The iPhone 4 is a revolutionary device that’s capable of recording impressive looking, high-definition video (especially considering that it’s a telephone). But there’s one thing that the iPhone doesn’t have an app for: providing a way to improve the sound quality of its built-in mono microphone.
Many people use the iPhone 4 to shoot videos for impromptu news reporting, vlogging, YouTube, live music, business communications and training videos. Every kind of video production benefits greatly from improved microphones and audio performance, and Fostex has just announced the AR-4i Audio Interface, a unique solution for improving the sound quality of an iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4 slides into the cradle of the AR-4i, enabling the AR-4i to take over the audio responsibilities of the device. Not only does it give the iPhone 4 multiple microphone inputs (and a line-level input as well), it also uses a higher quality external analog-to-digital converter to improve the overall quality of the sound capture.
Two compact cardioid microphones and a pistol grip are included with the AR-4i. The pistol grip helps you keep the camera stable when you’re shooting handheld video. The two microphones can be positioned where you need them, and the multiple microphone inputs allow you to plug them in on either one side of the unit (for handheld landscape style shooting), or on either side of the unit (for stationary, table top style shooting). The AR-4i is designed to act as a stand for the iPhone 4, giving you many options for how you can shoot videos.
The AR-4i runs on two AAA batteries or can be bus powered from a USB port. It supplies you with a headphone output, as well as an LED meter for adjusting the gain settings for prefect recording levels. The AR-4i has a cold-shoe mount, so you can attach additional equipment to it (such as a more powerful on-camera light or an external shotgun microphone).
Fostex has also released a dedicated app for the AR-4i which is available as a free download from Apple’s App Store. The app enables you to get under the hood and really dial in your sound with a variable low cut filter, panning controls and input settings. If you’re shooting videos with an iPhone 4 and you need a way to make your audio quality match the look of your HD video, the AR-4i Audio Interface offers a very well-rounded solution.