Peak Performance


Q We recently landed a project that will involve shooting on-location performances with singer/songwriters. I have a Canon C100 camera that has okay audio quality, but I’m looking to step up the quality in regard to microphones and sample rate. We just bought the newest version of Apple’s Logic X, so I’m interested in potentially recording to it using my MacBook Pro for this series. We don’t need to hide the mic; it can be in picture since it’s a musical performance. Any ideas?
Manny V.
Via email

A Your request comes at an interesting time. In recent months, I’ve written about a couple of different solutions that utilize USB microphones, mostly with the intent of doing voice-over work. What’s atypical about your situation is that you’ll be recording a live musical performance instead of voice-over. You want to use a pretty sophisticated application, Apple’s Logic Pro X, to record your musical performances. You don’t mention if you’ll be using an outboard mic preamp or box that will allow you to utilize multiple microphones to route the audio into Logic, but whether or not you’re using a single mic or multiple mics, I have an interesting potential solution for you.

Apogee Electronics ( has been a leader in several different categories of digital technology, but are most known for their top-quality digital converters. Apogee recently introduced an interesting microphone that I think could be exactly what you’re looking for. While there are several quality USB microphone solutions on the market, Apogee’s new MiC 96k offers several features that seem to be fairly unique within its class.

The MiC 96k combines a microphone, a microphone preamp and an A/D converter into one compact microphone. It appears to be a miniaturized version of a large diaphragm studio microphone. Apogee seems to have designed each part of the MiC 96k to deliver the lowest noise and highest-quality signal possible from a reasonably priced digital microphone. That’s one of the features that sets it apart from its competition.

The MiC 96k is one of those rare microphones that sounds much more expensive than it actually is. The microphone has a suggested retail price of $229 and is available in retail and online channels for less.

Among other notable features, the microphone is capable of recording up to 96 kHz/24-bit resolution, which generally is considered overkill for most dialogue recording, but is considered very desirable for recording music, especially vocals and acoustic instruments. The MiC 96k works with both iOS and Mac. The microphone has direct connection with Lightning or 30-pin iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) and USB connection to Mac. This is the first microphone I’ve used that features the new Apple Lightning connector. I attached it to my wife’s iPad mini, our household’s only iOS device that has the connection, and utilizing GarageBand, the microphone worked flawlessly. The MiC 96k is also compatible with iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks.