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Author Topic: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface  (Read 5047 times)

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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2021, 02:47:57 AM »
Briefly, if you connect a PiP stereo mic to a 3.5mm > 3.5mm female>female adapter and then to a Rode SC11 splitter lead to channels 1 & 2 - so it thinks it's got two mono mics connected for stereo input - it works.  I'[m hoping the Rode will fix this with a FW update...

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2021, 11:44:11 PM »
Peter, have you tested the Reporter app much? I'm wondering if there is a time limit.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2021, 07:41:27 PM »
No, sorry, I've mainly been using it for video with the Action 2 camera.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2022, 02:12:53 PM »
My unit was shipped yesterday. Hopefully I will be able to test it soon.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2022, 12:47:17 PM »
The unit just arrived and upon plugging it in, it automatically connected to the Rode app I had preinstalled. I used the output of my baby nbox into input 1 and it was recognized as a stereo input once I selected it on the app.

The app has 24 db of gain and records at either 24 bit 48khz or compressed 48khz 128, 256, or 320kbps mp3. Optional high pass filters are at 75 and 150 hz.

I will test it soon as a backup rig but the test file I made earlier pulled up as a stereo file in Audacity. My only worry right now is with phone battery life - I may get a cheap android just for recording in the near future. Also, I don't like that you have to export your recordings to the cloud. I need to find where in the file system it is saving them so I can export manually.

https://imgur.com/a/WSoP6YG
« Last Edit: February 09, 2022, 03:51:06 PM by DavidPuddy »

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2022, 04:34:15 PM »
I have tested the device and it works well as long as you keep the screen up. However, on my S9+, once I tap the power button to turn off the screen, the levels drop dramatically and seconds later completely shut off. I do not want to keep the screen on while the device is in my pocket and there is no lock option to use while doing so.

I sent in a service request to Rode but this does not bode well for the device.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2022, 06:20:33 AM »
I will try to test mine in this respect.  Have you tried different recording apps?

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2022, 08:58:25 AM »
I will try to test mine in this respect.  Have you tried different recording apps?

I have tried pretty much all of them on Google Play. The only one that works correctly with the stereo mode is Rode Reporter. Even the Shure Motiv app will not recognize the stereo pair.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2022, 05:05:57 PM »
As memory serves me, one of my two phones won't record in stereo from USB-C, the other will.  I really must retest to remind myself.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2022, 03:56:54 PM »
Coming back to this...I just got a new iphone so I thought I would try it out before I absolutely hit the return deadline.

This thing works like a charm with Apogee Metarecorder, recognizing the stereo input and all. All of the problems I was having before are nonexistent now. I tested it with my Videomic Stereo and with a 3.5mm out from my Mixpre 6 and it recognized stereo on both with no dropouts or volume adjustments when the phone went to sleep.

I have a show coming up on Saturday that I will try and get some samples at.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2022, 04:01:51 PM by DavidPuddy »

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2022, 06:00:58 AM »
I'm glad you finally got a good result!

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2022, 03:36:29 AM »
I'm glad you finally got a good result!

Thank you. I think Android is too finicky for them to bother perfecting...

Bias on these is 2.8v on both channels.

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2022, 05:17:49 PM »
I've tested this at a few shows now using the stereo out on my mixpre and it's done a really nice job with Metarecorder app. If you want to get into streaming or want a super low-pro recording option and have a battery box, I would definitely recommend this piece of gear.

Offline doomed

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2022, 05:33:38 PM »
I actually joined taperssection to give this review of the AI-Micro, since this thread is where I learned about the device.

This is a fairly in depth review, and might save a few people from having to email Røde support, which takes forever, and they really don't answer more than a few questions, just the ones that are directly related to them selling stuff, they don't even answer specific feature or device or software questions. But they do answer, eventually, but save yourself the bother, this is roughly what I have found so far:

For TRS stereo powered microphones, like Sound Professional Binaurals, going into a battery box, you need the Røde SC11 splitter TRS male > L/R TRS male cable. I tried it without it, and as Ozpeter notes, got only one channel of the stereo. Røde's documentation is slightly wrong because they say a powered mic won't work at all, this is not correct, one channel works. And both with the splitter Y cable. I believe you can use other true trs > L/R splitter trs male cables, but I have so far not been able to find any except the Røde one. That's a good quality cable, but at least 2x too long for my needs. If you use trs binaural mics, then just consider the cable as part of the purchase price, which brings it up to $95 US currently. I don't believe they offer trs female > trs male l/r cables, which might matter on some battery boxes, means you'll need one more adapter.

Battery box works fine in this setup, as long as everything is TRS in and out.

I also tested an adapter cable TRS male > TRRS male and that didn't work at all, no output from the Røde, in case someone thinks that is worth trying, it's not.

To set the input configuration, you have to use the Røde Connect app, plugin the device to phone or computer, select the configuration you want, which is:

1. merged: (input 1, 2 merged into mono)
2. split: inputs 1, 2 forming stereo in - this is what you want for TRS stereo powered male in.
3. stereo input 1: I think this may only work with Røde microphones, or a specific configuration, that supports TRS or TRRS it says, auto detect. This is the one that gives only 1 channel with powered stereo trs mics.

Disable all high pass filters etc, those are only intended for stuff like podcasting.

You can also disable the live monitoring feature in the headphone out, that's useful I think since unless you are doing live monitoring while recording, that's just extra processing being done by the preamp, so disabling it is probably a good option for most recording situations, means the circuits do less work, would turn off at least part of the the DAC circuits I assume.

The levels I don't believe matter since the audio recording software will change those anyway.

The usb device will retain this setting if you use other audio recording software on your phone or other usb input device, but you have to use the Connect app to set these values initially. It's easy to verify it's working and set correctly on your recording software since if it's not, only 1 channel will work, or it will show as mono.

Also, it's worth updating the device firmware when you get it, first thing. You can do that on the Connect app too. Bugs that actually impact recording might have been fixed, so worth having current firmware.

I suspect the failure to handle powered stereo TRS in is a hardware, not firmware, issue, and is likely to not be changed in the future, though you never know, if you keep emailing them about this lack, maybe one day they will reconsider, but not if this is what works on their stereo mics.

Since the Røde Connect software seems to have problems with screen off behaviors, I never tested that at all, not interested in losing a recording due to undocumented behaviors of unknown software which was clearly not written for live music recording situations. I run it into an android phone with USB Audio Recorder Pro, which works well, stereo inputs recognized, all works fine. The only small glitch I can find is that USB Audio Recorder Pro does not seem to retain the bit depth setting from previous selection, so you have to remember to set it to 24 bits if you want to do 24 bit recording before you start each recording session, it seems to default to 16 bits on start/detection. That audio app also records direct to FLAC, which is nice, saves room, and leverages the essentially free cpu/battery/storage on your phone, which is there anyway. Only real downside is app gain sliders are very fiddly/sensitive, but you can use a double tap mode to manually type in the db value, but that takes longer per channel, and there is no global gain slider, just per channel. I find this awkward to use in a live recording setting.

It's worth also noting that if you have a decent phone, you have massively more compute power available than any external recording device has, more storage, and more battery life/capacity. Recording life is massive, I have never noticed any significant battery charge drop recording with this app, maybe 5% or something for 3 hours, it's negligible. Leaving the screen or bluetooth on uses much more battery than the recording software itself when recording does.

Important: I had a crash once on this software while recording and taking pictures with the phone. Their docs say to turn off all networking, bluetooth, etc, and to not use the phone for anything else when recording. Airplane mode, that is, including bluetooth, and no camera. This is correct, I can confirm that you can suffer a crash if you don't observe this warning. The phone should only be recording, nothing else.

I'm not actually clear about the comment above re 48 khz not 'being enough', that yields 24khz frequency response, which is probably a solid 8 khz above what anyone here can hear, and 4khz above what the best human can hear, and almost certainly the max of what most mics in a live setting can capture, so it's hard to understand what would be lost by not having 96 or 88.2 khz sampling rates, for the master, particularly in live recording situations. In post, yes, those might have utility, but not in the recording itself. Unless all the digital audio stuff xiph.org etc publish is wrong, and all their resources are wrong, which I honestly doubt. It's certainly not a realworld negative. 48 khz was a good sampling rate choice I think, covers native video sampling rates, native Opus sampling rate, and isn't that big a difference in recorded file size from 44.1, but avoids the up/down sampling math issues of 44.1 khz.

I'd say the Røde so far is checking all the boxes, the 24 bit gives enough headroom for > 120 dB recording situation (which is already too loud), drops the noise floor a bit I believe as well, which was my main reason to want to check it out. Also makes clipping less likely, and minor gain level errors matter less, which was an issue I was hitting with 16 bit now and then.

Also I'm assuming they use a better preamp internally than most generic usb audio devices, almost none of which support stereo mic ins anyway, which can make a difference.

It's also tiny, and has basically perfect inputs (except for not handling powered stereo TRS in, which would be nice), and offers very flexible cabling options. I was able to significantly shrink the physical bulk of my cabling with this device.

I haven't done enough recordings with this yet to get a feel for if the preamp quality matters in the real world, to me, the mics are going to matter more almost certainly, but it doesn't hurt having what is probably decent ADC chips, hopefully decent anyway. The price to me suggests a few steps up from standard USB audio devices. I'd been initially looking at something higher end like Dragonfly USB audio devices to see if I could find a better ADC preamp type thing, but I was surprised to find they don't support Mic in, let alone stereo usb mic in. So the Røde seems like a good step up for micro recording preamps.

There's kind of a lull in shows I want to record so I won't be able to really get a feel for this device for a month or two, but so far the setup and shrinking and quality boost seem to be everything I had hoped for. Initial impression made me decide to upgrade my mics, since the preamp will almost certainly not be the problem anymore in the chain.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Rode AI-Micro Ultra-compact Dual-channel Interface
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2022, 06:08:23 AM »
Thanks for your detailed comments on this little device - I've not got much to add because one way or another I've not had a chance or need to use mine much.  But it's worth having in the 'toolbox'.  As for sampling frequencies and perceptable audio quality - well, that's been a matter of intensive discussion for a great many years, so... I'm not going there!  But I guess I could say that at 73 years old, my ears are past caring!

I'm sorry that you didn't have a good experience with Rode support - personally I found them to be really helpful and motivated, but that was dealing from Australia with the Australian branch of an Australian company, which probably smoothed things out somewhat.

 

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