Vocalists and acoustic performers need no longer hide their painful envy of guitarists able to plug an electric instrument into an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. IK Multimedia has announced the forthcoming availability of a handheld condenser microphone specifically designed for use with those very Apple devices. The iRig Mic caters for real-time monitoring of recordings and comes shipped with a new vocal processing and recording app, the company's excellent AmpliTube app and a quick audio recording app.

Said to be the first of its kind, the iRig Mic benefits from a unidirectional electret-condenser microphone capsule for recording of both near and far audio. It has a built-in windscreen, a frequency response of 100Hz to 15kHz, -3dB and 3 percent total harmonic distortion at the highest of the three-level gain settings. The dual mini-jack connector allows for simultaneous connection to the iOS device and headphones, speakers, amplifiers and the like, for real-time monitoring of recordings.

IK Multimedia says that the iRig Mic's "excellent ability to handle high audio pressure levels ensures high-quality, crisp, clean vocal reproduction - even in noisy environments - with no distortion, even with the widest range of volume dynamics."

The microphone comes shipped with VocaLive free (the company's new vocal effects processor suite that includes pitch correction, vocal doubler and choir harmonizer), an iRig Recorder audio recording app and the AmpliTube Free amp and effects simulator and recording app. It's also compatible with many other vocal processing and recording apps for the iOS platform.

The familiar-shaped metal body can be gripped in the hand or placed in a standard microphone stand (with iKlip as appropriate), the latter being helped by the provision of a 6.5ft (2m) cable.

Use of the iRig Mic is not restricted to vocal performances or recordings of acoustic instruments, it is also likely to find its way to the hands of reporters, podcasters and students too.

The iRig Mic will cost US$59.99 and shipping is expected to start in the first quarter of 2011.