JuicedLink, a leading manufacturer of external audio interfaces for cameras, just surprised me by pre-announcing its first portable audio recorder, and it joins several other wearable recording proposals. In this first look, let’s see how the new Little DARling Distributed Audio Recorder will compare with other proposals from Audio Technica, IK Multimedia, and RØDE, all of which propose adapting your smartphone or iPod Touch to become a wearable audio recorder by adding their hardware, plus some software.
Other proposals to use your smartphone or iPod Touch as a wearable recorder
Recent proposals from Audio Technica, IK Multimedia and RØDE, all suggest adapting your smartphone (for best results in airplane mode) or iPod Touch to become a wearable audio recorder by adding their hardware, plus some software
like the RØDE Rec software (which I reviewed here), with a variety of different hardware options. I put these into the following twi subcategories:
SUBCATEGORY 1: Use the TRRS analog input of the smartphone or iPod Touch
In this subcategory of wearable recording, Audio Technica, IK Multimedia and RØDE propose that you use the TRRS (Tip Ring Ring Sleeve) 4-conductor analog input of your smartphone or iPod Touch. With this proposal, you are also using your smartphone (Android or iPhone) or iPod Touch’s own preamp and A-to-D (Analog to Digital) converter.
In this subcategory, we have new microphones whose cable terminates in a TRRS plug, either directly, like the US$60 RØDE SmartLav:
The US$60 SmartLav from RØDE takes its power from your smartphone, so it doesn't require its own battery.
…or indirectly, like the Audio Technica ATR3350iS (shown above,, but not yet available) which still requires an LR44 battery, since it doesn’t take power from the smartphone, according to Audio Technica press release.
As it turns out, the ATR3350iS is actually the original ATR3350 (which has a TRS dual mono plug), but includes an adaptor to TRRS, and also has an output for a TRS headphone. As of publication time, it is not clear whether Audio Technical will sell the adapter separately. However, similar adapters are already on the market.
The third way in this first subcategory is with the sub US$40 iRig Pre (which I reviewed here) which allows you to connect any XLR microphone that you may already own. Remember, all of the solutions listed so far connect to the smartphone or iPod Touch via their analog TRRS input, and therefore use the smartphone’s or iPod Touch’s own preamp and A-to-D converter, which is okay, but not audiophile quality.
SUBCATEGORY 2: Use the digital input of your smartphone or iPod Touch
The iRig Pro has its own preamp and A-to-D converter, so it completely bypasses the preamp and A-to-D converter in your iOS device
Certain USB mics can connect digitally to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or even your iPad, as I have covered in many prior articles. However, this article is about wearable recording, and so far, I have never seen a commercially sold lavalier mic with USB. So here we have a new digital version of the iRig Pre shown in the prior section, called the US$149 iRig Pro, which I just received, and I’ll be reviewing soon.
Another digital connected option is the Tascam IXJ2, which allows connecting up to two analog microphones va TRS or TS. Unlike the iRig Pro, the IXJ2’s input is unbalanced. Like the iRig Pro, the IXJ2 has its own preamp and A-to-D converter which bypasses the one in the iOS device. Since the IXJ2 is an older design with a 30-pin connector, but can be adapted to Lightning.
JuicedLink’s new DARling Distributed Audio Recorder
Robert Rozak just pre-announced JuicedLink’s new DARling Distributed Audio Recorder. Check out some of the details in the above video. The DARling will have a locking connector for the lavalier microphone, like many wireless transmitters do. Since it is primarily marketed to be a wearable recorder, connected to a single microphone, apparently the input is mono. As stated in the video, it has audio bracketing, meaning a secondary safety track in case the primary one clips. Below are some unknown details I am asking for an upcoming article:
- Is the mic input indeed mono?
- Is the mic input balanced? I realize that this is not critical when a mic cable is extremely short (as in the case of a wearable recorder with a lavalier mic connected), but I’d just like to know in case people are curious about using it for other applications.
- Does it offer phantom power? If so, it is optional or permanent?
- Does it only record 48 kHz only (the standard for digital audio for digital video) or does it offer any other sampling frequencies?
- Does it record in 16-bit or 24-bit?
- Does it record uncompressed AIFF, uncompressed WAVE, AAC, MP3, or any other códecs/formats?
My upcoming article will include a detailed comparison chart between these options.
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My latest book (paperback + ebook)
My most recent book is available in two languages, and in paperback as well as an ebook. The ebook format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, Android tablets, Mac computers, and Windows computers. Although generally speaking, Kindle books are readable on smartphones like Androids and iPhones, I don’t recommend it for this particular book since it contains both color photos and color comparison charts. The ebook is also DRM-free.
In English, it is currently available in the following Amazon stores, depending upon your region:
- Amazon.com, for the US and other countries in the Americas that don’t currently have their own Amazon store, or anywhere if you simply prefer it
- Amazon.br for Brazil
- Amazon.ca for Canada
- Amazon.de for Germany
- Amazon.es for Spain pero a lo mejor lo preferirás en castellano, a continuación)
- Amazon.fr for France
- Amazon.in for India
- Amazon.it for Italy
- Amazon.co.jp for Japan
- Amazon.com.mx for México
- Amazon.co.uk for the United Kingdom
Or in your favorite bookstore by requesting ISBN–10: 1456310232 or ISBN–13: 978–1456310233.
En castellano, está disponible actualmente en las siguientes tiendas Amazon, según tu región:
- Amazon.com para EE.UU. y todas las Américas donde no existe ninguna tienda particular… o en cualquier parte si simplemente lo prefieres
- Amazon.com.br para Brasil
- Amazon.co.jp para Japón
- Amazon.de para Alemania
- Amazon.es para España
- Amazon.fr (Francia)
- Amazon.in para India
- Amazon.it para Italia
- Amazon.com.mx para México
- Amazon.co.uk para el Reino Unido
o en tu librería preferida al solicitar el ISBN–10: 1492783390 ó el ISBN–13: 978–1492783398.
Allan Tépper’s other books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs
Contact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his TecnoTur program, which is now available both in Castilian (aka “Spanish”) and in English, free of charge. Search for TecnoTur in iTunes or visit TecnoTur.us for more information.
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