Nowadays it seems everybody with half a brain and a mixed bag of opinions wants to be a podcaster. Not only has The Internet Age brought about an army of bedroom producers and engineers, but it has also given rise to the concept of DIY journalism, and as usual technology has followed suit. As with music recording, the demand for products that make it cheap and easy to be Brian Naylor or Stephen Colbert from the comfort and safety of your own home has been met with haste by some manufacturers. Others, however, have taken their time in developing a product that meets the quality quotient as well as that of quantity. Take a company like Sennheiser for example, who has made home stereo and recording equipment with a steady and unfaltering eye on fidelity for decades. Would they dare rush to market with a second rate, throwaway mic just for the sake of rising to a trend? Not a chance.
On the surface the HandMic Digital is everything a consumer could ask for in searching for a mic to suit the purpose. Its rugged, steel chassis and time-honoured black web grille certainly looks the part for those about to jump in front of a moving camera. Coupled with the fact that it is completely impervious to handling noise and/or wind interference, it seems purpose built for talking at length to the average Joe on the street. The shock-mounted diaphragm inside draws in a modest 40-16000Hz of signal while shutting out everything except the source addressing the good end, meaning almost no pesky ambient noise muddying up your direct signal. Everything from the deepest male voice to the squeak of a wheel is handled expertly and delivered to your IOS device via the Apogee powered interface that comes included with your purchase.
I was tempted going into this review to hold the HandMic Digital up to the same set of propeller-headed standards with which I appraise any studio mic that comes across my desk. However, I think to do so is to miss some of the point. Yes, this mic delivers high quality audio signal in a clean and efficient manner. Yes, its frequency response is narrower than, say, an SM58. No, it does not deliver the tube-driven nuance of a vintage Neumann. All these ideas pale when you remind yourself that this is not, in fact, something that you would lean on in recording your masterpiece unless your particular masterpiece is an exposé on corruption in any given industry or a hilarious rant about aliens living amongst us. This is a device that excels in getting ideas down quickly and efficiently. It is ready to record at the drop of a hat, heavy duty enough to go out on the road, and provides broadcast quality audio wherever and whenever you need it. It delivers on a different set of promises than the microphones I usually evaluate and in this way it absolutely excels.
Sennheiser and Apogee have both spent their existence among the leaders of their respective packs. In partnership neither has slouched in providing the simple, quick and easy way to distill the world around you that is the HandMic Digital. As sturdy as you’d expect from any professional equipment but without the intimidating price tag, it’s ready when you are.
Hits and Misses
Sturdy and easy to use
Limited frequency response