Through a range of accessories, Apple’s iOS devices have gradually been integrated into video and audio recording applications. Now, Rode Microphones has upped the ante by introducing an XLR-to-Lightning adapter that simplfies turning iPhones into high-quality, professional video and audio recording devices.
Rode’s new i-XLR ($149) is a small, compact XLR-to-Lightning adapter that, when combined with Rode’s Reporter app for iOS devices, turns an iPhone into a remotely switchable recorder. The i-XLR bypasses the internal analog to digital converter in the iPhone with its own, higher-quality unit.
The i-XLR plugs into any dynamic or self-powerd microphone. A single button on the i-XLR allows the user to remotely control the recording with a single push of a button. LEDs allow the user to monitor the recording functions without looking at the screen of the iPhone. Headphone monitoring can be accomplished from the i-XLR. It has a volume control knob that allows variable headphone level.
Though the i-XLR was clearly designed for reporting and video recording applications, its uses can go further. For example, it can be plugged into a wireless receiver to record audio from wireless microphones or it can be used to record the output of audio mixing consoles. It can totally integrate an iPhone into a professional audio chain.
The i-XLR is not limited to the Rode Reporter app. It can also be used with any other audio or video application to route XLR audio for the chosen task. The only downside is the use of an alternative application abandons the remote control functionality and control features.
The main limitation of the i-XLR is its lack of phantom power. It works fine with dynamic or self-powered microphones, but there is no way to supply voltage to a microphone from the device. The Lightning connector supplies power to the i-XLR for its A-to-D converter and headphone amplifier.
Inside the app, a -20dB pad switch can cut the gain of a microphone that is too hot. There’s also a high pass filter and a switch to prevent auto lock of the device. The app records a 24 bit, 96kHz WAVE file, but can also be switched to record a 16-bit, 48kHz WAVE file or compressed AAC or MP3 files, with variable bit rates.
A library allows the renaming and playback of recorded files, which can also be archived or sent to the iCloud, Dropbox, Box or to others via email apps.
Rode’s i-XLR is another accessory that moves iPhones into the professional broadcast and recording arena. It is a solid contender for news reporters recording interviews or videographers who want to connect an iPhone into a professional audio recording environment for shooting video.
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