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Probably not, but at $80 it may become many people's go-to solution for impromptu everyday captures. And although it's currently capped at 16bit-44.1kHz, I imagine it's only a matter of time before a software/firmware update takes care of that.

Perhaps someone can shed some light on this: This device has it's own D/A converters so it's not relying on the iphone's capability to do this. Would this mean that rates beyond 16bit/44.1k would be possible?

Also, as a note, Tascam says that the mics are adjustable up to 180 degrees front to back, so at least there is a limited amount of control over the stereo image. And regarding the quality of the preamps, they are the same as those used in the DR series. I have a DR-680 and can tell you that they are not very quiet, however they are quite acceptable if you're not recording ultra delicate or sensitive sources.

Tascam iM2

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$80? I wonder how much of that price can be attributed to the mic capsules? –  user49 Nov 23 '11 at 7:47
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I very much doubt any iOS device will be capable of data rates above 16/44.1, so far all the external mics and recording programs have been limited to that. –  EMV Nov 23 '11 at 8:28
    
Jay, can you buy me one for Christmas? –  Utopia Nov 23 '11 at 23:58
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14 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Happy New Year to all of you! On New Year's Eve I played around with my new Tascam iM2. For a better handling and windprotection I mounted the iPhone to a Rycote suspension plus windshield. Please follow the links below to see some fotos and find some audio examples on SoundCloud. I did some editing on the files but no eq or dynamic processing. For recording, the iM2 limiter was set to >on<. All eq and lowcut on the Tascam PCM Recorder app were >off<. I did these experiments just to try this mic-phone hybrid and I must say it was fun. I´m used to work with Zooms, 744s, and all former digital and analog recorders (plus the most expensive mics) and I´m sure it will not be a recorder-killer. But I have found one more option to record sounds and! my mobile is always in my pocket. This thing definitely needs a windscreen!! and a suspension in handheld use. It is really sensitive. ...iTunes is running on PC - no problems to safe the files directly to your harddrive. For more pics please visit http://www.facebook.com/yoursounds?sk=photos and for listening some test-recordings http://www.facebook.com/yoursounds?sk=app_19507961798

Thanks and have fun with your new mic.. ..but be sure you already have an iPhone.

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@Eckhard K, fantastic answer! Thanks for posting all the links - –  Jay Jennings Jan 4 '12 at 23:29
    
It simply was a good question. Please feel free to distribute the links to others who might be interested in and please visit me on Facebook from time to time - there will be more news about my new toy. Cheers. –  Eckhard K Jan 5 '12 at 0:22
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Maybe I'm wrong, but as far as I know, this 16/44.1 thing is some kind of hardware limitation. But for this price, it seems very good.

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I'm definitely going to be getting one of these. The best audio device you have is the one to hand.

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Nice find!

Yeah - I'd use it if it was 96 24, personally. It's what I run my Zoom H2n at.

and hopefully they put some XLR inputs on it (somewhat joking..) if they worked out phantom power from the phone :)

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This is almost what I always wanted (since the original iPhone appeared!

While 80$ is not that much, I bet it does not have "true" condensers but electret mics like every other handheld recorder does as well. Electret mic capsules by their construction is pretty cheap. An expensive one might cost 10$. It's not the microphones that are expensive in portable recorders. Never have been, probably never will.

16bit 44.1 is not optimum and might very well be a hardware limitation. But in our bought archive 70% is still that very format. And is used daily so in itself not a huge limitation. Of corse it will not be the best choice of recorder to record sound design material, but neither is any other small format hand held recorder.

Comparing ANY handheld or proffessional recorder to the recording app FIre2 as it is unfair, it pretty much kills them all. Functions like geotagging and adding photos is included, easy meta data editing and super convenient format.

I'll buy it if it sounds anywhere near decent. Just because I love funky gadgets.

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I think it's a great idea, with only two real disadvantages over the H1/2 or similar.

Whilst the price of the unit is only $80, it is connected to a phone with a value of $700. So you couldn't strap it to the side of a boat or a windmill (can't remember who did this with their Zoom, but it was someone on SSD), for instance, without worrying about what might happen to .

Another potential flaw is the speed of getting it into use. I imagine most of us would keep it in a seperate bag or pocket and wouldn't be connected to the phone at all times - the speed of getting your phone out of your pocket, getting the microphones out, connecting them, starting the app and recording might take too long to capture that once in a lifetime sound. However, a certain advantage is that there is no boot time to the device (assuming that your phone will be switched on) which might lead to a quicker load time than starting a Zoom from the off position.

I'd be very interested to see how this little thing performs!

Cheers

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I share the second concern as well. While it would be quicker that the Zoom, the reason my iPhone and fIre see use is the need for something on hand and IMMEDIATE. Plus, if it's separate, odds are I'll forget it at SOME point, so I'd be back to square one. However it DOES look uber cool for certain types of stealth recording. –  Sonsey Nov 24 '11 at 15:12
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That spacing between the mics makes me pretty negative about it...

Great idea though! Wonder how the mics are considering the price? I mean, you can get a very good Line CM3 for less than 100 euro, but that's the cheapest I've ever seen for a single pro mike, and here we got stereo?

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According to Tascam's site, the mics are adjustable up to 180 degrees front-to-back. Not exactly clear on how that works, there isn't a picture that shows that configuration, but I doubt that the mics are fixed in that static position. –  Jay Jennings Nov 23 '11 at 16:30
    
That's a nice feature, but what worries me is that they seems to be around 3-4cm/1-1,5" apart, and that will probably mean phase problems in the stereo-field. Such a shame, actually...why is the only fieldrecorders (I know of) with a good X/Y-konfiguration the Sony's and Zoom's? And the only ones with perfect phase the Zoom's? I actually consider buying either this or something similar (like the Blue if it gets iPhone 4-compatible), but then probably mostly for covert mono-material i think. Provided they sound good enough, of course :-) –  Christian van Caine Nov 23 '11 at 23:09
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I've always been a bit confused as to why smart phones aren't exploited as portable recorders. I tried using an iphone3S for the job, but the rumour was that the iphone's onboard preamp was proprietary and couldn't be bypassed, to the point that having a a/d converter in the mobile interface wasn't an option.

Glad to see someone's found a way around it (or I was just wrong?). Picked up the sony pcm m10 recently, but this is a niche that imo hasn't been exploited enough.

Camera? Who needs a camera! Gimme a damn audio interface!

Also, is this different from blue's "mikey" http://www.bluemic.com/mikey/

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yes, blue mikey's stereo image is very narrow and (more importantly) it doesn't work on the iPhone 4(s) and iPad(s). –  Arnoud Traa Nov 23 '11 at 11:32
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Anyone who, like me, wonders a bit just HOW will one be able to transfer the files to PC seeing as there's no way of transferring most anything except pictures from the iPhone?

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Most data transfers to and from apps are conducted through iTunes. This app should be no different. –  Jay Jennings Nov 23 '11 at 19:35
    
Depending on app used. But using fire you have iTunes, Dropbox, soundcloud, FTP and direct acces from your web browser. –  ErikG Nov 23 '11 at 22:40
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If it's bugginess is like the other tascam handhelds...I'd say no. Plus there are no XLRs so double no.

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first person to pick that little guy up needs to post some samples. :)

on a seperate note, I'd probably pay for an iphone to xlr box (with phantom power and A/D)

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"Anyone who, like me, wonders a bit just HOW will one be able to transfer the files to PC seeing as there's no way of transferring most anything except pictures from the iPhone?"

On my iphone 4, you just email the file to yourself. I use the iphone recorder as a last resort when I'm out and about. It can be surprisingly good at times, but this would be a great addition.

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@Nikky See my post above. File transfer is controlled by the application used. If you use a good recording program like fire, the program controls how files can be transferred. In the case of Fire you have iTunes, Dropbox, soundcloud, FTP and direct access from a local (within the same network) web browser

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this one looks pretty cool! and its the definite form of "everywhere-all-around" mic!

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