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Shure Motiv MV88 Review: The ultimate broadcast quality microphone for iPhone & iPad

Shure’s Motiv MV88 iOS microphone promises to transform any iPhone or iPad with a Lightning Connector into a broadcast quality microphone capable of recording a range of different sounds from field recordings to voice without breaking the bank — so does it deliver?

In a word: yes.

If you’ve ever tried to use the iOS’s stock audio recorder and microphone on iPhone or iPad you’ll already know that the phone’s built-in microphone isn’t up to scratch, and nor is the device’s legacy app. Shure’s Motiv MV88 looks to solve the problem of poor audio quality with a user-friendly microphone add-on which is perfect for capturing broadcast quality interviews, high fidelity field recordings and off-the-cuff recording sessions in pristine audio quality.

“The app offers a multitude of settings to from widening the microphone’s stereo width, perfect for a two-way interviews, to offering a host presets for different types of recording”

The MOTIV MV88 is a digital stereo condenser microphone for iPhone and iPad, which provides high audio quality recording for any iOS device with a Lightning Connector. Alongside the MV88 microphone, there’s a feature-rich standalone app that offers a wealth of options for fine tuning recordings. The app enables high quality 24bit/48kHz recording and offers a multitude of settings to from widening the microphone’s stereo width (perfect for a two-way interviews) to offering a host presets for different types of recording — whether it’s music, voice or field recordings.

The app features a range of different options including the ability to switch on or off the mic limiter, a wind reduction setting, a full band equaliser, and the ability to swap the mic’s left and right channel, perfect for recording an interview between two people. From within the app the mic’s stereo width can also be adjusted from 130 degrees all the way down to 60 degrees, which is perfect for recording short voice memos and the like. The also MV88 comes with a clever adjustable 90-degree hinge for accurate directional recording, too.

After a few weeks of use we’ve been amazed by the microphone’s results; the mic pick-up is very good and the level detail of the recordings is incredibly impressive considering its size. To give you an idea of how great this mic quality really is, Shure enlisted the services of Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and Paul White (R&S Records) to record a band and you can hear the results of the session above using audio captured directly from the mic.

Other clever touches include the ability for the app and microphone work outside of Shure’s app — so once you’ve selected your settings you can then open, say, the camera app and shoot a video using the mic and the app’s accompanying settings to really enhance your videos. Once you’ve selected the necessary settings you can then switch to the camera app, the green light on the Mv88 will then light up, indicating that it has taken over and turned off the phone’s internal mic.

All-in-all, Shure’s Motiv MV88 is the best microphone add-on for iOS we’ve ever come across — it is perfect companion for musicians, journalists and bloggers on the go who don’t want to lug around a bulky standalone microphone or suffer with the poor quality of Apple’s stock voice recorder app and internal microphone any longer.

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What We like

— Small, lightweight and incredibly portable
— Incredibly easy to setup and use
— The accompanying app is feature-rich and free to use
— The microphone can be used with other apps including iOS’s camera app
— It comes with a nice egg-shaped carry case
— Recording quality is really good
— You can connect headphones to the phone for mic monitoring
— Great build quality

What We Don’t Like

— It only works on devices with a Lightning Connector
— It cost $149
— You can’t charge your device whilst the microphone is connected

Andrew Rafter

Andrew Rafter is the editor and founder of Harder Blogger Faster.