Australian audio company RØDE Microphones has released the iXY, a stereo microphone for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With 30-pin connector, it is capable of high-quality recording at sampling rates of up to 24-bit/96kHz – the only microphone currently on the market to be able to do so.

“Around two years ago we started to explore the possibility of creating a field recorder using Apple portable devices as a platform,” says Peter Cooper, VP Design and New Product Development at RØDE. “The Apple ‘iOS’ ecosystem offered an intriguing opportunity to create a professional-quality recording solution with versatility unmatched by traditional field recorders.”

While there are a number of companies who have produced external microphones for smartphones, RØDE sought a higher level of performance. “To achieve the level of performance offered by dedicated professional field recorders we needed to develop our own electronics,” explains Cooper.

“The bit depth and sampling rate of a digital recorder define the resolution of the audio. CD-quality is achieved at 16 bit/44.1kHz. The iXY can achieve 24bit/96kHz recording, this is what many engineers in recording studios work to. The iXY is the first iPhone accessory in the world capable of this,” he says.

At the core of the iXY is a matched pair of half-inch cardioid condenser capsules that are positioned at a perfect 90-degree 'near-coincident' alignment. The result is powerful, true-to-life stereo recordings, which are captured in exceptionally high detail. With its own high-fidelity analogue to digital conversion, the iXY ensures all recordings are full and precise. “The analogue and digital audio electronics are all contained within the microphone housing, so that all communication to the Apple device is purely digital,” says Cooper.

The tiny size and high-quality performance makes the iXY ideal for recording live music, reporting, dictation, lectures and meeting, as well as for on-camera use as a dual-system recorder for DSLR. A foam windshield is supplied for recording outdoors, as well as a sturdy zip case to store it in.

“The final product has been incredibly well received,” says Cooper. “It offers a very portable option for capturing studio-quality audio. The user has the ability to edit and notate the recording, then share data files, all via the one device, versatility that no traditional field recorder offers.”

The iXY has been released in conjunction with RØDE Rec, an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, which merge to transform the iOS device into a fully featured field recorder. The app offers a full suite of features, such as multiple sampling rates up to 96kHz, equalisation effects (compressor/expander, high-pass filter, low pass filter, parametric EQ), non-linear editing, geo and photo tagging, and onetouch publishing to SoundCloud, Dropbox, email, FTP and iTunes.

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