Capturing good audio isn't easy. But it's essential if you're recording a new track, producing a podcast, or chatting over Skype.
If you don't know the first thing about what makes for a good microphone it can be a long and exhausting search. Even if you do know the ins and outs of recording, you have to contend with cost and possibly multiple pieces of equipment depending on how extensive you want your setup to be. And then those wires. So many wires.
Austrian entrepreneur Philipp Sonnleitner thinks he has the solution. His new, wireless microphone Mikme, which goes on sale Monday, promises studio quality recording in a small but sturdy package.
The rectangular prism sells for $169 through its Indiegogo campaign. The Bluetooth-enabled microphone and speaker can record up to 180 hours of audio on its 8GB of internal storage. The device records at 24-bit audio resolution with a sampling frequency of up to 96kHz.
Mikme is also designed to pair up with the its companion iPhone app, which has a simple, Instagram-style layout for quickly mixing how the audio sounds. When the mic is connected via Bluetooth, your audio can also be saved to your iPhone.
During a recent demo I was impressed with how Mikme performed. I'm not a musician, nor any kind of professional critic of sound quality. But when Mikme played back a variety of recordings, ranging from interviews to music, I was impressed. On its own it's a powerful speaker that outperforms what I've heard from other devices that are larger and more cumbersome to carry around.
Mikme also uses Bluetooth to output the audio to any kind of Bluetooth-enabled device. So you could play back your recording to a more sophisticated setup if you need to catch every nuance of the sound you recorded.
Sonnleitner told me during the demonstration he spent eight years working for a large hardware maker in the sound industry, but was frustrated by the lack of innovation and forward thinking in terms of how equipment should integrate with popular technology. Designing a device that worked well with an an iOS app and Apple devices has long been his vision, but something he only felt he could bring about on his own.
"I was completely bloodied because I could not push through my ideas. I was not so much interested in just microphones. I spent lots of time reading tech blogs and finding out what was next," he said.
The light, portable Mikme should appeal to journalists, who could record interviews, and Sonnleitner recently tested it with musicians in Southern California, where it handled being placed on grass, knocked around on tables, and splashed with beer--and still keep going. One test model he used had obviously survived a rough road trip, but I didn't notice any kind of downgrade in quality.
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