Gadgets for humans

The Microcone is 6 mics in a tiny package, making meeting recording incredibly easy


If you’ve ever been in the position where you’re trying to record a meeting with a single piece of equipment then you know what a mess the results turn out to be. Varying levels, with one person sounding like they’re screaming while another can barely be heard, are commonplace. But a new product called the Microcone solves the problem in a rather sexy fashion.

The Microcone is from Australia-based Dev-Audio. It’s a USB-powered array of microphones, all wrapped up in a sexy little package. It comes with two pieces of software, one for managing the levels of the six microphones, and another for recording your meeting on 6 different channels.

The best part? Though Microcone won the Macworld Best of Show award this year, it’s available for Windows users as well. Oh, and there’s even an SDK so that other developers can make apps that utilize the unique array.

But the real question is this — does it work? For that, I present to you a demo video. Oh, and ignore the crackling. That is the fault of my Mac running too many things at once, and not a fault of the Microcone.

What’s probably most impressive to me is the DSP software for the Microcone. Dev-Audio describes its use like this:

“DSP Enabled: 8 channels. Channels 1 & 2 contain Enhanced Mix Signal. Channels 3-8 contain 6 x 60-degree Directional Beamformer Signals.

DSP Disabled: 7 channels. 7 x Omnidirectional Electret Condenser Microphones. 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz.”

That’s a massive amount of power from a simple button press, and the Enabled setting sounds pretty fantastic. With the DSP disabled, you’ll get a bit more bleeding from the different channels, but it’s still a handy setting to have if you are perhaps recording in a room with more than the 6 people for which the Microcone is especially suited.

So now that you’ve got it set up, opening the Microcone Recorder software gives you more than just a way to record a conversation. It’s set up, in fact, to be a full-fledged solution for organizing recordings, including the ability to add participants, tags and dating. Once you’ve got a few recordings on your drive, that organization is paramount for being able to quickly search and find the recording that you need.

At a $359 price tag, the Microcone isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you need to record meetings on any sort of regular occasion then it’s absolutely indispensable.

Microcone from Dev-Audio

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Published May 3, 2012 — 17:10 UTC