Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001 USB Mic Review

The clearing of all the cheap microphones off of my shelves continues, and today I'm reviewing the Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001.

During the majority of this review the mic is connected directly to my mac with the gain set at 65%. I did boost the audio slightly during portions of the test to make it listenable. During other portions of the test, I connected the mic to a Joby Gorillapod to get the mic closer to my mouth.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $40.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Pre installed desktop mount/stand

  3. USB Cable

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Bit-Depth: 16-Bit

  4. Sample Rate: 44.1kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels pretty terrible. It has a cheap plastic body that feels very flimsy. It has a metal grill that I dented by barely squeezing it, demonstrating how bad the metal is. On the bottom of the mic, you will find a 1/4" threading (standard camera threading) as opposed to 3/8" or 5/8" which is standard for microphones. On the rear of the mic you have the USB port, and on the top of the mic you have an LED indicator light to let you know if you're getting power. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz, and it sounds about as good as you would expect out of a $40 usb microphone. I did not do any close micing of instruments due to the poorly designed mounting options, so I cannot speak to that. I can however speak to the awful proximity effect of this thing. If you're speaking between 1-3 inches of this mic, it becomes terribly muddy and unintelligible. 

The polar pattern of this mic is standard cardioid. The off axis coloration is very drastic, and it did not do a good job at off-axis or rear rejection. This is very important considering it is mounted on a desk mount that offers no shock absorption from the desk.

The overall performance of this mic was awful. The reason I say that is because of the noise floor which was terribly loud, causing a constant hiss in the background. Additionally, there is a grounding/shielding issue that adds a hum into the mix. So not only do you have a hiss, but you have a electronic hum to also destroy your recording. These two factors really ruin the microphone, and should make you look to other options. 

Pros

  • Plug and play

  • Surprisingly good latency

Cons

  • Noise floor unacceptably loud

  • Grounding/Shielding issue causing electronic hum

  • Poorly design 1/4" threading

  • Cheap build quality

Conclusion

DO NOT BUY THIS MICROPHONE! 15 years ago you may have to suffer through the high noise floor and hum, but with how competitive the USB mic market is, you do not need to settle for that. If you're on a super tight budget you can go with the Neewer NW3u, which cost me about $15 and I think goes for $20 now, which offers equal tone, and much better noise floor performance with no electronic hum. The Marantz PodPack1 is another great option which sounds better, has no noise floor/hum, and comes with a boom arm, all for $10 more. So bottom line is, I see almost no reason why someone should buy 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 Cyber Acoustics CVL-2001
US: https://amzn.to/2HE3iaL
UK: N/A
CA: https://amzn.to/2HCTg9S
DE: N/A

Neewer NW-3U USB Condenser Mic Review

Today I'm reviewing an insanely cheap USB Condenser Microphone from Neewer, the NW-3U.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to my 2017 iMac with the input gain set at 56%. 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 $15.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Microphone Clip (No 5/8 to 3/8" adapter)

  3. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 17kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: -32dB

  4. Impedance: 100-ohms

  5. Max SPL: 132dB

  6. Self Noise; 16dBA

  7. Bit Depth: 16-Bit

  8. Sample Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is lack luster. It has a plastic body which makes it feel like a cheap toy. It has a metal grill with minimal foam to assist in reducing plosives, and it is a decent weight but leans a bit on the light side.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 17kHz. I have included a copy of the frequency response below, but I do not think that it is an accurate representation of the sound. This mic sounds as though it has a mid forward sound which causes a somewhat nasally tone. It also lacks in the lower frequencies which makes the microphone sound a bit thin.

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. The background noise rejection was nothing spectacular, but it did a decent job. At 90 / 270-degrees, there was almost no low frequencies; there was only treble. Once we got around the mic to 180-degrees, all the treble had been eliminated. 

The overall performance of this mic is shocking given the price. The stand out feature of this microphone is the preamp. Even with the gain set at 100% there was almost no noise. That is an impressive accomplishment in high end gear, and this thing comes from the budget bin. The tone of this microphone has it's limitations apparent in the nasally tone and thin low end, however, given the price tag, I think the price to performance ratio is amazing.

freqpolar.jpg

Pros

  • Insanely Cheap

  • Clean Preamps (even at 100% gain)

  • Decent sound quality

  • Great price/performance ratio

Cons

  • Bit depth limited to 16-bit

  • Cheap feeling build

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a new USB condenser microphone and you have a budget of around $30, I think this is a great option. If you were to pick this up along with a boom arm and a pop filter, you'd be ready to start recording. Will this be the end all be all in terms of audio quality, no. But will it out perform most, if not all other microphones at the $15 price tag; probably. 

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

Buy the Neewer NW-3U
US: http://amzn.to/2FySPID
UK: http://amzn.to/2FA1JFL
CA: http://amzn.to/2FDSc0J
DE: http://amzn.to/2Htf03C