Izotope Spire Studio Review – The Perfect Mini-sized Portable Recorder
Those who’ve tried music recording of any kind in the past must be very well aware of the fact using stuff like built-in memo feature of a phone or typical audio recorders simply don’t do justice if you want other people to listen to your tracks. This being said, there are loads of professional and hobbyist level recording devices in the market that range from $60 to thousands of dollars. It all depends on advanced technology and output quality.
However, the price of the device doesn’t necessarily equate to the output quality. Plenty of companies have tried to revolutionize the DAW recording but many of them seem to fail to create an innovative and easy to use gear that is truly useful for both beginners and professionals. That is why we’ve something to share with you; the iZotope Spire studio that different from other recording interfaces out there.
Audio interfaces are for home based music studios. Spire is a portable professional-quality wireless recording device that you can easily fit in the palm of your hand and replaces quite a few devices. Its design makes recording simple, easy, and fun. Not only does this capture only audio, but you can also record music from acoustic line-in and the real magic comes down to the connected free app. Spire studio makes it really easy to capture and expand song ideas over time.
Izotope Spire Studio Review
The first thing you notice about Spire studio is the design, this modern-looking device is not very big or heavy.
The 4.9’’ wide Spire studio is 3.5’’ tall and weighs just 1.6 pounds. So compact and portable, you can easily carry it in your backpack or handbag and take it anywhere you want. Having a slightly slanted cylindrical shape with no knobs or faders, it is a great recording device for all minimalist as it is the size of a mug. This black-colored portable recorder has a big new-song, soundcheck, and volume buttons on the main interface. In the middle, the Spire has 2 large record and play buttons; a total of five buttons on the front panel.
A simple multi-colored LCD touch-sensitive ring is there at the contours for volume adjustment and to mute, unmute or delete audio without interrupting the music flow. It also helps you see the input and output level progress via cumulative LED ring illumination and also displays 8 tracks in different colors.
The simple controls let you see the level of your signals. As you record, you see individual tracks when you layer them up and adjust the overall volume with a touchscreen. On the front, you’ve got a professional microphone angled upwards behind the grille for vocals and acoustic instruments along with a microphone jack. At the rear side, there is a pair of XLR outputs present, a phantom power switch, and headphones 3.5mm jack. Despite its small size, it allows you to record tracks at a resolution of 48kHz/24-bit.
To start with the important component, it features an onboard studio-grade 360 ̊omnidirectional condenser microphone. That means it picks up sound from all directions so you don’t have to worry about mic placement. However, on the rear panel, it has some XLR and 1/4’’ instrumental inputs. Both of which go on to Grace Design Custom Preamps with phantom power on the back for pristine clarity. Plug-in your instruments or cables directly and monitor while you record with the 1/8’’ headphone output on the front and back.
If you’ve experience plugging a microphone into a recording console, a mixing board, or other devices, you know that it’s really hard to get the right level. To overcome this problem, the iZotope Spire Studio has done the work for you by using Neutron 3 technology. There’s a direct soundcheck button on the device that sets the level automatically though you can adjust it manually as well with custom EQ curve. You can run soundcheck to make sure the levels are just right; not too loud nor too quiet. Thanks to the simple intuitive controls, it lets you record with ease even if your phone is out of reach.
Spire studio uses Wi-Fi as an access point for the Spire app. So, it works with any device regardless of what cable or ports it does have. Plus, Spire is battery powered so you can have about 4 hours of continuous use. It allows you to record 8 tracks in a single project with singling and playing the guitar simultaneously. The Spire app has got some basic editing features such as trimming.
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Once you’re done and satisfied with your mix, share your project or song instantly to your friends around the world. Also, you can collaborate with bandmates or even send it out on social media for your fans to listen.
When it comes to performance, there’s an audio engineer hiding right in the device under the soundcheck button; a single press sets all of the levels for you. So all you need to do is just plug and play. If you have an audio idea, hit the record button to immediately start recording your song. No need to think about setup, the iZotope Spire studio is calibrated and already. It lets you record up to 8 audio in a single project.
The soundcheck button on the front allows you to automatically set the levels of your inputs. Thus, you don’t have any distortion or clipping. Spire allows you to record 8 tracks inside of a particular project anywhere while all syncs wirelessly to your iPhone. This offers you to edit, trim, and even add recording studio effects like reverb, delay, and amp models. In the visual mixer, you can raise and lower the volume of each part and pan it left to right by moving the dots to easily mix your audio. Moreover, there’s an option to change track from stereo to mono easily.
Good news for guitarists, it features electric guitar amps inside that you can plug into. There are bass amp emulations for bass players and a thing called spaces. The idea with spaces is to allow you to transform environments wherever you are. This makes your audio sound more polished and special.
You can record all the ideas at once. They’ll line up together. Then you can either use it in the Spire app or export it to your favorite DAW for further editing. Share your mix which is going to create a file. You can send that via email, text message, Dropbox, drive or any of the cloud storage services you’ve got on your phone. Also, you get to upload straight to SoundCloud. So within a couple of seconds after finishing the song, it can be there out in the world for your fans to hear.
It has all three of the major components that you need to record professional-quality audio into a single portable device. Portability, compact design, and lightweight are definitely big plus points. A studio-quality microphone captures sound from all directions. You get to plug-in multiple instruments like your guitar, bass, keyboard, drum machines, and additional microphones directly into the back.
Thankfully, 48V of phantom power is there for those who want to use a condenser microphone. The recording quality of this hardware is the professional level while the Spire app is easy to use. Plus, collaboration is simple and easy than any other process.
If you want to capture audio for your own amusement, this might a bit expensive option for you. Another downside is that spire has internal storage that you can’t expand. Plus, it only has WiFi-connectivity and lacks Bluetooth technology. To connect, this recorder makes its own Wi-Fi network. And that has no connection with the internet already.
That’s a massive flaw in the system. As it is annoying to connect to a new Wi-Fi network just to use the Spire app. It may also use cellular data to export or update your files. It would’ve been easier if the device could connect to your phone through an existing Wi-Fi network or another standard like Bluetooth.
You won’t find any screw-in tripod adapter or microphone stand that would have made playing and singing into the mic easier. Though the Spire software has many editing and studio effect options. If you are not satisfied with edit, unfortunately, the device only works with the Spire app. You can export files to other DAW but it requires time and additional step.
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You can instantly record your ideas with iZotope Spire when the moment of inspiration strikes. Based on what you’ve read above, the output and sound capture quality is superb. It best suits those who want to lay down an idea quickly. And without the hassle of having to plug into a whole bunch of equipment or going to a recording studio. All singers-songwriters will find the Spire studio incredibly useful.
If you can afford a complete home studio for $600, then iZotope Spire might not be great opton for you. But, if you want a portable, mini-sized, all-in-one audio recorder that has all the professional quality sound features of complex recording gear, then iZotope Spire studio is an ideal option. Although it’s not going to record ultra-high-resolution audio, the 48kHz/24-bit audio it records is more than enough for what this device is built for.
The iZotope Spire is an astounding way to get an intelligent recording and awesome sound on the go. As a smart, portable recording interface, it does a great job.
In case Spire doesn’t reach your expectations, check out the 5 best portable audio recorders in the market.
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