Today on Blogcritics
Home » Hardware Review: Blue Microphones’ Mikey 2G

Hardware Review: Blue Microphones’ Mikey 2G

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Less than half the size of my iPod Touch, the Mikey 2G is an external coincident stereo microphone for most iPods. Mikey 2G is designed for musicians, cub reporters, students and anyone who needs to capture high quality audio on the spot with their iPod.

The product ships with a plush lined black cloth pouch, and a bilingual French/English printed user manual almost small enough to fit in the bag as well. Mikey 2G comes with a free companion download from the iTunes Music store, Blue FiRe, a simplified version of Audiofile Engineering’s FiRe field recording application. Blue FiRe includes an audio quick start file built in, which walks you through the major features and functions while you play the file.

Blue's Mikey 2G

Using Mikey 2G is darn easy. Plug it in to the Dock connector, launch the app, and start recording though I found it best to shut down my ’Touch, plug in Mikey, start things back up, and launch Blue FiRe. Blue claims “Compact Disc quality recording directly to your iPod” and, you know what? They’re right!

After receiving the second generation Mikey, I trotted over to the lovely Studio Trilogy, where co–owner Justin Lieberman and assistant Alex Knickerbocker had X–Y stereo pairs of very costly Neumann KM 84 and Schoeps CMC 6 small condensers already set up in their big room. I brought along my pair of MCA SP1s, fave condenser of audio bottom feeders everywhere.

Mikey 2G with iPod

We patched all six mics into their API 1608 desk, while I set up my 3G iPod Touch with Mikey 2G on an improvised mic stand. We enlisted Alex to play some wide dynamic material, David Lanz’s Vesuvius, which we recorded flat to Pro Tools HD while I recorded Mikey using Blue FiRe at highest quality, 44.1/16. After recording, we easily FTP’d the Mikey 2G files over WiFi to the Mac, using Blue FiRe’s built in server, and sync’d everything up in Pro Tools.

Listening back, we were frankly amazed at the timbre, clarity and directivity of the Mikey 2G. I had brought my SP1s since the pair is very close in cost to Mikey. After some critical listening, we agreed that, believe it or not, the Mikey sound was closest to the Neumann’s. The frequency response was very good and the amount of direct versus reflected pickup was just right.

Since this rant is about Mikey 2G, you may be wondering what’s with Mikey the 1st? The first generation Mikey didn’t have a line input, direct monitoring or passthrough USB. The gain switch was hard to access, and the product didn’t include any container to store it in. Some user complained about the gain settings as well. Oh yeah, the mic could only swivel 180º, sometimes making placement difficult.

All of these objections have been addressed in the current incarnation. The mount has eight detented positions, with a 230º total swing. The three fixed preamplifier gain settings are via a recessed slide switch that’s easy to change but unlikely to get nudged accidentally. Mikey 2G has blue LEDs that indicate which of the three gain ranges the preamp is set to. Blue has re–jiggered the gain staging, and I didn’t have any issues with the their choices.

Microphone Test Rig

One feature that I mentioned earlier is the FTP server. Blue FiRe has a convenient FTP server function built in that allows any computer on the same subnet to retrieve the recording stored on your iDevice. The UI displays all recordings, their name, running time and file size. For each file, a Format menu lets you select the format you’d like for the download. Choices are WAV, AIF and CAF.

Mikey 2G Works with iPod touch 1G, 2G, 3G; iPod nano 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G; iPod classic and iPod 5G. Be advised: it’s compatible only with iPhone versions 3GS and earlier.

With Mikey 2G, Blue has addressed most all of the objections to the first version, while improving on the sonics and ergonomics. The only complaints I had is that I wished the user manual was reformatted to fit comfortably in the storage pouch and, that the pouch itself had a small non–metallic center snap on the flap, no Velcro please, to keep it closed. One caveat is that Mikey 2G is attached to its iPod only via the Dock connector so, you shouldn’t use Mikey while hang gliding.

Other than my niggling complaints, Mikey 2G delivered clean sound with amazing convenience and portability. If you’re looking for a fabulous gift for a musician or lecture hall lounge lizard on your gift giving list, Mikey is just the ticket.

By The Numbers
• Coincident Stereo Cardioid Condenser Microphone
• Frequency Response: 35 – 20 kHz
• Maximum acoustical input before overload: 130 dB SPL, at lowest preamp gain
• Output: 16 bit at 44.1 kHz
• Size: 2.5″ x 2.5″ x 0.5″

Blue Microphones
5706 Corsa Avenue, #102
Westlake Village CA 91362
91362-4057

Powered by

About Oliver Masciarotte

A graduate of the Lowell Institute of MIT, Oliver A. Masciarotte has spent over 30 years immersed in entertainment tech, working with top companies & clients on marketing, production and product development…More at www.seneschal.net/about/
  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Were you guys actually “playing” the reference material or was it playing through monitors? Because I think there would be a huge difference in sound quality if the Mikey 2.0 had to handle real dynamics as opposed to those coming from a CD. And that’s not a knock on the Mikey 2.0 but the D/A Converter in the iPhone…

  • http://www.seneschal.net/ Oliver Masciarotte

    Hey Brian,

    Good question and, agreed. Loudspeaker playback ain’t the same as live… Turns out, we were kickin’ it old school: a real piano in a real room, with Alex hammering away. We’re all audio engineers so we wanted to test Mikey’s real world capabilities. The mic array was about 5 feet from the closest edge of the piano, in a spot that Justin determined was a good location for that instrument in that room.

    If you head over to Studio Trilogy, you’ll see a pic of the piano in the room during the slide show. We were recording in Studio B, actually one of three control rooms that tee off of the studio. The control room faces the back of the piano bench, to the far left of the orange guitar in the photo.

    I’m taking a few days off for the holidays but I’ll post all the audio files on my site when I’m back in the office. So, check my blog mid-month and I’ll have those up for you… Happy holidays!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hello Oliver,

    Thanks for the reply. I ask only because I’m trying to find a decent & inexpensive way to record a project I’m working on. So, if an “iPhone mic” is that good then purchasing one of their other mics should do the trick. I hear their “Snowball” is pretty good as well. Anyways, can you upoload those tracks in FLAC?

    Thanks again… Merry Festivus:)

  • Alex Holmes

    A meaningless article until you post the audio..

  • http://www.seneschal.net Oliver Masciarotte

    Hey Brian,

    The audio files are all ZIP’d up and available on my blog for your listening pleasure.

    Happy 2011!