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Thursday July 14, 2005 12:27 am
Griffin iMic Review
Recently VOIP technologies such as Skype, Vonage and Gizmo have really come to focus in the telecommunications marketplace. With this surge in VOIP traffic of course the question arises of how to get your voice into a computer in the clearest possible way. Companies like Vonage solve this problem by giving you a router which enables you to use a standard telephone with your VOIP service. Technologies like Skype and Gizmo get a bit more tricky. Most laptop computers come with built in speakers and a microphone, and most desktops feature the ability to plug in a microphone and speakers as well, but with that solution echo’s and poor sound quality can be a significant problem. Luckily headsets featuring high quality headphones and a boom mic such as the Sennheiser PC 150 enable you to get high quality audio for use in VOIP, Podcast creation, gaming, and other voice activated applications.
Unfortunately, upon purchasing my headset I discovered that my powerbook had only a line in,and lacked a microphone input - something a fair number of laptops suffer from. Enter the Griffin iMic USB sound card. The iMic is a great little accessory that enables you to use additional headsets and a variety of microphones or add an extra line in to your Mac or PC. Click through the jump for a full review.
It’s a small white disk about the size of a hockey puck. It has a 1 foot long trailing USB cable that plugs into any USB 1.1 or 2.0 slot. The disc features two 1/8th input jacks, one for a mic or line in, and the other for headphones or line out. There is a small black switch to select if you want line in leveling of the signal, or have everything boosted for a microphone. The iMic also includes a 1/8th to RCA adapter for recording from other equipment (such as transferring all those 45’s you have laying around to MP3 files.
The Setup (Mac):
Wow. What can I say - this couldn’t be simpler. You plug it in and it’s working. Depending on the application you are using you may have to go to the sound section of your system preferences and select to use the iMic USB adapter for your input and output, or some applications use it automatically.
The Setup (PC):
Again - wow! If you are using Windows XP you can plug the iMic in and it automatically will install it and recognize it as a USB sound device. If you are using a previous version of Windows you may need to use the included CD-ROM to install some drivers.
I’m impressed as can be with the iMic. It’s fast, simple, and sounds great. I tested it out with both Skype and Gizmo and found my calls to be crystal clear and echo free. I recorded some audio to my hard drive and listened to it and found it very crisp and clean. For a device that can be used so easily and at a cost of less than $30 I highly suggest if for anyone looking to add audio input or output to any PC or Mac laptop or desktop.
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