Shure PGA58 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today we're reviewing one of the cheaper dynamic microphones from Shure, the PGA-58.

For this review, I have the mic connected direction to the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (1st Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 75%. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in finalcut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $55-$60 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Clip (No 5/8 to 3/8" adapter)
  3. Carrying Pouch
  4. Documentation
  5. Sticker

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 16kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -55dB
  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is on par with most other Shure microphones. It has an all metal body, and a metal grill that feels like it could handle the stage rather well. It has an off switch on the side which is always handy in spoken word situations, it has the XLR port on the bottom like you'd expect, and it has a good amount of weight to it, coming in at 10.37 oz.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 16kHz. It begins to roll off frequencies starting at around 500Hz, and then is relatively flat up through 3kHz. At that point it has a boost that peaks at around 5.5kHz followed by a steep cut down to 6.5kHz with additional variations of a few dB through ~12kHz, which ends up rolling off at around 15kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as cardioid. It does a good job at rejecting noise around the rear of the mic which would be ideal for live situations. This will assist in avoiding feedback from the PA and from on stage wedges. 

The overall performance of this mic is pretty decent. It did not do a great job in terms of handling noise or background noise rejection, but neither of these are bad enough to destroy the microphone. The off axis coloration of this mic does seem to lose a bit of the low end and high end as you move around to 90-degrees giving you a somewhat mid forward sound around the sides. The rear is quiet enough that you're not going to get much coloration from it though. 

Due to the bass roll off beginning around 500Hz, this thing will seem to lack body on instruments. On the electric guitar, I found it to be somewhat muddy, while the acoustic guitar lacked a bit in the low end and didn't have much shine to it. Where this mic really excels is on the vocal performances. It has a flatter response when compared to the SM58, and it rolls off the low frequencies to help ensure your voice doesn't get too muddy. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 8.28.30 PM.png

Pros

  • Less boosted High End compared to SM58
  • Cheaper alternative to SM58
  • Great build quality
  • On/Off switch

Cons

  • Dull sound on instruments / Slightly muddy on bassier instruments
  • Not the most flattering off axis coloration
  • Less smooth sounding than SM58

Conclusion

I think this is a rather decent alternative to the SM58 if you're on a limited budget. I don't think this microphone is ideal for acoustic guitar or electric guitar, but I think it is a fine vocal microphone for the $60.00 price tag. The less prominent presence boost, and the roll off in the bass frequencies may not be preferred for some musicians, and it may not stick through a mix as well, but I don't think you will have many issues with this in a live situation. Or if you do have this microphone and you want to start a podcast, or do gaming commentary, I think this would suffice for that as well.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2myIaI6
UK: http://amzn.to/2mgtHjf
CA: http://amzn.to/2FVlCrb
DE: http://amzn.to/2HK1XuE

CAD U1000 USB Studio Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today we're reviewing a potato, I mean a microphone from CAD; the CAD U1000. This mic is listed compatible with Windows & Mac.

For the majority of this review, I have connected the mic directly to my mac computer with the computer gain set at ~35%. I have not boosted the audio at all in post, and there is no other post processing completed on the audio.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $40-$80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Wind Screen
  3. USB to USB cable
  4. Microphone Mount
  5. Desktop Microphone Stand
  6. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sampling Rate: 44.1kHz
  4. Bit Depth: 16-Bit

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone feels decent. It has an all metal body and a metal grill covering the capsule. On the front of the microphone you will find a blue LED light to indicate that it is receiving power. Directly beneath this, you will find a headphone volume up and down control. Next you'll find a microphone mute button that does not mute the microphone's signal to the computer, but rather mutes the zero latency monitoring. Lastly you will find a 3.5mm headphone port which does offer latency free monitoring.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. I do not think this microphone offers any sound worth discussing in depth. It is underwhelming and sounds exactly like you would expect a low end USB mic to sound.

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as cardioid. It did pick up a fair amount of audio as we moved around the microphone, and also picked up a bit of the quiet keyboard that I test while reviewing the mic.

The overall performance of this mic is mediocre at best. As you can tell, throughout the majority of the review (on the mac), there are clipping artifacts in the audio. I demonstrate how no matter what gain I set the mic at, there are clipping artifacts. On the windows machine this issue did not occur. My issue here is that the mic is listed as compatible with Windows and MAC, and just like other CAD mics I've tested, the performance on the MAC computer leaves a LOT to be desired.

Pros

  • Comes with everything you need
  • Fairly quiet preamp
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Decent build quality

Cons

  • If you get too close to the microphone on a mac, it clips
  • Audio recorded sounds very mediocre

Conclusion

No I do not recommend this microphone, even if you can get it for the discounted $40. I think that the clipping issue on the mac is unacceptable and do not have faith in a company that would release a product like this.

Some of you may be thinking I'm being too harsh, and that this could be attributed to a faulty unit, however, I have tested out two other CAD microphones and experienced very similar issues, and was not able to receive any assistance from the company. For $40, I would suggest looking at something like the Samson Go Mic, and all around better microphone.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2lAwHGU
UK: NA

FiFine K669 USB Podcast Microphone Review / Test

Today we are looking at another extremely budget USB Microphone by FiFine; the K669 USB Podcast Microphone.

This microphone is listed as compatible with the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional and Mac OS and Linux OX.

For the majority of this review, I have connected the mic directly to my mac computer with the computer gain set at ~10%, and the microphone gain set at ~25%, and then boosted +12dB in post. No other processing was done to the audio.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $25-$28 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Permanently Attached Cable
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. Desktop Microphone Stand
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Max SPL: 130dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is what you would expect out of a $25 microphone. It has a metal construction but it does not feel like high quality materials, and it does not feel as though it's extremely well put together. The grill offers minimal protection from plosives, so I would suggest a pop filter. The front of the microphone has a single volume dial, which is a nice feature but has a bit of wobble to it. The USB cable is permanently attached which is less than ideal because if the cable goes bad you will just have to replace the microphone.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. When listening back to the audio it sounds compressed/thin, kind of like you're recording over a really nice phone call. Because of this sound profile, I do not think that I would personally use this for anything other than skype, chatting online, or home demos.

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as uni-directional, which means it should mainly pick up audio directly in front of the microphone. However, during the background noise test, it picked up quite a bit of my apple magic keyboard (which is a relatively quiet keyboard).

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Microphone volume dial
  • No digital artifacts / clicking when gain set high

Cons

  • Audio sounds like high quality phone call
  • Permanent USB Cable

Conclusion

Overall, for $25, I think that this microphone is pretty decent. It doesn't have excessive line noise or digital artifacts, and the audio is relatively clear sounding. However, as I mentioned it does sound similar to a high quality phone call. 

This means I will not be recommending this mic for any professional applications. If you are just going to be chatting online with your friends, or recording preproduction/demos at home, I think this microphone would be perfectly fine. You may be able to get away with this for starting a youtube channel, but you will be pushing it. Other than that I would recommend you look for a higher quality microphone. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kPfq9x
UK: http://amzn.to/2ld4a7R

Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we're looking at another gaming headset from Razer; the Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset.

I think the main selling point of this headset is the universal compatibility. It is marketed as compatible with Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac! 

For the majority of this review, I have the Razer Kraken Pro connected directly to my MacBook Pro with the input gain set at 10%. In my sound preferences, I checked the meter, and I was not clipping, however, you will hear that there is an exorbitant amount of clipping. I tried dropping my gain all the way down to 1% and I was still encountering a clipped sound signal even though the meter was showing sound levels no greater than 50%. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back between $50 & $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m TRRS Cable Permanently Attached)
  2. TRRS Splitter
  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Impedance: 32-Ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is nothing spectacular. The majority of the construction is plastic, but it does feel like relatively high quality plastic when compared to a $20 headset. The headphones do offer a nice fit; providing a decent amount of give and just the right amount of pressure to ensure that they fit the majority of people's heads. The ear cups are very soft and comfortable. While the headband does not offer too much padding, it did not become uncomfortable at any point of my testing. The microphone articulates which is something that is important in a gaming headset, and it also retracts when not in use. The 1.3m cable is standard rubber, in the middle you have a control panel to adjust headphone volume and mute the microphone, and the cable terminates into a single 3.5mm TRRS jack.

The headphones offer a full frequency response ranging from 20Hz - 20kHz. The 40mm drivers push a lot of the lower frequencies which seem to drown out a lot of the higher end. However, the audio does not sound muddy. If you are a big fan of bass-heavy headphones, then this may be a good option for a gaming headset. If you're looking for an even sounding, flat frequency response set of headphones, this is not going to be for you.

The microphone, simply put, is not good. It has a harsh tone to it which almost hurts your ears. On the mac it was clipping no matter what gain I set it at. All around, it's just not a usable microphone for most applications. If you are looking to podcast, do voice overs, or do video game commentaries with this headset, look some where else. BUT, if you are going to be using it exclusively for online gaming, this mic may be perfect for that. Due to the harsh tone, it will allow your voice to cut through the games audio and ensure you're not lost in the mix.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mic Articulates / Retracts
  • Heavy bass without sounding muddy
  • Microphone cuts through game sound due to harsh tone

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone for any professional application
  • Bass overpowers higher frequencies
  • Headphone volume rocker is sensitive, and easy to accidentally hit

Conclusion

Overall, I can only recommend this for a single use case: Online Gaming. That's what it was designed for, and that's where this headset will live. It has good sounding headphones (if you like bass), and the microphone will cut through the game sound to ensure you're heard. On the other hand, if you want to use the microphone for Skype calls, voice overs, commentary, podcasts, etc, this headset will not cut it and you need to continue searching.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kfOS0M
UK: http://amzn.to/2klnAbN

FiFine USB Condenser Mic (K056 / K058) Review / Test

Today, we're looking at another budget microphone straight from China, the FiFine K056 / K058 USB Condenser Microphone.

The main difference between this mic and the BM-100FX & NW-300E is the fact that this has 4-Pin XLR plug and a 4-Pin XLR to USB Cable, while the former 2 mics have a 3-Pin XLR plug and a 3-Pin XLR to USB/3.5mm Cable. The BM-100FX & NW-300E did not work well without the addition of a USB Soundcard to your audio connection; The K056 & K058 allow you to plug directly into your computer without the need for any additional gear. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $30 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. 4-Pin XLR to USB Cable
  3. Windscreen
  4. Microphone Mount
  5. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  6. Desktop Microphone Stand
  7. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -32dB
  4. Max SPL: 130dB
  5. Impedance: 1000-Ohms
  6. Power Requirement: 5v Provided Through USB Plug

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is nothing great. It feels as though it is made with very cheap metal, so I would be careful with this mic. There are two dials on the side that control Volume & Echo. Unfortunately, the dials feel a bit loose and wobble when you put any pressure on them. The bottom of the microphone is the 4-PIN XLR PORT, which means you can ONLY USE 4-Pin XLR cables on this thing, so keep that in mind when shopping around. If this cable goes bad you may be out of luck in terms of a replacement. The desktop stand, microphone mount, and windscreen are also built with low quality materials.

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz. I spent about 15 minutes trying to find a decent microphone placement for the electric guitar, but realized that it wasn't the placement that was bad, it was the mic. It lacked the majority of presence and just sounded dull. The acoustic was barely passable as well. It sounded as though it had a pulsating effect on it which made it unusable. The vocals, were okay at best. They lacked any shine or warmth, and were underwhelming.

The cardioid polar pattern did a nice job at background noise rejection, but still picked up a decent amount of keyboard noise. I believe that the echo feature is insane to include on a microphone. It only provides with the ability to control the intensity of the echo, with no way to adjust the timing of the echo. Also, there's no way to turn the echo off completely. Even with the dial set to 0, you can still hear a very slight echo.

Pros

  • Single USB plug
  • Volume Control on Mic
  • Echo (some may view it as a pro, although I hate it)
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Cannot completely turn off Echo
  • 4-Pin XLR is not very common (difficult to find replacement cable)
  • Cheap build quality
  • Subpar performance on Electric, Acoustic, and Singing

Conclusion

I think this mic is just decent. When I heard it I was not blown away, I was left thinking "Yup. That's what I expected from a $30 microphone". The polar pattern is fine, the frequency response left a lot to be desired in the higher frequencies, and the echo feature baffles me since you can't turn it completely off.

I'm not going to recommend this for any musicians as it does not sound good in any of the tests I performed. I'm not going to recommend it for podcasters either because having a slight echo would drive your listeners mad.

The only people I'm going to suggest this for are people who want a cheap mic to improve their Skype phone calls, people who want to do live streaming, or people who want to do light gaming commentary. Skype calls can have that very slight echo without bothering anyone, and for live streaming / gaming commentary, you'll have the game sound in the background to mask those imperfections.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the K056/K058
US: http://amzn.to/2l0ILys
UK: http://amzn.to/2l0FajM

 

Rode M3 Condenser Mic Review

Today, we're looking at another microphone from Rode; the Rode M3

This is an XLR condenser microphone, which means you will need to connect this to an audio interface that offers +48v of phantom power. For this review, I have connected the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, with the +48v phantom power turned on and my gain set around ~55%. In post, I did boost the signal +8dB as well, but no actual post processing was done.

What is really unique about this microphone is that it is Multi-Powered, meaning you can power the microphones capsule through different methods; with the standard +48v phantom power, or with a 9v battery!!!

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $150 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pouch
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  5. Windscreen
  6. Documentation
  7. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -40dB
  4. Max SPL: 142dB
  5. Impedance: 200-Ohms
  6. Phantom Power: 48v or a 9v Battery

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone feels incredible. It has a full metal construction that feels extremely well put together, as well as a decent amount of weight to it. This thing feels like an absolute tank. On the side we have a 3-way switch that allows you switch between 1) Off, 2) flat frequency response, 3) low cut filter. When you unscrew the bottom, you will find another 3 way switch that allows you to turn on a -10dB or -20dB pad, as well as a spot to install a standard 9v battery.

The frequency response of this mic is 40Hz - 20kHz. The electric guitar sounded pretty good, offering a decent amount of low end and plenty of crispy high frequencies. On the voice it did seem to lack a bit of lower frequencies, but it still sounded absolutely usable. Then on the acoustic guitar, it sounded incredibly natural. What I liked most about it was the percussiveness that it picked up from the strumming. This is a personal preference of mine, and it is one of my favorite mics I've come across for acoustic guitar.

The cardioid polar pattern did a nice job at background noise rejection. In a studio, I think this would work well for live tracking as it would help minimize bleed between microphones. For gamers and podcasters, it does seem like it would work well at eliminating background noise, but it may still pick up more than what you desire.

Pros

  • Battery Powered
  • Great build quality
  • Great Natural Sound
  • 10 YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Cons

  • Lacks low end on voice

Conclusion

I think this microphone is EXCELLENT for the price. It is absolutely going into my rotation of mics I use for recording music. The tone is absolutely not going to be for everybody, but if you are looking for a microphone with a more mid/high focussed frequency response, then I think this is a great option.

If you run a professional studio, or you do a lot of interviews/recording in the field, I think this would be a great mic to add to your arsenal. Not only does it have an incredibly high Max SPL which will handle loud instruments really well, but it also allows you to power the mic with a 9v battery! Therefore, if you're ever out in the field, and don't have access to a phantom power supply, you don't have to worry.

I don't think I would PERSONALLY recommend this for podcasting or gaming because the tone doesn't seem to fit my voice. But if you have a deeper voice, this may provide the right frequency response which would help avoid too much bass while maintaining a crisp and clean high end. Another downside for this applications is that the polar pattern might also pick up more background noise than you would prefer. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the M3
US: http://amzn.to/2jjNFaP
UK: http://amzn.to/2jjx8Uq

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2jpDz96
UK: http://amzn.to/2iA4ZER

Rode NT1-A Anniversary Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today, we are looking at another high quality microphone from Rode, which is labeled The World's Quietest Studio Microphone; The Rode NT1-A.

This is an XLR condenser microphone, which means you will need to connect this to an audio interface that offers +48v of phantom power. For this review, I have connected the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, with the +48v phantom power turned on with my gain set around ~55%. In post, I did boost the signal +6dB as well, but no actual

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $230 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pouch / Dust Cover
  3. Shock Mount
  4. Pop Filter
  5. XLR to XLR cable
  6. Documentation
  7. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -31.9dB
  4. Max SPL: 137dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Phantom Power: 24v - 48v

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is excellent. We have a full metal construction with a metal grill. Unlike a stage ready dynamic mic, this mic is delicate, so I absolutely recommend using care while handling this. The pouch does not offer any padding, but it can be used as a dust cover while the mic is mounted on your stand. The shock mount is all metal and feels very well built while performing it's job admirably. The pop filter is attached to the shock mount and did an excellent job at eliminating plosives during the test. 

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz. On the electric guitar, it sounded full and crisp. During the electric guitar test, the palm muting had plenty of punchy low end without sounding muddy, and sharp high end that was not overwhelming. While testing the acoustic, we hear a similar sound; full low-mids, and crisp highs. On the vocals, the mic seemed to focus on the mids and highs without too powerful of a low end. As with every mic, this is based off a single microphone placement, and as you know, playing around with the mic placement is essential when getting the correct tones for your recording.

The cardioid polar pattern offers just the right amount of background noise rejection while maintaining the ability for your room to color the recording. For gamers and podcasters, this may not be ideal because you want as little background noise as possible, but for professional recordings made in a nice room, this will allow your recordings to sound unique to your studio.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Great Natural Sound
  • Low Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Excellent Shock Mount & Pop Filter
  • 10 YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Cons

  • Delicate

Conclusion

As I said with the Rode NT1 review, I love this microphone. I think it sounds excellent, and I will absolutely add this to the mics I rotate for music recording and podcasting. If you like the tone of this microphone, and are looking for very low line noise, I absolutely recommend this mic! Keep in mind it does have a fairly wide polar pattern, which will pick up a bit of background noise, so if you're concerned with that, you may want to look into some dynamic microphones.

I also don't think that this is the right mic for people who are just starting on youtube or podcasting. I think that when starting out, you can get by with a much cheaper microphone. Then down the line if you want to improve the audio quality and you are well researched on microphones, then you should consider this microphone.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Rode NT1-A
US: http://amzn.to/2iFdsK5
UK: http://amzn.to/2jhStfq

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2jpDz96
UK: http://amzn.to/2iA4ZER

TONOR BM-700 XLR Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I'm reviewing a new microphone from Tonor; the BM-700

I do need to mention that this microphone was provided to me by Tonor in order for me to conduct this review. 

For the majority of this video, I'm connecting the BM700 to my computer using the SYBA Stereo USB Soundcard with my gain set at approximately 4%. Keep in mind that this is an XLR, electret condenser microphone, which means it does require some voltage in order to work properly. Connecting this microphone directly to your motherboard's microphone input will likely not provide great results, so I suggest the SYBA USB Soundcard, or a full Audio Interface that offers phantom power (Focusrite Scarlett Solo).

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $16 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Windscreen
  3. Shockmount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  5. XLR to 3.5mm Cable
  6. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Impedance: 150-Ohms

Performance / Features

This microphone's build quality is exactly like all the other BM-700's and NW-700's on the market. It has an all metal construction, but is on the lighter side of things. However, I do think it will be able to last quite a while when it is taken care of properly. It also offers no additional features; it just has an XLR plug on the bottom of the microphone. 

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz, which is nice to see. The audio quality is nothing outstanding, but you can't expect flawless audio out of a microphone that costs about $16. The low end is not overly muddy, and the higher frequencies are not harsh. However, it lacks certain frequencies that really capture the energy of a performance.

The polar pattern of the microphone is Cardioid. During the tests, it did seem to pick up audio all the way around the microphone, but as you move away from the front of the mic, the majority of frequencies drop off. There was also a fairly drastic drop off as I moved away from the microphone. Lastly, it did decently at ignoring background noise, but it should be noted that I use an apple magic keyboard, which does not have mechanical switches.

Pros

  • It is Cheap!
  • Good audio for the price
  • Decent at background noise rejection
  • Can function on ~4.5v up to +48v

Cons

  • Doesn't capture performance's energy

Conclusion

In all honesty, due to the fact that this is a sub-$20 microphone, I struggled to find any real cons. For the price, I think it performed pretty damn well. However, I was expecting this performance since I have tested out this exact microphone under multiple different company names.

I'm definitely not going to recommend this if you're looking for a main microphone to launch a professional studio and charge a high hourly rate. But, if you are just starting on youtube, or want to launch a podcast or voice over career, I think that this is a great starting point. It will allow you to get very usable audio without breaking the bank, and if you enjoy that project, you can upgrade down the line without feeling guilty about this mic going to waste.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the BM-700 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2ihnBdv
UK: http://amzn.to/2iH731s

Buy the SYBA Stereo USB Soundcard
US: http://amzn.to/2jgNIpb
UK: http://amzn.to/2iH91yX

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2iHnGdr
UK: http://amzn.to/2ihqPOj

Samson Q7 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today I'm talking about a dynamic XLR microphone by Samson; the Samson Q7 Dynamic Microphone.

This is an entry level dynamic microphone that has an insanely high Max SPL of 150dB. This leads me to believe that this would work great in a live situation.

For this video, I am connecting the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo with my gain set at approximately 75%

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Mic Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  4. Hardshell Carrying Case
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Super Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -57dB
  4. Max SPL: 150dB
  5. Impedance: 200-Ohms

Performance / Features

This mic has no frills or special features. No lights. No switches. Nothing. As far as the build quality, the construction is all metal and it feels incredibly sturdy and well put together. It also has some really nice weight to it. It feels like this mic would be able to handle the wear and tear of live use. 

The frequency response of this mic is pretty standard for a dynamic microphone, ranging from 50Hz - 18kHz. However, the sound signature is not my favorite of the dynamic mics I've tested. While listening to the acoustic it sounds like it lacks some high-mids while sounding a bit boomy in the low-mids. All in all, not my favorite EQ from a Samson microphone.

The polar pattern of the mic is Super Cardioid, which means it is extremely focussed. As you can tell during the tests, as soon as I move a little bit off axis the audio drops significantly. That is why I think this microphone would be an excellent decision for live performances as well as those who are concerned with excessive background noise.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Hardshell Carrying Case
  • Extremely directional (superb noise rejection)
  • Relatively cheap

Cons

  • Quiet output
  • Not the best EQ tuning

Conclusion

I think this microphone is nothing more than a middle of the road dynamic microphone. It's not a mic I anticipate using for anything in the future, but I won't go so far as to not recommend it. 

If you are looking for a relatively cheap microphone for live performances, I think that this would be a great option since it has excellent noise rejection as soon as you get off axis. This means it would work well if you are playing with a full band, as your vocal mic would ignore quite a bit of the guitar amp/drums/etc.

Another use case I think this microphone would be fine for would be let's plays. Once again, the mic does great with noise rejection so you will not pick up as much of your keyboards noise as you would with a regular cardioid condenser mic.

Other than that, I think that you can find a better option within the same price range. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Samson Q7
US: http://amzn.to/2hIam7G
UK: http://amzn.to/2i0AmsG

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2iFxsKW
UK: http://amzn.to/2i0CrVE

Buy the XLR to USB Cable
US: http://amzn.to/2hIjivn
UK:http://amzn.to/2hIrQ5B

 

Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset Review / Test

Today I am reviewing a wired gaming headset that offers surround sound as well as customizable lighting; the Lenovo Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset.

If you are interested in this headset, it will set you back $85 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset (1.8m Cable)
  2. Removable Microphone
  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Headphone Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 5Hz - 30kHz
  3. Impedance: 32-ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Uni-directional)

Performance / Features

The construction of this headset is mainly plastic, while maintaining a sturdy feel. The headphones rotate a minimal amount to ensure that the headphones fit whatever head shape you have. The padding on the ear cups is very soft, but it is not breathable which leads to your ears getting hot after a little while of use, the padding on the headband is not soft, and is uncomfortable, and overall the headphones are just a bit too tight which also counts against this headset's comfortability.

The braided cable is 1.8m long and in the middle of the cord you will find a limited control panel which allows you to mute your microphone as well as turn up or down the headphones volume. The cable terminates into a USB and 3.5mm plug. It needs to be noted that you CAN NOT use both at the same time; you either get a USB headset or a 3.5mm headset.

Out of the box, the headphones are a bit too bass heavy and lack a lot of the presence and shine in the high end. If you are on a Windows machine, this is easily fixable with the Lenovo Y software which allows you to enter a custom EQ, or select a preset EQ.

The microphone did decent at background noise rejections, but that's about the only thing good it did. The audio quality is unnatural sounding and shrill, and it was even difficult to listen to while editing the review. The USB connection also introduces a slight digital clicking noise that is not extremely loud, but it still hinders the microphones quality. Lastly, this thing doesn't come with a pop filter or windscreen so it picks up every breath and every plosive which degrades the audio even further.

Pros

  • Surround Sound
  • Braided Cable
  • Customizable EQ
  • Decent build quality

Cons

  • Microphone sounds like a typical gaming headset
  • High line noise on the microphone
  • No pop filter / windscreen on the headset
  • Headset uncomfortable

Conclusion

My recommendation for this headset comes with a few caveats. First, if you are interested in buying this headset, wait for the price to drop. $85 is a bit much for a wired gaming headset when the gaming headset market is chock full of cheaper alternatives. Secondly, you have to be okay with crappy microphone quality; you cannot want to record podcasts or voice overs with this thing. Third, you need windows to run the lenovo software, and without the software, the headphones are nothing I would recommend. 

If you find these on sale, and you are okay with the second two caveats, then I think this headset will work well for you if you are only planning on using them for short gaming sessions.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2ilGhZ0
UK: NA

Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Wireless Headset Review / Test

Today I am reviewing a completely wireless gaming headset; the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset.

I do need to mention that this headset was sent to me by Logitech Gaming for the sake of doing this review. 

This is a gaming headset that is compatible with PC, Xbox One, and PS4, that has a programmable lighting, a retractable microphone, programmable buttons, and a storage compartment for the wireless dongle.

If you are interested in this headset, it will set you back $200 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset
  2. Wireless USB Dongle
  3. USB Cable (3m)
  4. 3.5mm Cable (1.5m)
  5. RCA to 3.5mm Cable (1m)
  6. 3.5mm to 2.5mm Adapter
  7. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Headphone Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Battery Life: 12 Hours without lighting / 8 Hours with lighting

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Cardioid (Uni-directional)
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 20kHz

Performance / Features

The construction of this headset is mainly plastic, however, it feels extremely sturdy and very well put together. The ear cups rotate about 95-degrees which allows the headset to lay flat on your desk, or lay flat on your chest when they are hanging around your neck. The padding on the ear cups and headband is breathable, soft, and all around very comfortable.

On the front left ear cup you will find a retractable microphone, which is muted when it is retracted, and unmated when it is extended. On the back of the left ear cup you will find a volume wheel to adjust the headphones volume, a microphone mute button, 3 programmable buttons (which you will control using the logitech gaming software), and the power switch. On the outside of the left ear cup you will find a removable panel where you can store the wireless USB dongle to ensure you do not lose it while traveling. On the outside of the right ear cup you will find the battery for headset.

The headphones are the big selling point of this headset. In the flat mode they have a punchy and tight low end, and shimmering highs that do not sound shrill or fatiguing on the ears. You are also able to manually adjust the EQ (in the Logitech gaming software) to fit whatever sound signature you prefer. The 7.1 channel surround sounds great too, but keep in mind, I do not do much gaming so I cannot speak with any amount of authority in this arena.

The microphone does leave quite a bit to be desired as it just sounds like your standard gaming headset microphone. There was quite a bit of line noise when testing out the gain, which started at around 60-75%. However, the background noise rejection of this microphone is excellent. It picked up very minimal amounts of my keyboard while doing the typing test. 

Pros

  • Wireless
  • Headphones sound excellent
  • You can hear the mic in the headphones!!!
  • Custom EQ capabilities
  • Programmable lighting
  • 8-12 Hours of battery life
  • Great background noise rejection

Cons

  • Microphone sounds like a typical gaming headset
  • High line noise on the microphone

Conclusion

I would absolutely recommend this gaming headset if you are looking for a wireless headset that offers 7.1 channel surround sound. The headphones are the real selling point here; they sound excellent. They offer a great sound signature out of the box with great bass response that does not negatively impact the higher frequencies. On top of that, you can create your own EQ to fit what ever sound you prefer.

The microphone does not provide studio quality audio, but for gaming I think it will work well as it does a great job at rejecting background noise. However, if you are looking for a headset to podcast with, or do voice over work with, I do not think that this microphone will cut it. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Logitech G933
US: http://amzn.to/2i4hrNm
UK: http://amzn.to/2hXbtBK

Blue Nessie Adaptive USB Mic Review / Test

Today I'm reviewing a mic that I've been trying to get my hands on for about a 4 months. The mic being featured is the Blue Nessie Adaptive USB Condenser Microphone

This is a USB microphone that is listed as compatible with Windows & Mac OS X. It offers multiple DSP modes which are marketed as a way to make recording easy, and it offers a built in pop filter & shock mount to ensure you do not suffer from any plosives or vibrations.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. 5-foot USB Cable
  3. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Max SPL: 110dB
  4. Bit Depth: 16-bit
  5. Sampling Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic seems pretty decent for the price. The base of the microphone is metal and has some substantial weight to it. The entire base acts as a dial to control the headphone volume as well. underneath the dial there is an LED light that glows when the microphone is plugged in and receiving power, and blinks when the microphone is muted.

Speaking of mute, on the front of the microphones neck, you have a single red button to mute/unmute the mic. On the back of the neck you will find a USB plug, a 3-way switch to change between the 3 modes (flat, voice, music), and directly above that you will find a 3.5mm headphone port which provides latency free monitoring.

When we get to the microphone capsule, the grills on both sides of the mic are metal, while the center blue piece is made of plastic. Within the casing there is a pop filter to eliminate plosives as well as a shock mount to ensure you don't suffer from vibrations or table bumps. You are also able to tilt the microphone about 90-degrees to make sure you get the best placement possible.

The frequency response ranges from 20Hz in the low end all the way to 20kHz in the high end. While playing guitar/singing on this mic, I think the performance was only decent on all the settings. When me moved to the acoustic guitar test, I thought that the only usable setting was the flat mode. On the voice mode, the guitar was overly boomy with very little presence, and while set to music mode, the high frequencies seemed overly shrill and piercing.

The cardioid polar pattern was the correct choice for this microphone as it sits directly on the desk. It did pick up a decent amount of keyboard noise, which is to be expected of any desktop microphone, and it picked up my voice fairly well even at 4-feet away. 

Pros

  • Built in pop filter
  • Decent audio quality
  • Latency free monitoring

Cons

  • Cannot remove mic from desktop stand
  • Picked up vibrations from computer & bumps of desk quite prominently

Conclusion

I was not impressed with this microphone. The audio quality is decent on the flat mode, but I found the two other DSP modes to be subpar. On top of that, you will be stuck using this as a desktop microphone, as you cannot remove the microphone from the stand and put it on a boom arm. This led to some issues during the test. I found the microphone picked up vibrations from my computer as well as bumps of the desk. Moreover, when you're forced to keep the microphone placed directly on your desk, it is difficult to get decent microphone placement to record instruments or your voice.

Although this microphone has plenty of features that are listed as selling points, I feel that it falls short and leaves a lot to be desired. If you are looking for audio quality for anything other than demos, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gQMT3M
UK: http://amzn.to/2hqa59W

 

Samson Go Mic Direct Review / Test

I have reviewed almost every single Samson USB microphone. This is one of the last ones I needed to catch them all. Today I'm reviewing the Samson Go Mic Direct.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $40 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Carrying Case
  3. Documentation
  4. Download Card for Samson Sound Deck

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  3. Bit Depth: 16-bit
  4. Sampling Rate: 44.1/48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is decent. The case surrounding the mic is plastic while the actual microphone capsule is made of metal. On both sides of the microphone, there is an LED light to indicate that the microphone is plugged in and getting power. These lights also will change to red if your signal is clipping. Lastly, on the bottom of the microphone there is a slider to withdraw the USB port for storage.

The frequency response of this mic is sufficient and yields a natural, unprocessed sound. The omni-directional polar pattern is essential for the microphone since you need to keep it plugged into your USB port, but at the same time this causes all keyboard noise to be picked up. Also, due to the required placement of the microphone, you will likely be around 1-foot away from the capsule, which will do no favors for your audio quality. The noise floor is also acceptable, where we did not start to hear any excessive noise until we set our gain above 50%.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Low noise floor
  • Decent audio quality

Cons

  • Picks up a lot background noise
  • Must remain plugged directly into USB port

Conclusion

Although this is a decent microphone that is very portable, I cannot recommend it. The requirement that you leave it plugged directly into a USB port, mixed with the lack of any alternate mounting options, means you will have to deal with excessive keyboard noise. If you are looking for a portable USB mic, I would recommend looking into the regular Samson Go Mic.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Samson Go Mic Direct
US: http://amzn.to/2hsKmP3
UK: http://amzn.to/2hBscq6

Buy the Samson Go Mic
US: http://amzn.to/2hjjvV4
UK: http://amzn.to/2hjjzEi

 

Antlion Mod Mic 5.0 Review / Test

Today's review covers the follow up to one of my favorite mics; we're covering the brand new Antlion Mod Mic 5.0. Before going any further, I do need to mention that for this review, Antlion sent me a review unit.

What is special about the Mod Mic is that it allows you to turn your favorite pair of headphones into a gaming headset, or a podcast studio. You stick this microphone on whatever headphones you want and you get one of the best sounding headset mics on the market.

Another huge  improvement over the last generation is that this mic has both Omnidirectional & Unidirectional polar patterns inside of it. They simply took both capsules from the 4.0 series and put them in the microphone head, so you can now use which ever polar pattern fits your use case with the flick of a switch.

This microphone is also a modular design! This means that you can make it fit whatever your setup is, as well as allow you to buy accessories if Antlion rolls out new modules for this microphone system!

If you are interested in this gaming headset, it will set you back $70.

What's In the Box

  1. Mod Mic 5.0
  2. Mute Switch Module
  3. 1m & 2m 3.5mm Cables
  4. Carrying Case
  5. Two Base Clasps
  6. Foam Pop Filter
  7. 2m Cable Wrap
  8. Cable Clips
  9. Extra 3M Adhesives
  10. Instruction Manual

Specifications

Omni Directional

  1. Frequency Response: 30Hz - 17.5kHz
  2. Sensitivity: -26dB

Uni Directional

  1. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz
  2. Sensitivity: -38dB

Performance / Features

The build of this microphone is mainly plastic and rubber, but the materials feel high quality. The magnet is much stronger, so the boom mic will be less likely to fall off of your headphones. The boom arm is much sturdier and stiffer, so no matter what position you place it in, it will not move. The cables are all kevlar reinforced, so you are not going break them, and the case provides ample protection for the mic while traveling.

This microphone has two polar patterns; omni directional & uni directional. In order to switch between the two, all you have to do is flip the switch that is on the microphone capsules body. It's as simple as that. The omni directional polar pattern picks up quite a bit of background noise, but that is to be expected with an omni polar pattern. The uni-directional setting eliminates background noise much more effectively, and if placed close to your mouth would eliminate even more background noise.

The omni directional polar pattern has a frequency response of 30Hz - 17.5kHz which is pretty good for a headset mic. While on this setting the mic has full lows and plenty of highs. When we switch to the unidirectional setting, the frequency response drops to 100Hz - 10kHz, which clearly lacks a bit in the low end as well as high frequencies. I cannot fault the uni setting for this, because it is mainly designed for gaming.

Something else I noticed while testing the microphone; it picks up minimal sound from the headphones. This is an issue that plagues many gaming headsets due to sharing wiring and housing. With the mod mic, you do have to deal with an additional cable (which they provide solutions for managing), but on the plus side, you eliminate the majority of the headphone interference. 

Pros

  • Great sounding Omni-directional microphone capsule
  • Noise eliminating Uni-directional capsule
  • Strong magnet to connect to headphones
  • Sturdy boom arm to hold form and placement of mic
  • Kevlar reinforced cables
  • Ignores headphone interference
  • Modular design

Cons

  • Adding a second cable to your headset (however, they provide options to manage cables)

Conclusion

I think this is the best option for people who want a headset microphone. You can use it to either improve the microphone's audio on your existing gaming headset, or you can use it to turn your favorite pair of audiophile headphones into a gaming headset, or podcast setup. The build quality has also been improved from the prior generation, and they have made a modular design so you can upgrade in the future.

All around, I would absolutely recommend this microphone whether you want to do light voice over work for youtube, gift it to a remote podcast guest so they have decent audio on their end, or if you just want to game with your favorite set of headphones.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Antlion Mod Mic 5.0
https://antlionaudio.com

Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Microphone Review / Test

Today we are talking about a stereo 3.5mm lavalier microphone; the Sony ECM-CS3. For the majority of this video, I have connected the microphone to my computer using a new Sabrent USB Soundcard which provides approximately 3.5v to the mic. If you connect this directly to your computers motherboard, you will likely not get similar results.

If you are interested in this gaming headset, it will set you back $18-$20 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone (w/ 1m 3.5mm cable attached)
  2. Documentation
  3. Warranty Card

Specifications

  1. Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  2. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz
  3. Sensitivity: -38dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone does not feel that good. It is an all plastic construction and it has a standard rubber cable. The connection point of the cable and the microphone does not appear to be reinforced, so over time I would worry about stress being placed on this joint. However, this is a $20 microphone, so I can't really fault it for having a subpar build.

The frequency response of 50Hz - 15kHz seems absolutely sufficient for this use case, and my voice did not seem artificial or hollow like some other lavalier microphones.

The omnidirectional polar pattern is also fairly forgiving. I could hardly tell a difference between the audio when the microphone was clipped to my collar versus when the mic was clipped to my lapel. On other microphones, this change in placement is clearly apparent in audio. This is both a good and bad thing. On the good side, it affords you greater freedom for microphone placement on yourself or your talent. On the downside, this means it will likely pick up more room noise/ambient noise.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Decent sound quality for price
  • Forgiving polar pattern (mic placement)

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Unforgiving polar pattern (ambient noise)

Conclusion

Given the $20 price tag, I cannot fault this microphone for having a less than stellar build quality. On the other hand, I absolutely can praise the mic for sounding better than I was expecting.

I do not think I can recommend this for gamers because it does have an extremely large pickup pattern, meaning it will pick up all your keyboard, mouse, and computer noise. On the other hand, for vloggers who are trying to improve their audio, I think this is a great budget option. Keep in mind that it will still pick up plenty of ambient noise, so if you're in a room for the majority of videos, I do recommend picking up some audio treatment to dampen the reverb.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the ECM-CS3 on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2g0ctQm
UK: http://amzn.to/2h86H4e

Buy the TRRS Splitter on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gW3v8R
UK: http://amzn.to/2h38a7D

Buy the Sabrent USB Soundcard on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2fX6yAn
UK: http://amzn.to/2g8KxNn

 

HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we are talking about the brand new HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset. What is really cool about this headset is that it is listed as compatible with PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, as well as your Smartphone. What's even cooler is that it's also certified to work with the following apps: Teamspeak, Discord, Skype, Ventrilo, Mumble, Raidcall. That means that no matter what system/software  you are using, this headset will likely work for you.

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

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m Cable)
  2. Extension / Splitter Cable (1.7m Cable)
  3. Quickstart Guide
  4. 2-Year Warranty

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 50mm
  2. Frequency Response: 18Hz - 23kHz

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
  2. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz
  3. Sensitivity: -40dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is better than I expected. It is a plastic build, however, the plastic feels high quality and provides ample flexibility. The foam on the headset/headband is made of HyperX's memory foam and is among the best I've felt on any gaming headset. The controls are simple; you will find a single volume rocker on the right ear cup to control the headphone volume, and that's it. And lastly, the microphone arm can articulate, and in order to mute the mic you just tilt it upright and you will hear a click to indicate the microphone has been muted.

The headphones are what truly stand out on this product. There is plenty of boomy low end while maintaining the presence in the high end. I typically do not enjoy bass heavy headphones, but that is because "bass-heavy" headphones are usually plagued by muddy lows that sacrifice high frequency performance; this headset does neither of those things. You get crystal clear highs and booming lows.

The microphone on the other hand is bad, and it just sounds like your typical gaming headset mic. When I saw the unidirectional polar pattern I knew that we would lose some quality in microphone performance compared to an omnidirectional microphone, and I think that it is a smart trade off to make. This is a gaming headset, and while gaming you want people on the other end to hear your voice instead of the fan blowing in the background. This unidirectional microphone will help with that. Do not get me wrong, you will still hear background noise, but it will not be as pronounced as it would be if the microphone was omnidirectional.

Pros

  • Universally compatible
  • Great sounding headphones
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Well built
  • Articulating Mic Arm
  • Unidirectional Mic

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone

Conclusion

Even though I think the microphone is bad, I would absolutely recommend this headset. The recommendation stems from the headphones performance and comfort. While gaming, what's most important to you is going to be the audio you hear, and the comfort of the headphones; this headset excels in both of those areas. Your friends will also be able to hear you perfectly fine through this microphone while talking to each other on teamspeak, discord or any other chat service; you just won't win any awards for audio quality.

On the other hand, if you are going to be recording voice overs or gaming commentaries with this headset, I would recommend looking elsewhere because this microphone will not cut it for professional audio recordings.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gspgik
UK: http://amzn.to/2gOlQ7K

Logitech C922 Pro Webcam Review/Test

When researching camera's for your youtube channel, it can be overwhelming. There are $1,000 DSLRs, $800 Mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lens systems, 20+ megapixel sensors, and hundreds more features that you will never use. Well, Logitech has made the search for your first camera much easier with their new webcam, the Logitech C922.

This camera is nearly identical to their prior high end webcam, the C920, but there are some differences. The first thing you can tell is that there is a slightly improved microphone. Secondly, you will notice a very slight improvement in sharpness. The third and most drastic change is that this thing claims to do background replacement without a green screen 

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Webcam
  2. Desktop Tripod (if you order C922 ommitted with C922x)
  3. Three month X-Split license (Six-Month license with C922x)
  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. 1080p 30fps
  2. 720p 60fps
  3. Background Replacement
  4. Stereo Microphone

Performance / Features

The build quality of this webcam is nearly identical to the C920. It has a standard plastic build, but it feels fairly durable. It has a mounting system that allows you to mount it on top of your monitor or laptop screen as well as a tripod mount. The desktop tripod is nothing special, it has standard expandable legs, and a ball mount so you can adjust the angle of your camera. 

The image quality on this camera is great for a $100 webcam. It has slightly improved sharpness when compared to the prior C920 and can absolutely function as your primary youtube camera. When shooting at 1080p you can shoot up to 30fps which looks great. If you're doing a let's play and you plan on overlaying a facecam, you can shoot 720p up to 60fps and get really smooth video quality. But not everything on this camera is excellent.

The background replacement on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired. It struggled greatly when separating me from the background even though I was very well lit. The hair seemed to cause the most problems. It was constantly trying to differentiate my hair from the background, and it never succeeded. Ultimately, the background replacement does not function as well as I was hoping for, and if you do plan on using it, I highly suggest clearing your background completely, or investing in a green screen.

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • 1080p 30fps 
  • 720p 60fps

Cons

  • The microphone lacks in quality
  • The background replacement is not usable unless you have a clear background or green screen

Conclusion

Regardless of the fact that the background replacement does not perform as well as I had hoped, it is still an excellent camera. The video quality is superb at 1080p, and the fact that it can shoot 60fps at 720p will be a HUGE attractor for gamers. If you are in the market for a webcam and you have $100 to spend, I highly recommend this camera for your youtube channel/let's plays. If you are on a slightly tighter budget, I would 100% recommend the Logitech c920 which has video quality that is almost on par with the C922.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2e4uSNG
UK: http://amzn.to/2eb1ZOq

Rode smartLav+ Smartphone Mic Review/Test

Today I am talking about a lavalier microphone that plugs directly into your smartphones 3.5mm jack; the Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Lav Mic

My main concern with purchasing a 3.5mm TRRS microphone, like the smartLav+ is the potential for 3.5mm jacks disappearing from more smart phones in the future. If you are planning on upgrading to an iPhone 7 or any phone that has removed the 3.5mm jack, then this is not the microphone for you.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Lav Mic
  2. Windscreen
  3. Microphone Clip
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 60Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Omnidirecitonal 
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -35dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels pretty nice. The majority is plastic, but it has a nice reinforced joint where the cable meets the microphone, so I wouldn't be too worried about the cable shorting out. The windscreen is sufficient, and the microphone clip feels really nice, and provides a really nice option to route your mic cable to avoid unnecessary strain. 

The microphone only sounded decent when it was attached to my lapel. When I placed the microphone on the center of my shirt, it sounded much clearer, but still a little dull. This could be easily remedied with a quick EQ. When comparing it to a similar lavalier microphone that is only $40, I heard almost no difference, but this could be attributed to the fact that both mics were being run through the Rode Rec app. 

Pros

  • Reinforced cable joint
  • Provides wireless functionality w/ relatively low price tag
  • Nice mic clip

Cons

  • A bit expensive for sound quality achieved

Conclusion

This is only a decent microphone. It has a decent build quality but the audio quality leaves a bit to be desired. I also plan on upgrading to a new phone that has done away with the 3.5mm TRRS jack, so this mic will be obsolete if this trend continues.

I would only really recommend this if you are a Rode mic purist, or if you want a mic that plugs directly into your smartphone with no adapters needed. Other than that, I don't think it performs at a level that justifies the $80 price tag. You can pick up a microphone for half the price along with a TRRS adapter and have the same quality audio.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2dChCT5
UK: http://amzn.to/2dnFJ4M

SADES SA917 USB Stereo Gaming Headset Review / Test

Before I begin I need to mention that SADES sent me a review unit of this headset to test out for this review.

Today we are going to be looking at the updated 2016 version of the SADES SA917 USB Gaming Headset. As I'm sure you could guess from the name of this product, it is a USB gaming headset, meaning it has a single USB plug to power everything.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $33 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Gaming Headset (mic & cable attached)

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  3. Sensitivity: 115 +/- 3dB at 1kHz
  4. Impedance: 32 Ohms at 1kHz
  5. Max Input Power: 15mW

Microphone

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 10kHz
  2. Polar Pattern (Not Listed): Omnidirecitonal (based on test)
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -38dB +/- 3dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is decent. It is still an all plastic build, but it feels sturdier than other headsets in the same price range. The padding on the ear cups and the headband is pretty comfortable, however, it does not form a tight seal around your ears. The microphone's joint feels a little bit too loose for my liking, which makes me believe that after a decent amount of use it will not stay in the desired position.

The cable is a standard 1.5m rubber USB cable with an inline controller. The control panel has a headphone volume control, microphone mute button, and a button to switch between different EQ settings. There are 4 options: (1) Off, (2) Red, (3) Green, (4) Blue. I don't know what each of these settings is because they did not list each of them. Based on listening, Red boosts bass frequencies, Green boosts high frequencies, and Blue boosts mid frequencies.

The headphones are not the best sounding that you will find. They lack a little bit in the high end and the audio in the lower frequencies is a little loose. The sound is still better than other headsets I've tested at a similar price point. 

The microphone flat out does not sound good. It is very dull sounding, almost as if you were speaking through a sheet. It lacks a LOT of high end and once you get above 50% on the gain you start to hear digital artifacts. It is also an omnidirectional microphone which means it picks up quite a bit of keyboard noise while you're gaming. You also are unable to articulate the mic to move it closer or farther away from your mouth. 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Decent headphone sound
  • USB Headset for easy setup
  • Inline Controls
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Poor microphone quality
  • Omni directional mic is not ideal for gaming

Conclusion

If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a headset that has decent audio quality from the headphones, this is a great option and I absolutely recommend it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a gaming headset that has great audio quality from the microphone, this is not the headset for you. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2duUgup
UK: http://amzn.to/2cz6cOQ