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

Universal Audio Arrow Interface Review

Today I am reviewing an amazing new interface from Universal Audio, the Universal Audio Arrow.

During this review, I have the Rode NT1 connected directly to the Arrow, recording at 24-bit, 48kHz. I have done no post processing to the audio, but it was boosted ~6dB in Final Cut Pro to make it easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this interface, it will set you back $500.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

  1. Bit Depth: 24-Bit
  2. Sample Rate: 44.1 - 192kHz
  3. Gain Range: 10 - 65dB
  4. Dynamic Range: 118dBA
  5. EIN: -128dBu
  6. Input Impedance: 9.2K Ohms, 5.4K Ohms (with +48v engaged)
  7. Pad: -20dB
  8. Phantom Power: +48v
  9. Processing: Solo Core DSP Chip

Performance / Features

The build quality of this interface is great. It has an all aluminum chassis, and a foam/rubber bottom to keep the interface from sliding around your deck. The XLR and 1/4" inputs all feel firmly attached and do not wiggle around at all. The buttons and dials on the face of the interface also have nice tactile feedback and feel sturdy as well. If you would like to learn more about the functions of this interface, this is covered in the video review. 

The overall performance of this interface is amazing. First off, the preamps. You're getting up +65dB of gain, which is fully capable of driving even the most gain hungry microphones (like the SM7b). When I tested the noise floor, I measured it at around -110dB, which is very impressive at 100%. The A/D converters offer all you could possibly need by recording 24-bit up to 192kHz. While you're at 192kHz, you get roundtrip latency as low as 3ms, and output latency around .5ms.

The real stand out future of this interface is in it's processing and plugins. You get the same near zero latency monitoring/processing as mentioned before, but it's processed on the interface and not on your computer. The plugin pack that comes with the interface has some useful tools like the UA-610B tube preamp, Teletronics LA-2A, Marshall Plexi Classic, and Bass Amp emulator, but I actually bought a unison pre, and I used it on every podcast I recorded. That is the API Vision Channel Strip, paired with the LA-2A. There's not much more I can say about the performance of this thing. It is outstanding on all fronts, and I truly enjoyed using the device.

Pros

  • Live DSP Processing (Near zero latency)
  • Bus powered so there's no need for an external power supply
  • -110dB noise floor at 100%
  • Preamps have 65dB of gain
  • 24-Bit 192kHz High Res A/D convertors
  • 3ms roundtrip (.6ms output) latency at 192kHz
  • Great build quality
  • Offers full +48v phantom power on bus power

Cons

  • Expensive relative to other dual preamp interfaces
  • Steep learning curve for the routing software
  • Some software does not like this interface (discord)
  • Locked into thunderbolt 3

Conclusion

This is the perfect interface if you are looking to dive into Universal Audio's ecosystem without spending $1000 on an interface. If you're a musician who strictly records in the box, and can't afford expensive outboard gear, this is a great entry point to play with Universal Audio's top of the line analog emulation plugins to add color and life to your recordings. If you're a podcaster, I also think that this is an awesome option since you will get the chance to play with emulations of gear that podcaster's don't typically get a chance to use.

After two months of testing this thing, the plugins and live processing have become so essential for my podcasting workflow, and voice chat workflow, that I am not able to remove it from my desk. It has become a permanent staple in my recording system.

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

Buy the Universal Audio Arrow
US: https://amzn.to/2HEPlc9
UK: N/A
CA: https://amzn.to/2He8BO6
DE: N/A

Buy the Rode NT1 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2i1eWfO
UK: http://amzn.to/2i3uFh8
CA: http://amzn.to/2qzk3dz
DE: http://amzn.to/2FCzPsk

Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Interface Review

Today we're reviewing an extremely portable travel interface from Shure, the X2u.

During this review video, I have the X2u connected directly to the Rode NT1, with the gain set at approximately 50% (not certain of gain since there are no markings). In post I boosted the audio by +6dB in Final Cut Pro to ensure the audio is at a listenable level. 

If you are interested in this interface, it will set you back $100.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. 3m USB Cable
  3. (2) Velcro Straps
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Bit Depth: 16-Bit
  2. Sampling Rate: Up to 48kHz
  3. Power: +48v Phantom Power
  4. Gain: 50dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this interface is great, which is what you'd want out of a travel/portable interface. It has an all metal body with a good amount of weight without becoming burdensome while traveling. On the front of this device you'll find a metering light, mic gain control, headphone volume control, monitor mix dial to mix between 0-latency monitoring and computer playback, a phantom power button, phantom power indicator light, and a power light.

On the left hand side you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack which does offer 0-latency monitoring as well as computer playback. On the top you'll find the XLR port and on the bottom you'll find a usb port to connect it to your computer. On the back you'll find two slits that allow you to mount this to a mic stand with the velcro straps, and you'll find some foam padding to keep the device from sliding around too much.

The preamp on this thing offers 50dB of gain and it lists the noise floor of -78dB FS when the gain is set at 100%. It did get a bit noisy once we got about ~50-60% of gain.

The overall performance of this interface is decent. On one hand it has all the features you could need for a solo preamp interface (0-latency monitoring, mix control, metering light, etc). But on the other hand the preamp is nothing spectacular. The preamp is fairly noisy once you get about ~60%, and almost unusably noisy above ~80%. It was able to drive the Sm7b but you will have to boost the audio in post, and you'll likely have to do some noise removal since it will be a noisy signal. The A/D converters also lack with a max bit-depth of 16-bit, and when you listen to the recordings at high levels, I heard some digital interface. 

Pros

  • Extremely portable
  • Great build quality
  • Offers 0-latency mointoring
  • Has a mix to adjust 0-latency and computer playback
  • Offers +48v Phantom Power
  • It's bus powered!

Cons

  • Fairly noisy preamp
  • A/D converter limited to 16-bit 48kHz
  • Metering light not visible when connected directly mic.

Conclusion

This interface was difficult for me to decide on. As mentioned previously, it is insanely full featured in a small package which is a huge benefit when traveling. However, the preamp and a/d converter are somewhat lacking and if you're using a dynamic mic this will negatively impact your audio. So when it comes down to it, if you're just going to be using this for music demos, or as a backup for your podcast, I think it will be fine. You can work around the negative aspects of this thing. However, if you're looking to record high quality audio with a dead silent noise floor, whether on the road or in the studio, this interface will not 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 Shure X2u
US: http://amzn.to/2tXVOcc
UK: http://amzn.to/2ICXtrd
CA: http://amzn.to/2GNpegc
DE: http://amzn.to/2G9c27p

Buy the Rode NT1 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2i1eWfO
UK: http://amzn.to/2i3uFh8
CA: http://amzn.to/2qzk3dz
DE: http://amzn.to/2FCzPsk

Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic Review / Test / Explained

Today I am reviewing a relatively unique microphone. The Turtle Beach USB Stream Mic. What's special about this microphone is that it is universally compatible, meaning it can work on Windows, OSX, Xbox One and PS4. 

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. Mic Stand Adapter (5/8")
  4. Desktop Stand
  5. USB Cable
  6. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: Not Listed
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid / Bi-directional / Hyper-cardioid / Omnidirectional
  3. Max SPL: Not Listed
  4. Bit Depth: Not Listed
  5. Sampling Rate: Not Listed

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is lacking. The body of the microphone is all plastic and feels very cheap. The other components feel slightly better, but nothing feels like it will handle long term use.

The front of the mic has a single microphone mute button which is surrounded by an LED light which will indicate the polar pattern being used, when the microphone is muted, and when the microphone is clipping.

The back of the microphone has a 3.5mm headphone jack that provides latency free monitoring as well as computer playback. There is a headphone volume control that only controls the computer's audio playback. In order to adjust your monitoring level, you must download Turtle Beach's audio hub. Next there is a single button to switch between the polar patterns, and lastly there is a switch to select whether you are connected to an XBOX or PS4/PC.

As you can tell from the video, the audio from this microphone is subpar across all tests. Even when the microphone is not shown to be clipping, the audio sounds distorted. The audio seems to lack fullness for voice, and it seems to pick up a bit of background noise.

Pros

  • Universally compatible
  • Multiple polar patterns

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Distorted audio when not clipping
  • Line noise louder than preferred
  • App required to adjust monitoring level
  • Picks up a bit of background noise

Conclusion

I cannot recommend this microphone. It feels like it is built poorly and simply put, the audio does not sound good. I do not understand the reason that a gaming microphone has a bi-directional setting or omni-directional setting. It seems like while gaming, you want to avoid background noise which would mean cardioid polar patterns are the only usable settings.

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/2fCaMIw
UK: http://amzn.to/2fpifj1

Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface Review / Test

Today is the first review I am completing of an Audio Interface. I am diving into these devices because the USB Audio Adapters that I have been recommending have been altered and no longer provide sufficient voltage to power certain mass produced condenser microphones. So today I am starting with the $30 Behringer U-Phoria UM2 Audio Interface. This is a 2-input / 2-output USB device so you can connect an XLR or 1/4" sound source to your computer.

What's In the Box 

  1. Interface
  2. USB Cable
  3. Quick-Start Guide

Performance / Features

The build of this thing is all plastic and it does not feel durable. The input jacks feel a little bit loose and the gain controls are a bit wobbly as well. However, if you keep this on your home studio desk, I don't think you will have any trouble with this thing. You just need to be careful with this thing.

The interface offers two inputs. The first input is a combo jack, meaning it can accept an XLR cable or a 1/4" cable. The second input is strictly a 1/4" cable. Next to each input there are two lights, the first is to let you know that the interface is picking up the signal, and the second light will blink red when you are clipping (too loud).

We also get +48v Phantom Power on this thing. There is a switch on the back that allows you to toggle the power on/off. I measured the voltage pass through when the power was switched on and I measured ~+46v. So this should be able to provide sufficient voltage to most, if not all, condenser microphones.

The interface provides two outputs as well. The first output is a 1/4" headphone output jack on the front. The second is an RCA output on the back so you can connect this to studio monitors, or an amplifier. 

When it comes to noise, this thing gets pretty noisy once we pass 75% on the gain knobs. Fortunately, when using a condenser microphone, I doubt you will get above 60%. However, if you're using a dynamic microphone, you may need to crank the gain and you may get stuck with some nasty hiss.

Pros

  • Extremely Cheap
  • +48v Phantom Power
  • Gain Control Knob
  • Clipping Indicator Light

Cons

  • Plastic build quality
  • High Noise Past 75% Gain

Conclusion

I really like this interface. I think it's a great starting interface since it is so cheap. It offers a single XLR input so you can plug in your condenser microphone and get a full +48v. I would recommend this to anyone who is considering getting a USB Soundcard to power a condenser microphone. Those soundcards are not designed to power microphones, therefore you will have to invest in a phantom power supply, and that takes your total cost to around $25-$30. You might as well just purchase this interface instead. It provides more features and was designed to actually work with your microphone. 

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

 

Blue Yeti Review / Test

This is hands down the most requested microphone I have tested to date. I probably have over 100 requests to test this mic out. So without further ado, I am testing out the Blue Yeti Microphone.

What really sets this microphone apart from other microphones is the fact that it has three microphone capsules that allow it to provide 4 different polar patterns to choose from. This really helps fine tune the mic to fit the exact situation you are recording in. If you are interested in this mic it will cost you about $100 depending on when you buy it and what color you get.

What's In the Box 

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Stand
  3. USB Cable
  4. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality on this microphone is superb. It is an all metal body, and a nice metal microphone stand that has some good weight to it. The mute button and polar pattern select knob are both sturdy and work well. The Headphone Volume & Microphone Gain knob do feel a little wobbly and loose, so I would recommend being careful with these knobs. 

On this bottom of this microphone you will find a 5/8" microphone stand mount, the USB plug, and a 3.5mm Headphone Output. On the front of the microphone you have a microphone mute button, and a headphone volume knob. On the back of the mic you have the microphone gain control and lastly the polar pattern selector.

The frequency response that this microphone is capable of is 20Hz to 20kHz, but the response is different for each polar pattern used. I will list the 4 polar patterns as well as the frequency responses from recordinghacks.com

  1. Omnidirectional: 180 - 20,000 Hz
  2. Cardioid: 150 - 15,000 Hz
  3. Bidirectional: 100 - 15,000 Hz
  4. Stereo: 80 - 15,000 Hz

Each polar pattern functions exactly as you expect.

Pros

  • Great Sound Quality
  • Sturdy Build
  • Versatile (Can fit almost any need you have)
  • Gain Knob on Microphone!!!
  • Plug & Play

Cons

  • Gain & Volume Knobs are Loose
  • USB Microphone

Conclusion

I have been speaking out against USB microphones since I started making these reviews. I started to get turned around when I tested a samson microphone. Now I think I have come completely around, and realized that there are some really good USB microphones out there.

I would HIGHLY recommend this microphone to any starters. It sounds great, it is plug and play, it is easy to use, and you can make it fit any scenario that you are in. You can record interviews, music, voiceovers, orchestras. Anything! It's awesome, and if you have a $100 budget and don't plan on using outboard gear with an XLR microphone, this may be one of your best options.

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

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SjZxo7
Pop Filter: http://amzn.to/1OQQqWm

Behringer Xenyx 302USB Review / Explained / Test

This is a fairly thorough walkthrough of all the features of the Behringer Xenyx 302USB Mixer.

Things to Know

  1. This is a USB mixer meaning you can hook it up to your computer. HOWEVER, it does not provide the option to record audio to separate tracks at the same time. All audio going through the mixer is sent to the computer as a SINGLE audio track. 
  2. This mixer provides Phantom Power to your microphone, however, I was unable to find a switch, so I assume it is always on. Therefore, I want to include the disclaimer BE CAREFUL IF YOU'RE USING A RIBBON MIC WITH THIS!

Performance / Featrures

The first thing that I really like about this mixer is that it provides latency free monitoring. It has a single XLR input with a 2 band eq and pan fader. It also has preamp gain and mic volume. I did notice that there was a bit of noise when I got the preamp above 50%. 

The second channel consists of 2 options. 1) RCA Line in or 2) USB Input. The first option is fairly self explanatory, but with the click of the red button, the second one allows you to hear your computer is playing. Directly next to the red button, this option allows you to send channel 2's audio to the mix, or just to your headphones. This is perfect for recording. If you are recording vocals or guitar in a DAW, you just want your previously recorded tracks to go just to your headphones, you don't want that stuff re-recorded onto every track.

In the upper right hand side of the mixer are (2) 3.5mm jacks. One is for your headphones, and the other is for a microphone input. If you have a gaming headset that splits into (2) 3.5mm jacks, this will work. I do want to know that, this microphone input is controlled by the channel one faders & knobs. Therefore, I would only recommend using one or the other. 

Lastly, it has an RCA main mix output, so you can send the audio to an amplifier and hear your mix/recording on bigger speakers.

Conclusion

I think this is a pretty cool little device. I wish I had it when I was just getting into recording. It sounds good. It makes recording very easy, and it provides more control over your sound than if you were to just plug into a USB audio adapter (like I do for all my videos).  The one main issue I have with this device is that it is not easy to expand from. Basically, it's a great starters unit, but if you have a few extra bucks, I would recommend springing a more powerful version like the Q802USB or Q1202USB. These more powerful versions will provide you more room to expand and you won't have to upgrade too much.

If you have any questions about this Mixer, leave them in the comments down below or on youtube and I'll try to get to them ASAP. Thanks for reading & watching.