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RØDE smartLav Review: Sound Quality Step-Up for Smartphones

Photo of the RØDE SmartLav Microphone for iPhone

For highly portable, quality audio recording, editing and publishing on a device you already own, check out RØDE Microphones smartLav.

Have you ever wished you could get your hands on a decent audio recording device – or perhaps an extra one? Well, if you own either an Apple or Android smartphone then you already have one. But what about the sound quality? Internal mics on smartphones tend to pick up a great deal of ambient noise and the overall quality generally leaves much to be desired.

Steppin' Up

Enter RØDE Microphones. RØDE has created the smartLav to transform your smartphone or other Apple iOS device into an audio recording master of superior sound quality. And it’s easy to use – simply plug the TRRS connector into the headphone jack on your device, attach the tiny lavalier microphone to your talent, fire up your favorite audio recording app and you’re ready to record some significant sound. The one drawback here is that with the headphone jack busily recording audio you have no means of monitoring your work.

Into the Wind

The mic is small, about a centimeter in diameter, with a windscreen to handle plosives and reduce wind noise. It plugs in to a nice slim smartphone and fits easily on the pocket of a groom, a wedding officiate, a public speaker or an interviewee.  We tested it outdoors and found the smartLav to do an excellent job of clearly picking up our voices while excluding the extraneous noises of wind and wildlife around us. Drop off was practically non-existent as we turned away from the mic and back again. The overall sound quality was very good.

Maximum Performance

Although the smartLav will work with a wide number of Android devices and any audio recording app that will take input from the 1/8-inch jack, it shines brightest when attached to an iOS device running the RØDE Rec app. There is a free LE version of the app with limited functionality but the full-featured version provides access to editing features and lets you fine tune your audio with compression settings, limiting, equalization and more. Once your work is ready to publish you can send it directly to SoundCloud, Dropbox or email it to whomever you wish.

Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Product/Company name & Pricing:
RØDE Microphones Intl.
107 Carnarvon Street
Silverwater, NSW 2128
Australia
www.rodemic.com

smartLav: $60 ; RØDE Rec LE app: FREE; RØDE Rec app: $5.99

Tech Specs
Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient
Active Electronics: JFET
Capsule: 0.10”
Address Type: End
Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity: -32.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (25.50mV @ 94dB SPL) +/- 2dB @ 1kHz
Power Options: N/A; powered by device
Weight: .12oz. (6g)
Dimensions: 3/8” (9mm) diameter; 47” (1180mm) cord
Output: TRRS

Strengths

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Affordable
  • Unobtrusive

Weaknesses

  • No headphone monitoring
  • No RØDE Rec app for Android
     
Tags:  September 2013
Mark
Holder
Tue, 07/23/2013 - 4:08pm