iPod Accessory Reviews: microphones
Griffin iTalk Pro Stereo Microphone for iPod
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Reviewed December, 2006 by Lisa Gade, Editor
If you own an iPod Video 5G or a second generation (aluminum) nano and want to record decent quality sound, there are just a few choices on the market as of this writing. The Griffin iTalk Pro is the most recent to market with a stereo microphone that takes advantage of the newest iPods' higher quality sound recording capabilities.
For those of you who haven't yet considered the iPod as more than a music playback machine, the 5G and nano 2G can record "high quality" stereo audio (with a mic like the iTalk Pro), making it a great mobile recording machine that's more affordable than a DAT and easier to work with in terms of getting the music into your PC or Mac than a minidisc player. I've put high quality in quotes because $50 and under iPod mics just aren't going to beat some higher end recording gear meant for studio or serious home use. While you wouldn't want to use it to record your band's demo reel, it does a great job for podcast recording, lectures and recording yourself playing an instrument for practice and sharing purposes. The iTalk Pro gets around this quality limitation with a 3.5mm stereo line-in jack that allows you to use a better stereo mic in place of iTalk's built-in pair. More on that later. Note that the iPod 3G and 4G models could also record audio but the quality was lower (Apple didn't add high quality stereo support until the 5G came out). The original Griffin iTalk works with these older iPods, while the Pro is intended for the 5G and nano 2G.
The iTalk Pro's dock connector
High quality stereo recordings take up about 600 megs/hour (10 megs/second) and low quality mono recordings consume approximately 125 megs/hour. Recording length is limited only by the amount of available space on the iPod and battery life. There is no pass through charging connector nor does the iTalk Pro have an auxiliary battery, so expect to record around 3 hours on a full charge when using an iPod Video 5G. The nano 2G could last much longer but storage space is more limited on the nano so you might fill the iPod before depleting its battery.
Recordings are saved in WAV format, which is an uncompressed format more commonly seen on Windows machines. When you dock the iPod, iTunes will automatically transfer the recordings to your desktop iTunes library and delete them from the iPod, clearing space. File names are simply the time plus date, i.e.: 12/06/06 1:39 PM. You can use iTunes on the desktop to convert the files to AAC format and you can sync them pack to your iPod if you wish. A stereo recording will reduce to 1/3rd original file size when converted from WAV to AAC using iTunes.