You're viewing an article in iPO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site: MicroMemo
Review - MicroMemo
Friday, August 11th, 2006 at 4:00 PM - by
A new breed of third-party iPod voice recorders are coming and they will for the first time turn Apple's portable music player into an compact, handheld, professional recording device. The first one to soon hit the market is from Xtreme Mac and I found it a complete solution that opens the iPod to a whole new world.
Let me explain. The MicroMemo is different in two very big ways from previous iPod voice recorders. First, it hooks up via the dock connector on iPod's with video only instead of through the remote socket and headphone jack. That means the audio quality of a recording it much better sounding than devices that came out a few years back and sounded like you were talking into a tin can attached to a string.
Because of that new connector interface, the MicroMemo's second difference is its ability to record CD-quality audio with either the included microphone or a non-phantom powered, professional mic you plug in to a 3.5mm mini jack on its side. Regardless of which mic you use, you can record 16-bit audio up to 44Khzgood enough to broadcast on any radio station or online podcast. I'm predicting now this will be a hot product for radio stations throughout the world and you'll see radio/podcast reporters flocking to use it.
The MicroMemo comes in either black or white and snaps on snug to the iPod's bottom. When you connect the unit, the iPod automatically switches to Voice Memo mode, ready to record, pause, stop and save recordings as .wav files. The files come up on your iPod labeled with the date and timenot so easy to categorize and find if you record a lot of audio filesbut that's the fault of Apple and the functionality programmed into the iPod, not XtremeMac's fault.
The 4.25-inch tall mic that comes with it is adjustable and locks snugly into the mini jack connector on its left side. There is a small mic or line switch on the left side of the device, allowing you to also record line level from devices other than a mic. The switch is rounded off and recessed to protect it from being accidentally changed. You'll need a fingernail to get underneath it, and some might find it difficult to get at, but few users will change this switch and I'd rather have it this way than it switching after being caught on something like a bag or piece of clothing.
If you want to listen back to your recordings immediately, the MicroMemo's two tiny .25-inch speakers will kick in when you push and hold the XtremeMac logo button on the front for a few seconds. Their quality isn't greatit's more tinny sounding with little bassbut what can you expect from a device that is handcuffed to being small and compact? The MicroMemo speakers are good enough for a quick check, but your better bet is to check via your iPod earbuds. Even better, transfer files to your desktop or laptop for editing and listening through much bigger speakers. One important note: you can't monitor through your earbuds when you're recording live. That would be a nice feature, but I don't think this is a functionality of the MicroMemo, but that of the iPod.
The quality of the audio recorded was excellent in our tests (listen to our two test files below). The omni-directional mic that came with it sounded fine and picks up voices from feet away, but our $150 professional mic (shown in the photo below) sounded even better with a more robust mix of highs and lows. Whichever mic you use, you'll be impressed.
The Bottom Line
The addition of the mini jack on this product opens up the iPod to a whole new realm of possibilities for those who want a palm size recorder that captures great audio. The MicroMemo adds that functionality in a low-cost product that is easy to use and durable. When you think about what it delivers for its size and price, I can't see many people disagreeing this is a winner of a product.
Clip captured as an AIFF file and converted to Apple Lossless in iTunes to save space without any compromise to quality.
Just The Facts
Pros: ability to plug-in professional non-phantom powered microphone via mini jack, excellent quality audio, removable mini mic
Cons: audio quality through speakers leaves much to be desired
- Editorial - It's Time for the Promised, Unlocked iPhone 3Gs
- Wal-Mart Employees Confirm iPhone Rumors
- The RIAA vs. 19 Year Old Cancer Patient
- Mac Gaming News - Gameloft Brings Hero of Sparta to the iPhone
- Free on iTunes - Return to the Moon, JPL, Stranger Things And More
- Apple Claims 300 Million App Store Downloads, 10,000 Apps Available