Podcastage and Geeks Rising with Bandrew Scott

This episodes creator is a podcast host, musician, content creator privacy conscious he is intrigued in conspiracies and a big fan of pizza but Most recently he’s created a podcast network.Welcome, Bandrew Scott of Podcastage, Bandrew Says Podcast and the Geek Rising Podcast Network.


We discuss being a creator in the modern age and the natural growth/changes a creator goes through over their career. Also a cricket chimes in to steal the show!


Bandrew Scott has been podcast and making content on the internet for years, he has reviewed too many microphones to name and creates a weekly podcast, not to mention makes some fun music and has a great community. Bandrew recenlty ceebrated his four year anniversary and reach over 100K subs. Bandrew Scott is the host of Podcastage, the Bandrew Says Podcast, The Creator Case Study, and the founder / owner of Geeks Rising. You can find links to is various outlets down below.

Bandrew Scott

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Behringer B-2 Pro Review / Test

Today we're looking at a "higher end" microphone from the budget company Behringer; the Behringer B-2 Pro

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 10:30. 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. Foam Windscreen

  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bidirectional

  3. Sensitivity: -37dB to -34dB

  4. Max SPL: 137 / 149dB

  5. Equivalent Noise: 16-18dBA

  6. Impedance: <100-ohms

  7. Power Requirement: +48v

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels fairly average for mics in the $100 price range. It has an all metal body as well as a somewhat flimsy feeling metal mesh grill. On the front you will find a 3-way polar pattern selection switch to move between the cardioid, omnidirectional, and bi-directional polar patterns. On the rear you'll find the high-pass switch that rolls off at 6dB/octave at 150Hz, as well as a -10dB pad if you're recording loud sound sources. 

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. We're only going to focus on the cardioid polar pattern response here as it's the most used pattern. It has a surprisingly flat response from 1kHz and below with a slight roll off beginning at 150Hz, which reaches -2dB by 50Hz. From 1kHz and up there's a gradual boost that hits +2dB at 7kHz, and then there's a large boost which reaches +5dB at 10kHz and gradually rolls off until it hits 0dB at 20kHz.

The overall performance here was decent. On the electric guitar, the low end felt a little loose, but did not get muddy, and then the treble air boost provided a nice amount of liveliness to the recording. The acoustic guitar sounded too focused in the high end, and left the strings resonance sounding dominating and a bit of a grating tone all around. For singing, the mic added a breathy quality to the voice as well as a bit of extra grit. For spoken word, I think the high end is a detriment to the microphone as it accentuates mouth noises, breathe, and sibilance a bit too much.

Pros

  • Relatively flat low mids and lows

  • All polar patterns are pretty usable (Rare in this price range)

  • Nice build quality

  • Plenty of nice accessories

Cons

  • Shrill in the higher end

  • Susceptible to plosives

  • Relatively high noise floor at 16-18dBA

cardioid
Omni.png
Bi.png

Conclusion

Although this microphone would not be my first choice in any use case, for the price I think it's a pretty good deal. Therefore, if you're looking for your first mic to record music in your home studio, I think this would be a fine option given the plethora of accessories that are provided with the microphone, and the clean and clear tone you can get out of the microphone. Just make sure to pick up a pop filter along with 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 Behringer B-2 Pro
US: https://amzn.to/2L3nqAU
UK: https://amzn.to/2zvQRui
CA: https://amzn.to/2N4g29d
DE: https://amzn.to/2uarcC0

 

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

Electro Voice RE27 N/D Broadcast Dynamic Mic Review

Today I have finally completed the Electro Voice expansion of Pokemon: Mic Edition. We're looking at the last mic in their RE-series of mics, which just so happens to be the most expensive of the three; the RE27 N/D.

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. Microphone Mount (Includes: 5/8" & 3/8" adapter)

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 45Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-52dB

  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is on par with all of EV's other mics that I've tested; excellent. It has a steel body and a nice metal mesh grill. Along the side there are vents that allow for the Variable D technology that helps keep the proximity effect in check. It weighs in at 1 pound 9 oz, so it is a pretty heavy microphone as well. Near the bottom of the mic it has 3 switches that cut portions of the frequency response. 1st is a 6dB cut at 250Hz, 2nd is a 12dB cut at 1000Hz, and 3rd is a 3dB cut of the presence and treble boost. Lastly there is an XLR port on the back of the microphone.

The frequency response is listed as 45Hz - 20kHz. In the neutral mode this microphone has a relatively flat frequency response from 1khz and below, but above that there is a drastic boost that peaks at +7dB above the mids. There are two peaks at 4kHz and 6kHz and then it rolls off the remainder of the treble and air after that. I found the only really usable setting for spoken word was to enable the high cut, and leave the other switches alone. 

The overall performance of this mic was a bit of a shock initially. When I pulled it out of the box a month ago and plugged it in, I almost sent it right back. With the neutral settings it is very harsh, shrill, and forward in the higher frequency range. Once I enabled the high cut though the tone become MUCH better and actually enjoyable to listen to. It also does a great job at off axis rejection and rear rejection, but it should be noted that the off axis coloration is very honky, and terrible sounding.

Pros

  • Slightly higher output than other dynamics due to Neodymium magnet

  • Handles processing well

  • Great job at off axis and rear rejection

  • Great build quality

Cons

  • In neutral mode, the mic sounds bad

  • The low cuts are a bit too drastic

  • Off axis coloration is bad

freq.png
polar.png

Conclusion

For electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and singing I did not enjoy this microphone much at all. It simply is not a tone that I would look to use in those applications. For spoke word however, I found it rather enjoyable when you have the high cut enabled and get relatively close to the microphone. If you're looking for a bright & smooth microphone for podcasting and radio broadcasting, I think this will be a great option, but just make sure to cut those highs and use proper microphone technique.

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

Buy the Electro Voice RE27 ND
US: https://amzn.to/2lQoZaz
UK: N/A
CA: N/A
DE: https://amzn.to/2MHkqdN

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

Beyerdynamic M88TG Dynamic Mic Review

Today we're looking at another handheld dynamic microphone from Beyerdynamic, but this time it's a hypercardioid mic, and it is the M88TG.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 2:30. 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 $350.00 - $400.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Carrying/Storage Pouch

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount (5/8" & 3/8" threading)

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 30Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Hyper-Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-51dB

  4. Impedance: 200-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels very beefy. It has an all metal body which has some substantial weight to it. Additionally, the metal grill is a tank. Most of the time when I squeeze the grill, there's some give to it, but this held firm. There are no features on this mic, but on the bottom you will find the XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 30Hz - 20kHz. This has a minor roll off beginning at 150Hz. The low-mids are flat until you hit 1kHz where it begins to boost, reaching a max of 4dB at 2.5kHz. There is a .5dB cut at 5kHz (+3.5dB) and a 1dB boost at 6.5kHz (+6dB) And then there is a gradual roll off until 20khz.

The overall performance of this mic is great for voice. Being that this has a broader and less dramatic boost in the top end, it yields a much smoother and even sound than many other handheld dynamic microphones. On electric and acoustic, I found the microphone underwhelming with a bit of a honky sound to it, and a little bit of mud in the low end. Additionally, the microphone did excellent at background noise rejection, but it was subpar at handling noise and plosive rejection.

Pros

  • Hyper-cardioid great for bg noise rejection, feedback rejection, or bleed.

  • Very smooth sound

  • Pretty healthy output for a dynamic

  • Hefty build quality

Cons

  • Not good at rejection plosives

  • Did a bad job at handling noise rejection

freq.png
polar.png

Conclusion

It's not very surprising this mic was lackluster on guitars, as it is not marketed as a guitar microphone. Beyerdynamic markets this as a Kick Drum, Bass Drum, Vocal, and Woodwind microphone. Speaking of that, on vocals I think that tonally this microphone sounded excellent. The broader boost gave it a smoother sound which made it more pleasant to listen to than most handheld dynamics, and that's why I recommend it for that. If you do plan to pick this microphone up, I believe it is essential to pick up a pop filter, and leave it in a stand or have a very soft touch.

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

Buy the Beyerdynamic M88 TG
US: https://amzn.to/2M0Oykg
UK: https://amzn.to/2tfukv2
CA: https://amzn.to/2t8U6ls
DE: https://amzn.to/2yn94cD

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 MK4 Mic Review

Today we're looking at the Sennheiser MK4 XLR Condenser Microphone, which is a great way to get into the Sennheiser / Neumann condenser mic ecosystem. 

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the 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 $300.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Carrying/Storage Pouch

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount (5/8" & 3/8" threading)

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-32dB

  4. Self Noise: 10dBA

  5. Impedance: 50-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is good. I'm legitimately running out of things to say about all these mics. Most of them have an all metal body and a metal grill. This mic is no different. It has no switches for a padding or high pass / low pass, but on the bottom you'll find an XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. This has a minor roll off beginning at 150Hz, and a much more drastic roll off beginning at 50Hz. The low-mids are flat until you hit 1kHz and it boosts 1dB with the peak at 1.5kHz which then returns to flat at 2.5kHz where it begins it's presence/treble/air boost beginning at 2.75kHz and ranging all the way up to 10kHz, where it gradually rolls off the air, where it is neutral at ~14kHz.

The overall performance of this mic is great for the price. On electric guitar, this mic sounds a bit dull because it's not over boosted anywhere, but I think fo that as a good thing when recording. On acoustic it sounded stellar with a good body and plenty of shimmer on the top. For singing it had a nice and airy tone, and on spoken word it had plenty of clarity that could be offset beautifully while utilizing the proximity effect. Additionally the off axis coloration around 90-degrees is not unpleasant like many cheaper condensers, which will yield a much better sounding recording if you're in a reverberant room. 

Pros

  • Nice, fairly subtle coloration

  • Good off axis coloration

  • Pretty hot output signal

  • Decent job at background noise rejection

  • Respectable 10dBA self noise

  • Good built quality

Cons

  • I personally don't like the look of it.

freq.png
polar.png

Conclusion

This seems to be a great all purpose microphone as it worked well on everything I tested it on. I think where it really shines is on voice over. The thing I have loved about the Neumann condensers I have tested is the proximity effect. This microphone offers that buttery smooth low end that helps off set the boosts to the presence/treble/air, and it sounds stellar for that considering the price. 

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 MK4
US: https://amzn.to/2Jz9ims
UK: https://amzn.to/2t0Iv7k
CA: https://amzn.to/2HGDuWL
DE: https://amzn.to/2HFmBMh

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

Beyerdynamic TG V50 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today we're looking at the Beyerdynamic TG V50, which I was super excited to test out because I loved the TG V70D so much.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 2:00. 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 $80.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Carrying/Storage Pouch

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount (5/8" & 3/8" threading)

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 17kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-52.5dB

  4. Impedance: 600-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is the same as almost all handheld dynamic microphones. It has an all metal construction with no features around the body and it has an XLR port on the bottom. There's really nothing more to say about it. 

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 17kHz. This has a fairly neutral mids, but it boost rather significantly up until 5kHz, followed by a minor cut, and then an even larger boost up until 9kHz.

The overall performance of this mic is pretty good. For singing, I think this thing really shined. It had great clarity and a nice presence boost to help cut through a mix. For spoken word I thought it worked pretty well but think the plosive and sibilance issue can be an issue. On electric and acoustic guitar, it was a pretty usable tone...it was very aggressive and non-muddy, which could be pretty rad, but it wouldn't be my first choice for that use. 

Pros

  • Plenty of clarity

  • Not much proximity effect

  • Really nice build quality

Cons

  • Didn't do a good job at rejecting plosives

  • Didn't do a good job at rejecting handling noise

  • The boost can be a bit

Conclusion

If you're looking for a live singing microphone, I think it's a great option there. The lack in proximity effect means the singer will not need to have great microphone technique to avoid boominess. However, the plosives will need to be remedied with a windscreen/pop filter, and you'll need to leave it on the stand. For electric and acoustic guitar, it would be fine in a bind, but it would not be my first choice, so I wouldn't buy it just for that. 

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

Buy the Beyerdynamic TG V50
US: https://amzn.to/2sGi06X
UK: https://amzn.to/2Hkfdpf
CA: https://amzn.to/2JvjzPE
DE: https://amzn.to/2Jg9mD4

 

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

Heil PR-781 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today we look at an Amateur Radio microphone and see if it will work for any other applications. The microphone, is the Heil PR-781.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at ~1:30 - 2:00. 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 $185.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Microphone Mount

  3. 5/8 to 3/8" stand adapter

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 16kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-55dB

  4. Impedance: 600-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is excellent. It is an all metal construction with a metal grill. It feels like it can take a beating or two, so I'd venture to say that this will last years in your Ham Shack.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 16kHz, but no frequency response graph was provided. From listening to the mic it's abundantly clear that there is a drastic treble boost which gives this thing a large amount of clarity. It also over powers any low end of this microphone making it sounds harsh at times.

The overall performance of this mic is hard to judge. On everything I threw at this mic, I just kept thinking  "there's too much clarity". It was so bright and clear that it began to sound unnatural to my ears at times, and it also became shrill at other times. Being that I am not a Ham Radio operator, and know little of the topic, I cannot speak to the microphone requirements, but I believe that's what this microphone was actually designed for. 

Pros

  • Great build quality

  • Very very very very clear

Cons

  • The treble boost on this thing leads to shrill tone

Conclusion

I cannot recommend this microphone for the majority of applications due to the hyper-bright tone of it. I don't think it accomplished anything well on the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, singing vocals, or on HD vocals. I imagine the over bright tone is meant to assist in transmitting higher frequencies over Ham Radios. Being that digital audio captures all that sound without having to overcome the inherent shorter travel of higher frequencies, it just does not seem to translate well. 

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

Buy the Heil PR781G
US: https://amzn.to/2slq2CS
UK: https://amzn.to/2J3THGR
CA: https://amzn.to/2kIwP5z
DE: https://amzn.to/2LKtAXj

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

Razer Seiren Elite Dynamic USB Mic Review

Today we're looking at the brand new Dynamic USB Streaming Microphone from Razer, the Seiren Elite.

For the majority of this review, I was connected to my Mac, which did not have gain controls on my computer, but the gain on the microphone was set to 100%. On the windows machine, I set the computer gain to 77%, and the microphones gain to around 25%. The audio was then boosted in post, which is notated in the lower third on the video.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $200.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Desktop Stand

  3. Windscreen

  4. 3m Braided Cable

  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Max SPL: 120dB

  4. Features: Analog/Digital Limiter

  5. Bit-Depth: 16-Bit

  6. Sample Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is good for the most part. It has a metal body coated in a rubbery paint, it has a metal grill, and the desktop stand is metal with a good amount of weight and a foam bottom to keep it from sliding around your desk. On the downside, the dials are a bit wobbly, and they have no markings to assist in determining your gain setting or headphone volume. 

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. They do not provide a graph, but honestly, I don't think the graph would even help. The limiter is set so extreme that it sounds as though the audio is being overly compressed, which would affect the frequency response anyways. 

The polar pattern of this mic is standard cardioid, and did a surprisingly good job at side and rear rejection which is exactly what you want out of a microphone that will be used in a noisy environment like a gaming room. 

The overall performance of this device was a huge let down. First off, the noise floor on this thing was excessive, making all the audio sound dirty. The limiter also sounded as though the threshold was set too low, meaning it was activated too frequently, causing the recording to sound overly compressed. This mic also did not do a good job at rejecting shocks, so if you bump your desk at all, this mic picks it up, which is the last thing you'd want in a gaming microphone. Additionally, my unit had so much hiss in the headphone amp that it was almost deafening (I will be replacing this mic to determine if the headphone amp in another device is better). 

Pros

  • Plug and play

  • Good job at background noise rejection

  • Has zero latency monitoring

  • Offers a limiter

Cons

  • Expensive for what you're getting

  • Unable to turn off or adjust the limiter

  • Can't turn off or adjust the mix of the 0 latency monitoring

  • The noise floor on this thing is too loud

  • Little to no shock absorption

  • The headphone amp (in my unit) was insanely noisy

Conclusion

I do not recommend this microphone at all. On paper, it's a nearly perfect streaming microphone, but in practice or execution it did not meet any expectations. So although I do not think you should buy this, I will be keeping my eye on Razer for the next iteration of this microphone to see if they improve this.

If Razer is reading this, I will give some suggestions. Please add software functions to this device to allow people to adjust the limiter's settings or turn it off. Please allow users to shut off zero latency monitoring, or at least mix between computer playback and 0 latency monitoring. Please add some kind of internal shockmount for the capsule to assist in shock absorption. Please put in a better preamp so the noise floor is not so loud in this device. However, I think you're on the right track here. I can't wait for the next iteration.  

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

Buy the Razer Seiren Elite (but are you sure?)
US: https://amzn.to/2K33ld7
UK: https://amzn.to/2jEGXLV
CA: https://amzn.to/2wlTYmP
DE: https://amzn.to/2rxGKOn

How To Set Your Gain for Beginners

Gain can be a very complicated topic, so in this article, I will try to make it as simple as possible.

1. What is gain?

Simply put, gain is how much you are amplifying (or increasing the level) or your microphones output signal. This is necessary because microphone's output signals are very quiet, and you need to get this signal to a level that you are able to work with in post production. 

2. Factors that impact gain requirements.

I receive the question "What's the best gain to use on this microphone/preamp", and to tell you the truth there is no absolute answer there. This is because there are multiple factors that impact how you set your gain.

  1. Loudness of the sound source: If you're recording someone whispering, the sound source will be quiet and you will need more gain. On the other hand, if you're recording a guitar amplifier with the volume set to 11, you will need significantly less gain.
     
  2. Distance between the sound source & the microphone: The farther away the sound source is from the microphone, the quieter the audio that is being picked up. Therefore, if you are 6 inches away from a microphone, you'll need less gain than you would if you were 10 feet away.
     
  3. Sensitivity of the microphone: Sensitivity of a microphone tells you how loud the output signal of this mic is. Dynamic & Ribbon mics typically have a quieter signal when compared to condenser microphones. So if you're using a dynamic, you'll need a higher gain than you would if you were using a condenser.

3. What level should you record at?

I've heard many people say "Record so you're hitting -18dB on your meter", others have said "Record at -10dB" and others say "Record at -6dB". Regardless of what level you choose, when this is being said, it means you are recording so your peaks (the loudest parts of your recording) hit -6dB, -10dB, or -18dB. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 9.11.19 PM.png

The reasoning behind this is to allow for headroom. Headroom is nothing more than the difference between the loudest part of your recording and 0dB, which is where your recording will begin to clip. 

For example: if I am recording spoken word, and I set my preamp gain so I'm hitting -10dB at my loudest, then my voice can unexpectedly get 10dB louder before I begin clipping/distorting, ultimately ruining the recording. 

It ultimately comes down to how dynamic the sound source you're recording is. If it is a sine wave that does not change volume, you can probably set your preamp to record around -1dB or -2dB. But if you're recording an expressive singer that goes from soft singing to screaming in a single take, this can vary drastically in loudness, so you may want to set your preamp so you're hitting -10dB or even -18dB.

4. How does gain affect your sound?

There are many schools of thoughts, and arguments to be had regarding coloration of preamp on your recordings, but we're going to avoid those in this article and focus on the more noticeable impact on your recording.

  1. Setting your gain too high: When you set your gain too high (i.e. so you're hitting -1dB on your meter), this does not allow for any wiggle room. You have to remain consistent in your levels, and if you get excited and begin to speak loudly, your signal will exceed 0dB and clip or distort.

    Once you have recorded something and it contains clipping, there is nothing that can be done to clean up that recording. You're stuck with it. So I would always suggest you err on the side of caution and record slightly quieter than you think you need.
     
  2. Setting your gain too low: This issue seems to be less pervasive online, but if you set your gain too low and you're using a subpar preamp with a high noise floor you risk losing, or mixing your signal in the noise floor.

    What this means is that if your preamp has a noise floor of -50dB, and you're recording so you're peaks are hitting -30dB, you're going to run into some issues. This is caused because in post, you're going to have to boost this recording by ~30dB. This means that your noise floor is no longer -50dB, but it's been boosted so it will be -20dB. So just remember, when you're boosting your recording in post, you're not just boosting the recorded sound source, you're also boosting the noise that's introduced by your preamp.

Conclusion

I think that should give you a basic framework to work off when you're setting up your preamp/interface before recording a podcast or youtube video. Until next time, may your recordings have no clipping, a low noise floor, and contain good content. Good luck.

 

 

 

Neewer NW-8 XLR Condenser Mic Review

Today I review another super cheap OEM microphone from China from Neewer, the Neewer NW-8.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the 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 $30.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Windscreen

  3. Shockmount

  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Adapter

  5. XLR to 3.5mm Cable

  6. 3.5mm TRRS Splitter

  7. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-37dB

  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels sub par. The body is all plastic with a metal grill. It does have a little bit of weight to it which adds a decent feel to it, but all around it feels like an unreliable, poorly built microphone. 

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. They did not provide a frequency response graph of this microphone, which is not surprising given the price. Listening to it though, it sounds as though it lacks in the low end as well as the high end, making for a somewhat mid forward microphone.

The polar pattern of this mic is standard cardioid. It does not do a great job at off axis or background noise rejection, and the coloring as you move around the mic changes pretty drastically. 

The overall performance of this mic is about as good as you would expect out of a $30 microphone. If you connect it direct to your computer with the provided 3.5mm cables, it does not sound good at all as there is lots of noise. If you connect it to an USB Audio Interface with phantom power and an XLR cable, it sounds decent. As previously mentioned it does seem very mid forward, but I did not hate it for electric, acoustic, or for singing. For spoken word, the lack in the low end, and the lack in clarity makes this sound like exactly what it is, a $30 microphone. 

Pros

  • Dirt cheap

  • Lots of accessories

  • When connected to USB Audio Interface, it's usable

Cons

  • Not a good build quality

  • When connected as 3.5mm mic, it sounds bad

  • Lacks in low end & high end.

Conclusion

If you are just recording demos so you can hear your song ideas, I think this microphone would be fine. But if you're planning on using this microphone for any form of professional application I believe you should move on to another 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 Neewer NW-8
US: https://amzn.to/2Khy7jl
UK: https://amzn.to/2HsUMLD
CA: https://amzn.to/2r0CAz4
DE: https://amzn.to/2r5j03w

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

 

Beyerdynamic TG-V70D Dynamic Mic Review

Today we're looking at a handheld dynamic microphone from Beyerdynamic, the TG-V70D.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 2:00. 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 $200.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Microphone Mount

  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Adapter

  4. Documentation (including frequency response & sensitivity of the actual mic you bought)

  5. Carrying Pouch

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 25Hz - 18kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Hyper-Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-49dB

  4. Impedance: 280-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is basic but robust. It has a standard tapered metal handle and a sturdy feeling metal mesh grill, which has a good amount of foam on the inside to attempt to reject some plosives. 

The frequency response is listed as 25Hz - 18kHz. The frequency response on this mic begins to gradually roll off the bass at around 250Hz, and then starts a drastic roll off around 150Hz. The low mids are flat, and then in the high mids we start to see a boost beginning at around 1.5kHz. This boost ends up peaking betwen 7-8kHz, and then begins a consistent roll off from 8 -18kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is hyper-cardioid. The 90-degree rejection on this mic is great. You have almost no low end, and the volume significantly decreases. When you get around to 180-degrees some low end returns, but the higher frequencies seem to disappear. In the tests I conducted, it did an excellent job at rejecting keyboard noise and acoustic guitar noise when they are in the null spots of the polar pattern. 

The overall performance of this mic is great. On electric guitar you're getting a tight low end without any muddiness, on the acoustic you get a nice body with a bit of shimmer on the high end, and on vocals you get amazing clarity with full low end which you can adjust by utilizing the proximity effect. 

freq.png
polar.png

Pros

  • Very detailed tone without sounding harsh

  • Prominent proximity effect that can be used to your advantage

  • Hyper Cardioid Polar Pattern assists in background noise rejection and feedback rejection

  • Minimal Handling Noise

  • Great Build Quality

Cons

  • Proximity effect can be a detriment if mic technique is poor

  • Not the best at rejecting plosives

  • Some may find it expensive in comparison to entry level live mics

Conclusion

I think this has become my new favorite handheld dynamic microphones. This thing cut right through mix on the vocals due to the presence and treble boost, and it also picked up minimal ambient noise, even when I was playing the acoustic guitar about 1 foot off-axis. The proximity effect also allows you to offset some of the detail, or beef up your voice if you have a thin voice. If you do not have good microphone technique, you will need to be careful on this thing because the proximity effect on this mic can be dangerous.

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

Buy the Beyerdynamic TG-V70D
US: https://amzn.to/2qkivlS
UK: https://amzn.to/2IFSllc
CA: https://amzn.to/2HmUe6X
DE: https://amzn.to/2II0CoR

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

Cyber Acoustics USB Condenser Mic (CVL-2006) Review

Today I'm reviewing a USB multi-pattern condenser microphone and I don't know what the proper name is. I think it's the Cyber Acoustics Tahoe, or Rainier CVL-2006, or Cyber Acoustics CVL-2006.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to my 2017 iMac with the computers gain set to 100% and the microphone gain set at approximately 25-30%. 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 $70.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone

  2. Desktop Stand

  3. Foam Windscreen

  4. 1.5m Cable

  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid / Omnidirectional

  3. Max SPL: 124dB

  4. S/N Ratio: 121dB

  5. Bit Depth: 16-Bit

  6. Sample Rate: 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone decent. It has a metal body, and a metal grill that feel sturdy enough. The desktop stand is flimsy feeling and offers no shock absorption so it picks up every bump of your desk. On the front you have a headphone volume control, microphone gain control, and an indicator light to let you know if it's plugged in and getting power. 

On the back of the mic you'll find a button to switch between cardioid and omnidirectional polar patterns. On the bottom you'll find the USB port to connect this to your computer, a 3.5mm headphone jack which does offer latency free monitoring (which cannot be turned off unless you turn the mic volume all the way down), and a 1/4" threading for additional mounting options (this is the standard camera mount size.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. I don't know if this is accurate, and no frequency response graph was provided. All I can say is that this thing sounds harsh and thin, and all around is painful to listen to.

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid or omni directional. The cardioid polar pattern seems fairly wide so it tends to pick up a bit of room noise, and the omni polar pattern just sounds bad.

The overall performance of this mic left a lot to be desired. There's a constant underlying digital interference in the noise floor, the tone was painful to listen to while editing the video, the fact that you can't turn off latency free monitoring without muting the mic is irritating, and the fact that it doesn't have a standard mounting option just adds an additional cost.

Pros

  • Offers latency free monitoring

Cons

  • Harsh & Thin tone

  • Constant digital interference in the noise floor

  • Can't turn off latency free monitoring

  • Camera mount threading and not a mic stand threading

  • Flimsy desktop stand that picks up all bumps of deak

  • Bit depth limited to 16-bit

Conclusion

I do not recommend this microphone. In my opinion, this mic seems like it's attempting to compete with something like the Blue Yeti, but it fails on all fronts. I think you'd be better off saving some money by going with the Q2u, or spending the same amount on an ATR2100USB or AT2005USB. Or if you're deadset on a usb multipattern condenser microphone, go with the Blue Yeti. 

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-2006
US: https://amzn.to/2JnORFh
UK: N/A
CA: https://amzn.to/2qa4s2c
DE: N/A

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