March 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

Ingenious: Tascam iM2 Records Live Music to the iPhone

AUSTIN, TEXAS — As you already know, it’s possible to record sound to an iPhone or other iOS device using the built-in voice recorder app. As you might already know, doing so makes music sound like noise.

Tascam is pushing its solution to that problem here at SXSW 2012: the Tascam iM2, which is basically a couple of condensor mics that you can slap onto the bottom of your iPhone to turn it into a decent audio recorder. Boasting the same sound quality as Tascam’s standalone DR-series audio recorders, the iM2 comes with a free app that’s perfect for recording uncompressed WAV files with the iM2. The app includes EQ controls, a limiter, a mono/stereo switch, a low-cut filter, and of course a volume indicator so you can be sure the audio isn’t distorting or being recorded too quietly.

That alone would make the Tascam iM2 worthwhile, but it can also record audio when you use the iPhone’s built-in video recorder, offering the opportunity for show-goers, at long last, to record a live show and have it sound somewhat decent.

“But how can I control the input level in that scenario?” you ask, and rightly so. Tascam thought of that too, and included a mic level knob on the side of the iM2 so you can tweak the input volume regardless of what app you’re using to record (although you might want to set levels with Tascam’s app to make sure they’re right before you start shooting video). Bonus: If you need to charge your iPhone while you’re recording, you’ll be happy to find that the iM2 has a USB power pass-through so you can connect it to a computer or a power outlet as you record.

Our only complaint is that the iM2 costs just $20 less than Tascam’s standalone audio recorder. Considering that Apple takes care of everything except for the mic, it should probably be cheaper. But for anyone who cares about recording good-sounding audio and doesn’t want to lug around a dedicated recorder, the iM2 should easily be worth its $80 asking price.