The Blue Mikey was something I was quite impressed by when it originally came out. I had always thought recording via an iPod would be silly, but Blue claimed that their Mikey unit does it right– great sound quality at a reasonable price. When I saw Blue's booth at CES and their full line of microphones, I wondered how the Mikey could possibly compare to their larger units. To check, I tested out their revised Mikey.
I'm just a simple soon-to-be college graduate who loves writing about technology. While I thought the Blue would be interesting to take a look at, I knew there were certainly other people who would be able to run it through some tests better than I. Because of this, beyond a short private test, I left the real use up to my father, a university professor in a band full of other university professors. He promised to take it with his iPhone 3GS to a band practice session and to give it some real material to handle. This review is based mostly on his own opinion and comparison with other recording devices his band has used in the past.
One thing that's very important to note: if you have a new iOS device, this will not work with it. For some bizarre reason, Apple changed the way the Dock Connector handles analog audio input. Rather than sticking with the connector design found in the iPhone 3GS and prior, they enabled digital-only input. Don't buy this if you have an iPhone 4 or an iPod Touch with Retina Display.
Back in the 1970's when my father was a young drummer, recording systems cost thousands. Bands would routinely pay big money to record for a short amount of time to get a simple cassette with their unprocessed audio. Nowadays, you can buy a $300 Zoom Handy Recorder H2 and get high quality audio. Well now, with the Mikey and the FiRe iOS app, you can get very similar sound quality with a smaller investment– assuming you own an iOS device of course.
The Mikey has a selector to determine the level of sensitivity desired. Three gain settings are possible, Low, Medium, and High. High gain is best for a classroom lecture hall with a professor far away. It proved to be very sufficient at capturing voices at a distant. In a band recording setting, you would use the Low gain setting to prevent clipping.
Included in the tiny capsule are two microphones for stereo recording. The capsule can swivel on the connector allowing for various placement options. A 3.5 mm jack is built in for external source recording.
Overall the Blue Mikey does a great job for the money. It produces some very good recordings and has very good sound quality. If you have an older iOS device, get it. Every concert you go to can become something you can listen to over and over again.
Listen to a song recorded by the band "Intellectual Property" of which my father is a member: