AKG P220 Condenser Microphone Review

Today we're looking at another microphone from AKG's 20 series microphones, the AKG P220.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 12:30. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $150.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Hardshell Storage Box
  2. Microphone
  3. Shockmount (Includes: 5/8" & 3/8" adapter)
  4. Extra shock mount eleastic bands

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~-34dB
  4. Max SPL: 135 / 155dB
  5. Equivalent Noise: 16dBA
  6. Impedance: 200-ohms
  7. Power Requirement: +48v +/- 4v

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels awesome. It has an all metal body that feels very robust in your hand, coming in at over 1 pound. The grill also feels very sturdy and does not bend when squeezed with fingers. On the front you have two switches, a high pass filter, which rolls off frequencies at 300Hz at 12dB/octave, and a -20dB pad.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. Unlike most microphones, this does not have a natural roll off in the low frequencies. Instead it has a minor dip around 150 hz and a boost from 150 down to 500Hz peaking at +4dB, which is then rolled off at 50Hz and down.  The mids are very flat from 100Hz -  4.5kHz at which point a gradual boost begins which ends up peaking at +4dB at ~11kHz, and then rolls off up to 20kHz.

The overall performance of this mic left me a bit underwhelmed. I did really like this microphone on the acoustic guitar as it had a nice full body and then the treble and air boost added some nice percussiveness to the tone. However, on electric guitar, spoken word, and singing, I did not enjoy the mic, and the dislike all stems from the treble and air boost. The boost led to the treble frequencies sounding a bit overpower on the electric guitar, while it left the spoken word and singing sounding top heavy, a bit brittle, breathy, and sibilant. 

Pros

  • Nice flat mids
  • Awesome build quality
  • Nice shockmount & storage box provided

Cons

  • Relatively high noise floor at 16dBa
  • Fairly sibilant

Conclusion

I was not terribly impressed with this microphones performance. The treble & air boost on this thing added some very unfavorable characteristics on the vocals and electric guitar. Although I did personally like this mic on the acoustic guitar, i think the tone is very specific and not very versatile. With all this being said, I don't think I can really recommend the 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 AKG P220
US: https://amzn.to/2tuNbDi
UK: https://amzn.to/2lwNRng
CA: https://amzn.to/2tuRAGx
DE: https://amzn.to/2tEzwcj

 

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV

Sennheiser E935 Handheld Dynamic Mic Review

Today we're looking at a handheld dynamic microphone from Sennheiser, the E935.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 3:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $180.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Adapter
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~-51dB
  4. Impedance: 350-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels like it was made for the stage. It has a very substantial feel in the hand, with an all metal body, a very sturdy metal mesh grill, and a good amount of weight to it. There are no bells or whistles on this microphone either. It is a just a microphone with an XLR port so you don't screw anything up while you're performing on stage. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz. The frequency response on this mic begins to gradually roll off the bass at around 150Hz with a minor .5dB cut beginning at around 500Hz. From 500 Hz up to 1kHz, we see a gradual boost . and then we remain flat up to 2.5kHz at which point we begin another boost of ~ 3.5dB which remains relatively flat from 4kHz - 10kHz. There is a minor peak at 11kHz, and then a roll off that decreases steadily. 

The polar pattern of this mic is standard cardioid. The off axis and rear coloration are not terribly drastic which is a benefit. The main thing I noticed about this mic is how great it did at off-axis rejection. When playing an acoustic guitar a few inches away while singing, you could definitely hear the acoustic, but it was not distracting from the voice at all. 

The overall performance of this mic is excellent for stage use. On the electric guitar, you get some very bright and aggressive tones, as well as a nice bass roll off which cleans up the mix, and makes room for the bass to do it's job. On the acoustic you get a nice full body with plenty of high end attack which sounded very nice. Then on voice for singing the presence and treble boost allow this mic to cut through the mix, and the bass roll off helps tame any proximity effect, handling noise, or plosives. Unfortunately, the presence boost does introduce some minor sibilance issues.

freq.png
polar.png

Pros

  • Excellent performance in regards to handling noise & plosive rejection
  • Great off-axis rejection for a cardioid microphone
  • More extended high end for added clarity
  • Sturdy build quality for stage use

Cons

  • Presence and treble boost lead to S's sounding slightly sharp

Conclusion

For stage use I think this microphone performed excellent, especially for a cardioid microphone. This mics ability to reject plosives (better than most dynamics), avoid handling noise, and tame proximity effect makes this a great mic for venues who cater to artists who do not necessarily have the best microphone technique. If you're a podcaster or let's player who is also concerned with background noise and not afraid of a mic being in your face, I think this thing will do a fine job for you. No matter what use case you are buying this mic though, if you are using this on voice, make sure to pay attention to the sibilance as it is somewhat sensitive in that frequency range and you may need to eq some of that out of your recording. 

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

Buy the Sennheiser E935
US: https://amzn.to/2HmBLGU
UK: https://amzn.to/2FbKTvX
CA: https://amzn.to/2Jkld2Q
DE: https://amzn.to/2qOAF0j

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV

IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio Review

Today I'm reviewing another microphone from IK Multimedia, iRig Mic Studio.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to my 2017 iMac with the input gain set at 10:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $150.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter
  4. Desktop Tripod Stand
  5. USB-A Cable
  6. Lightning Cable
  7. Micro-USB Cable
  8. Storage pouch
  9. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~-42dB
  4. Max SPL: 133dB
  5. Self-Noise: 11dBA
  6. Bit Depth: 24-Bit
  7. Sample Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone doesn't give me anything to complain about. It has a metal body construction and a metal grill that feels sturdy. It is also a bit on the light side. These are all good attributes for a travel microphone. On the front you'll find a gain dial to adjust the microphone's gain, a multi-color LED light for metering, and a headphone volume control. Lastly, on the back of the microphone you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, which does not offer latency free monitoring.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. They do not have any frequency response published, but while listening to the audio samples it sounds as though this mic has a significant treble boost which gives it too much clarity, to the point that it starts to sound unnatural. Additionally, this mic has a rather prominent proximity effect, so if you mic any source closely, you will get a slightly scooped mid tone. 

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. It didn't do a good job at background noise rejection. There was a slight volume decrease as you move around the microphone, but the ambient noise, keyboard noise, guitar noise will be apparent in your recordings. 

The overall performance of this mic is fine, but I'm becoming pickier, and more curmudgeonly. First, the preamp is relatively quiet all the way up to 100%, the main noise introduced was ambient noise. The tone of this mic is overly bright, and this adds too-much clarity in my opinion which leads it to sound somewhat unnatural. As I already mentioned, if you mix this frequency response with the proximity effect, you will likely end up with a slightly scooped mid tone. Also when I compared this mics samples against flatter mics like the NT1, it had a minimal nasal tone.

Pros

  • Convenient since it's compatible with multiple OS (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
  • HD Recording (24-bit, 48kHz)
  • Relatively quiet preamp
  • Fairly good job at rejecting plosives

Cons

  • Overboosted treble frequncies
  • Lacks latency free monitoring
  • No specs included in documentation

Conclusion

This microphone is perfectly mediocre. Nothing really sticks out to me as a reason to buy it except for the almost universal compatibility. Other than that, I do not think that I can recommend it. This is mainly because the overly boosted high end leads to a unnatural tone which I am not a fan of.  I am also turned off by the lack of zero latency monitoring.

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

Buy the IK Multimedia iRig Mic Studio
US: https://amzn.to/2qF7X0O
UK: https://amzn.to/2HEi4v3
CA: https://amzn.to/2H8ig8U
DE: 

IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD Review

Today I'm reviewing an outdated microphone that has a newer model already released...the iRig Mic HD.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to my 2017 iMac with the input gain set at 11:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $110.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter
  4. USB-A Cable
  5. Lightning Cable
  6. Cable lock
  7. Storage pouch
  8. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Max SPL: 134dB (3% THD)
  4. Bit Depth: 24-Bit
  5. Sample Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is sufficient. It has an all metal body and a sturdy feeling metal grill. It does feel a bit on the light side which makes me reluctant about the durability of this microphone's body. On one side you will find the microphone gain dial, and on the other side you will find a multi-color LED light which can be used for metering. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz. They do not have any frequency response published, but while listening to the audio samples it is apparent that this not as presence boosted as the majority of handheld dynamic microphones. 

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. The background noise rejection did not blow my socks off. 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 and the low end returned. 

The overall performance of this mic is a mixed bag. The tone of this microphone is pretty good (if you like flatter microphones). Because it is flatter it is more neutral, and is a bit more boring sounding. The preamp fairly quiet all the way up to 100%, but it is difficult to measure the actual noise floor since I do not have an anechoic chamber to test this in. On the other hand, it suffered significantly from plosives which could lead to ruined recordings. The handling noise was also pretty disappointing. 

Pros

  • Convenient since it's compatible with multiple OS (Mac, Windows, iOS)
  • HD Recording (24-bit, 48kHz)
  • Relatively neutral response compared to other handheld dynamics
  • Relatively quiet preamp

Cons

  • Lacks latency free monitoring
  • Suffers from plosives
  • Did not perform well with handling noise

Conclusion

If you are looking for a USB mic to run on your windows or mac computer, I would suggest you look somewhere else for a microphone. I say this because this microphone suffers so badly from plosives, it doesn't do well with handling noise, and it lacks latency free monitoring. Additionally the USB microphone market it very competitive so you can get a microphone that meets all your requirements for the same price if not cheaper.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a handheld dynamic microphone, that requires HD audio, has a relatively neutral frequency response, and runs to your iOS device over lightning cable, then your options are much more limited. I think in that case, this may be one of the only options you have, but i would suggest you check out the Mic HD 2 as it added the latency free monitoring, and hopefully they improved the plosive issue. 

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

Buy the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD
US: https://amzn.to/2v9xvJ4
UK: https://amzn.to/2v6cDSY
CA: https://amzn.to/2EEZHDc
DE: https://amzn.to/2IN4RPW

Buy the IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2
US: https://amzn.to/2Hfgr9n
UK: https://amzn.to/2v7q2dn
CA: https://amzn.to/2EEGdhS
DE: https://amzn.to/2qqFZWt

 

Samson C01 XLR Condenser Mic Review

Today we're not looking at another microphone from Samson, the C01.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 12:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back around $75 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Plastic Storage Box
  2. Microphone
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Hyper Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~ -33dB
  4. Impedance: 200-ohms
  5. Max SPL: 136dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is perfectly fine given the price. It has an all metal body as well as a sturdy metal mesh grill, and a good amount of weight to it coming in at 1.1 lb. On the front of the microphone you'll find a blue LED light that lights up when phantom power on your interface is turned on and on the bottom you'll find the XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz. The bass frequencies begin to roll off at 150Hz but peak again at around 95Hz before rolling off the remainder of the low frequencies. The mids and presence fluctuate quite a bit with a minor boost around 600-700hz, a peak at around 1.7kHz, 2.7kHz, and 5.5kHz, with a broad boost from 6Khz to 12kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is Hyper-cardioid. This means that the front is sensitive and the rear of the mic has a small lobe of sensitivity with the dead spots around 112-degrees. 

The overall performance of this mic lacks. As far as a vocal mic it seems to lack significantly in the low frequencies, sounds a bit nasally, and has some minor sibilance issues as well. On the electric guitar, I had to put the mic right on top of the amp to get some low end in the guitar, but it did end up sounding fairly decent. The acoustic on the other hand sounded brittle in the high end. Something that was not listed on the specifications sheet was the self noise, and when I was testing the mic, it seemed like a fairly big downfall of this mic. Finally, the tone of the mic all around was somewhat harsh and become painful to listen to after lengthy listening sessions. 

Pros

  • Pretty good build quality
  • Comes with a storage box

Cons

  • Subpar performance with self noise
  • Lacks in the low end
  • Sibilance issues
  • Harsh tone that became painful after long listening sessions
C01Freq

Conclusion

I was somewhat let down by this microphone. I have really enjoyed the majority of Samson mics on the market, but this one didn't meet my expectations. The frequency response left a lot to be desired in that it left the voice and guitar sounding thin and harsh. The self noise also makes this unusable for professional applications as well.

Due to how competitive the mic market is, I don't think I can recommend this mic. There are too many mics in this price range for me to recommend a mic that doesn't perform amazingly.

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 C01
US: https://amzn.to/2JgDkHs
UK: https://amzn.to/2EdQZvt
CA: https://amzn.to/2pZmnJ5
DE: https://amzn.to/2pZZPZu

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV

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

Steel Series Arctis 5 Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we're looking at a universally compatible gaming headset; The Steel Series Arctis 5 Gaming Headset.

This gaming headset is listed as compatible with Windows, Mac, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Android, and iOS. It also offers digital 7.1 channel surround sound if you are using the headset on Windows (7 or greater). I should note that to get the most out of this headset you need to download Steel Series Engine 2 or 3 which is available for Windows & Mac.

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

What's In the Box

  1. Headset
  2. 1.2m Cable
  3. 3.5mm TRRS Adapter for Smart Phone
  4. USB Chat Mix Dial (allows connection to computer)
  5. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

  1. Drivers: 40mm
  2. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 22kHz
  3. Impedance: 32-Ohms

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Bi-directional
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz
  3. Sensitivity: -48dB

Performance / Features

Throughout this review, I have my computers gain set at 100%, and here's a quick screen shot of my settings with in Steel Series Engine 3.

The build quality of this headset feels amazing. The construction is all plastic, but it feels like incredibly high quality plastic, and as though it is well put together. The ear cups are very soft and breathable, and the headband is extremely comfortable and allows for minor adjustability via a velcro strap. On the outside of the headphones there are also LED ring lights that you can control through the software.

On the bottom of the left ear cup you will find a 3.5mm headphone share jack, and a 4-pole jack for the main headset cable. You will also find a volume rocker to control the headset volume, and a microphone mute button. The microphone retracts into the headset, and also allows you to articulate it for optimum position. 

The main cable is standard rubber measures in at 1.2m. The USB Chat Mix Dial offers a dial to mix between the chat volume and game volume, makes the total cable length 3m, and allows you to connect the headset to your computer. 

The headphones offer a full frequency response ranging from 20Hz - 22kHz from a set of 40mm drivers. Unlike most gaming headsets, this is not overpowered by low frequencies. Out of the box it offers a nice flat frequency response with a nice full low end that doesn't sound muddy, clean and warm mids, and plenty of high frequencies without sounding harsh. Out of all the gaming headset's I've tested so far, this is easily in the top three in terms of headphones. If a flat frequency response is not for you, then have no fear because the software that you can get for free off of Steel Series' website, allows you to customize your EQ.

The microphone, as you would expect, leaves a bit to be desired.  It has a harsh tone that cuts through any mix, which would actually be ideal for online gaming. It has a bi-directional polar pattern, and I'm assuming the rear facing pick up is used to determine what sounds to eliminate while noise cancellation is enabled. On that note, the software offers adjustable noise cancellation to help rid yourself of that keyboard click, or line noise.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mic Articulates / Retracts
  • Great Headphone Audio Quality
  • Software allows for custom EQ/Lighting/Mic Settings
  • Microphone cuts through game sound due to harsh tone

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone for any professional application
  • Non-standard headphone connector

Conclusion

As I previously mentioned, out of all the gaming headset I have tested so far, this headphones are in the top 3. They have an excellent frequency response, and the soundstage is surprisingly good even in stereo mode. The microphone on the other hand has the standard harsh tone that I have come to expect out of gaming headset.

I absolutely will recommend this headset, but only for a few applications; 1) Online Gaming, because that's what it was designed for and that's where it will excel, 2) A headset that will be mainly used as headphones, with an occasional Skype call. If you want a headset for any professional applications, I'm sorry to say that this headset won't cut it, and your search will have to continue.

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/2l2EomV
UK: http://amzn.to/2kricku

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

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