Designed for singer/songwriters, mobile producers, and more, the iZotope Spire Studio Recorder is a table-top device that aims to help you record and mix with as few wires as possible. It might look like a typical digital assistant, but this unit is capable of recording up to eight tracks, and, with its corresponding Spire app, the unit allows you to mix all eight tracks right within your phone—or export tracks to your favorite DAW for building upon your sketches in the studio.
The Spire is Wi-Fi enabled, showing up automatically within your iPhone. If you're using the Android app, the Spire will be found in your Samsung S6 (or later). Once you fire up the corresponding iOS or Andrioid app, configuring the device to record is relatively uncomplicated, thanks to its intuitive interface. Prominent record and playback buttons sit top-center, surrounded by a LED touchscreen that simultaneously displays levels and allows you to navigate through the app. The New Song button automatically opens a new song, while the Soundcheck button calibrates your Spire to receive optimum levels; simply tap the button, begin playing or singing, and the machine will handle the rest. When you record, audio will be beamed over Wi-Fi to your phone without loss in fidelity. Indeed, this device transmits audio at 24-bit/48 kHz, which is sufficient for studio-quality applications. Also, the preamps in the Spire were designed in conjunction with Grace Design, a well-regarded company.
Mixing on the app is also a rather intuitive affair, with iZotope algorithms on hand for EQ, reverb, delay, and more to help you manipulate audio into a cohesive sonic picture. A metronome with tap-tempo capability is provided for keeping your tempi straight, while on the mixing side, volume and panning control is a matter of manipulating the X/Y-axis matrix with your finger.
You can record through the Spire’s built-in microphone, which provides an omnidirectional capsule. Using processes derived from iZotope’s Ozone platform, signal derived from this microphone can be modified to approximate stereo, if that’s your desire. Two combination jacks on the back provide XLR or 1/4" connections, giving you the ability to plug-in your own microphones or instruments. Connecting an instrument or mic to input 1 will disable the built-in microphone; however, you can plug an instrument into input 2 and still use the built-in microphone to record. Near the combination jacks, you’ll find a push-button switch for sending phantom power to condenser microphones. Two 3.5mm headphone jacks are on hand, so you and a friend can both monitor signal. The unit ships with its own power supply, which charges the built-in battery, which lasts up to four hours at a clip.
Controls at a Glance
- Record Button: Tap this to record your music
- Play Button: Push this button to playback or pause your music
- New Song Button: This will select a new song within the Spire app
- Soundcheck Button: Tapping this button will automatically set your levels; simply push the button, make some noise, and let the Spire calibrate itself
- Volume Button: This increases the volume of your headphones
- LED Touchscreen: The multifunctional LED touchscreen can be used to monitor recording levels, and also, to navigate through options in your Spire app, once it’s connected