Shure MOTIV MV88 iPhone Microphone Review

Here’s a neat category of products that we’ve never reviewed before. This is the Shure Motiv MV88. It’s a stereo condenser microphone for your Apple devices! Unfortunately, it comes in lightning connector only, so us android users are out of luck. But fortunately for us, we just borrowed Julia’s.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself what’s the point of this. I mean, the iPhone already has a microphone built in! But it’s still single channel mono, so you’re not getting very good sound if you’re recording stuff like music or live performances. The MV88 doesn’t just do sound clips either – it fully integrates with your camera to provide audio for videos as well.

Out of the box, this thing comes with a hard shell carrying case, a foam windscreen, and of course, the microphone. The mic itself is pretty simple – a lightning connector on the back, the stereo condenser diaphragm, and the ability to rotate both horizontally and vertically. This way you can get proper stereo sound no matter what direction you’re holding your device in. It’s compatible with iOS 8.0 and later, and any portable Apple device with a lightning connector like iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

Now, it will start working as soon as you plug in the microphone, but the app is what really impressed us. Right away, you get a nice large audio level display and gain settings. You can quickly adjust it, even while recording, so you can avoid clipping your audio. Dig into the settings a bit more, and you get a bunch of different presets for recording different scenarios like voice, music, or instruments. You can even monitor audio levels with a pair of headphones plugged in as well.

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If that doesn’t suit your needs, then you’re free to customize it yourself. You can choose between the different polar patterns, or in other words, how the microphone picks up sounds from different directions. You get the choice of regular stereo, mono bi-directional, mono cardioid, and mid-side. If you’re not sure what these terms mean, well, luckily for you Shure includes simple diagrams too.

If you’re using the regular stereo mode, you can even adjust how wide of an angle you want. It’ll go from 60 degrees to 135 degrees, so in a pinch it can even act as a shotgun microphone. In fact, a Rode shotgun microphone is what we normally use in the studio for our videos. So you know what? For the remainder of the video, let’s use audio from the Shure MV88.

Continuing down the list of features, we also have a volume limiter that again helps prevent audio clipping. Next, a compressor to help maintain your audio quality by reducing the volume on loud sounds and amplifying quiet ones. Let’s give it a try. I’m talking really quietly now.. BUT NOW IM SCREAMING. 

We gave all of the different modes a try, but there’s too much to explain for this video. We decided to test what we thought the two most common scenarios would be. The first test is this video. We’re recording my voice using the mono cardioid setting, which is basically the zone right in front of the mic. You’ll still hear sounds from behind, but they’ll be much quieter compared to the front. This set up works well for people who may need to film interviews, or even lectures at school.

Now we’re using the iPhone in the same position, but using the phone’s on board microphone. As you can expect, the sound has quite a lot less dynamic range. High’s aren’t as crisp and low’s aren’t as full.

The next scenario we wanted to try was recording music with the mic in stereo mode. We weren’t able to go to a live performance, but we’re all pretty musically talented so we decided to put together a performance JUST FOR YOU GUYS.

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We’re still up and coming, but I think we got a pretty good sound going.

And that about wraps up our review of the Shure Motiv MV88 microphone. We know it’s not exactly practical for you to keep it on your phone 24/7, but it’s not designed for that. It’s designed for people who want to take videos while traveling but want better sound or maybe you’re a musician who wants a fast and easy way to record a new melody you’re working on.

Anthony’s favourite part about this microphone is the versatility of it. For $150 USD, you’re essentially getting three microphones at once without the need for any external recorders or batteries. We know a lot of vloggers out there including Casey Neistat who likes to vlog with just their phone but don’t want to deal with the crappy audio. Well guess what, this might be the perfect solution.

Thanks for watching and leave a comment below on what you think about this microphone! And if you think they should make an Android micro usb version. Because we think so.