Review: Mi Jam Stage Mic

Your child can look like a singling star with this Stage Mic. (July 13th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: b2, a division of Blue Box International

Price: $21.95 US

The Good

  • Flexible boom microphone. Easy to read documentation. Recommended for age 8 and up. Made to use with iPod, computer, home stereo, or other MiJam products.

The Bad

  • Batteries not included. Easily distorted microphone signal. Volume wheel hard to use. Uncomfortable headphones.

The Mi Jam Stage Mic is a sing-a-long toy that gives your child a chance to hear their voice over the top of any song playing through an iPod or any compatible music player. The microphone needs to be fairly close to the face and some sound distortion takes place as a result, especially if the singing varies in volume. The higher in pitch the singing the more it distorts. My voice is more of a baritone or tenor and does not distort unless I sing in the falsetto range, but if a child uses this it will most definitely distort if the Stage Mic volume is set above half way.

Clip-on Volume

The volume wheel is located on a clip-on device that also has another headphone port. One problem is that it is hard to tell the full range of the volume wheel because there are no numbers of the wheel, so you don't know when your reach the maximum volume, except by moving the wheel until it stops. The wheel is recessed too far into the device, so rolling the wheel takes an uncharacteristic amount of finger pressure compared to other devices that use a wheel to control volume. In fact, it is so hard to rotate that you may find you need to replace the batteries often, because even with the audible click for shut-off, it is easy to leave the unit on.

Balancing the volume takes place from the music source (iPod) in conjunction with the Stage Mic's volume control wheel. When using the Stage Mic with a first generation iPod nano the volume needed to be fairly loud, because running the signal from the iPod into the device and out the device's headphones reduces the volume and quality of the music sound. Using a 4th generation iPod, a lower volume was needed, but the quality was still questionable. It seems to cut the low frequencies a lot, but this product is designed for an age group that might not notice the sound change.

Rigid Headphones

As for the ergonomics of the headphones, the part that runs along the top of your ear is slightly coarse and my ears became sore after 15 minutes of wear. The neckband is not adjustable, so it may be loose on a child. The cushioned ear pads are more comfortable, but also seem large for a child. The face boom mic is very flexible, so that it can be positioned in front or to the side, which is good.

Batteries not included

The AAA batteries require installation by an adult with a small screwdriver. This helps reduce any choking hazard and keeps the batteries securely in place. You should expect to replace the batteries often though, because of the design of the volume wheel.

More fun when connected to other devices

I think there are better solutions if you want to buy a toy to use to sing along to music, such as the more expensive Griffin iKaraoke. You can use the second jack to send your voice to speakers with an amplifier that makes the toy more worthwhile, but you have to purchase that separately. The Mi Jam Stage Mic by itself does not add much beyond listening to yourself sing, which you can do without the added hardware. It does however, give your budding singer that false sense of looking like a real star while wearing the Mi Jam Stage Mic.

Related Reviews:
Mi Jam Drummer ($29.98)
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=321

by Marcus Sholar and Ilene Hoffman


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