Audio, besides learning to edit, is probably the biggest hurdle aspiring shooters balk at when considering doing video as a profession. Audio can be baffling, challenging and expensive. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, you end up with sound that is akin to hearing a conversation through a tin can in a Miami club. “Good” audio equipment is expensive and doesn’t guarantee results. Well, that was the case until Mikme. I spent some time with the attractive little box and its creator, Philipp Sonnleitner, and have seen (or rather, heard) what it is capable of… and I was impressed.
So what is Mikme? It’s a wireless recording microphone that lets you capture sound quickly and easily with the push of a button and commanded with a well-conceived mobile app. Equipped with a gold-plated condenser capsule, an 8GB hard drive and the latest Bluetooth technology, Mikme is designed to capture your audio in studio-grade quality.
Bluetooth? But isn’t Bluetooth horrible for transmitting high quality audio? Yes. It was. But Sonnleitner has created a unique Bluetooth transmission system with no skipping, no missing data packets, no problems. It’s called “Lost & Found Bluetooth Protocol” which is a secure audio transmission over bluetooth (patent pending). It works incredibly well, shockingly well actually considering my past experiences with Bluetooth technology.
Mikme is designed to be approachable for anyone, but full featured enough for higher level professionals to want it as well. It features real time monitoring, nearly immediate transmission of completed audio tracks from the device to your mobile phone, built in 8 GB storage backup, USB hookup if you want it, and the ability send the files to Dropbox for immediate sharing all packed into a small cube no bigger than the palm of your hand.
As you can see, the device is super easy to use. The controls are really straightforward, and the app itself has an intuitive design that easily flows with how swipe controls should work. Check it out:
Not only can you record, but there are neat editing effects in the app as well. That third pane, the one with Elvis? Each area of that image can add a different variation of an effect to audio. What the Mikme team did was really link visual queues with audio feedback. Let me explain a bit more. You see, when you have a lot of audio tracks in a traditional system, you just see a bunch of file names in a list. In order to see what each one is, you have to listen to them.
Not with Mikme. They have done something to make it so audio has visual meaning.
When you take an audio clip with the Mikme, you label that clip with a photo. In the fourth pane in the photo above, you can see how that looks. If you tried to find a specific clip you know you recorded without those photos, you would be forced to guess which file was the one you were seeking. With photos attached to the audio, you can simply recall “I took a photo of Rick” and find the packet you want nearly instantly. It’s brilliant, and the best part of the app in my opinion (I generally edit all my audio on my desktop, so the editing features were less impressive to me, however I can recognize that people new to audio would find them really helpful).
So here are some tech specs on what is packed into the little cube:
- Capsule – 1 inch, gold plated, true condenser
- Polar pattern – Cardiod
- Audio frequency bandwidth, 20 to 20kHz
- Sensitivity – 18 mV/Pa
- Signal to noise – 75 dB-A
- Preattenuation pad – 0 to -30 dB
Internal Audio Recorder
- Internal memory – 8 GB
- Recording time – 180 hours MP4, 16 hours WAV
- Bit depth – 24
- Sampling frequencies – 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 96 kHz
- Processor – 168 MHz Cortex M4
- Rechargeable Li-IO battery – 1000 mAh
- Battery-powered operation time standalone recording – 7 hours (5 hours with bluetooth recording)
The possible uses of Mikme are nearly endless. You can use it for intervews for video, capturing ambient sound while outside, recording music in environments or just doing a simple interview on your iPhone. It’s all made much, much more approachable to anyone thanks to Mikme.
Mikme works wirelessly with Android and iOS 7+ and wired with USB Audio Class compliant devices on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux (the app will be available here on the iTunes App Store). Mikme will be the smallest and most versatile recording device and you can get one via their IndieGoGo page for $169. That’s a raging deal for an audio device that can do so many things. Stereo sound, interviews, podcasts, the Mikme is capable of doing them all really well. It doesn’t necessarily excel at anything, but it’s really good at just about everything.