Alesis Core 1 USB Audio Interface Review/Test

Today we're covering the Alesis Core 1 USB Audio Interface. This is a very small audio interface that plugs directly into your computer, or into your iOs device using the iPad camera connection kit. I do not own this kit so I was unable to test this out, but they do list this on the box.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $50 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. USB Cable
  3. Cubase LE Download Card
  4. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality of this thing feels awesome. It has a full metal case, nice XLR connection, and sturdy dials. On the front of the interface you just have an XLR input. On the back of the interface you have a headphone volume control, 3.5mm headphone out, line volume, line/guitar switch, and a usb output. 

The headphones do not offer zero latency monitoring, so you have no way of monitoring what you're recording unless you run through a DAW. On that note, when running this through a DAW, the latency is horrible (approximately .5 seconds) even with my buffer size set to the minimum available.

The interface lists 24-bit Resolution and a 48kHz sampling rate. This interface does not offer phantom power and therefore will not work with any condenser microphones. You can only use this with a dynamic microphone or a 1/4" instrument. 

I also found that I needed to set my input volume to 100% to get a decent volume out of my SM58, and even with that setting, I still had to boost the audio by +12db to get the levels in the video. However, it is a relatively quiet interface and the noise was surprisingly decent even at 100%

Pros

  • Good construction
  • Works with iPad (based on box)
  • Low noise floor

Cons

  • Horrible latency
  • No zero latency monitoring
  • Low output for mic

Conclusion

I do not recommend this interface at all. Based on the horrible latency, the lack of zero latency monitoring, and the horrible output level for the mic, I find this to be completely unusable. I think that this device was generated mainly as a guitar interface, but with the latency experienced, it fails miserably. Look elsewhere if you're looking for an audio interface.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP.

Buy the Alesis Core 1:
US: http://amzn.to/2aJa4JB
UK: http://amzn.to/2a9Uh8C

Zalman ZM-MIC 1 Review / Test

Today I am testing out the Zalman ZM-Mic 1. This is a sort of lavalier microphone that is meant to be clipped to your headphones cable. 

What's In the Box 

  1. Microphone with ~10-foot cable.

Performance / Features

The build quality on this microphone is exactly what you would expect on a $7 microphone; cheap. The cable is a cheap rubber that feels flimsy, and the plastic portion that clips to your headphone cable feels relatively cheap as well. Unfortunately the portion that clips to your headphones is not adjustable. This leads to concerns with headphone cables being too thin or too thick. On top of this, it does not allow you to clip this microphone to your shirt.

This is an omni-directional microphone, so if you are concerned with picking up room noise or background noise, you will not like this microphone. When typing on my keyboard, I found that a lot of keyboard noise was picked up (note: I do not use a mechanical keyboard, so if you are using a mechanical keyboard, the sound would be significantly worse). I want to point out that the majority of Lav Mics are omni-directional because this provides the best pick up pattern to pick up your voice while clipped to your shirt. 

The audio from this microphone sounded best when being held closer to the sound source (just like any microphone). However, when clipped to the headphone cable or loosely clipped to my shirt, the audio sounded dampened. 

Pros

  • Sounds Decent
  • Only costs $7

Cons

  • Cheap Build Quality
  • Lack of Functionality
  • Not versatile

Conclusion

This is a decent sounding microphone for the cost. However, I would not recommend this microphone unless this is your only option. This is because you can buy a 3-pack of Neewer Lav Mics for between $5-$7. Sure the build quality is slightly lower, but it will allow you clip the microphone to your shirt and provide a little bit more versatility. 

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Zalman ZM-Mic 1: http://amzn.to/1R0Ri0Q
Neewer Lav Mics: http://amzn.to/1R0Rj4O