Sennheiser Previews the FocusMic Digital at IBC

At IBC, Sennheiser previewed the FocusMic Digital, a rugged mini-shotgun microphone, targeted at high-quality videography applications where users rely on Apple’s iPhone.

Designed with a Sennheiser capsule and Apogee PureDigital pre-amp and A/D converter, the FocusMic Digital plugs directly into the Lightning port of the Apple iPhone and delivers high-quality, focused audio from the direction of filming.

The new mic attaches to the iPhone via a rugged metal grip that can accommodate a variety of iPhone models (from SE and X to 8 Plus) and case designs. It also allows the mic to rotate through 270 degrees. The mic will be available from in the second quarter of 2018.

The FocusMic Digital was designed for mobile journalists for interviews to narration, and for general natural sound pickup while shooting stories.

“As its name suggests, the FocusMic Digital will bring directional high-quality sound to iPhone videos,” said Dela Bahlke, product manager at Sennheiser. “The mic will break the sound limits imposed by the iPhone’s built-in mic and preamp.

“Smartphones face a substantial audio challenge: their built-in microphones and microphone pre-amps are designed for phone calls, not for video sound,” said Bahlke. “Content creators who want to deliver quality videos to their audiences need to employ an external microphone and a dedicated preamp.”

The new mic effectively rejects side noise, enabling focused sound capture even in loud environments. Its sensitivity or gain can be adjusted via apps such as Apogee’s free Maestro and MetaRecorder applications.

These apps also allow users to set various DSP filters that enhance the audio recording, such as a rumble filter, a hiss reducer or an overload protection function (gain control). These settings can also be retained should the user then opt to record with an app that does not offer such extensive configuration options.

The FocusMic Digital features an all-metal microphone casing and a sturdy metal grip. The grip is fitted with a standard ¼-inch thread to attach to camera accessories such as tripods, table stands and handles. On this grip, the microphone can be turned through 270 degrees — from the zero degrees rest and transport position on the back of the smartphone to the interview/filming (POV) position. A total of 14 lock positions are available to optimally direct the mic at the sound source.

The mic is supplied with a foam windshield. No batteries are needed as the microphone is powered directly by the iPhone. It is a permanently polarized condenser microphone with super-cardioid/lobar pattern.

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