fostex, etc etc but I have never picked up a product and immediatley went – Oh Damn this feels good – not until the iXY. The brushed aluminium is beautifully finished, the weight suggests a quality product and the clever accessories (Windshield and Pocketpack) are all of really great quality.

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I downloaded the Rode Rec App (€5.49 on the App store) only to realise it is in fact a customised version of the Fire2 App from Audiofile (which by the way is the same price on the App Store).

I should point out that there is also a free version of the Rode Rec App (which has some limitations imposed that can be removed via an in-App purchase). Im familiar with FiRe 2 because Audifile had previously licensed a limited version of the App to Blue Microphones under the App name BlueFire which was Free. We had used this in RTE in the early stages of our MoJo project to record simple audio clips and FTP them back to base. This was before we opted for LuciLive as our Radio solution for iOS.

Ive ordered a RODE iXY from Thomann (€179) as they are showing in stock. The price tag is steep by comparison to some other plug-in audio accessories like the Tascam iM2x ( RRP €77) but again you simply cannot compare the two devices as the plastic build of the Tascam simply cannot compete.

Once the iXY arrives Ill take it in to one of our audio booths and do a test recording with the App which very cleverly will allow me to post directly to SoundCloud, Dropbox, FTP, iTunes sharing or Email. Ill update the post then. For more info click the image or link at the top of the post or visit http://www.ixymic.com

RØDE Microphones – Introduce “SmartLav” lapel mic for iPhone / iPad

rode_smartlav_packshot__69011.1358971622.1280.1280RØDE Microphones – smartLav. Ive just picked this story up on Twitter, thanks to @callapro for the heads up. Following on from their recent announcement of the iXY Microphone for iOS, RODE have now taken another substantial step with the announcement of the SmartLav – a Lavalier mic which has the 4pole TRRS connector for use with the iPhone and iPad. MicW were first to the market with a lav mic for iOS devices –i825 i855 kit

I wrote about their i825 Omni Lavalier and i855 Cardioid Lavalier in a previous blog post.

What really interests me is that RODE are pitching their SmartLav well below the cost of the MicW equivalents. Rode_smartLav_TRRS_laveliermicrofoon_07_metiphoneThe i825 and i855 retail for around £175 and £205 respectively but according to a tweet from RODE they expect the SmartLav to retail for about $60 (€45) which makes it a very competitive price. If the build quality is anything like the rest of the RODE range then this will be a MUST HAVE accessory for Mobile Journalism. I havent found a UK / Ireland supplier yet but really cant wait to get my hands on one to try out. I still have the MicW i855 and will do an audio booth test with both and post to soundcloud once the SmartLav arrives.

Multiple iOS Audio device/ microphones launched at CES2013 @rodemics @TASCAMpro @zoomfx

Im just back from a weeks holiday and what a week to be away…Im catching up on 7 days of CES News and Im very impressed with the latest and greatest additions for iPhone / iPad audio. Rode have entered the fray with the iXY, as have Zoom with the iQ5 and Tascam has launched an update to their (in my opinion) slightly dissapointing iM2 twin capsule mic for iPhone, the iM2x. So lets have a closer look at whats been announced…

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Rode have a dedicated website for the new mic the iXY. Its expected to go on sale via resellers by end of February-the first batch is already SOLD OUT on the Rode webstore- expected retail around €200- pricey by comparison with some of the competition but RODE make great microphones and just judging by the sample recordings on the RODE site this is a quailty piece of gear – aimed fairly firmly at the pro market I think – not everyone will be able to afford €200 to improve their iPhone audio  …heres some of the detail from the press release:

“At the heart of the iXY is 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. The iXY uses its own high-fidelity analogue to digital conversion ensuring all recordings are rich, smooth and accurate.

The iXY’s small form factor and incredibly detailed performance makes it the perfect microphone for recording live music, meetings, lectures, reporting, dictation and sound design, and also is ideal for use on-camera as a dual-system recorder for DSLR.

A foam windshield is provided for outdoor recordings, as well as a rugged zip pocket to ensure the mic is always around when you need it……Released in conjunction with the iXY is RØDE Rec, an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch designed to be the ultimate companion to RØDE’s new microphone. When used together the iXY and RØDE Rec transform an iOS device into a fully featured field recorder.

RØDE Rec allows for complete control of the iXY’s continuously adjustable input levels for recording in loud and quiet environments, as well as the high pass filter to cut out low frequency rumbling such as air conditioning or outdoor traffic noises.

The RØDE Rec App is available for purchase from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. The app provides a full suite of features including multiple sampling rates up to 96kHz, equalization effects (compressor/expander, high-pass filter, low pass filter, parametric EQ), non-linear editing, geo and photo tagging, and one-touch publishing to SoundCloud, Dropbox, email, FTP and iTunes.

RØDE has also announced a feature-limited free version of the app, simply titled RØDE Rec LE.
The RØDE iXY is shipping this month. Visit ixymic.com for more information or buy now in the RØDE Store.”

ZOOM, the makers of the ubiquitous H4N which is one of the most popular journalist field recorders and also a mainstay of the off-camera audio for DSLR recording, announced the iQ5. Note the Lightning connector – (The RODE displayed is using the 30 pin dock connector but there is a clause on the RODE site that says you can upgrade to the Lightning version when its available for $99 – making it even more expensive) It will be interesting to see how ZOOM perform with this. According to engadget the iQ5 will ship be end Q2 and will cost in the region of $100. There is no press release on the Zoom/Samson website as yet.

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Finally Tascam who have been in the iOS audio accessory space for quite some time now, has previewed the iM2x  (top) and the iXJ2 (bottom) Both iOS mic/adapters are shipping right Image

 

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now and I saw indicative pricing on www.Thomann.de of €77 each. I bough the original iM2 shortly after it was announced and gave it out to a couple of our radio journalists to try out – In the studio environment the audio was OK but O.M.G. the slightest whisper of wind had the thing popping all over the place – so much so that Rycote came out with a deadcat for it very quickly. Im seriously hoping the the iM2x is a substantial improvement on the original…Ive ordered one so will post an audio sample when I receive it.

The iXJ2 is of significant interest to me, I could be wrong (and please correct me if I am) but the only other device Im aware of that currently allows stereo recording on iOS (iPhone) is the Fostex Ar4i which has been on the market over 18 months. You might remember I posted about a prototype Fostex showed in November 2012 of the AR101 with would give the same functionality but in a different form factor – no release date has been given as yet, however the shape of the iXJ2 is interesting because it just might fit into the butt of the MCam or Phocus? If it did that WOULD be an exciting development – kinda reminds me of the mashup I did in Nov 2011 between the OWLE Bubo and the Ar4i!!! Image