Three months after Zoom Japan unveiled the iQ5 mid-side condenser microphone for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, its North American arm has announced immediate US availability at NAMM 2014. The pocket-friendly device makes use of a unique rotating mechanism which allows for left-right stereo recording at CD-quality resolution, even if the iOS host device is capturing video in landscape mode.
Billed by Zoom North America as the world's first mid-side condenser mic for iOS devices, the iQ5 contains two microphone elements. There's a directional mid mic to capture audio coming from the front, and a bidirectional side mic to, well, grab the sounds from left and right. Stereo width can be set to either 90° or 120°, and users can also opt to record the incoming mid and side signals as RAW data for later adjustment via the free companion Handy Recorder app.
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Audio can be recorded in Linear PCM WAV format at 44.1 kHz/16-bit audio resolution, or compressed AAC format where storage space is more important than quality. Zoom says that the iQ5 can be used with just about any native iOS app that supports audio input from an external microphone, though if you're looking for extra functionality like six-band EQ for tone control, multiple reverb effects, a normalization feature and the ability to break up recorded files into separate components (and delete unnecessary elements), the company's app is probably the way to go.
Up to 40 dB of input gain is available via the wheel at the side, situation-tuned Auto Gain presets can be selected (though you'll need to use this feature in conjunction with the companion app), and there's a built-in Limiter to help avoid input overload.
The 58.6 x 62.4 x 38.5 mm (2.3 x 2.5 x 1.5 in), 30.5 g (1 oz) iQ5 includes a stereo mini jack output for monitoring audio through plugged in headphones, and a mini-USB connector which allows the iOS device to be charged while the Lightning port is taken up with the attached microphone.
The iQ5 will cost you around a hundred bucks. Have a look at Zoom's promo video below.
Product page: Zoom iQ5