Boost Your iPhone’s Audio-Recording Quality with LiveAction Mic
The Belkin LiveAction Mic is a battery-powered microphone that works with the iPhone and enables the iOS device to record better quality audio than its built-in microphone.
By Paul Mah, CIO
The Belkin LiveAction Mic is a simple external microphone that attaches to your iPhone’s audio jack. Belkin says the LiveAction Mic brings professional quality audtio recording to the iPhone smartphone, and it’s powered by just one AAA battery. The mic has two modes: a “Directional” setting optimized for use at concerns and live events; and a “Super-Directional” setting for smaller, more intimate environments.
Setting up the LiveAction Mic was a straightforward affair. However, you’ll probably need a coin or other thin object to open the battery cover and install the included AAA battery. The process required a fair amount of coercion on my part before I managed to lock it back into position. The battery door is made of metal, but that did not prevent me from slightly scuffing the edge of the groove where I had to insert the coin. Finally, you just slide the stereo mini plug into the iPhone, tighten the thumbwheel accordingly, and it’s ready to record.
My initial impression of the LiveAction Mic was that it felt somewhat flimsy. But this changed after using it for a few times and I realized it isn’t as fragile as it appeared. One thing I like about the LiveAction Mic is how the “shock mount” helps it resist mild shocks and pressure without breaking (See photo below).
On the flip side, the battery door didn’t feel very well designed due to the amount of effort needed to twist it back into place after removing it. In addition, the gadget gives no indication as to the way the battery should be inserted, and it has no indicator light to signal whether the device is powered on or turned off. I also had some issues toggling the LiveAction Mic between Directional and Super-Directional settings.
I used the LiveAction Mic to record a performance in a concert setting, a speech and a number of conversations conducted in a relatively quiet room. The recordings sounded slightly louder in Super Directional Mode and were also noticeably sharper.
I played back the recorded files on a pair of high-end headphones and on a stereo system; while there was a slight difference in quality, I honestly could not detect any dramatic improvements between recordings captured via the LiveAction Mic and recordings made with the iPhone’s built-in microphone.
In conclusion, the LiveAction Mic will probably work best in an auditorium or classroom that does not have the benefit of a proper sound system. In situations where the sound source is loud, the LiveAction Mic appears to make little material difference in the quality of recordings. As such, I will only recommend Belkin’s LiveAction Mic to users who plan to use it in larger spaces, for recording concerts or lectures. The LiveAction Mic is available from Belkin for $49.99 here.
The Belkin LiveAction Mic looks quite sleek actually
The thumbwheel allows the LiveAction Mic to work with a wider variety of cases
The shock mount is is a clever piece of engineering to protect against bumps