NAB is great for discovering new equipment, but it’s the people I meet that keeps me coming back.
This year 2014 I met Scott Emerton a rep for RØDE products. Scott and I hit it off, and had a brief but productive conversation as we both rushed off to other meetings.
Something he wanted me to check out was this little iPhone mic “RØDE iXY”. Now to me it was kinda gimmicky, but since I had just finished “Camera Audio Simplified – location sound for camera operators”, I thought the iXY could be a very inexpensive useful piece of equipment for camera ops.
He asked me to try one out and I received one in the mail just before I left for Ethiopia on a show for Save the Children. Since it’s so small and compact I brought it along.
Now before I continue with this article I want to first say that the iXY sounds really quite good. I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t see a potential use for it in the field. Having a little quality stereo recorder available for ambience recording without having to pack along a separate recorder makes sense.
Check out this side by side recording comparing the Zoom H4n and the RØDE iXY plugged into my iPhone 4s.
The sound of the RØDE iXY definitely stands up!
Now, with every piece of equipment there are goods and not so goods, and sometimes the not so goods challenge the goods. The price of the iXY is $150 making it a very inexpensive field recorder (as long as you have an iPhone). The mic is well built, comes in a cool little protective case, and Rode supplies a robust foam windsock – nice hardware! But for me, everything falls apart with the software.
Now I’m not going to bash the hell out of the software (even though it would be easy) because again, the iXY sounds good. But the software is definitely the weak link – very user unfriendly! My experience (after purchasing the pro version for $6.00 because the free version didn’t work) was to spend a ton of time trying to figure out this confusing, glitchy, and poorly designed recording software!
I don’t understand why RØDE released this? I’ve used many different audio recording programs and this one has me shaking my head every time I turn it on and try to record something. The manufacturing of the mic is quality, the recorded sound is quality, the software questionable.
This is a tough article to release because I do like and have used the iXY successfully – and for me, sound quality is always the decision maker. So to end this article, the RØDE iXY turns your iPhone into an inexpensive small recorder that sounds pretty damn good. You just need to have plenty of patience and perseverance to learn and navigate the poorly designed software.