The secret to great video is audio. In an age where your cameraphone shoots video that isn’t just good enough, but actually pretty great, the tinny, flat sound that accompanies most videos remains the starkest difference between amateur and pro. Where’s the GoPro or iPhone for audio?
Well, it might be Mikme. Ignore any healthy, knee-jerk skepticism around its crowdfunding. (Although not if you want to buy one of the first off the production line; the campaign ends after this weekend, having raised over a quarter-of-a-million dollars.) It’s a device that aims to make high-quality audio a point-and-shoot afair. And with a team comprised of consumer audio veterans, there’s a better-than-average chance they’ve pulled it off.
Mikme’s most obvious improvement? No wires. The $190 battery-powered microphone streams compressed audio to a phone in very nearly real time, using a proprietary protocol on top of Bluetooth called “Lost & Found” that purports to prevent packet loss–dropped audio, in this case–or syncing issues. Or you can just hit the single button on top to start recording directly to the built-in storage. It’s got all the sync-y, cloudy features of a modern device, too: upload from the Mikme to Dropbox; move the recordings over to your PC for further editing; it’s even possible to unify up to three Mikmes at once to record a whole room.
Anyone who has shot videos in the field knows the hassle of dealing with sound. Lavalier microphones can be tucked under shirts, but most still use analog radios that are susceptible to digital interference. (The interference from consumer Wi-Fi and cell phones has been a particular bugbear to audio professionals, not to mention the fight to share precious wireless spectrum with competing technologies.) The Mikeme isn’t exactly unobtrusive–someone would still have to hold it in front of themselves or put it on a mic stand–but since it’s basically just a good-sized condenser microphone and a battery in a box, it’s no more awkward than any other handheld mic.
The experience of use seems well considered. All physical interactions happen with just that one button. (Even an automatic “gain check” that samples the room and calibrates for optimal levels. There’s also an app, naturally.) The housing is plastic, although restrained and considered. (The slight bias of spacing in the side of the grill to indicate the front of the device is especially nice, although to be fair, they also just put a logo there.)
Mikme’s strongest suit might simply be there’s no “Just buy this one” product in the microphone market. If the company can convince the consumer world that adding high quality audio to their life isn’t a hassle, they might be able to reach a market that, up to now, hasn’t been shopping for microphones in the first place.
Via Create Digital Music.