To get great sound you need three things:

  1. Good microphone capsules.
  2. The ability to provide enough ‘gain’ to the microphone capsules, so that they can record an accurate representation of the original waveform.
  3. High quality analog to Digital (A/D) conversion, so that the fidelity of the source sound is preserved when it is saved in a digital format.

Combining an iPhone6 with the Rode i-XY cardioid condenser microphone attachment integrates all three of these things into a pocket sized high fidelity field recorder.


Rode i-XY stereo microphone

The Rode i-XY is a professional grade stereo microphone designed for the iPhone, with the ability to record at 24-bit, 96 kHz resolution. It uses a matched pair of 1/2 inch cardioid condenser capsules, fixed in a 90 degree ‘near-coincident’ alignment. Which results in immersive, true-to-life recordings that are captured in extremely high detail.

The theory behind recording stereo sound seems quite straightforward. There are several approaches to recording stereo sound, one of which is the X/Y technique used by the Rode i-XY.

Fig.1 XY pair

The X/Y setup is known as a coincidence stereo technique, in which two microphones are arranged with the capsules positioned at the same point. The most common X/Y set-up consists of two cardioid microphones positioned at 90 degrees to produce the stereo image.

Cardioid microphones are directional, so the two capsules point in different directions to the left and right of the immediate area to capture the stereo field. The stereo image is not as wide as a spaced pair of microphones, but it is a simple and effective setup.

As it’s true X/Y stereo pattern allows you to record exactly what you hear, it is particularly suited to capturing high resolution sound effects and stereo ambience.

The input levels are set using the Rode Rec app, which is quite straightforward to use.

However, I am unable to work out how to monitor the recording with headphones. So, although the Rode i-XY records amazing sound, my preferred method of recording sound remains my SoundDevices 633 mixer/recorder.


List of references

Rode (n.d.) ‘Stereo Microphone techniques’ At: (Accessed on 10 October 2018).

Sound Training College (2017) ‘Stereo recording techniques’ At: (Accessed on 10 October 2018).


List of illustrations

Fig.1 XY pair, ‘Stereo recording techniques’ At: (Accessed on 10 October 2018).