Like many others before me, I bought this unit to digitize some old audio cassettes. (In my case, old radio shows from 1930-1950.) I initially tried this with a cassette player and the analog audio input on my Mac but the results were disappointing; there was a tremendous amount of humming in the finished audio. My friends at Tekserve recommended this device instead.
Installation is just a matter of plugging it into the USB port; the Mac required no drivers and saw the device as another audio device. QuickTime Player, GarageBand, iMovie, the Sound preference panel and Griffin's own "Final Vinyl" application immediately recognized the device.
I connected my tape player to the iMic, launched Griffin's "Final Vinyl" application, and got to work. The results were stunning, like night and day when compared to the analog recording I'd previously made. There was absolutely no hum to be heard. I experimented with other audio cassettes and detected no hum, static, or other problem that could be attributed to the iMic device.
The device has two standard mini stereo ports (audio in and out), and a switch on the side to change between line input and microphone input (this is important -- if the switch is in the wrong place you will be disappointed with the results). It also includes a mini-to-RCA adapter cable which I thought was a nice addition. The USB cable is rather short (about one foot long) and is hardwired to the unit so don't break it.
As was previously pointed out, the "Final Vinyl" software needs work and is inarguably the weakest part of this package. (Truthfully, if Griffin DIDN'T bundle "Final Vinyl" with the iMic I would have given this a five-star rating.) It is a COMPLETELY bare-bones application. I get the strong impression that "Final Vinyl" started life as a quick hack that a programmer wrote up in a couple of hours so that they could test the iMic device, but someone in Griffin's Marketing department saw it and decided to make it part of the package. It is not very intuitive (highlighting a segment of audio and hitting the DELETE key does nothing, forcing you to go into a menu to select DELETE which also has no keyboard shortcut), offers almost nothing in terms of audio editing capabilities, is surprisingly slow, and it crashes quite a bit. (Although I think Griffin knows this; when you relaunch the app after it crashed, it remembers the audio you had previously recorded and offers you the option of using that data or starting from scratch.) Fortunately the app doesn't crash (*knock on wood*) when importing audio; the crashing seems to happen when you're trying to open or save a file AND do something else with another application at the same time.
The only other thing about this unit that bugs me is its awkward design. It's about the size of a silver dollar and perhaps 3/8" thick. The short cable means you can't keep it plugged into the back of your machine and be able to easily access it, particularly if your machine is on the floor (like mine is). The rounded shape of the unit means you can't set it on edge and tuck it into an otherwise unused bit of space, and you can't easily attach it to your computer (i.e., with a zip-tie). I have mine plugged into the front USB port on my computer with the cable looped over the handle but it's an awkward placement at best, and I have to move the cable over whenever I want to open the CD drawer. It's not REALLY horrible since I'll likely rarely use the iMic once these tapes have been digitized, but I think Griffin could have done a little more to make this unit a little more elegant.
on January 9, 2007
I have a large collection of yodeling songs (yes...yodeling) on LP's and wanted a way to record them onto my computer and transfer them to disk and to my iPod. I searched around the internet but most applications require you to connect your turntable to your stereo (or other amplifier) and then to your computer. Since my stereo and my computer are in separate parts of my house, I didn't really want to relocate either of them. Other solutions were far too advanced (read expensive) for my purposes. I stumbled on the iMic and it sounded like just the thing.
According to the Griffin website "iMic allows you to connect virtually any microphone or sound input device to your iBook, PowerBook, PowerMac or other Mac or PC systems with a USB port. iMic supports both mic and line level inputs via a selectable switch, as well as a variable level output for connecting speakers or headphones" All you do is connect your turntable directly to your computer. It works perfectly! Combined with the free recording software Final Vinyl it make recording your LP's a breeze.
RC adapter cables are included. iMic is compatible with both Mac and PC but Finyl Vinyl works only on Mac's. You can use other recording software for PC's.
(Note: iMic and Final Vinyl work great for those who simply want to record to their computer. You can do some fine tuning, but you will want a higher level of technology if you also want to "clean" the sound of your old recordings.)
on April 12, 2006
It should go without saying that the iMic is not a professional recording device. It might also go without saying that it is just fine for the purposes for which it is intended: recording from vinyl or other similar mic or line level to your computer. I bought mine because my MacMini doesn't have an audio in (what was Apple thinking?!). Generally speaking, it does its job of getting sound into the computer, and is fairly transparent while doing so, acting much like a piece of built-in equipment would.
What should not go without saying, though, is that there is no ASIO driver for the iMic. So, it is incompatible with any recording software that requires an ASIO driver, particularly Steinberg's Cubase. As far as I have been able to find out, neither Steinberg nor Griffin have any plans to do anything about this. Note that Griffin does produce an ASIO driver which only works under Mac OS9, and there is a third party driver which will make it work, but it costs more than the iMic itself.
For the price, you can't beat the iMic. In fact, it's the lowest priced external audio interface I was able to find. And there are precious few bits of gear that fill the void between its price point and the $100 mark. Just be aware of its limitations before buying. I ended up spending another $180 on a more apropriate piece of equipment, and now my iMic is lying on my office floor.
on January 9, 2010
If you want to move your precious vinyls into your Mac or iPod, this item does the job quickly and inexpensively.
Given that audiophile external DACs for your computer may be in the two to three thousand dollar range, this little gizmo does a lot for the money for about one percent of an external Dac's price.
I have been using it with my MacBook Pro 5,1. The audio gear attached to the iMic is a good turntable (Ariston RD90), an Audiomat phono pre-amp, and a Benz Micro wood-bodied L2 cartridge. The connecting cables are high-end Cardas (cartridge to pre-amp) and high-end JPS (pre-amp to iMic).
Best lesson I learned is that the supplied software, Finyl Vinyl, works fine, but is glitchy and occasionally crashes when you set out to save the tracks individually. It also does zero noise reduction wizardry. Finally, it is not terribly accurate in doing auto-mark to divide your file into separate tracks. Always double-check track separation using the slider that stretches the on-screen soundwave graphic.
To avoid the crash and the loss of the recording, my solution was as follows. After marking off each track, save each track separately. Do not just click on "Save as" in the drop down menu (that is where the crash sometiems occurs). Instead, make a right click while your cursor (a vertical line with an inverted triangle at the top) is in the space for that track. You will see a small box saying "Save track as______" Enter the track name and then press return. The program will then saves the individual track with your file name already in place for transferring to your media player.
Best quality I have found so far is recording at 44.1 kHz, 32 bit. Since the resulting files are large, you convert them later to Apple Lossless or another lossless format inside your media player.
Quality of sound? Since I am using relatively expensive audio gear, it seemed strange to use a little device like the iMic -- I was afraid that it was going to act like a box of kleenex in the middle of the data stream. But, instead, what I got was high quality digital tracks that I can make into CDs, play through my computer into my amplifier, and transfer to my iPod Touch. Definition, clarity, transient response and musicality remain good with the iMic.
I have not tried out the recent turntable and cartridge combos that are selling for about $200. No system of digitization will ever achieve the magic of a direct listening to your vinyl. However, the iMic taught me that no matter the cost of the system, it is the music to which I listen. The iMic accomplished what I had hoped for: minimum interference with the analog signal provided.
on January 23, 2006
I bought the second-generation Griffin iMic (iMic2) this weekend in order to be able to record onto my Apple iBook G4 (which has no input jack) from a professional sound board, and also use it for playback. The sound from this device compared to the internal iBook audio out port is much cleaner, much crisper, and the recording was very clear with almost no noise. Gets along without a problem when connected to a USB hub. Very compact, easily fits in my laptop bag.
Overall, oustanding product.
on October 22, 2008
I bought this unit for the simple reason that my new laptop does not have a line jack. I bought the laptop to do mobile recording of live music from a mixing board. (Vista apparently doesn't support recording in stereo from a mixer for those interested. Have to go mono.) Anyway, Hp customer service recommended the Imic here at Amazon as a solution to the line in out problem. Hp technical support was available, helpful and nice. However when the Imic arrived there was an annoying buzz in the recording and even in Itunes. Several calls to the Griffin techs, who by the way were also excellent, especially since they didn't sell me the unit, resulted in my purchasing a Radio Shack Ground Loop Isolator. The Imic and ground loop isolator fixed the problem. My guess is if you are planning to record from a mixer with a laptop and no line jack, you might as well plan on an Imic and ground loop isolator. There are several brands here at Amazon that might work but I wanted to get this thing working and Radio Shack is right down the street from me. Long story short, I don't know or care about recording from tape or vinyl but if you want to record live sound, learn from my struggles. The solution wasn't that hard or that expensive, it just took too much down time and too many tech calls to make it happen. I still rate the product 5 stars because it did do what I needed and Griffin tech support was really first rate.
on October 14, 2006
I got an iMic2 because I wanted to convert musics from my LPs and tapes to AAC/MP3 files, and my Mac Mini doesn't have an Audio-In port. It works great! It comes with adapter cables for RCA plugs, so no other equipment is needed to connect my turntable and cassette deck directly to my computer. I was a little worried that the built-in pre-amp wouldn't boost the turntable signal enough, but even that isn't a problem; the only adjustments I need to make when using the turntable as a source are to set the iMic2's input switch to "Mic" and crank my computer's audio input level all the way up. The software that comes with it, Final Vinyl (*for Macs only*), also works really well. I originally planned to use Roxio Spin Doctor to do my recording, but it freezes frequently for no apparent reason -- so that was a waste of money; I just use Final Vinyl instead. It's really simple to use, and the special EQ setting for LPs mimics the EQ circuit provided by a stereo amplifier's turntable input jack (without that, the turntable signal has a "tinny" sound -- but since that setting alone creates a kind of muffled effect, I like to add a second EQ setting on top of that, to boost the treble). I save the Final Vinyl AIFF files to my hard drive then import them into iTunes and convert them to AAC files there. They sound GREAT. What a nice surprise that my computer can do all this, with very satisfactory results, with just this little device and Griffin's free software.
on January 15, 2007
Having long waited for an easy way to covert all my old LP records to digital and transfer them to CD's - the iMic was the answer. I just plugged it in to a USB port on my iMac. Downloaded the new version of Final Vinyl software and after a little experimenting to find the settings that worked best started recording. The only thing that I had to rig up - was the ground wire from the turn table needed to be attached to one of the metal grounding parts of the MAC I was using. Griffin suggests you buy their "Grounding Wire Connector Kit" - that isn't necessary if you just connect the wire to your computer by touching it to any metal part/outside of a USB plug....etc.
on March 29, 2011
I got the iMic as I wanted to record all my vinyl to my Macbook Pro. I had originally tried to do it by connecting my mixer out to the Macbook Pro Line In. This worked perfectly fine, however my Vestax mixer "colored" the sound and made it a little too bass heavy for me. I know I could have just adjusted the EQs, but I wanted the true sound of the vinyl, absent any EQs and other effects. The less things that have to be plugged in for the sound to go through, the better. So I figured I'd directly capture the sound from my 1200 through the RCAs coming from the turntable. That's why I needed the iMic, in order to convert my Phono signal to a Line Level signal. Plus, I figured that capturing sound digitally through USB would probably be cleaner that running through the analogue Line In on the Macbook Pro.
So when I got the iMic in the mail, which looks exactly like the white one (not the translucent colored one), I hooked it in to my USB and started Audacity. I plugged a Y adapter into my turntable RCAs and then the 1/8" side of the Y adapter I plugged into the iMic, making sure to switch the iMic to mic level signal. As I was about to record, I could notice a constant "hum". My turntable was grounded to the mixer, so I thought it was the iMic. I called Griffin's support number, and surprisingly a real person picked up and walked me through a few things, which didn't get rid of the hum. We did confirm that it wasn't the iMic making the hum, the hum was coming from the turntable. There is a piece that Griffin used to include with this kit that was sold on Amazon: [...] . Unfortunately, they don't include it in the kit anymore and Amazon doesn't have it. This piece basically allows you to take the turntable ground wire, tap it into one of the RCA cable's shielding to ground the turntable. Since I didn't have this piece, I just took my ground wire and fit it in between one of the RCA cable's outer metal shields and the rubber colored piece that ensheaths the wire (they're the white and red colored parts of the RCA cabling). This SOLVED the problem and I can record my vinyl, now problem free.
on June 28, 2011
I would rate this product as 4 or 5 stars, but this product does not "just work" in Windows 7 (64-bit) -- a restart is needed after installation, and the volume setting for the microphone will sometimes reset to zero. Some people have said that the iMic does not work in Windows. I can confirm that the iMic works for Windows 7 64-bit. Also, the technical support was awesome -- I was able to talk to an actual human right away.
To fix the volume setting of the microphone, right-click on the speaker icon (in the taskbar) and go to "Recording devices." Select the "Recording" tab, select the "iMic" device, and go to "Properties." Go to "Levels" and you can then adjust the microphone volume.
If you can't hear any audio, try changing the iMic speaker level, then changing it back to 100%.
The audio quality of the headphone port is decent. The audio seems more "sharp" than the stock headphone port, but it's possible to adjust the settings and get some pretty good sounds.
The recording quality seems good to very good. The iMic does record in stereo, and Audacity (a free audio program) can be used to record and save as mp3/etc.
This product will act like a recorder or amplifier for an electric guitar, however there is a 1/4 second delay between playing a note and hearing it in the speaker/headphones. Plugging an electric guitar into the iMic requires a 1/4" - to - standard audio adapter.
Overall, I like it. The configuration in Windows needs some work, but the tech support was very good. Much better than the stock microphone port.
Update: the iMic will sometimes stop working if you plug in another USB device. Try unplugging the iMic and plugging it back in.