The 'Spire' portable recording studio is all about spontaneity

From Engadget - February 12, 2018

While computers have democratized music recording, they can be cumbersome when you just want to get an idea down. You have to deal with cable adaptors, varying sound levels and complex software. The Spire speeds things up by shoving the necessary audio ports and hardware into a... well, a stubby "spire" and connecting it to a robust but easy-to-use companion app (over WiFi).

It all starts with industry-standard audio inputs. Connecting my synth, guitar, bass or drum machine to the Spire via one of the two XLR/TOS combo ports was as easy as plugging them into a soundboard. I did not have to hunt down dongles or adaptors like I would with my computer. The device's four-hour battery life also meant I did not have to dig up an extension cord to record in my living room.

To keep audio levels from being all over the map, the Spire has a "Sound Check" button on the device and in the app. Press the button and play an instrument (or sing into a mic) and the Spire will find a level that's appropriate for that instrument. My tests with different guitars, bass, keyboards and synths all produced solid audio levels adequate for mixing.

Playing, recording and mixing those normalized tracks only requires a few taps in the companion app. Each one is color-coded, so determining which audio is which a cinch. That said, a quick naming convention would be helpful, especially if you are dealing with more than one track of the same instrument.

Before recording each track there are virtual amps and "spaces" (acoustic recreations of rooms) that can be added for deeper and more robust sounds. This is old hat for iZotope. The company has a long history of audio manipulation via software. Each of these effects can be fine-tuned to your liking. The amps are for guitar and bass primarily but can be applied to any instrument attached to the Spire.


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