Review: MacAlly iVoice Pro
MacAlly has been providing Mac and iPod users with accessories for years, and it came as no surprise that they began offering a microphone for iPods—the iVoice Pro. Priced around $50 (although street prices vary significantly), the device is what you’d expect from a Dock Connector microphone.
MacAlly took a concept we’ve seen before with numerous products from Belkin, Griffin, and others. This newest version is compatible with more recent iPods: the 5th generation (video), the iPod classic, the 2nd-4th generation Nanos, and the 2nd generation iPod touch. Unofficially, we were able to get Skype to work with it on a 1st generation iPod touch, but many of the voice recorder applications simply won’t install (due to limiting those functions to the newer iPod touch).
Usage is rather simple—connect it to your iPod’s Dock Connector and the iPod’s built-in voice recording software takes over. On the iPod touch, you must download an app that supports voice recording. MacAlly does not provide one, but ironically, they recommend their competitor’s iTalk app.
One major complaint with many other products in the past is that they occupy the iPod’s Dock Connector, but prevent a device for charging to be connected. Fortunately, MacAlly remedied this with a mini-USB connector on the bottom. You can use that with the included mini-USB to USB cable and connect to a computer, AC adapter, or car adapter. Although this isn’t as “universal” as a Dock Connector (at least in the world of iPods), it is better than nothing. Obviously, some accessories still won’t work, but the primary gripe of not being able to provide additional power is remedied.
Obviously, the importance of any product of this type is the quality of the recordings. In our tests, the iVoice Pro produced recordings similar to other products on the market—acceptable quality, but the built-in microphone is much like other consumer-grade products on the market.
Other things to note are that there is an external 3.5mm jack in the case that the internal microphone won’t cut it. MacAlly suggests this can be used for line-in on devices such as tape decks, CD players, MiniDisc players, or stereo microphones. A switch located on the bottom of the devices lets you choose between line-in and microphone modes.
Finally, to make the device perfect for voice memos, there is a small speaker for playback. Although it certainly won’t win any awards on quality, it does let you check your recordings without the need to dig up headphones. Speaking of which, on iPods with a headphone jack located next to the Dock Connector, the iVoice Pro will not block the jack due to its narrow connector.
We found the iVoice Pro to be a very solid product, working as advertising, and fulfilling a need for those who want recording to their iPod, but need to for a rather long time. The ability to work with the 2nd generation iPod touch is a plus. For those users, we’d still recommend looking for more inexpensive options that use the headphone jack.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
MacAlly’s iVoice Pro is a competent stereo microphone and line-input for recording on your iPod.
Pros: Doesn’t block the headphone jack on nanos and iPod touch, line/mic-in jack, small speaker, mini-USB port for charging/syncing, mini-USB and 3.5mm audio cables included.
Cons: None significant for iPod 5G, classic, and nanos; whole device a bit overkill on iPod touch 2G