What is it?
The IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio, known hereafter as the Mic Studio, is the Italian brand’s entry in the over-stuffed USB condenser mic category. Compared to some of its peers, the Mic Studio is essentially a veteran having been around since 2015. The premise was, and still is, simple; a decent quality mic that can be connected, via USB, to a range of different devices. From musicians recording instruments and vocals, to podcasters, to streamers and so on.
It’s still fundamentally a simple device. It has everything you’d expect, from input gain control to headphone monitoring, and that plug-and-play philosophy hasn’t changed. The only difference is, in 2021, there are countless other microphones from respected brands that offer the same thing. There’s also, it should be said, a new market which has opened up too. With home working now the reality for many, and the myriad video calls that come with the territory, more and more people are looking for a way to boost their Zoom game and upgrading the mic is often the quickest and easiest way to do that.
And, let’s be honest, sometimes aesthetics are important. It helps, then, that the iRig Mic Studio is one of the more attractive desktop uSB mics in our opinion. With its black brushed metal casing and dashing blue accent, there are uglier mics around for sure. Let’s take a look at how the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio performs, and see why it might be the best option for you and your home studio/office needs.
Performance & verdict
It’s important, when you’re looking at sub-£/$150 USB microphones, to make sure your expectations are in line with what’s possible and/or realistic at that end of the price spectrum. You’re not going to get elite-grade audio quality, and you’re not going to find favourable results in every situation. That’s not to say there’s no value or quality to be found at this price point - there definitely is - but if you’re looking for something to accurately capture all the nuances of your vintage Gibson acoustic guitar then this probably isn’t the mic for you. But, if you’re reading this IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio review then you’re probably looking for an inexpensive, well made, decent quality, reliable mic you can plug into your computer and, to be blunt, never have to worry about. That’s the simple value proposition of these mics and IK has nailed it on that front.
Things get even better when you factor in the compatibility with tablets and smartphones. The entire iRig range, which covers audio interfaces, MIDI hubs and more, is built on that simple cross-platform ideal of having a device you can use in your studio, then throw in a bag and use it at a bus stop, or on top of a mountain, or in a rainforest with no loss of performance. One thing to point out is in the name of the product in question, however. This is absolutely better suited to being used in a static location, with no tigers roaming near it, or any risk of falling off a cliff. It’s also not the best option for roaming field recordists, or broadcast journalists, thanks to its shape; IK has other options within its range - namely the iRig Mic HD 2 - which are far better suited to being hand-held and pointed in an interviewee’s face.
All of which leads us to think there are two use-cases in which the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio will excel. Firstly, it’s as a general-purpose mic for the budding home studio operator. Someone who needs a mic that can capably capture acoustic guitars, pianos, vocals and more. The iRig Mic Studio has a broad enough frequency range that it will deliver sonically pleasing results, and its relatively high SPL means it could even, at a push, be used for guitar cabinets. The second use-case is for speech applications; here the iRig Mic Studio is a superb option. For podcasters, streamers, video callers and even ASMR applications, this is an ideal first ‘proper’ mic and will deliver an instant upgrade on built-in computer or camera mics. Add in IK’s broad range of highly capable smartphone and tablet applications, which allow you to do everything from simple recordings through to full band compositions, and you’re onto a winner.
The web says
- Type: Condenser
- Frequency range: 20 - 20,000 Hz
- Gain range: 40 dB
- Resolution and sample rate: 24 bit up to 48 kHz
- Connections: Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone input
- Controls: Input gain, headphone volume
- Weight: 218g
- Contact: IK Multimedia