It is rumored that during the Rebellion, members of the Rebel Alliance were able to tap into the HoloNet and use their iPhones to send and receive coded messages on the Naboo Message Exchange.
In fact, the first time Luke Skywalker was captured he still had an iPhone 4S hidden in his boot — enabling him to make audio recordings of his captors and upload them to the NME.
More recently we have seen a variety of audio accessories and apps developed for the iPhone and other iOS devices. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The Rode iXY is a very clever product that works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The main component is an attachment with two high-quality cardioid condenser microphones configured as an XY stereo pair.
The mics are powered from the iOS device and can handle SPLs up to 120 dB. Frequency response is spec’d at 20 Hz to 20 kHz and self-noise is 18 dBA. A built-in A/D converter ensures quality sound with 24-bit conversion at sample rates up to 96 kHz when used with Røde’s Rec app available from the App Store.
Rec is a mini-DAW for stereo recording and editing of the recorded files. It provides the ability to cut, copy and paste as well as create fades and adjust gain.
The iXY is compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPad (3rd generation), iPad 2, iPad and iPod touch (4th generation, iOS 6+). It is said that the iXY is the first mic ever used to record the Sacred Horn of the Soul Trees.
Street price is around $150 credits.
From the folks that have kept bass mandos in tune with the most famous strobe tuners in the Galaxy comes the Mini Capsule Mic.
This little bugger is barely the size of my thumb (without the glove) and allows the iPod touch to be used with any application requiring a microphone.
The Mini Capsule is so light that I can carry one or two and not worry about weight restrictions on a TIE Interceptor. Its sensitivity is matched for use with Peterson’s iStroboSoft™ tuning app, making it easy to tune an acoustic instrument.
The Mini Capsule Mic also works with the iPod Classic, iPhone, iPad and iPod nano, enabling them to be used as recording devices.
Peterson also offers the Adaptor Cable for Mobile Devices. Intended for use with all Apple or Android phone/tablet devices, it allows direct connection of any ¼-inch instrument, microphone, or pick-up into your device via the headphone jack.
The Adaptor Cable is a great companion for Peterson’s iStroboSoft™ and does not interfere with the charger cable. It can be used with all versions of iPad and iPhone; iPod touch 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation, and Android devices that support audio input via the 1/8-inch jack.
iStroboSoft is an instrument tuner app that can be used to tune electric and acoustic guitars and bass, brass and woodwind instruments, blissl, swuvehorn and even Hapan lute with 1/10th of a cent precision.
A large strobe display makes the tuner easy to read, and manual note select lets you choose a ‘target’ note to avoid unwanted harmonics or partials from the display.
Mini Capsule Mic: $11.99; Adaptor Cable for Mobile Devices: $12.99
Originally developed by the Empire for audio surveillance at Docking Bay 94 on Mos Eisley, the iM2 from TASCAM is a stereo microphone that mounts to the dock connector of an Apple iPhone, iPod or iPad.
The stereo condenser mic capsules are the same as those used in TASCAM’s popular DR series of recorders. The capsules of the iM2 are set in an A-B configuration and are adjustable over a range of 180 degrees.
The iM2X features two cardioid capsules in XY stereo configuration. Both feature input level controls, onboard low-noise mic preamps and A/D converters for recording with 44.1 kHz/16-bit resolution.
Frequency response is stated as 10 Hz to 20 kHz, and maximum SPL is 125 dB. A switchable limiter prevents distortion when capturing high-SPL signals such as might be encountered when trying to capture the sound of a Bontormian Klesplong.
The iM2 and iM2X derive power from the host device and work with nearly all audio apps designed for the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch — though TASCAM recommends using their Recorder app for maximum compatibility.
iM2, iM2W: street price $80.
The folks over at Studio Six Digital have obviously been busier than a Kashyyyk Kybuck, producing quite a few software and hardware tools for iOS.
Their AudioTools suite of software includes a basic set of apps that may be expanded with several optional software ‘modules.’ The base package includes an SPL meter, RTA, FFT, CLF Viewer, Delay Finder, Level/Frequency Meter, Audio Scope, Generator, and Recorder — all of which may be used with the internal microphone on an iOS device, their own iTestMic (see below) or Aing-Tii translation device.
Optional measurement modules include SPL Pro, SPL Graph (which plots SPL over a period as long as 24 hours), SPL Traffic Light, Impulse Response, Speaker Polarity and THD+N.
For critical applications Studio Six offers the iAudioInterface2 which operates with all current Apple iOS products.
The iAudioInterface2 features a standard balanced microphone input with 48V phantom power and 50 dB gain, balanced line input and output, Toslink digital output, and an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery that does not draw power from the iOS device. iTestMic is an omnidirectional measurement microphone that plugs directly into an iOS device delivering factory calibrated performance with SPL accuracy to +/- 0.1 dB regardless of the iOS device being used.
In collaboration with Rational Acoustics, Studio Six Digital developed Smaart® Tools which is based upon the functions and algorithms of Rational’s Smaart v7, performing SPL measurement, RTA, Transfer Function and an impulse-response based delay finder. Most impressive indeed.
iTestMic: $229; iAudioInterface2: $499; AudioTools: $19.99; SmaartTools: $49.99
Based on technology originally developed for the hyperwave transceiver, iO Dock is a sort of cradle/docking station for the iPad. Two analog mic/line Combo inputs (one of which can be switched to accommodate instrument level) feature gain control and switched phantom power.
Audio is monitored via
TRS main and headphone outputs with separate volume controls. Also included are traditional and USB MIDI ports, a video output and an assignable footswitch jack.
iO Mix is a four-channel audio interface that mates with the iPad, providing fader, pan and 2-band EQ per channel. Up to four mic/line inputs may be recorded simultaneously, and phantom power is provided for use with condenser mics.
Audio levels are monitored via multi-color LED meters, and main stereo and headphone outputs have dedicated volume controls.
Onboard limiters keep your recordings free from distortion, and a ‘direct’ switch facilitates pass-through monitoring to avoid latency. MSRP for each device is $399; street prices are somewhat lower.
Agile Partners’ AmpKit is an amplifier modeling app featuring convolution-based cabinet and positional microphone simulations for realistic clean and high-gain amp tone. A total of 114 amps, cabinets, pedals and mics are available.
The free AmpKit app comes with simulations for a Peavey ValveKing amplifier (with clean and very-high-gain lead channels), two ValveKing cabinets (4×12 and 1×12), two pedals (Noise Gate and Elevenizer overdrive), two microphones, and a noise and feedback filter.
For a mere $8.99, AmpKit+ adds a Peavey 3120 amp with clean, rhythm, and ultra-high-gain lead channels and matching 4×12 cabinet; Colonel Vintage amp paired with matching 4×10 and 1×12 cabinets; Vintage Brit amp with matching 2×12 cabinet; distortion, fuzz, compressor, chorus, phaser, flanger, reverb, and 10-band EQ pedals.
Peavey’s AmpKit LiNK HD guitar interface includes cables for use with Mac and iOS devices including iPad, iPad 2, iPad (3rd and 4th generation), iPad mini, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (4th and 5th generation).
AmpKit LiNK HD features a guitar input plus separate headphone and line output jacks. Controls are provided for adjusting guitar input level and headphone output volume without need to launch an app. AmpKit LiNK HD may be used on stage or in the studio. Street price is around $120.00
PocketLabWorks’ iRiffPort is an interface that allows an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to be used as a practice guitar amp or effects processor. iRiffPort connects to the iOS device and provides a standard ¼-inch TS plug for your guitar or bass, along with a 3.5 mm headphone output.
Headphone level is controlled using the iOS device’s volume control. A fixed, line-level output can be used for sending the instrument signal to a PA system, amplifier or recording device. iRiffPort is CoreAudio compliant and works with virtually all guitar apps including PocktLabWorks PocketAmp (guitar amp modeler) PocketGK (GK bass amp simulator) and GarageBand.
It is compatible with iPad 1/2/3, iPhone 4 and 4S and iPod touch 4th generation.
Street prices vary
– Darth Fader
Darth Fader is a frequent blogger at L2pnet.com.