Back at NAB 2015, I had a chance to meet with Sennheiser and take a look at their new ClipMic Digital. This is a professional grade lavalier microphone that connects to an iOS device via its Lightning port, not to mention the the first of its kind. I know most audio accessories for iOS claim to be “professional” quality, but this thing is no joke. It even compares to my $600 wireless lavalier kit from Sennheiser…
This product was developed in partnership with Apogee, who has developed the 24-bit/96 kHz A/D conversion technology and the free companion app, MetaRecorder. The ClipMic Digital features Sennheiser’s ME 2 omnidirectional condenser microphone, which is the same microphone that came with my EW 112-P G3 wireless lavalier kit that I use to create a lot of my videos.
Inside of the box, you’ll find a quick start guide, carrying pouch, a mic clip, a metal windscreen, and the ClipMic Digital. The setup process is extremely simple: plug in ClipMic Digital’s Lightning connector to your iOS device and launch the companion app. It’s also important to note that this microphone will also work with other apps including the Camera app on iOS.
I’ve been quite surprised by the quality of this microphone. The audio is comparable to a wireless lavalier kit that set me back over $600. Of course, this isn’t a wireless system, but if you don’t mind syncing up audio in post-production or are using the iPhone’s camera, it’s the perfect solution for on-the-go capture with professional quality.
If you’d like to hear this microphone in action, check out our full review video below:
MetaRecorder from Apogee also features Apple Watch and Dropbox integration. This is extremely handy because it will allow you to hook up the microphone, place the iPhone in your pocket, and start recording from the watch. It’s easily one of the best and most affordable ways I’ve found to record interview/on-camera audio at this level of quality from an iPhone. MetaRecorder is a free app, but will require an additional $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock unlimited recording capabilities.
The only downside with ClipMic Digital is the fact that the microphone is not detachable. If you ever have a problem down the road, you’ll have to replace the entire system. Other than that, it’s a great lavalier microphone for any situaiton. For a detailed look at this microphone and a quality comparison between other pro-grade mics, check out the above video.
Sennheiser’s ClipMic Digital is currently available as a pre-order for $199, but should be available early next month with an expected shipping date of June 5, 2015. ClipMic Digital is compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation) running iOS 8 or higher. I highly recommend this microphone setup.
For all of you spec heads, here’s a rundown of the ClipMic Digital and also some screenshots of the MetaRecorder app (and Apple Watch version) below:
|AD conversion||multibit DeltaSigma|
|Bitrate||16 Bit, 24 Bit|
|Cable length||1.6 m|
|Connector||Apple Mfi certified Lightning connector|
|Diameter||6.5 mm (capsule)|
|Digital Signal Processing||Compression, EQ (selectable presets via Apogee Maestro App)|
|Frequency response||30 – 20,000 Hz|
|Gain||0 – 35 dB|
|Max. sound pressure level||@ min.gain: 126 dB, @ max. gain: 91 dB|
|Equivalent noise level||@ min. gain: -90 dBFS (A), @ max.gain: -57 dBFS(A)|
|Operating temperature||0° C…+50°C|
|Powering||Supplied by iOS device|
|Sampling rates||44,1 / 48 / 88,2 / 96 kHz|
|Sensitivity||@ min. gain: -46 dBFS (80 dB SPL, 1 kHz), @ max. gain: -11 dBFS (80 dB SPL, 1 kHz)|
|Transducer principle||pre-polarized condenser microphone|
Gallery below (click to enlarge):
Filed under: Reviews Tagged: audio, clipmic digital, iOS, iPhone, microphone, recording, Sennheiser, video
Spotify is announcing some big updates to its music streaming service today that brings a number of new features alongside more content in the form of video clips, audio shows, and podcasts.
Among new features and improvements, Spotify highlights a new and improved Now start page, a Spotify Running feature that curates playlists based on your running pace, and a partnership with Nike to bring the running feature and music integration to the Nike+ app.
In addition, Spotify has a lot of new content arriving on the service, adding video clips, podcasts, and original programming to the formerly music-only streaming service.
For the first time, Spotify is adding video clips and audio shows to the music mix. We know there are times in the day you want to switch between music to catch up on the latest news, listen to your favourite podcast or simply watch something fun. And with a stellar range of entertainment to choose from there’s something for everyone. Spotify will suggest video and audio shows for you to watch and learn what you love.
Original content includes Running Originals, a playlist designed for running with six original tracks, content from Dance Move of the Day produced by Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls brand, and radio shows curated by celebrities.
As for new video and non-music audio content, Spotify offered a taste of what to expect: ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, Condé Nast Entertainment, ESPN, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBCUniversal, TED, Turner Broadcasting and Vice News, with much more to come. We’ll be bringing fans video clips from such popular series such as TBS’s CONAN and Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Rick and Morty and Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show. Expect awesome clips from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Show with Seth Meyers, E! News, The Soup, The Grace Helbig Show, Brew Dogs and more!
Spotify Running is available to iPhone users worldwide, while the new Now start page will land today for iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden.
Podcasts are coming to Spotify http://t.co/BCn8FHo9P5—
Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) May 20, 2015
Filed under: Apps, Tech Industry, Tips and Tricks Tagged: ABC, Adult Swim, Amy Poehler, BBC, Comedy Central, Conan, Condé Nast Entertainment, entertainment, ESPN, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBCUniversal, Nike, Podcasts, Robot Chicken, Spotify, Streaming Music, TBS, TED, Turner Broadcasting, Vice News, video
A new flyover of Apple’s under construction Campus 2 project in Cupertino, California gives us one of our closest look yet at the site. We also get our first detailed look at work started on Apple’s new auditorium on the campus where it plans to host events when the project is complete.
The video below comes courtesy of MyithZ who was able to get these shots from just 120ft up, much closer than previous drone flyovers and Apple’s own aerial shots.
In addition to getting a look at progress made on the site since our last update, the video gives us a look at Apple’s new $160 million auditorium that will hold around 1,000 people and likely become the site of future Apple product unveilings and press events. Back in 2013 we got a glimpse at what the venue will look like once complete via some official mockups from Apple’s architect Norman Foster.
Here’s Apple’s plans for the building next to the currently under construction auditorium shot by MyithZ over the weekend:
Most of the auditorium is underground, as noted in Apple’s blueprints above, so when complete you’ll actually only see the Apple Store-like glass structure on ground level pictured in the mockup below:
Head below for the full drone flyover video to check out the auditorium and much more:
We’ve been tracking progress of the project in our Campus 2 construction timeline, adding monthly and sometimes weekly updates of drone flyovers, official aerial shots shared by Apple and City of Cupertino, and news surrounding the project. If Apple sticks to its current general construction timeline, it will complete construction by the end of 2016 and presumably begin the process of moving in the approximately 12,000 employees that the 176-acre site will house.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple Campus 2, auditorium, California, campus 2, Construction, construction timeline, Cupertino, drone, events, flyover, keynote, low, MyithZ, norman foster, spaceship, Spaceship Campus, video
The Apple Watch has already been seen on a variety of celebrity wrists, including Pharrell, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Katy Perry. Politicians Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich were also recently pictured wearing Apple Watch. Now, however, Apple Watch has made its music video debut thanks to Wiz Khalifa.
The popular rapper released a new track called “The Game” recently and in the video for it, seen below, Khalifa is clearly wearing an Apple Watch with a white sport band
It’s worth noting that Wiz appears to switch watches several times during the video to another watch that is gold and not made by Apple. Wiz has also posted several images to Instagram in which he is wearing an Apple Watch. Those can be seen below as well.
Keep in mind this is a Wiz Khalifa video and song so there is some NSFW language and content.
The watch that Wiz replaced with Apple’s:
Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, celebrity, Music, video, Watch, wiz khalifa
For the last month, I’ve been using Apple’s new 12-inch Retina MacBook almost exclusively. There’s no denying that’s it’s underpowered when compared to other models on the market, but is its portability worth the performance sacrifice? Can you really get anything done with a relatively small display, an Intel Core M processor, and more importantly, zero traditional USB ports?
This won’t be an in-depth review of features and performance (check out Zac’s take on the MacBook for an in-depth look), but instead, I’ve mainly focused on my personal experiences over the month I’ve been using it. Does the Retina MacBook live up to the hype? Let’s go ahead and find out…
I don’t normally review computers, but I’ve grown very fond of this MacBook. Other than one thing that I happen to do regularly for professional reasons, all of my other tasks have been done on Apple’s smallest laptop. The only time I switched to another computer was during video editing sessions, because this little machine unfortunately isn’t powerful enough to handle them.
The 12″ MacBook is lightweight, thin, and super portable, but what makes the case for buying a compact $1,300 laptop? That’s the real question here. Honestly, thanks to its Core M processor, this is Apple’s netbook, though whether or not you’d like to perceive it in that way is up to you. But since I managed my expectations going into it, I’m perfectly fine with that.
Apple’s latest design is as slick as it gets. This computer is so damn thin, Apple had to redesign major components to make them fit. First off, this is a fan-less MacBook: it doesn’t make a peep, as there are no moving parts inside. Apple also redesigned the keyboard specifically for this MacBook, using new “butterfly switches” that provide a 40% thinner keyboard assembly and 17% larger keys. Although it’s certainly not a keyboard for everyone, it’s actually a pretty easy keyboard to get used to, believe it or not. It took me a little while to feel this way, but I now prefer typing on this keyboard over my 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Watch our 12-inch MacBook review video below:
Along with the keyboard, Apple introduced a new Force Touch trackpad that provides a handful of new features that I rarely use. Most of these features were accessible on prior MacBooks using three-finger taps. If you’d like to check out some of those features, check out this article. Over time, Force Touch may well become better, and even though it’s thinner, the trackpad does feel just like using prior Apple trackpads.
In addition to being beautifully thin, the new MacBook is available in a few different colors as well. I chose the Space Gray version, but honestly prefer the executive-style look you get with a black leather skin; it’s a stunning combination. For productivity, this is an iPad killer: it’s not much larger than an iPad with a keyboard case attached, has a larger, beautiful screen, and runs OS X.
I’m a big fan of the Retina display; it’s awesome. If there’s any main selling point for this computer, it’s the size and quality of the screen. Apple’s display comes in at 12-inches diagonally with a 2304 x 1440 resolution, packing 226 pixels per inch and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It’s a great looking screen. At the center of the display’s top bezel you’ll find a 640×480 FaceTime camera. It’s not that great, but will get the job done for video calls.
Along the top edge of the keyboard, you’ll find a large speaker grille. Despite the machine’s small size, these are without a doubt the best sounding speakers I’ve heard on a MacBook. They are pretty loud with nice warmth and treble. I was genuinely shocked by the sound quality here.
From a peripherals standpoint, there’s only one USB-C port and a headphone jack on this MacBook. This will create a problem for most people, but I really don’t have an issue with it. I rarely use USB ports as it is, and most of my files are stored in the cloud. Apple offers several adapters you can lug around if that’s what you need, but I haven’t been bothered by the lack of ports, as I managed my expectations long before this MacBook shipped. Sure, another port or two would be excellent, and we’ll probably see that on the next model.
Performance vs Portability & Battery life
Sadly, the size of this MacBook is only possible by compromising performance; it doesn’t do well with CPU or GPU intensive apps, such as video rendering tasks. The major benefit here is portability, and I love that about this MacBook. Unfortunately, my professional work is difficult to do on this computer, but I can do everything else.
There’s really not much else to say about performance. It’s not the fastest computer on earth, but it’s not the slowest, either; it’s still a Mac, just not a screamer. If you’re looking for a higher performer, you may want to consider Apple’s 13-inch or even 15-inch MacBook offerings. If you’re interested in benchmarks from the 12-inch MacBook, check out our unboxing and overview article here.
As for battery life, this is another area where you’ll need to manage your expectations. It’s a small computer loaded up with batteries, but it’s not going to get you anywhere near Apple’s claimed 9 to 10 hours. I usually get around 4.5 hours of continuous usage out of a full charge with the brightness set at around 50%. I’d normally have Firefox (10-15 tabs), TweetDeck, Excel, iTunes (playing music), Messages, Notes, and HipChat running simultaneously. Fortunately, it charges in around 2.5 hours from 0 to 100%. You can even charge it with a portable battery pack and the proper adapter when on-the-go.
Do you need this MacBook? Nope. In fact, there are several other choices from Apple and other manufacturers that offer more performance and screen real estate for the money. But is it a very cool piece of tech to own? Yep.
The 12-inch MacBook is certainly a beautiful piece of engineering and design, but not a must-have. I love everything about its design, but unless you’re using this under a certain set of expectations, it won’t satisfy all of your needs. This is the perfect size for traveling via plane and train, but lacks the performance to become my main computer. That being said, it’s the perfect sidekick to accompany my Mac Pro.
This computer is nearly perfect for the average consumer, but far from a win for the traveling creative professional. It’s also a damn good looking computer, but you should look elsewhere if you need a computer for a lot more than its design and portability. So even though it doesn’t satisfy 100% of my needs, it will work for the majority of users across the types of things most people are doing with their Macs today.
If you enjoyed this review, click here to read more excellent 9to5Mac product reviews and How-To guides!
Filed under: Reviews Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, Apple, MacBook, Retina Display, review, video
The Apple Watch has been put through its paces on more than one occasion since its release last month and all of the tests have indicated that the device is far more waterproof than Apple claims. Now, triathlete Ray Maker has put Apple Watch through a trio of intensive tests that further prove the device’s ability to withstand exposure to water.
First off, Maker conducted a 1,200 meter swim during which he wore an Apple Watch Sport. In his post recapping the tests, Maker noted that the Watch withstood the swim without any hiccups, but pointed out that the device doesn’t have any built-in options for tracking swimming like it does for other physical tasks. The wrist detection feature of Apple Watch also didn’t work very well while underwater, which in turn led to inaccurate heart rate measurements, Maker claimed.
Following the swim, Maker decided to wear his Apple Watch while diving into a pool. Maker and his assistant wore Apple Watch while they jumped off of a 5m platform, 8m platform, and 10m platform. Apple’s wearable was able to withstand all three of these dives with no harmful consequences, as Maker notes in the video below.
Finally, Maker placed his Apple Watch in a waterproofing chamber. The Watch features an IPX7 water-resistance rating, which means it can withstand 1 meter of submersion for 30 minutes. Maker defied that rating and sent Apple Watch through automated test cycles in the water chamber at 40 meters deep. The trend continued with this test as Apple Watch emerged from the chamber without any issues whatsoever.
Whether or not any longterm problems surface from excessive exposure to water remains to be seen, but for now, it appears that Apple Watch is far more waterproof than Apple leads on. Warranty concerns remain, however, for those who expose their Watch to intense conditions.
Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, dive, swim, test, video, water chamber, waterproof