…And Badder Than Ever!
We present Son of Frankenskype:
Many bossjock users are looking to find ways to incorporate remote guests into their mobile recordings. We covered one possible solution before in our original FrankenSkype article based around the iRig MIX.
Thanks to the $79 ART Dual Pre, a 9-volt powered iOS compatible audio interface we have a new generation of mobile production possibilities. This is a killer solution for those people looking to incorporate Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, or any other VoIP App available as an iOS App.
This setup still requires having two iOS devices, but thanks to the diminutive size of the Dual Pre things and it’s ability to mix two signals and connect to the Apple USB Camera Adapter over USB this really works as a slick remote rig. You just want to find a nice table to set everything on.
Here’s the recipe:
1 ART USB Dual Pre
1 Dynamic Microphone like the Podcaster’s favorite ATR2100
1 USB Cable (Comes With ART USB Dual Pre)
1 XLR Cable (comes with ATR2100)
1 1/8 Inch Stereo Mini to RCA Y-cable
1 Mono RCA To Mono 1/4 Inch TS Adaptor
1 Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (or 30-pin Camera Connector Kit for older devices)
1 Pair of Nice Cans (over the ear headphones with no built in microphone)
First things first, a warning. The ART USB Dual Pre has an extremely tight space for the 9-volt battery. We believe it is necessary to tape a string or wire around the butt of the 9 volt so that you can remove the 9 volt at a later date. Packaging tape works well just make sure you have a strong enough piece of string, wire or ribbon to act as a handle.
Start by plugging your ATR2100 or other dynamic microphone into the first channel of the USB Dual Pre with an XLR cable. You are likely going to want to set your gain knob near the top between 40 and the full 48 decibels gain. The full 48 decibel setting makes things nice and loud but causes some increase in preamp noise. If you set it near 40 you probably will need to boost the mic audio in bossjock studio. I opted for this latter setting.
Next plug the the 1/8 side of the 1/8 Inch Stereo Mini to RCA Y-cable into the iPhone running FaceTime, Skype or other VoIP App. Now take the left RCA cable and connect it to the RCA To Mono 1/4 Inch TS Adaptor. This converts the RCA plug to a 1/4 inch plug that is compatible with the input on the ART Dual Pre. Connect the 1/4 plug into the center of the ART’s second channel on the right front of the device. I initially set the gain to it’s lowest 0 decibel setting.
Note: The 1/8 cable is a Tip Ring Sleeve cable, so it doesn’t override the internal microphone of the iPhone. Your guest actually here’s you through the iPhone’s mic so no Mix Minus setup is needed.
The ART USB Dual Pre needs to be connected to the iPad which will act as the master recording device. We use bossjock studio, but any app that records audio should work. Use the USB cable that came with the ART to connect to the Apple USB Camera Adapter connected to the iPad.
Note: If you are confused about which adapter to get for your iPad there is more info in last year’s iOS Mic Roundup.
We’re close to being in business here. There are a couple things that you need to do to be successful.
Turn on the 9-volt power to the USB Dual Pre by engaging the “Power” button on the rear of the device. You should not engage the “Phantom” button. Next you want to set the iPhone’s volume settings to about 50-60% using the rocker switch on the side of the device. You may want to do this first by starting a test FaceTime call to get the settings in the right neighborhood.
Notice we haven’t connected any headphones yet. The headphone output on the ART Dual Pre is very weak. For this reason we will actually want to monitor the recording through the built-in jack of the iPad. First fire up bossjock studio or whatever recording program you are using. Now plug your headphones into the headphone jack of the iPad. This will set the audio monitoring to the iPad’s headphone output but the audio input will still be coming from the ART USB Dual Pre.
Now assuming that the switch on the microphone (if it has one) is turned on, you should be good to go. Lock on the mic trigger of bossjock studio to make sure that audio from your setup is registering on your VU meters and the monitor signal is coming through your headphones. If your FaceTime or Skype Partner is not yet available you can play some phone Voicemails or Music to make sure audio is coming through into your mix. Hopefully the iPhone audio is lower than the volume of your voice, you can now use the gain knob controlling iPhone audio on the right front of the ART to try to match these volumes.
But wait a minute… The audio is split in your headphones. Your voice is in your left ear, and the iPhone audio is in your right ear. One last trick to do. Head to the settings tab in bossjock studio on the iPad. You should now see a button that reads “Stereo” that wasn’t there before. This is a toggle button that changes how stereo input sources are handled. You want to tap the button once so it says “Dual Mono”. This means it will mix both audio sources straight up the middle in your headphones.
Now you’re partying with the Son of Frankenskype… It’s a scary good time.
If you are interested in purchasing gear to build your own Son of Frankenskype please consider going through our affiliate program by clicking on the links below:
The very popular Audio-Technica ATR2100 has two brothers; the Audio-Technica AT2005USB and the Samson Q2U which all sound pretty much the same. You can choose whichever mic is the least expensive when purchasing. These prices seem to change all the time.