The iQ5 Professional Stereo Microphone by Zoom is a high-quality mid-side stereo condenser mic for iOS devices with lightning connectors. It is an add-on accessory for iPhones, iPods as well as iPads. It features a rotating mechanism, enabling audio and video recording with correct left to right stereo orientation vertically and horizontally respectively. A pretty nifty little gadget for about a hundred bucks. Let’s check it out.
Specifications of the iQ5 by Zoom
- Microphone: Mid-side (M-S) stereo mic
- Maximum SPL: 120 dB SPL
- Input Gain: + 0 to + 40dB
- Audio: 44.1 kHz, 16-bit
- Powered by the connected iOS device
- Lightning connector
- USB Mini-B connector (only for recharging)
- Stereo mini-jack (combined headphone/line level output)
- Compatible Audio Import Formats: iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th Gen), iPad (4th Gen), iPad mini
- Compatible Operating Systems iOS 6.0 and up
- Dimensions: 2.3 x 2.46 x 1.51″ (58.6 x 62.45 x 38.5 mm)
- Weight: 1.1 oz (30.5 g)
Our thoughts on the iQ5
Although I do have my own DSLR camera for video shooting purposes, I find it a bit daunting carrying it around a lot. Sometimes I find myself in a moment (for example with my dog at the park or out with friends) which I want to capture so I use my phone. But for somebody who’s completely spoiled when it comes to sound quality now that I’m so up-to-date with technology, iOS device sound quality in general just isn’t good enough. This thing is great for traveling purposes and really ups the quality of my audio if I ever shoot video or record sound with my phone. It fits in my pocket pretty nicely, although I do get scared of smashing it sometimes so I keep it in my glove box in my car.
There is no protective carrying case in the package. This is all merely personal preference, but if I’m dropping $100 on a little microphone and I plan on carrying it around everywhere, I get pretty paranoid — if you don’t want a case, just be careful!
We’ve heard some complaints about the lightning connector being too small if you have a case, especially a bulkier one that offers more protection. Be aware that you may have to take off your case to use it.
The features explained
There are two microphone elements on this add-on device. They are a directional “mid” mic and a bidirectional “side” mic. The former one captures audio coming from in front, while the latter one covers ambient signal. A stereo width, which depends on the actual recording situation, is adjustable between 90º and 120º. If you want to record yourself, make sure the red dot is pointing at you, while the opposite if you’re recording what’s in front of you.
With the help of Zoom’s Handy Recorder iOS app, which is especially designed for this gadget, the stereo width can be raised from 30º and 150º. We’re then allowed to go from a tight sound or convert the signal into phase-coherent mono, which is perfect for interviews or narration. Audio input from an external microphone like Apple’s Garage Band is supported as well. This alone is pretty cool as you get an upgraded audio tech within your device.
Files can be uploaded to the SoundCloud audio sharing site too, which is always a plus. The app can be directly downloaded from the App Store and the installation procedure is pretty easy.
The Zoom iQ5 Professional Stereo Microphone also provides a dedicated headphone jack. Both the recording and playback procedures can be directly monitored. This device also brings users great convenience as getting great sound will get easier with its presence, regardless of what is being recorded. Using the MIC GAIN wheel, users can set the recording level of the microphone manually. That can also be done automatically by selecting from three Auto Gain presets – Concert, Solo or Meeting. A built-in limiter is also featured so as to protect the input from getting overloaded.
The Zoom iQ5 is particularly suitable for those who want to do some serious stereo recording whenever and wherever they like. It is small enough to fit into a pocket, so it is a perfect tool for them to record music, especially recording live concerts, ENG and videos. It has been available on the market, such as Amazon in white or black and eBay. It costs around US$100.