I am a happy G4 450MHz Cube user and I use it even more these days since I got the freebie iSight camera at WWDC last month. Now, picture this: The sound coming out of my speakers is often heard to the other chatter’s speakers! I obviously needed a way to cancel the sound of my speakers, and the best way to do this would be to use headphones or use a special headset with a mic that cancels the general noise. Gotcha! The Cube doesn’t have audio jacks at all. Enter Griffin Technology’s iMic.The iMic is a small USB device for both PCs and Macs, but you might find it especially useful on Macs or uber-light PC laptops that lack audio jacks or a good microphone (you don’t wanna go too close to the laptop’s screen and starting shouting and spitting at it, now do you?). So in short, the iMic is a universal audio adapter that adds a stereo input and output and it supports both line and Mic level input as well as line level output.
The iMic is a slick device, it does not take a lot of space at all, and is in perfect harmony with the recent Mac looks. And its best feature is that it is portable and easy to install elsewhere, as you most probably won’t need any drivers to use it with recent OSes. I have both a Cube and a 12″ Powerbook, so I can use it on all these devices, plus our 10.4″ SONY Vaio laptop which also lacks a Line-In jack. By being external, the iMic does not have all this “static noise” that you generally get from a sound card sitting inside a computer next to many other boards.
Tests conducted with my 12″ Powerbook’s microphone left a lot to be desired as the noise was not helping to get a crystal clear sound. Using a better headset and with the use of the iMic, I got most desired results. While my headset’s microphone was better than the Powerbook’s, I must say that I found iSight’s microphone even better than both my headset’s and the Powerbook’s.
Griffin Technology is pitching the product for additional uses, like recording, digitizing your LPs and tapes and DJ’ing with your laptop. While the device is not of super high quality as the one found on expensive pro sound cards, it does the job very well for what it is advertised for, it is portable, compatible and looks… good.
The company claims that it is “using the best USB audio codec (compressor/de-compressor) available.” Apparently, the iMic uses a codec used in the professional USB audio solutions that cost many times more. The iMic is available for $35 on retail channels.
Pros: Light, portable, slick, does the job as advertised.
Cons: Wouldn’t mind a joystick or an extra USB port in it.
Griffin make great accessories. Many that take care of Apple’s oversights… er… let’s call them annoying quirks.
Anyway, they’re doing a great service and are reasonably-priced.
This is slightly offtopic:
My poor USB bus seems to be flooded: i have the satellites that came with it, an iSub, mouse and keybd all on one port, not enough power for my poor cam. My 2nd USB port is jacked up, they used some weird non-standard connector on it, where instead of having the piece of board with the 4 pins on it, it was 4 free-standing pins that could easily be bent (like how PS/2 pins can be bent).
I also have a dead external CDRW, and external firewire drive that wont mount if OSX crashes and i have to force-reboot (i have to reboot to OS9 to fix it, then back to OS X).
Also, the cord from the wall to the external power supply doesn’t quite sit well in the power connector well (its a somewhat rubberized plastic – very strange.
The Cube suffers from some serious design flaws. I seriously need a new computer.
The Cube is a really beautiful piece of machinery. But it is indeed limited. It has major expansion problems, and Griffin’s iMic truly helps out the situation (you just need to make sure you have a powered USB hub, so devices like the iMic or the Apple Pro Speakers don’t take away all your USB ports).
Also, many users had a problem with the Power button or with random reboots, and along with its high price back in the day, drove Apple to take it out of the market only 1 year after its release.
But it is a nice machine, so it is even on Computer History Museum today not many years after its release!
Griffin makes neat hardware, yes. Their software drivers, at least for Windows, suck. They’ve advertised, and continue to advertise their PowerMate as being compatible with games. That’s only true if the game you play runs in a window and doesn’t use DirectX (e.g. very very few). They told me last December that an upcoming driver patch would fix this problem.
It’s now (practically) August, the drivers haven’t been updated, No one from Griffin answers my emails, and I’m stuck with a device I bought based on false information.
I can’t, in good faith, recommend Griffin products to anyone.
uhm, doesn’t the isight have 2 built in mics that cancel out noise from outside the viewing area? why would you want to use your powerbook mic then?
oh, i see… you found the powerbook poor, the headset mic better, and the isight mic best.
I have the Griffin iMic and the PowerMate. I haven’t tried them under Windows but I have found they work great.
Something I recently purchased that turned out to be far more useful than I imagined was the Shuttle Pro from http://www.contourdesign.com
is a Jog/Shuttle wheel USB device with 13 buttons. You can program any of the controls to do virtually anything. I primarily purchased it for video editing but found that it’s fantastic for browsing the web using Safari. You can use the shuttle ring to scroll up and down the page, the job wheel to scroll one line and a time either direction and program buttons for forward, back, close window etc.
Does the iMic work with YDL 3.0 ?
I don’t have YDL installed, so I cant’ say. Let me try with Red Hat Severn right now. Give me 10 minutes.
I just had a look at another device from griffin, the iTrip. Damn thats one helluva cool thingy!! Imagine to be able to send FM radio from your iPod!!!
Its just too bad i have the first version iPod and not the latest…
Actually, iTrip is available for the first two generations of iPods right now. It’s the new G3 iPod version that’s in development.
Ok, sorry it took so long, I encountered problems. It is all described here:
I guess I should be filing a bug at Red Hat…
I don’t know how well it would work with another distro. But for a distro that uses kudzu or derivitives (e.g. red hat, mandrake and YDL), iMic will cause problems as it doesn’t seem to be fully supported. I completely lost my sound too… Check the 500 KB screenshot above for more details.
ok guys, removed the iMic, I got sound back after re-running the “Sound Detection Tool” on Severn. I found another, new bug now in the Volume Control in the notification gnome-panel area. Because the USB device was disconnected, it would not default to the second one, the SBLive, it would just move its handler eratically. I had to quit the panel app and restart it and now is ok.
Bear in mind, these are all Linux bugs from what I can see, not the device’s.
Canadians might recognize this:
iMic, from Canmore …
I purchased a Sony Vaio over a year ago now and wanted to move all my tapes across to mp3 before I moved to live in India (and wouldn’t have a tapedeck available).
Turned out that the inbuilt mic was appalling and there was no line-in. WHat are Sony thinking?!
Anyways, after much searching the web, I came across the iMic. Wandered into an Apple shop with my PC laptop, told them what I wanted and that I wanted to check it before buying one. They looked bemused until I plugged one in, fired up CoolEdit and found that it worked immediately – no drivers required. Windows just picked it up.
I’ve used it ever since for all sorts of things and am extremely glad that I bought one. All credit to Griffin. I now have two mac devices… a 10 GB iPod (3rd gen) and the iMic.
Both work well with the pc.
You might have already read this, but Wired explores the fanatical follow-up the Cube is getting, and points out that a “real” museum has it on display as a piece of art, and not any museum, the NYC Museum of Modern Art
and it’s a cheap way to get asio2 performance with apps like cubase, logic, live and so on if you use propagamma’s usb asio driver (http://www.usb-audio.com). my vaio’s input is extremely noisy, and the iMic i’d bought for my mac (for DJing purposes) worked perfectly.
never could get it to work with beos, though
BeOS 5 does not support USB audio, it pretty much only supported most keyboards and mice on Intel usb chipsets and that’s all it could do with its usb stack pretty much (very limited printer support and even more limited scanner support).
i beg to differ:
Yeah, you are linking into a BETA driver that does not support most audio USB cards. That doesn’t count too much as “support” for me but merely as “by the way”.
i retract =)
(though the mdport and edirol soundcanvas have worked flawlessly for me)
Bug reports filed against kudzu, redhat-config-soundard on Red Hat’s bugzilla and on Gnome’s bugzilla under the module “gnome-media”.
This is an integration issue that I experienced with iMic and Linux, and it will take a lot of different projects to co-ordinate to fix it. It ain’t gonna be an easy solution, I am afraid.
I hope Griffin Tech. would step in and try to find and fix the problems themselves on all these apps that have these bugs, as that would be the easiest solution IMHO.
Yuk! I also happen to have an SBLive as the primary card. 😮
To the original poster, go yo http://www.cubeowner.com. Thet have every trick and troubleshooting tip you ca imagine. And forums where you can get your questions answered. Use the fAQ first though to save everyone time.
The Cube is remarkable and the iMic is perfect for it. You do have to watch your peripherals with the Cube. As for sound, the Cube USB speakers are USB and work in one of the two Cube USB ports. You can add an iSub, bit must be connected to a USB hub. Some people consider the uSN ports and the back of Studio Displays as “hubs”, but I’m not too sure about that. Best to get powered hubs. Now, Sound Sticks with the iSub-like sub woofer will work in one powered USB port. Only dtuff like printers work in the weaker USB hubs on the keyboard.
It sounds like you could use a new computer, but if you did a reformat, got a powered hub, many problems could possibly be solved.