Tascam iM2 Stereo Condensor Microphones

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Daremo, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Daremo macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Tascam iM2 Stereo Condensor Microphones

    If you're read through other posts in my blog, you know I've been on the eternal hunt for a high quality microphone, that would fit all of my needs. I want high quality sound, high product build quality, something that is positional so it works with both the camera back, or front, and most importantly, a mic that allows the user to set the input gain.

    The closest think to this in the past was the Blue Mikey. For some reason, they never released a version that would work with the iPhone 4/4S or the iPad. The mic was great, and had a ton of potential, but also had it's flaws. I needed to mod the inside, so the mics faced the back camera, and even on the lowest setting, it would still distort when recording loud noise, like a live band.

    When Tascam announced the iM2, I was excited to try this out. From the images, and specs, this looked like it could be just the mic I've been searching for. And guess what, it is… Sort of. I have my complaints with this Mic as well as being blown away. I'm REALLY torn on this one, allow me to explain.

    First, the pros. The Tascam iM2 is a 30 pin dock connector microphone, which allows use of the headphone port on the iPhone and iPad, but NOT the iPod Touch, since the unit itself will cover the headphone port. You plug it in, and a blue LED shows you it's active. Tascam has it's own recording app in the iOS app store which the recommend using, called PCMRecorder, and it's a good place to start.

    The iM2 has two microphones, which record in stereo, and has a few very nice features. First, a mini USB port allows you to charge your iOS device while using the Mic. The two mics on the unit can be turned180 degrees, so when plugged in you can face the microphones towards the front, back, top, and anywhere in-between you need it to be. This is a HUGE plus. There is a level potentiometer which sets the microphones input levels, and also a lintier switch for really loud noise recording.

    In my testing, with the limiter off, and the input level all the way up, speaking in a normal volume, with the mic about 12 inches from my face gave me a rich, professional sounding recording, that is much superior to the internal iPhone microphone.

    Cranking my car stereo as loud as it plays, I than started to test the level input, with the limiter on and off, and did achieve desirable results, with little to no distortion. The PCMRecorder app, although has a very clumsy interface, has a great input level meter, so setting the volume input is easy to set up by visual, but of course, all instances require different settings.

    I used this mic to record a live band from a balcony with the iPhone 4S's video camera. I had the limiter on, and the level pot set about half way. I didn't use the recording app to see my input levels, and it recorded the audio a bit to quietly. I used an app on the Mac to boost the volume, and it did sounds acceptable, especially for a live recording.

    As far as sound quality goes, and this mic being versatile, covering any recording need I have, this is it. It's clear, unidirectional, level input settings, and able to charge the phone while in use? For this, I love this mic.

    And now, my complaints…

    First thing, and I fail to realize why companies don't take this into consideration, but most people use a case on their phone, especially if you plan to take it to a crowded show or concert, where it could potentially be bummed from your hand, you want to case the phone. The 30 pin dock connector is flush with a naked iPhone, so you can't use this with a case. This is a HUGE design flaw. Even with Blue came out with the second version of the Mikey, they added a slight spacer to accommodate for cases. There IS however a solution. Radtech makes a small dock extender or a dock extender cable, and both of those do work with the iM2, so if you have a case, you can expect to spend another $15 over at Radtech to use it with the iM2.

    And my biggest complaint… The one I'm having such a hard time getting over… The build quality is poor. In your hand, the iM2 feels flimsy, cheap, and made like a kids toy. Even the silver microphones on the top have too much give, and they are plastic, coated in that shiny chrome coating, to give the appearance of metal. it's very lightweight, and I can see this getting broken easily in a bag or your pocket. If you sat on this, it would likely be a goner. For something that gives such a high quality recording, I can't believe how cheaply made this feels. When you compare this to the original Blue Mikey, it's a world of difference. The Mikey feels like you have a professional recording mic in your hands. I do hope, if Tascam puts out a revised unit, they redesign, and make the unit solid, use better materials, and give me something that immediately out of the box, feels like an $89 microphone. For example, the Mic W i266 is what QUALITY is all about.

    Build quality aside, the iM2 has it all. This is now my go to mic for recording, simply for the sound quality, the stereo recording, and being able to set the input levels. I do recommend this Mic, but I can only give this a 7.5/10. Fix the build quality, and this would be the perfect microphone for your iOS device.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #2
    Just a follow up for this Mic, since I've had more opportunities to use it.

    The sound quality, when dialed in correctly is fantastic for capturing loud, live music. Sitting directly in front of a band performing (and a loud metal band to make it more abrasive) comes out crystal clear, with amazing stereo separation. I'm incredibly impressed by this microphone. Well worth the $79 price. I still wish the build quality was better, but for sound, this is top notch.
     
  3. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #3
    just wanted to say thanks for the review. i want to get one precisely to record bands (and my own band rehearsals) and this sounds like just the ticket.
     
  4. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    I use it all the time for that very reason. Keep the limiter on, and set the input volume a bit over half way, and you can have the mis in the room, with no distortion and clear recordings. The more I use this, the more impressed I am with it.
     
  5. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #5
    thanks for the tip. i'm going to try it out this friday. besides the Tascam PCM Recorder app, got any other simple recording apps you can recommend that can do stereo with the IM2?
     
  6. nrlang1986 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2012
    #6
    Does it work with "Voice Memos?"

    Hi All,
    I was wondering if this mic works with the "voice memos" app on my phone. If not, or if it does for that matter, what recording apps would you recommend, that work with this microphone? I'm strongly considering buying one.

    NickLang.
     
  7. Arni99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    Vienna, AUSTRIA
    #7
    The Tascam PCM Rekorder app got updated today:
    FINALLY it does NOT stop recording when the device switches to sleepmode! :D
     
  8. ibrake4ants macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #8
    Will this mic work on the iPhone 5 with the lightning to 30 pin adapter?
     
  9. ibrake4ants macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #9
    Responding to my own post, but just updating that I have ordered both the Tascam and the 30 pin adapter, so I guess I will be the guinea pig. :) Will report back as soon as I test it.
     
  10. gentlefury, Oct 4, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012

    gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    I'm debating between this and the Blue Mikey Digital. Blue Mikey is about $30 more...but is it worth it? I don't know which will be better. My primary use would be loud concerts.

    Since the iPhone 5 is going to screw things up I decided to just order the IM2 since it is $60 vs $99 for the Blue Mikey Digital. I figure the $30 for the adapter makes it the same price.
     
  11. ibrake4ants macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #11
    Right, that was my logic as well. So far, I'm really disappointed in the IM2 (testing it on my husband's iPhone 4S - I still haven't rec'd the iPhone 5 adapter from Apple). The recorded volume is just too soft, even though I have the dial on the IM2 turned all the way up (and yes, I double- and triple-checked to make sure I was turning the dial the right way and the microphone was pointing the right direction). :( When I play the recorded video back on my computer, I have to crank the computer speaker volume all the way up and it's still barely loud enough for a satisfying listening experience.

    I would appreciate any advice on what else to do to increase the recording volume - is there a setting on the iPhone 4S itself?
     
  12. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    Is the limiter button active on the Mic? I can tell you, it took me awhile to find the sweet spot for concert recording, but it gives me FANTASTIC audio. Here's a really stupid question, but did you try to turn the dial the other way, all the way, and try that? Maybe what you think is "up" is actually turning the input down? I did have an issue like this in the beginning as well, where my audio was way too quiet. The Tascam app is great for setting the volume, as it has the built in level meter.

    ----------

    I also have the adapter on it's way, so I'll know soon enough as well. I'm REALLY hoping it works.
     
  13. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    I havent had this issue. I just got mine today and tested it on my 4s and it works great! Recorded some audio using Fire2 and it was awesome, stereo...and also recorded video and it sounded great.
     
  14. ibrake4ants macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    #14
    Thanks for asking it in such a nice way. :) I could've sworn I had the direction correct...but I will definitely do some experimenting and see if that could be the issue. It doesn't hurt to try, anyway...I would love it to be something simple. :p
     
  15. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #15
    Haha, you are welcome. Seriously though, on this unit, you need to turn the volume dial DOWN, towards the iPhone if it's plugged in, to raise the input gain. Try turning it all the way down, and the limiter switch on the other side, switch that down towards the phone as well, turning it off. This will put the mic at it's full input capacity, which if working correctly, is VERY sensitive. When I record live music, I need to have the limiter on, and the dial is set about 3/4 from the lowest setting, and it works beautifully.

    The Tascam recording app is a great tool for it, as it tells you if the stereo is working, and you can set your input gain dial while watching the peak levels to set your perfect setting for the situation you're in. Keep playing with it, it's my favorite mic to use, and I've tried MANY. :D
     
  16. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #16
    I can now conform, that the Tascam iM2 does in fact WORK with the lightning to 30 pin adapter. I tested it out using the (.02 m) version. This makes me quite happy! :)
     
  17. gentlefury, Oct 15, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012

    gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #17
    Awesome! My adapter just shipped today!

    Also, as a side note for another that is wondering, the adapter is small enough that you can still plug in your headphones while using the mic for monitoring! Nice!
     
  18. ooans macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    #18
    In certain cases the sound needs post-processing. I've noticed that the iM2 is best suited for loud environments such as rock concerts and such. If you use it to record quieter sounds, be prepared to fix the volume in post (with normalizing, volume automation, compression, etc.)



    Btw! Thank for letting us know that the iM2 works with Lightning-devices (via adapter)!
     
  19. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #19
    Anyone know of other simple apps that support stereo recording besides tascam PCM recorder? Dont need a whole mobile DAW or anything.
     
  20. touchmonkey, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012

    touchmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #20
    My understanding is that it will work (in stereo) with Garageband, Fire, and a host of others.

    I have this on order and can't wait for it to get here. Have also ordered the lightning to 30 pin cord adapter so I can use with my Mini, and a corded 30 pin connector to avoid handling noise with my other devices. I have a feeling that this will also work with my iPod Classic. I have a Belkin that records in stereo on it. You would really need a corded connector with the Classic because the mic picks up the clicking of the disc drive.

    Still can't understand why Apple doesn't just allow for stereo recording through the headphone jack.

    Questions for those in the know:
    Why would you ever turn the limiter off?
    When using it for video recording is the playback in stereo?

    BTW, when shooting video in landscape/wide-screen the mic is vertical and thus doesn't capture in normal stereo.
    The work around I saw on a Japanese guy's youtube is to use a corded dock connector and re-orient it. The guy did a clever thing by velcro-ing the mic to the phone horizontally.
    As far a fitting with a case I imagine one could get a cheapo and do a little cutting away with razor or dremel. That's what I'm gonna try.
    The cases I have for my iPad and Mini will present more of a problem, but again that is solved by using a cord.
    I also hope I can fashion some sort of stand for the mic to make it more stable when using the cord.
    I have a Tascam DR-03 and love it. Tascam makes good stuff. I'm not worried about the build quality.
    Also BTW, B&H has a limited supply at $30 with free shipping right now.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/829391-REG/Tascam_IM2_iM2_Stereo_Microphone_for.html
     
  21. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #21
    That's exactly why I use a Radtech dock extender when shooting video with it. I posted a photo above with it connected to this cable. I didn't show a mounting solution, but you get the idea as to how it can be used.

    And yes, it does record in stereo for video as well!
     
  22. Daremo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Daremo

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #22
    In terms of the limiter, it all depends what you're recording. It will take the loudest sounds above it's threshold, and compress it to avoid clipping. It works well for live music. Since it does a form of compression on the fly, if you're looking for the purest audio input, then you don't want any compression, so keep the limiter off. BUT, if your source is impossible to control, with lots of loud moments and softer moments, then it's very hard to set the mic gain level, and the limiter is needed.

    Just know, with it on, it's possible you'll get some compression on the loud end of things. Will you even notice the compression? Doubtful.


    And Yes, it records in Stereo when recording Video.
     
  23. touchmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #23
    I think I'm going to velcro it. Put the soft part on the back of the mic, which would give it a nice rest and protection when just audio recording with or without the cable, and the grabby velcro part on the back of a dedicated case.

    Oooh, I just remembered I have a "Snap Mount" that I can put the velcro on.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.snapmount.com/

    In getting ready for it (won't be here until 1/2) I've signed up with Soundcloud (can upload files to it right from the ios device through the Tascam app and Fire, and probably others), and have been checking it out.
    A requirement for me is to be able to save the files in a lossless format, and indeed Soundcloud does that. You get 2 hours of storage for free. The upgraded memberships are too pricey for me.
    I imagine a long recording would take quite a while to upload.
     
  24. touchmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #24
    Wouldn't one then just turn it on and turn the record volume all the way up?
    Sorry if its a stupid question.
    I sure would prefer some automatic level control due to the variance in volumes.
    Set it and forget it.
    I think my DR-03 has it.
    I'm thinking we can use this thread to exchange information due to the pathetic lack of documentation by Tascam. I've seen the manual. Meh.
     
  25. touchmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #25
    Since the limiter only compresses sounds above the threshhold, which would be distorted otherwise, I'm still not getting why you wouldn't just leave it on.
     

Share This Page