Apogee Mic 96k
Apogee Mic 96k (4.5"/114mm long, 6.732 oz./190.8 g, about $229). enlarge. I'd get is at any of these links to it at Adorama, at Amazon or at B&H. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this ad-free website when you get anything through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.
Sample Audio Clip, speaking directly into it from 10" (25cm) with no pop screen, recorded in Apple's Voice Notes app at 44.1 ksps and output at only 64 kbps for easy downloading here.
The Apogee Mic 96k is a tiny self-powered professional cardioid condenser microphone, preamplifier and A/D converter especially designed for recording with iPad, iPhone and Mac.
That's a mouthful, but it's all inside the mic seen above. All you do is plug the included cord into your iOS device or Mac, and go.
It really is plug-and-play. With a mic this good you'll want to use Garage Band or your own fancy software, but if you don't, no worries: it works great with Apple's Voice Notes app if 44.1/16 is all you need.
You can pay a lot more and spend a lot more time setting up, while this little jewel of a mic packs all the equipment you need in one little 4.5" (114mm) long package.
The real beauty is how fast it sets up. Unfold the stand and pop it on, plug it in, and press your red record button. Done; it's powered by your iOS device or your Mac.
Electret cardioid condenser.
About 19mm capsule diameter.
Two layers of metal mesh for protection against pops.
24 bits, 96 ksps.
Proprietary; cables included.
Powered from the iOS or USB device to which it's connected; no other power needed.
Mic Stand Threads
Bottom, Apogee Mic 96k. bigger.
Standard photo tripod thread: 1/4" x 20 threads per inch.
Adapter included to mount on standard mic stands.
Included Apogee Mic 96k mic stand adapter.
6.732 oz. (190.8 g), Mic only.
4.5" (114mm) long.
Lightning iOS cable
USB Mac cable
Table top tripod stand
Microphone stand adapter
Quick start guide
Included Apogee Mic 96k tripod.
Made in USA.
All metal case and mesh screens.
$229, January 2015.
Apogee Mic 96k box.
Apogee Mic 96k box. bigger.
Here's a sample audio clip from Apple's Voice Notes app at 44.1 ksps and a 64 kbps m4v file.
This clip is recorded on a desk in a reverberant office, not a studio. I was sucking on candy, and it's obvious. Likewise, I should have set the levels a little more carefully to avoid clipping and used a pop screen, but tough: this is the voice quality any idiot can get after only a minute to plug it in and hit record. Imagine just how great a skilled artist will sound using this to track an entire ensemble.
This sample is voice; of course this mic works well for recording anything, vocal or instrumental.
It's not designed for stereo; its connections to iOS force you into mono, which is how most records are tracked (recorded) anyway.
One always can buy garbage made offshore for less. This is American-made professional gear built to last a very long time and hold up under heavy use. Another key to its quality is that it will keep putting out for a long time.
Apogee also makes and has made professional studio preamps and converters that have helped make many top hit records. Apogee puts this same know-how into this mic, power supply and converters to ensure we get a nice silent, smooth and detailed sound without the distortion or hiss you'll get from offshored brands.
This is something you compare to the hassle of lugging a big U87, shock mount, cable, preamp, A/D converter and iOS/USB interface versus getting it all rolled into one little portable package. It's not something you compare to a generic imported $40 USB microphone.
I also haven't compared it to the previous Apogee Mic (not 96k). I doubt that the extra sampling rate makes any significant difference — but since this new one is inexpensive enough, no worries.
It's obvious; that's the beauty of this Mic. Attach it to its included table stand or to your own mic stand, plug it in and go.
Set your levels by turning the GAIN knob on the side of the Mic. Watch your app, or even easier, just look at the LED on the front. Dim green is soft, bright green is good, and orange is getting close to full scale. If it blinks red, you're dead; that's clipping: turn it down. It's much easier to do than read, just turn the little level control on the side until you get green, and possibly orange flashes on peaks.
My sample audio clip was made at 10" (25cm) right in front of my mouth with no pop screen, and plosives are not a problem. I'd get even better results with a pop screen, or putting the Mic a couple of inches to the side to side-step my Ps.
Just like a studio condenser mic, the front is the side that says "Apogee." If the LED and MiC logo is pointing at you, so is the mic. (The skinny end of a studio condenser mic is not the front as it is with a stage microphone.) You can see the capsule behind the mesh; it picks up from the flat side behind the angled flat mesh.
The GAIN control should be on your right if the Mic is pointed at you. Gain is another word for the volume control.
As a cardioid mic, placing it closer will add more bass and make voices deeper, while putting it farther away will thin out a voice.
It is directional, picking up from the front and sides, and ignoring sound from the rear. Its polar response pattern resembles a heart, thus the word "cardioid," or heart-like.
This is a very inexpensive and easy way to record professional audio while out in the field. If you want better, no worries, pack your U87, stand, shock mount, pop screen and an Apogee One as phantom supply/preamp and converter and you're golden — but that costs more than ten times as much and it's a lot to pack if you're just heading out for fun, or are simply a podcaster or BoobToober.
If you think $229 is expensive, think again. Audio gear lasts for ages; it's not disposable like the digital electronics into which you plug it. I'm still using my Shure SM-81s that I bought new in 1981 which are much better made and presented than new ones today, and people smart enough to have bought Telefunken U-47s many decades ago can sell them today for far more than they paid for them when new.
Apogee doesn't make toys; their gear has been used to win many Grammy Awards and Oscars. This is pro gear.
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