Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MemoMic - Lapel Mic for the Classroom

While strolling around the iPod accessories section at the Crabtree Mall Apple, Inc. store today, I noticed a very small lapel microphone almost on out of reach from the the floor. The company, Xtrememac was one that I had read about on a blog. The box was labeled MemoMic. I read the description on the package and it said "This product is compatible with all digital recorders." Hum, could this work with my Belkin mic? Last summer, I purchased a new iPod Video and a matching Belkin TuneTalk Stereo microphone.

Prior to owning the Belkin TuneTalk, I used my iMic with my 4th Generation iPod to record podcasts. My students could not seem to get comfortable with the iPod sitting there. I experienced the same blank stares from my students when I tried record them with the iPod Video and TuneTalk. So, I tried using several different external microphones. I tried using the Griffin Lapel Mic, and a Sony lapel mic. They did not produce quality audio. I can not describe the way they sounded. Maybe I should make a demo of the sound. You don't have to believe me, try it yourself. They just sound crappy.

I left the Apple Store, and went to eat some lunch and returned to the store. The store audio expert tried to explain how the MemoMic was designed to work the XtremeMac's iPod recorder. I just listened to his canned sales pitch and then after he had finished, I asked a simple question. I asked him if the MemoMic would work with my Belkin TuneTalk. I am one of those customers that love to ask questions that stump the experts. It must be all those years I spend running my sporting goods business. Some customers must stay up all night coming up with questions to stump the employees. I was not trying to "show off", I just wanted to know if they had heard about anyone trying to use the MemoMic with with a non-Xtreme recorder. I left the store with that question going round and round in my head. I walked from one end of Crabtree Mall to the other to my truck in the parking lot. I dug in my computer bag and located my Belkin TuneTalk and turned around and went back to the Apple Store.

I walked straight to the XtremeMac MemoMic display, and a different clerk came up to me with one of their new handheld checkout devices that scans the UPC and lets you swip your credit card to complete the transaction. I think the store clerk and audio expert must have seen me come in and ran to keep from having to listen to my crazy question. Well, I bought the MemoMic-- BAM! It would not have been the first or last time I have plunked down money on a tech toy that did not work. I ripped into the box and plugged it into my TuneTalk mic attached to my iPod. The first two test recordings did not work. The audio level was almost inaudible. Then, I noticed the TuneTalk's gain switch on the bottom was in the off position. Moving the switch to on, I tried another short recording. It was very clear and crisp. The background noise in the Apple Store was like a middle school classoom on Friday at 5 seconds after the bell to go home. Well, not that bad, but close.

I was very excited with the way the Xtreme MemoMic works with the Belkin TuneTalk. I plan to use the device with my students this week to record some podcasts. I will link to them when they are posted.

XtremeMac iPod Audio Accessories: MemoMic™ for MicroMemo

Get crisp, clean recordings of your meetings, interviews and presentations

MemoMic™ is a professional-style microphone that clips to a lapel or shirt. This omni-directional mic is designed to pick up meetings, lectures, or any audio hands-free. It's perfect for capturing every word into a voice recorder (like our MicroMemo™), video camera or through a public address system.

You don't have to be a big shot to come across like one. Clip it on, plug it in and you're all set.

* Omnidirectional

* Uses popular 3.5mm plug

* Ideal for voice recorders, camcorders, VoIP

* Inconspicuous 4-foot cable

* Extra windscreen and clip

* 90° angle mini-plug for comfort

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