After my review of the Senal ENG-18RL omnidirectional dynamic microphone for ENG (electronic news gathering) in 2016, my friend Francisco Javier just had to have one. For informal, single microphone interviews in the field, many broadcast news organizations have long preferred using dynamic omnidirectional mics due to their falloff, robustness and forgiveness of inevitable unexpected interruptions, where directional mics often cause one of the participants to become either “off mic” or even audible. Although Francisco Javier happily uses a RØDE i-XLR (which I also reviewed) with his iPod Touch, he wanted to connect his beloved Senal ENG-18RL omnidirectional dynamic microphone to his Nexus 6p Android phone, together with a selfie stick. As explained in my recent review of the iRig Pre HD, it’s currently the best way to interface a single balanced analog mic to a compliant Android phone, and extremely attractive for other devices too, including Android, Chromebook, macOS and Windows. However, such a setup with a single interviewer/camera operator/audio operator requires extreme efficiency of the use of only 2 hands: 1 for the selfie stick, and 1 for the mic + iRig Pre HD interface.
The physical challenge, and solution
When making a recording, it is critical to be able to see connection status and audio levels on the multicolor lights of the iRig Pre HD. Although the input of the iRig Pre HD indeed has a female XLR input, unlike the RØDE i-XLR, the iRig Pre is not physically designed to snap directly onto a microphone with a male XLR output, and a short XLR cable would make it dangle inappropriately.
I suggested the use of a female>male XLR coupler, which currently costs under US$10.
Items used in this setup:
- Senal ENG-18RL omnidirectional dynamic microphone (reviewed here, illustrated above, B&H)
- iRig Pre HD preamp + A-to-D converter from IK Multimedia (reviewed here, Amazon • B&H)
- Female>male XLR coupler (Amazon)
Yesterday, Francisco Javier and I assembled the pieces and everything worked exactly as expected: perfectly. I only wish (for esthetic reasons) that there were a female>male XLR coupler in black color, since it would match the color of the other two devices. The only ones I have found available in black are not female>male. Francisco Javier is considering the option of spray painting it. Perhaps IK will read this and offer an XLR coupler in black as an accessory, and/or design the next version of the iRig Pre HD with direct coupling capability with XLR microphones, like the i-XLR from RØDE.
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