I have just finished playing with two recent offerings from IK Multimedia – the iRigVoice microphone paired with the free EZ Voice app. Well, it’s technically free, but you really should convince yourself to spend $6.49 adding an array of professional effects as an in-app purchase.
Firstly the microphone itself. Selling for around $50 the iRigVoice comes in a range of bubblegum colours – pink, white, blue, green and yellow, which is what I have. The thermoplastic casing with an on/off switch feels quite substantial in the hand and the stylish aluminium cage which protects the microphone capsule includes a moisture barrier to protect from corrosion. The Voice is specially designed for singing and has a close pickup pattern to minimise feedback when used with a PA system or such.
I plugged the unit into my iPad via the headphone socket and connected my headphones via the socket on the input jack. This time I’m running the output from the iPad into an iLoud unit, which I looked at late last year. If everything works as intended, this should be one of the smallest karaoke units around.
Now for EZ Voice. It’s pretty simple. Once the microphone is connected I move from A to Z in three simple steps. Firstly recording. I can do this a cappella or accompanied by an item from my iTunes library or via iTunes File Sharing. If the music has a voice track, I can remove (a lot of) it with the No Voice button and substitute my own melodious tones, which will be vastly improved by the second stage of the process – FX. There are nine in all.
Three of these work on the voice itself. Tune is a simple pitch corrector to stop me wandering too far from the harmonic path. Morph produces a whole range of effects from interesting to wacky which I operate by dragging a circle around the screen to make me sound anything but myself. Choir creates a fully customisable three-part harmony from my voice to add amazing fullness and depth.
Six professional studio effects; Reverb, Delay, Chorus, EQ, Filter (Low Pass) and Level (Compressor) are on hand, once I’ve paid for them, to finish the job. Each effect is also widely customisable. I can add any of the nine effects in combinations three at a time which I can then save as a preset. It’s quite fun using pinch and swipe gestures instead of the usual knobs and sliders.
Once my song is saved and enhanced to my satisfaction to my songs screen I can share it in either .MP3 or WAV format by email or uploading to Sound Cloud. Although the hardware/software combination is designed for vocals it can also be used for recording voice-overs or interviews in the field. A truly portable audio studio.
EZ Voice is optimised to run with any of the IK Multimedia microphones, but will work with microphones from other companies. It will even work with the iPad’s built-in microphone if I set the gain a little higher. I can also use the iRigVoice for input into most audio programs including VocaLive.
OK now for the test. I load in one of my backing tracks Amazing Grace from my iTunes library.
Set my three FX – Choir (Octave, 3rd and 5th) Reverb (Stadium, of course) and a bit of Compression. The result? Pretty impressive (for me) as I crank it up through the iLoud. Without more time to go through all the possibilities of EZ Voice I’m already thinking this setup would be first-rate for karaoke and probably even OK to knock up a demo or two. For a little over $50 the package sounds really good through a quality sound system. You’re the Voice!