IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Studio: A powerful microphone in a small package

Those of us who do a lot of audio recording usually have big "studio mics" to work with, but those rigs -- usually attached to a flexible arm with a pop filter attached -- aren't exactly portable. Recording away from the office or studio doesn't mean you have to give up a quality microphone, though. Today I'm looking at the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio (US$179, as low as $144.06 through affiliate link. Apple World Today will receive remuneration from affiliate purchases), a small microphone with big sound.

Design

The iRig Mic Studio packs a 1-inch electret condenser capsule and a 24-bit converter with a 44.1/48Khz sampling rate into a small package that can fit comfortably into any computer or instrument bag. It features a preamp, integrated headphone output (perfect if you want to record music or voice with an iPhone 7), and small dials for onboard gain control and headphone level control.

The iRig Mic Studio comes with a tiny tripod stand that works perfectly for those situations where you just need to set up and record. IK Multimedia thoughtfully built in small rubber tips on the tripod stand to reduce noise from vibrations. The mic uses a micro-USB connection; there are USB, micro-USB (for Android) and Lightning cables included in the box. If you're using an older iPhone or iPad to record, you'll be glad to know that IK Multimedia even has a micro-USB to 30-pin connector cable available ($29.99). On the bottom of the device is a standard RM2 microphone ring mount, so if you do decide to make it your only mic, it will work with just about anything you attach it to.

Without the stand, the iRig Mic Studio weighs just 7.3 ounces, so it's not going to weigh you down at all. A front-mounted LED lets you know when the mic is powered up and ready to record, and it also provides level status by indicating when you're overdriving the mic. The device comes in two finishes; silver and black. This little mic surprised me with just how solid it felt; it's totally unlike any other portable studio mic I've tried out.

Function

The proof of any mic is in how good it sounds, and the iRig Mic Studio doesn't disappoint in that area. I tested it against my standard rig -- the large RØDE Podcaster -- connected to both a Mac and an iPad Pro, recording voice in both cases (no music).

What really surprised me was how close the sound quality was between the two microphones. When recording voice, the more expensive, larger and heavier Podcaster has always impressed me with how well it captures the dynamics of human speech. The iRig Mic Studio seemed a little less responsive on the high end, but as they say -- your mileage may vary. I'm used to a certain sound, and I must admit that the iRig Mic Studio pretty much delivered.

The mic is compatible with just about any app -- Mac or iOS -- that you can think of. I was able to record with GarageBand, QuickTime Player, Audacity, Camtasia, and IK Multimedia's own iRig Recorder (a full review coming soon!), and it worked flawlessly. 

Conclusion

Don't let the small size of the iRig Mic Studio fool you -- this is a very capable and well-built microphone that is equally at home in the studio or on the road. You'll be impressed with the sound quality!

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★