Zoom iQ5 Professional Stereo Mic for iOS review
Do you like to create your own videos? Pod Caster? Live Music buff? The iQ5 is a perfect little companion that will allow you to record stereo sound using your iPhone, iPod or iPad. Simply connect it to the Lightning dock on your iOS device and start recording. You can even pop in some headphones for live sound monitoring.
Ever try and record a concert only to discover that your recording sounds like it was underwater and blowing out the mic sensitivity. The iQ5 feature preset gain settings for Concert, Solo or Meeting automatically setting the recording level for any given situation. There’s even a built-in input limiter to help you avoid sound overloads.
Hold the iQ5 vertically for audio recording and horizontally for video recording. The rotating cradle for the microphone ball will record audio while maintaining left and right side recording in either position. Just adjust the ball to suit your orientation. There’s also a mini-usb port so you can still charge your iPhone, iPod or iPad while your connected to the iQ5. The device will operate on any iPhone, iPod or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later.
The shape of the iQ5 is a bit awkward but fits in the palm of your hand, about the size of say two 9v batteries side-by-side. It will easily fit into your pocket and weighs about 30g. The rotation on the microphone globe and spin movement is smooth and locks on either extreme. The metal mesh microphone globe is polished and sturdy. The iQ5 seems well-made and feels great in your hand.
There are 2 microphones; a mid mic is responsible for recording frontal sound, while another bi-directional Side mic records the ambient sound. This Mid-side recording allows for realistic stereo sound quality. You can even adjust the sound field for 90 or 120 degrees for wider or more narrow sound. The analog gain wheel located on the side allows for manual gain adjustment or you can opt to turn that feature off.
Alternatively you can record RAW data and use the iOS app to adjust the stereo width from 30 to 150 degrees for added versatility or optimize for voice recording using the phase-coherent mono mode.
The Zoom iQ5’s companion app (free download) features some extended control and Compression, a 6-band EQ and preset Reverb effects over your recordings. Choose from a wav file format at 16-bit/44.1kHz format for CD-quality audio sound or use AAC compression format for smaller file sizes. You can have the app automatically divide your audio files into segments, automatic recording triggering so the iQ5 will start and stop on it’s own depending on the decibel sensitivity level you set.
I’m not sure I’d be using this unit for professional studio recording however the iQ5 gives the best performance of any add-on mic in a pocket size device. The iQ5 gives superior recording ability and control over and beyond the onboard iPhone mic and will allow you to record in full stereo sound. Great for recording interviews, meetings, live music or live sound to add to your HD video in Post. It is best to tweak your recording for each situation for the best results.
You’ll need to run your iPhone naked or you’ll find the need to use a Lightning connection extender of some sort, unless your case leaves the bottom of the iPhone exposed. You are limited to the way you can share your files utilizing Zoom’s iOS app, to either Soundcloud or iTunes only at this time, but you can always use the Garage Band app or any app that supports an external sound mic. The iQ5 also won’t allow you to lay your iPhone flat as the depth extends way past the depth of the iPhone and puts a little pressure on your Lightning Port. I prefer not to do it. It would be great if there was some sort of buttress or wedge style cover you could add-on possibly. A little plush pouch couldn’t hurt for the price.
The Zoom iQ5 Professional Stereo Mic for iOS is a worthy device and gives you enhanced stereo recording via your iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS 6.0 or later. The price is a little tall but the performance is currently unmatched in any other portable recording device at this size. The iQ5 is a great little companion for your iPhone; It’s super convenient to take along with you and great for recording stereo sound on the spot.
Zoom iQ5 Professional Stereo Mic for iOS is available in Black or White for $99