REVIEW: Griffin Technology iMic 2 (Updated)

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Date: Friday, November 18th, 2005, 11:03
Category: Review

imic2.jpgI recently got my hands on the iMic 2 from Griffin Technology. In this exclusive review, I’ll take a look at what makes the iMic 2 different from its predecessor, the original iMic.
iMic was the original USB audio adapter that enabled Mac and PC users to add stereo input and output to their USB computers that, otherwise, lacked the necessary hardware support. The iMic was the perfect solution to the “microphone deafness” that plagued all Macs built after 2001. Unfortunately all modern PowerBooks and iBook only have a line input and lack a microphone input. Griffin’s US$40 iMic is the easiest way to add a microphone input to your PowerBook.
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imic2.jpgI recently got my hands on the iMic 2 from Griffin Technology. In this exclusive review, I’ll take a look at what makes the iMic 2 different from its predecessor, the original iMic.
iMic was the original USB audio adapter that enabled Mac and PC users to add stereo input and output to their USB computers that, otherwise, lacked the necessary hardware support. The iMic was the perfect solution to the “microphone deafness” that plagued all Macs built after 2001. Unfortunately all modern PowerBooks and iBook only have a line input and lack a microphone input. Griffin’s US$40 iMic is the easiest way to add a microphone input to your PowerBook.
Line-Level vs. Microphone-Level input. A microphone-level signal is one which is essentially unamplified, producing output levels of less than 1 millivolt. Most microphones produce a microphone-level output signal. CD and DVD players, TVs, amplifiers, and mixing consoles produce line-level output signals. Line-level signals typically produce about 310 millivolts, although it can vary from 100 millivolts to as much as 5 volts, depending on the equipment used.
iMic allows you to connect virtually any microphone or sound input device to your iBook, PowerBook, PowerMac or other Mac or PC systems with a USB port. iMic supports both microphone and line level inputs via a selectable switch, as well as a variable level output for connecting speakers or headphones.
With the influx of people using VOIP technology such as Vonage, Skype and Gizmo they need a way to get audio into their machines. While Vonage ships with a router that allows you to use a standard telephone as a microphone and speaker, Skype and Gizmo are software-only solutions requiring some additional hardware. One solution is a dedicated USB headset like the Plantronics DSP-400 headset (which we reviewed back in September) and the other is iMic, a dedicated sound card that connects via USB.
Podcasting is the other perfect use for an iMic. Simply connect a microphone to it and select it as the source in your audio capture application and click record.
The main difference between the iMic I and II, besides the new white color, is that the iMic II has a lower noise floor on input/output according to Griffin’s engineers. I couldn’t hear the difference in my testing.
Microphone inputs are invaluable for VOIP, podcasting, gaming, and for creating voice overs in applications like GarageBand, iMovie and Final Cut Pro.
iMic is available for pre-order from Griffin for US$40.

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