iZotope is best known for creating mixing and mastering audio software, but a couple weeks ago, I got to check out Spire Studio, the company’s first piece of hardware. Spire Studio is a palm-sized device that musicians can carry with them to record professional-grade multitrack audio anywhere they are.
While there are lots of gadgets on the market for portable recording, most interfaces I’ve seen need to be plugged in to your phone, cater to recording a specific type of instrument, or need lots of dongles. Spire Studio, on the other hand, has a lot of use in a very small footprint, and connects to your phone wirelessly. On the front is a built-in mic and headphone jack, while the back has two XLR/TS combo jacks with Grace Design preamps, another headphone jack, and a 48V phantom power button for powering your own condenser mic. The top of the Spire Studio has recording control buttons, and the option to perform a soundcheck, where it will listen to the audio you’re playing for 10 seconds and then adjust the input levels accordingly. Of course, it all comes with an accompanying app.
Spire Studio allows you to record up to eight individual layers of audio for a single project. So, your drums can be kept separate from your guitar, which can be kept separate from vocals, and so on. Everything is recorded by Spire Studio in FLAC format and the layers can be fussed with on the app in a variety of different ways. There’s an interface where each layer can be dragged around to find the sweet spot for panning and volume, effects like reverb can be added, and individual layers can be trimmed and edited. From there, all the recorded layers can be exported so you can work with the project further in a digital audio workstation (DAW), or you can export the master output directly, with options to post to social platforms or your SoundCloud account. Spire Studio can also create its own Wi-Fi network so no matter where you are, the app is accessible.
Spire Studio has a lot of use in a very small footprint and connects to your phone wirelessly
Having an easy option for capturing great sounding multitrack recordings is really quite useful. I could see a singer/songwriter using it to record vocals and guitar on the go, or touring musicians carrying this with them as a way to capture spontaneous collaborative jam sessions. Also, this could be a great option for casual musicians, or those who don’t have the access (or the funds or time) to record professionally in a studio with an engineer. This isn’t meant to replace your DAW, but provide a way to easily and immediately record all your song components anywhere you are.
Picking up how to use Spire Studio and the app was incredibly easy, and it really does seem to account for an “anywhere, anytime” mentality. I tried using the soundcheck feature by practically yelling into Studio Spire’s mic while holding it right in front of my face, and it accurately backed down the input to a reasonable level. The company also tells me the mic accounts for some level of room noise, which is background audio that can happen around you in a non-controlled environment. When not plugged in, the battery should last around four or five hours.
If you’re looking for a portable recording solution, especially one that allows for easy collaboration and setup, this could be a viable device to use — it’s very literally a plug and play way to capture recordings on the go. Spire Studio can be purchased now for $349.