Shure describes the MOTIV MV88 IOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone as “The Documenter.” Having used the MV88 for the past few months, including at CES 2016 and for any YouTube video I’ve shot in 2016, I can say it is that and much more. The MV88 plugs directly into your iOS device and lets you capture the moment with clarity.
The microphone is small, comes with its own protective case and a windscreen and works in random with a free iOS app. The result is a microphone that is easy to use while still being incredibly powerful.
When I first pulled the microphone out of the protective case I was struck by the heft of the small accessory.
This microphone is made entirely of metal. Yes, there’s little plastic to be found on it and none on the parts that matter most- the microphone and the base. It is solid and the look and feel speak to the quality of the product.
The windscreen came pre-installed but pulls off easily.
The good news is that it fits tightly around the microphone itself and won’t come off accidentally.
The MOTIV MV88 features a direct connection to the iOS device’s Lighting Connector, has a hinged and rotatable microphone head so you can position it in the manner that is best suited to your recording needs, and it lets you adjust the stereo width and adjust much more thanks to the mid-side microphone element and the accompanying app.
Shure describes the MOTIV line of microphones stating:
“The days of sacrificing sound quality in portable digital recording are over. From the brand trusted with music history’s greatest moments, MOTIV™ features intuitive controls, smart technology and retro design. Capture your music, podcasts, videos and stories at the level of sound quality that honors your vision.”
When speaking specifically about the MOTIV MV88 the company notes:
“Your favorite band, live. Big news breaking. Your best friend’s laugh. An unforgettable professor’s lecture. Your dog’s antics. Waves crashing on a pristine beach. Life’s magical moments aren’t just about the view. Document and share them with the MV88. Because great sound matters.”
The MV88 plugs directly into the iOS device you are using to record. The problem is because the adapter is fairly short, you won’t be able to use the mic if your phone is in a case that covers the bottom. No, you won’t have an issue with cases that leave the entire bottom run exposed but if there is even a bit of material protecting the bottom of the phone you will find yourself having to pull the iPhone out of its case in order to use it. That’s what I had to do Every. Single. Time. And yes, it does become a bit annoying. I would have loved to see an adjustable connector that can be extended a bit if you are using the MV88 with a phone that is ensconced in a case and retracted if your phone is naked. It’s annoying but the fact that this is not my go-to microphone for making videos with an iPhone speaks to the fact that it is not too annoying to use.
The key to using the microphone and tapping into its potential is the free downloadable iOS app. It took me a while to figure out how to navigate it but, once I did, I found myself getting excellent recordings. To use it you simply plug the microphone into the device you are going to be using and launch the app.
To get into the settings you need to first plug the microphone into the iOS device. This is because the app actually changes the settings IN THE MIC as you tweak it. The app immediately reminds you that, when it comes time to record, you will want to put the device into Airplane mode. This will keep interference from interfering with your recording.
You can choose from Stereo, Mono Cartoid, Mono Bidirectional, and Raw Mid-Side. And in each setting, you can turn the limiter on or off, adjust the compression, turn wind reduction on or off, and adjust the equalization settings.
There is a microphone gain control and the ability to select what you are recording. These settings, which might best be referred to as “Quick Settings” include spoken word, music, instrumental, and sound hall. Each automatically adjusts both the gain and the stereo width.
It may sound like a lot from which to choose and, it is. Ultimately, to get the most out of the microphone you are going to want to spend some time tweaking and testing it to find what you think works best. Once you find the right settings for your recording the microphone is set up. From there you will simply have to plug in the microphone and start recording. It will use the most recent settings you selected.
Here’s our video review:
- MFi Certified: Yes
- DSP Modes (Presets): Speech / Singing / Acoustic / Loud / Flat
- Transducer Type: Cardioid (1 cm) / Bidirectional Condenser Cartridge (1 cm)
- Polar Pattern: Adjustable Width Stereo / Mono Bidirectional / Mono Cardioid / Mid-Side
- Bit Depth / Sample Rate: Up to 24 Bit / 48 kHz
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
- Adjustable Gain Range: 0 to +36 dB
- Sensitivity: -37 dBFS / Pa at 1 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 120 dB SPL
- Headphone Output: Available Through Apple Device
- Power Requirements: Powered Through Lightning Connector
- Housing: All-Metal Construction
- Net Weight: 40.5 g (1.43 oz)
- Dimensions (H × W × D): 67 mm × 25 mm × 35 mm
I’m a huge fan of the Shure MV88 microphone. The small size, solid construction and range of settings, combined with the excellent recording prowess of the mic makes it a simple choice if you do a lot of recording on the go. The quality of the recordings is excellent and I could not be happier with it. It is small enough to go everywhere while offering the ability to really up your mobile device recording quality. Its a winner and I am loving the review sample I was sent!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Solid; Offers a huge range of settings; Small and compact; Creates great recordings; Comes with protective case.
What Needs Improvement: Lighting Connector is too short to work with iPhone’s in a case; App has a significant learning curve.