App or the Real Thing? Zoom iQ6 Stereo Mic vs Music Maker Jam

Software is eating the world, with apps replacing everything from flashlights to TV remotes. At this point, there are tons of apps on offer for music makers, some of which offer fairly decent alternatives (see our list of The Best Production Apps for the iPhone, for example). But then there’s the point where a $4.99 app might not be better than investing in the real thing.

This week, we’re pitting a popular App Store voice recorder against a middle-of-the-line stereo mic that plugs in to your phone.

The Real Thing: Zoom iQ6 Stereo Mic for iOS

zoom iq6 stereo mic
Features two high quality condenser mics in an X/Y configuration (to better capture sound from both directions), with a patented technology so you can change the angle (for close up sound capture versus wide angle stereo).

Packing a big punch for a small price, it seems like economically this is one of the better mics on the market. It also comes with an app that lets you see the levels as you record, and the ability to email or upload to Soundcloud. However, it does need a lightning connector, making it a little trickier than an app on its own.


  • 24-bit/96kHz Linear PCM recording for high-quality recording
  • All-in-one portable 4-track recording studio that’s perfect for music, film, sound Built-in XY stereo microphones let you record at either 90-degree or 120-degree stereo spreads
  • XLR combo jack inputs let you plug in XLR microphone cables, as well as 1/4″
  • Low-cut filter reduces handling and wind noise
  • Onboard tuner and metronome provide even more handy training functions
  • Built-in reference speaker lets you check your recordings

Price: $99

The App: Apogee MetaRecorder

zoom ig6 stereo mic

This is the first two-channel audio recording app to offer high quality, “intuitive” multi-take recording, tagging, and file organization. Share your files to Dropbox and open in Final cut pro for seamless editing and organization. Plug-in microphone accessible, however can also be used with the built-in iPhone microphone.


  • Mono or stereo audio recording up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution
  • Can customize audio file names
  • Can add metadata such as keywords, markers, notes, and favorites
  • Support for Apple Watch

Price: $4.99 (free for recordings up to 30 seconds long)

Outcome: The Real Thing

The Apogee MetaRecorder is a great app with a lot of potential, however it seems like with quality microphone apps the plug-in mic feature is key. While you could rock the app with your built-in iPhone mic or get a cheap plug-in microphone, the quality could still lack, and at hundred dollars for a professional microphone/recorder, the Zoom iQ6 would be the way to go.

It’s convenient to use, won’t give you any problems, and you can mix/add sound effects on a free software once you have uploaded your music to your computer. I also believe that the Zoom iQ6 would pick up live shows and audio in congested rooms better, giving you a more detailed recording and sound.

Images: ZoomApogee

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