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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 30, 2013
I bought the Blue Mikey Digital mic hoping to turn my iPhone 4S into a device comparable in quality to a good quality dedicated digital recorder. The convenience factor associated with just popping a mic attachment onto the iPhone rather than carrying a separate device to my vocal rehearsals was (and is) alluring. I have learned how to use this mic in such a way that it's valuable, certainly adequate for most of my needs. But it's not as good as my Zoom H2, and I suspect that a less expensive device such as a Zoom H1 or a comparable Tascam recorder would also provide superior results. As such, the $98 price tag seems high. Add to this that Tascam's comparable add-on mic (the iM2) is now much, MUCH cheaper--and I would, alas, hesitate to recommend that prospective buyers purchase this item (until the price comes down, at least).

First of all, it's kind of pointless to use the Blue Mikey digital in conjunction with the iPhone's provided Voice Memo app. The sampling rate used by that simple program apparently does not make proper use of the mic's capabilities. I instead use an EXCELLENT app called FiRe 2 (Field Recorder 2), which costs a mere $5.99 and is absolutely fantastic. This is not a review of the app, but I will insert here that if you do any recording on your iPhone or iPad (though there is not yet a version really made for the iPad) this is easily the best, most versatile program around. It even provides for sound file editing on the fly. Amazing!

Using Blue Mikey Digital in conjunction with FiRe 2, you can obtain very good recordings. The app has various gain adjustment features that, in conjunction with the mic's three sensitivity settings, makes it possible to achieve proper sound levels in just about any situation. If you set the FiRe 2 sample rate at 44.1 kHz or even its highest 48 kHz, the recording quality is very good, close to (but not quite equal to) that of a good dedicated digital recorder. The recordings are in stereo, though which the two mic capsules so close together, that is not necessarily a hugely significant feature.

In terms of ergonomics and practical use, there are some (minor) issues. The unit plugs into the docking port of the iPhone (though not the new iPhone 5, for which an adapter is needed). This works ok, but the mic does not attach particularly securely, and it has an annoying tendency to fall out if you are not vigilant. To get a snug fit you have to remove the iPhone from most cases, which is a small annoyance. To get around this particular issue you can purchase a very cheap port extender adapter on Ebay for a few dollars. It works! Also, since the docking port is on the bottom of the iPhone, it really is necessary to turn the screen upside down to get the mic located on the top of the device rather than the bottom. Fortunately, the FiRe 2 app flips 180 degrees, no problem. Even still, the button locations are reversed from their usual places, and this takes some getting used to.

I have no doubt that the quality of the mic components used by Blue (a very reputable outfit) is high, and the item seems durable and well-made. I have no complaints here. One can get "very good" recordings using this mic with an iPhone. The sound definitely lacks that slightly claustrophic fuzziness of the built-in iPhone mic. But I keep wondering, is this real-but-small improvement in recording quality over the built-in iPhone mic worth $98? I would have to say no. $50? Maybe. $35? Definitely. Your own internal pricing curve may vary, of course. I do like the Blue Mikey Digital and I use it weekly for chorus and quartet rehearsals. But when I really need a first-rate recording, I will go back to my Zoom H2 every time.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Update: I love this device. The first Mikey Digital I received was defective (had a high-pitched background noise in the recordings). I contacted Blue Microphones and they promptly sent me a new one at no cost.

Let me tell you, not only does it sound great, but I've already tried recording it with my band and the recordings sound amazing. No peaking and everything sounded crystal clear. Plus it's great that you can plug a USB cable into it (not included) and allow it to charge the device at the same time (so I can just tell it to record during a 3-hour show and not have to worry about it). The software I was using to record was FiRe 2 (highly recommended. Not free, but great. For free software, try Blue FiRe which used to be sponsored by Blue Microphones). The builtin compression was my favorite feature - even when the loud music stopped and we were just talking, you could still hear it at the perfect audio level and when loud bursts came in, the levels balanced instantly (no noticeable peaking - I say "no noticeable peaking" because in a couple rare spots when there was a burst I could see a couple spikes while doing some post editing of the audio, but for some reason I couldn't personally hear them. I fixed them anyway in the final editing).

It also has a port that I can plug my guitar into and record. Although I'm not personally interested in that feature, I can see how other's would find it useful (The Mikey Digital has a 1/8" port and comes with a 1/8"-to-1/4" converter).

If I do simple talking and compare it to a high-end/expensive condensor mic, I can hear the difference in quality, but not by much. But for mobile recording, nothing beats this in my opinion. And for recording loud (live) music on a portable device and not have to worry about peaking... that, for me, makes this thing priceless.

Overall, for a portable recording device I highly recommend it!

-----
Old Review (originally was a defective unit that was quickly replaced by Blue Microphones).

I was so excited to get the new Mikey Digital. I had pre-ordered it and got it yesterday. Unfortunately all of the recordings have a high-pitched background noise to them when used on my iPhone 4S. Take off the mic and use the builtin mic with the iPhone and the recordings sound crisp and clear, however I plan to use this to record live shows of my band (the builtin mic can't handle that much volume and when we record from our mixer at a show, it's just not the same as when recording from out in the audience).

I tried it on two different iPhone 4S devices and also tried all the usual things (normal restart of the phone, hard restarting the phone, closing all other apps, etc)... still the same results.

I'm going to try to send it back to Blue Microphones for another one. Hopefully the next one will work better and I can come back here and give it 5 stars (I really want it to work and hope it lives up to all the other Blue microphone devices I own).
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2012
Here's my quickreview of the Blue Microphones Mikey Digital iOS microphone. In conjunction with the FiRe2 field recording app, it is a great portable sound recording studio.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2012
For anyone who uses hearing aids, you know how hard it is to hear in a noisy restaurant. The Blue Mikey has changed this personal isolation for me. The following New York Times article explains it better than I can. As for issues with the iPhone 4s, I had no problems using it with either the old OS or the new 6. I don't know why people are having problems. My iPhone is in a Lifeproof case so I had to get a special adapter from Lifeproof which works perfectly. I also use the soundAMP R app which is $4.99.

For Hard of Hearing, Clarity Out of the Din
By ANNE EISENBERG (New York Times)

DIGITAL hearing aids can do wonders for faded hearing. But other devices can help, too, as audio technology adds new options to help people converse at a noisy restaurant, or talk quietly with a pharmacist at a crowded drugstore counter.

Richard Einhorn, a composer who suddenly lost much of his hearing two years ago, relies on his hearing aid, of course, for general use. But when he is meeting friends at a busy coffee shop -- where his hearing aid is not always good at distinguishing their voices amid the clatter -- he removes it. He has a better solution.

He pops on a pair of in-ear earphones and snaps a directional mike on his iPhone, which has an app to amplify and process sound.

"I put the iPhone on the table," he said. "I point it at whoever's talking, and I can have conversations with them. Soon we forget the iPhone is sitting there."

Mr. Einhorn's ad hoc solution to restaurant racket is a feasible one, said Jay T. Rubinstein, a professor of bioengineering and otolaryngology at the University of Washington.

"It makes sense when you need to capture a speaker's voice in a noisy environment," he said. "A system that gives you a high-quality directional mike and good earphones can help people hear in a complex setting."

A new version of the directional microphone Mr. Einhorn uses, Blue Mikey, is available for $99.99. One app he uses is soundAMP R, which is $4.99. For earphones, he likes the in-ear Etymotic hf5, at $149.

Every hearing situation has its own solution. When Mr. Einhorn leaves the restaurant and wants to make a cellphone call, he might switch from his iPhone setup to his hearing aid and a companion device worn around the neck that receives Bluetooth audio from the phone and transmits it to the hearing aid.

Once home, he might take advantage of a tiny, inexpensive component in his hearing aid called a telecoil, or t-coil, that can pick up sound directly from a simple wire loop that he's connected to his TV. As long as he sits within the periphery of this loop in his living room, the t-coil receives the transmission. "It's crystal clear," he said of the broadcast.

The loop comes from Contacta. It attaches to the TV audio output and can either run around the edges of the room or just be placed inside a mat that sits beneath a chair, or in a pad that tucks under a cushion.

None of the various technologies he uses are perfect in all situations. "It takes time and practice to learn where they work well," he said, "and to switch from one device to another."

The range of options Mr. Einhorn deploys for dealing with hearing loss is not unusual. "There are many combinations of technologies possible now for people who need hearing assistance," said Stephen P. Bowditch, an audiologist and faculty member at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Before someone commits to a device, Mr. Bowditch advises a hearing test. "Every hearing loss is different, and we know in audiology that one size does not fit all," he said.

MODERN digital hearing aids tend to be costly -- they can run $6,800 a pair and more, and are rarely covered by insurance. But the t-coil, the tiny internal copper component in Mr. Einhorn's hearing aid, is gradually becoming an inexpensive way to broaden and refine the reach of hearing aids. These t-coils are now standard in most of the hearing aids that Mr. Bowditch installs. "If we can fit it in, we put it in," he said. "Whether people use it is up to them."

There may soon be many more spots to use a t-coil, as hearing loops gradually appear in an increasing number of public and private spaces, said David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. Dr. Myers has long championed the use of hearing loop systems, in part through an informational Web site.

Emcom Systems in Trenton is developing a small mat with a built-in hearing loop. The loop is connected to a microphone that can sit on counters at pharmacies or medical offices so that people standing on the mat can conduct a quiet, clear conversation with staff members, said Mark Zuckerman, director of marketing. The system will be on sale later this year for about $1,100.

"We want to support crucial conversations in the daily lives of people" who are hard of hearing, he said.

E-mail: novelties@nytimes.com.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
I bought the Mikey Digital microphone wanting to expand the capabilities of my iPad... all I can say is
that right out of the box it was a wow. No installation, no software, just plug and play. It is sensitive and
can the input can be on the lowest setting and it picks up everything.

I am thoroughly pleased with this product.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2014
I bought this mic for two reasons:

a) I needed a simple to use portable mic for my band rehearsals that delivered great sound
b) I am very familiar with the Blue brand and it's reputation for quality

I soon discovered that even a well known brand like Blue can sometimes fail. The first problem is that there is no bundled application to use for this product. Fire is no longer in production and was absorbed into Rode. OK, no big deal. I bought the Rode recorder and it provided the basic recording app I needed.

The previous reviewers have already mentioned the sound quality. Obviously, this is much better than the native iphone/ipad microphones. It provided a much higher dynamic range and via the Rode recorder, I had a choice of sampling rate, mono/stereo, compression, etc. No issues here and as expected, the mic was sensitive enough to capture most of what was being played and said.

The real issue with "Mikey" is it's glaring design flaws. First and foremost, the cheap plastic construction of the most important part of the product, the connector! You'd think Blue would have created a rock solid design to match the actual mic surface. But inexplicably, they chose to create the swivel out of cheap plastic. This in turn, caused a highly frustrating problem with one channel consistently dropping off and only picking up noise. changing the position of the swivel would help for a moment. However, since it was cheap plastic, it would not hold its place. Vibrations from being in a loud room would re-introduce the issue moments later. I tried simply recording on mono to see if it would help, to no avail.

The 2nd problem was the cheap plastic switch in the back to set the output level. Bad design, hard to adjust on the fly and entirely unnecessary, had they simply created a decent app to use instead of fumbling with it.

This product has been a complete disappointment and I no longer have any trust in the Blue brand. Now, for $50 you get what you pay for. But I expected more from this company and they completely failed to deliver.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
Overall, I give the Mikey Digital 4.5 stars.

I bought it for my iPad 2 since it had both microphone and instrument input. The microphone is very "user-friendly" and was recognized with no issues in several apps including Meteor and Voice Synth. The audio quality seems quite good - perhaps a tad hissy but wasn't really noticeable "in the mix". The instrument input worked well although the included adapter did *NOT* work for me. It was very loose on several cables I tried, including those at Guitar Center. I got a $3 adapter from GC and that fits tight and works great. Other than the adapter, my only complaint about the Mikey Digital is that the 30 pin connector does not fit very tight on my iPad. This isn't a big deal with the microphone, but with the instrument adapter and cable attached, it needs to be stable on a flat surface to avoid the connector being dislodged - easy on the windmills, Pete! :-) But audio quality through the instrument input was very clean - no noticeable noise to my ears.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2014
This mic works in theory, but Blue sold their app (I really liked it for the last generation) and now there is really no good option for the Iphone 5s. I use it with the adapter, and hardware wise everything seems fine. The software side is another story. I tried a bunch of apps, but the reports and reviews list a lot of problems with many of the apps, and I am not paying another $30 for an app. I found Soundvault and that is about the best, and basically worked for the recording part. I want to record stereo 16 bit/44.1k and the mic is capable of this, but you need an app. I use this for recording ideas and band practice, and so I need something that can record for hours without interruption. This used to work mostly, but the Soundvault app does not support rotation so if you flip the phone over so the mic is pointing up, the interface is upsides down, which is annoying. The other problem is that the phone sleeps the ap eventually so with big file transfers, unless you sit there and keep the phone active, the download will stop without getting the whole file. Oh and I upgraded to 7.1.1 and now Soundvault seems to be switching to the internal mic for some reason. I would pay the $30 after all this frustration, but there is not way you can test it without shelling out the money. Overall, Blue's strategy here is poorly thought out. The whole experience is more of a PIA than it should be. I have tried all the free apps and none of them work with this mic.

While the software I am using is not Blues responsibility per say, they should be offering an ap for the product that they have ensured will works, otherwise the mic is a useless piece of hardware. Tight software and hardware integration on the iPhoine 5s, and a lightening connector instead would make this a 5/5 stars. Right now this product needs work. Hopefully someone will finally release a quality mic specifically for the iPhone 5S, but so far, you are pretty much stuck with this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
This is the best mic I have found for use with iOS devices. I use it with an iPad and the audio quality is great and I like the feature where you can plug in a miniUSB charging cable for sessions. That way the iPad doesn't run down prematurely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
This is my second Blue Mikey my first was for the iPhone 3 and not compatible with my iPhone 5. This one works well on my iPhone 5 with the 31 pin to lightning adaptor from Apple for the iPhone 5 and with my iPhone 4 without the adaptor. The first one still works just fine but I don't use the iPhone 3 anymore so I hope this will continue to work with phones for years to come. I know the mic will last that long.
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