Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6 are portable microphones that are designed for iOS devices. With these mics, you will be able to acquire decent recording using your iPhone, without any complicated set-up. As of the moment, Shure MV88 is a little bit more expensive than Zoom iQ6. So, which one is the better mic? Continue reading to find out!
Our discussion below will tell you further about:
- The design and build quality of each iOS mic here
- The features and capabilities of the mics and their mobile apps
- The sound quality comparison of Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6
- Why Shure MV88 can be a more versatile mic
- When to choose Zoom iQ6 for your recording purposes
- Which mic that provides more value in general
Shure MV88: Design and Features
Shure MV88 is a tiny portable mic, although the base that houses the Lightning connector is a bit large and it will probably require you to remove the external case of your iPhone or iPad device if you use one. The mic is shipped with a spherical wind screen. If you remove the wind screen, though, you will see that the actual mic is far smaller than the wind screen. See also: Zoom iQ6 vs iQ7
You can see two capsules that are put in a mid-side pattern behind the metallic grille. One cardioid capsule is pointed directly to the front, whereas another bi-directional capsule is armed for the sides. The mid-side pattern is excellent for easy and adjustable stereo recording, as well as for capturing multiple mono tracks and for mono-summed recording.
The mic is attached by a hinge to the base, so you can pivot the mic to different directions. Shure MV88 does not have a headphone output for direct monitoring. Besides the wind screen, there is a small zip-up carrying case which is quite handy when traveling.
Shure MV88: Mobile Application
Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6 come with their own mobile apps. Although these mics can work with other recording apps, such as Voice Memos and GarageBand, some of the more advanced features are only available in their mobile apps.
The ShurePlus Motiv App will allow you to change between stereo and mono modes, increase or decrease the stereo width, and choose the bitrate and sampling rate. It supports 16-bit and 24-bit recording, as well as 44.1kHz and 48kHz sampling rates. You can use either bitrate with any of the two sampling rate options.
The mobile app is simple and easy to use. Recording sound is a very straightforward process. A slider for adjusting the mic gain will appear on the screen whenever the mic is connected. The mobile app even has a DSP section with a five-band EQ and compressor, which can be quite handy if you really want to apply DSP in the recording instead of later in the post-production. There are also options for left-right channel swap and wind reduction.
It is possible to use a Bluetooth headset that is connected to your mobile device for monitoring. However, there is a noticeable delay, which is almost half a second. This is still a viable solution for quick adjustments, but there is no way for real-time monitoring since the mic lacks a headphone jack.
After recording, the mobile app will allow you to cut the length, save it in WAV, AAC, or Apple Lossless, or share it via AirDrop, email, or text. There is also an option to save the recording as a video, in which case you can select an image or a blank to be paired with the audio track.
Shure MV88: Performance and Sound Quality
The sound quality of Shure MV88 is excellent. If we compare Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6, there is an obvious advantage in the ability to record in 24-bit/48kHz (Zoom iQ6 is limited to 16-bit/48kHz). So, Shure MV88 is able to capture more detail and more sound information.
Vocals are captured with great presence and excellent clarity. Without any DSP, vocals immediately sound really rich and smooth.If you enable the compressor at the light setting, you will notice that the dynamics are reduced but not very much.
Recording instruments, however, is not as straightforward. It mostly depends on what you are recording. Loud amplified music will need the limiter. But most acoustic instruments won’t need the limiter, as long as you can get an ideal placement and gain level. Note that, the closer you are to the sound source, the better the richness of the recording will be. If you are able to get the right configuration, Shure MV88 will gift you a clear and dynamic recording.
The thing is, Shure MV88 can be a highly versatile mic. The adjustable stereo width and the ability to record into mono are very useful features that will allow you to adapt to a wide range of scenarios. The only weakness of the mic is that it requires your mobile device to be perfectly stable. This is because even the smallest side-to-side movement can throw the balance of the stereo field. A stand that also doubles as a shock mount will be excellent.
Zoom iQ6: Design and Features
Zoom iQ6 is a portable microphone with X/Y capsules. In a glance, it looks like a Zoom portable recorder minus the actual recorder unit – just the microphone. At the bottom of the base, there is the Lightning port to connect the microphone to your iOS device. The base is slim, so you probably won’t need to remove the external case of your iOS device if you use one.
One important difference between Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6 is the mic pattern. Zoom iQ6 uses two mic capsules that are put in a 90-degree X/Y pattern. This is to ensure a perfect in-phase stereo field. However, unlike a mid-side pattern, an X/Y pattern won’t be able to collapse the audio tracks into mono.
Feature-wise, though, Zoom iQ6 is quite interesting. The housing is solid and durable. There is a large knob for adjusting the gain directly on the hardware. There is also a three-stage meter to warn you about clipping. And, more importantly, there is a headphone output for direct monitoring. There is a foam wind screen included in the box.
Zoom iQ6: Mobile Application
Zoom iQ6 works with the Handy Recorder App. It has some nice features, such as the ability to see a more precise meter in real-time. You can also adjust the gain through the mobile app, or configure it to start recording automatically upon detecting sound. You can choose to save the file in uncompressed WAC or in AAC.
The Handy Recorder App can share the recordings via email. You can also upload them directly to SoundCloud. Last but not least, it has some editing and mixing capabilities. You can add reverb, compression, or EQ to the captured sound after recording. However, there is no noise reduction feature.
The problem with this mobile app is the user interface. It is difficult to navigate. Somehow, the user interface is only optimized for 4-inch display screens. It looks odd on larger screens. It also looks outdated. In addition, the file management system is clunky.
Zoom iQ6: Performance and Sound Quality
In general, Zoom iQ6 is a decent mic. The best thing about this mic is that it is very budget-friendly, yet it is able to record sound with excellent detail and clarity. In addition, it is very easy and simple to use. However, it is still not as versatile as Shure MV88.
The mic is good enough for recording vocals and a variety of instruments. As long as you are not too far away from the sound source, the recording will always have ample volume. The mic also has no trouble in capturing and reproducing clean, articulate vocals. Subtle nuances in vocals and acoustics can be captured well.
However, finding the right spot for the mic is a bit tricky. This is because the 90-degree X/Y configuration is not as easy as the mid-side configuration to work with. You will need to experiment a bit to find the sweet spot with the best stereo width.
The sound quality is limited to 16-bit/48kHz. This should be already good enough for most purposes. A thorough observation will reveal that Shure MV88’s recordings are more detailed, but Zoom iQ6’s recordings are still good.
In general, Zoom iQ6 is still an excellent choice if you only want to record in stereo. It should be able to work well in home studios and small gigs. It is not really good for recording sound in a large venue. And, it is not the best choice if you want to be able to switch between stereo and mono.
Shure MV88 vs Zoom iQ6
In general, Shure MV88 is better and more recommended. This mic is more versatile; you can switch between stereo and mono modes to suit different conditions and purposes. You can also adjust the stereo width. It can record in a higher bitrate, and the overall sound quality is excellent. The mobile app is easier to use and comes with more useful capabilities.