What is it?
As the successor to one of the first portable microphones designed for use specifically with mobile devices, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 has a lot to live up to. The original was loved for the fact it was geared almost entirely towards being an on-the-go content creation powerhouse, allowing podcasters, broadcasters, vloggers and more to use their phones and tablets to record high-quality audio without any fuss or extra equipment required. This pairs nicely with the fact IK has created a suite of apps which complement the mic and mean you can, if required, produce everything from within your phone or tablet.
All of which is great, but IK felt it could do better. Which leads us onto this IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2. Where the original had a plastic casing, IK has opted for a metal design for this new model, which increases its rigidity and gives it that extra ‘pro’ feel. Fundamentally it’s the same premise though; a USB connected condenser mic, with a simple cardioid pickup pattern, which plays well with iOS and Android devices and makes it as easy as possible to get great recorded sounds whatever you’re doing. Cost-wise, this budget podcasting mic sits in the same ballpark as mics like the Blue Yeti or Rode NT-USB, with each offering similar functionality, so which should you choose? Let’s take a look in some more detail at what you can expect in our IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 review.
Performance & verdict
While there are USB microphones that appear to resemble anything other than a microphone – we’re looking at you, Blue Snowball – the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 has a simple and sleek appearance which leaves you in no doubt as to what it is. The all-metal housing gave us confidence it would survive a lifetime of being thrown in and out of a case or backpack without flinching, while the extra weight (over its plastic-housed predecessor) also gives it a degree of stability on your desktop.
On the housing you’ll find controls for your input gain and headphone volume levels; these are recessed into the body, and we totally get why, but it can be fiddly to adjust on the fly if you don’t have long enough fingernails. A minor gripe though. At the base of the mic, you’ll find input connections for your USB cable and a 3.5mm jack for headphones, but otherwise that’s it. It is an exercise in simplicity, and all the better for it.
The mic itself is a cardioid pattern condenser, with – for the price – superb audio fidelity and a wide frequency response. You get a 24-bit A/D converter with sample rates up to 96kHz, meaning your recordings will have depth and clarity, while the preamp allows plenty of headroom without a noticeable leap in noise levels.
We tested the iRig Mic HD 2 with speech, vocals, acoustic guitar and a cajon, and found it to deliver superb results across the board. Our recordings all had clarity and punch, regardless of whether we recorded onto a smartphone or directly into our PC editing software.
Connection-wise, IK has opted for Micro USB as the on-mic connection, with the input recessed slightly into the body to create a more snug fit. While a more forward-looking option might have been to use USB-C, which in our experience has a more robust physical connection with less wobble, the iRig Mic HD 2 wouldn’t require the extra data transfer capabilities you get from that connection so we do understand why it’s stuck with the legacy connector.
In the box you’ll find a standard Micro USB cable and a Lightning connector for Apple devices, along with a desktop tripod stand, an adapter to use it with a regular mic stand and a neat carry pouch. Including a hard case would have strengthened the iRig MIC HD 2’s outdoor credentials even further but would have also added to the cost.
Overall, there is plenty of competition in this price band but the iRig Mic HD 2 has the edge over other similarly-priced models in our eyes. We liked the design, and felt confident it would be reliable in a variety of situations, while the quality of the audio you get is second to none in the entry-level bracket.
Sample Library Review
- Type: Condenser
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000 Hz
- Polar pattern: Cardioid
- Sensitivity: 125dB SPL
- Connection: Micro USB
- Weight: 325g
- Contact: IK Multimedia (opens in new tab)