Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1 Review / Test

Today we are testing out a microphone pack that I picked up for $17; the Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1 Kit.

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $17 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. USB Cable
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. Boom Arm Mic Stand
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 17kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Max SPL: 132dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Power Requirement: 5v Provided Through USB Plug

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is nothing special. It has an all plastic construction and it does not feel like it can handle a beating. There are no features on the microphone; no headphone port, no light, nothing. The boom arm has an all metal construction, and feels very reminiscent of a Neewer Boom Arm, and I was not able to tighten the head to ensure the microphone would not swivel. 

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 17kHz, and in all honesty, the mic sounds decent. It doesn't have the greatest low end performance, but it has a decent amount high frequencies without sounding harsh. 

The cardioid polar pattern, also did an admirable job. It did a good job at rejection on the sides of the mic, but as you move around the back, it starts to pick up low frequencies again. It also did pick up a bit of keyboard noise as well, but it wasn't unbearable. 

I was absolutely blown away by this microphones noise floor. This is typically the place where you can tell that you're using a budget usb microphone, but the preamps in this thing were extremely clean all the way up to 75%, at which point you start to get a slight bit of digital noise. But all around, the audio was still usable; all you would have to do is pass the audio through a noise gate.

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Low noise floor
  • Decent audio performance
  • Comes with everything you need to start recording

Cons

  • Build quality feels subpar

Conclusion

When reviewing this mic, it was important to remember that I picked this up for under $20. For that price, I think that this microphone pack is an absolute steal. Out of all the budget USB microphones I have tested to date, this one has the best sound quality on instruments, on voice, and ESPECIALLY on the noise floor (apparent during the gain test). If you are looking for a budget USB microphone, then buy this pack and a pop filter and you should be set, and ready to start recording!

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/2lumDvv
UK: http://amzn.to/2ksfGv2

Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Mic Review / Test

I've been waiting months to do this review, and I can't wait to put it up against it's USB counterpart in a future Versus Series. But for today, we're talking about the Rode Procaster. This is a Dynamic Broadcast XLR microphone, not to be confused with the Rode Podcaster, which is the USB version of this microphone.

This is a dynamic microphone, so it does not require phantom power. However, it does have a somewhat low output level, so you will end up turning your gain up relatively high. Therefore, I recommend picking up a Cloudlifter, if you plan on getting this mic.

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Mic Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  4. Carrying Case
  5. Documentation
  6. 10-Year Warranty
  7. A Damn Sticker!!!

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 75Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -56dB
  4. Impedance: 320-Ohms

Performance / Features

This is how microphones should be built. This thing has an all metal construction, and has some REALLY nice weight to it. You can feel how substantial it is, and in all honesty, you could probably fight off an intruder and it would still work. The 10-year warranty, tells me how much faith Rode has in the quality of their mic. Even though the shockmount offers no shock absorption, the documentation does state that the capsule is protected by an internal shock mount as well as an internal pop filter. I did still run into some issues with plosives though, so i would still recommend an additional pop filter.

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 75Hz - 18kHz, which on paper, I was somewhat let down by, but once I heard it on my voice, I was back on board. The response is more than sufficient for voice overs / podcasts. The low end is full and tight, without being muddy, and the high end has nice presence and adds a great shimmer to your voice.

They list the polar pattern as Cardioid, and damn it, this thing is directional. As soon as I got slightly off axis, my voice dropped off a LOT. Also, when I smashed a keyboard behind the mic while speaking, you could hardly hear the keyboard. Some people might not like how narrow the polar pattern is, but for me, I love it. It will allow you to be in a room with multiple podcasters, and limit the amount of bleed between the microphones.

As far as other specs, they list a sensitivity of -56dB, and an impedance of 320-Ohms. Honestly, the sensitivity left a little bit to be desired. It is is a lot louder than the SM7b, but not quite as loud as the SM58. For the price, I would have liked to see slightly better output, but this is just me being overly critical.

Pros

  • Sounds Awesome on Voice
  • Amazing Build Quality
  • Excellent Noise Rejection
  • 10-Year Warranty

Cons

  • A little on the quiet side
  • Even with internal pop filter, still experience some issues with plosives
  • Does not sound good on guitar

Conclusion

I absolutely love this microphone, but keep in mind that the majority of what I do is vocal based. They tuned this thing specifically for vocals, and it produces superb vocal reproduction. On the other hand, if you're planning to record instruments with this microphone, I don't think that this microphone is going to cut it for you.

It is important to remember that this is a Broadcast Dynamic microphone, meaning it was designed to be used in a broadcast setting with multiple people talking in the same room and limiting the amount of bleed between microphones. That's the type of situation that this microphone will truly shine in.

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 Procaster:
US: http://amzn.to/2bPi8fR
UK: http://amzn.to/2c6RHSx

Buy the Cloudlifter:
US: http://amzn.to/2cA8Y6X
UK: NA