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

Rode NT1 KIT Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I'm talking about possibly my favorite condenser microphone I have tested to date; the Rode NT1 Kit

This is a higher end XLR condenser microphone which means it requires a USB Audio Interface that offers +24v or +48v of phantom power to work.

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $270 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Storage Pouch
  3. Shockmount
  4. Pop Filter
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -29dB
  4. Max SPL: 132dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Power Requirements: +24v or +48v Phantom Power

Performance / Features

As you would expect, the build quality of this microphone is top notch. There are no dials or extras on this microphone; just a gold dot to indicate the front of the microphone, and an XLR port on the bottom. It has an all metal construction, and some nice substantial weight to it. However, unlike other microphone's I have tested, it does not feel like a tank, so I would be gentle with it. I should also mention that the carrying pouch offers no padding, so it will only protect the microphone's capsule from dust contamination.

The frequency response on this microphone is excellent, ranging from 20Hz - 20kHz. What really sticks out to me is the nice full bass the microphone provides without sounding boomy or muddy, and the crystal clear highs that do not sound shrill or harsh. It is an all around very smooth sounding microphone, and I think it performed excellently on the Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Voice.

When dealing with condenser microphones, I'm always worried about the polar pattern picking up too much background noise. This microphone definitely does pick up more ambient noise than a Shure SM7B, however it is not an exorbitant amount by any stretch of the imagination. I even recorded an entire podcast with this thing and while editing had zero issues with distractions caused by room noise.

Pros

  • Outstanding Audio Quality
  • Comes with Shock Mount & Pop Filter
  • Sturdy & High Quality Construction

Cons

  • The price
  • The pouch offers no protection except from dust

Conclusion

I love this microphone. It has a high quality build, an excellent sound, and it comes with everything you need (less interface & cables). It is likely even my favorite condenser microphone that I have reviewed to date. That being said, I'm not going to recommend this to everyone. 

If you are just starting out on youtube, or just starting a podcast, or just diving into home recording, I would not recommend this microphone. I think that a beginner can get away with a cheap mass produced condenser mic to begin. Down the road if you are still working on your passion project, then consider upgrading.

On the other hand, if you have been working on your podcast, studio, voice over work, or youtube channel for a while and you are looking to take your audio game to the next level, I absolutely recommend 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 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2i1eWfO
UK: http://amzn.to/2i3uFh8

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2haKwpx
UK: http://amzn.to/2hhfgbz

Buy the Neewer Boom Arm
US: http://amzn.to/2i1lzPh
UK: http://amzn.to/2hA1RsP

 

Rode smartLav+ Smartphone Mic Review/Test

Today I am talking about a lavalier microphone that plugs directly into your smartphones 3.5mm jack; the Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Lav Mic

My main concern with purchasing a 3.5mm TRRS microphone, like the smartLav+ is the potential for 3.5mm jacks disappearing from more smart phones in the future. If you are planning on upgrading to an iPhone 7 or any phone that has removed the 3.5mm jack, then this is not the microphone for you.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Lav Mic
  2. Windscreen
  3. Microphone Clip
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 60Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Omnidirecitonal 
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -35dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels pretty nice. The majority is plastic, but it has a nice reinforced joint where the cable meets the microphone, so I wouldn't be too worried about the cable shorting out. The windscreen is sufficient, and the microphone clip feels really nice, and provides a really nice option to route your mic cable to avoid unnecessary strain. 

The microphone only sounded decent when it was attached to my lapel. When I placed the microphone on the center of my shirt, it sounded much clearer, but still a little dull. This could be easily remedied with a quick EQ. When comparing it to a similar lavalier microphone that is only $40, I heard almost no difference, but this could be attributed to the fact that both mics were being run through the Rode Rec app. 

Pros

  • Reinforced cable joint
  • Provides wireless functionality w/ relatively low price tag
  • Nice mic clip

Cons

  • A bit expensive for sound quality achieved

Conclusion

This is only a decent microphone. It has a decent build quality but the audio quality leaves a bit to be desired. I also plan on upgrading to a new phone that has done away with the 3.5mm TRRS jack, so this mic will be obsolete if this trend continues.

I would only really recommend this if you are a Rode mic purist, or if you want a mic that plugs directly into your smartphone with no adapters needed. Other than that, I don't think it performs at a level that justifies the $80 price tag. You can pick up a microphone for half the price along with a TRRS adapter and have the same quality audio.

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/2dChCT5
UK: http://amzn.to/2dnFJ4M

Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Mic Review / Test

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

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

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

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

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

Performance / Features

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today I am testing out a microphone that I have been dying to try out. The Rode Podcaster. This is a Dynamic USB Microphone designed for, you guessed it, podcasters. 

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. 3-meter USB Cable
  3. Mic Mount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  5. Documentation
  6. 10-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build of this microphone is AWESOME! It is an all metal body and has some really nice weight to it. The top of the microphone has an LED indicator so you know it is plugged in and receiving power. On the bottom of the microphone, it has a 3.5mm Headphone Port & Headphone Volume control. This allows for zero-latency monitoring.

The microphone has a 28mm Dynamic Capsule with a Cardioid polar pattern. It picked up audio a little bit farther off to the sides and a little farther back than I would have liked. This means it will pick up a bit of room noise or background noise, but this does have a benefit. It means it has a forgiving polar pattern, allowing you to move a few inches in each direction without the sound of your voice dropping too much which is GREAT when podcasting. 

The frequency response is 40Hz - 14kHz. On the voice, I think it sounds great, but I should mention that I am partial towards broadcast microphones, and I like the tone of it. Some people may not like the sound. For acoustic & electric guitar, I don't think the mic performed that well. This is no surprise since the microphone is marketed as a PODCAST microphone, implying it is designed for voice, and not instruments.

It offers 18-bit and 8kHz - 48kHz recording resolution. Something else I need to mention is the amazing performance when it comes to noise generated by the microphone. Most USB mics develop excessive noise around 65-75% mic gain. I didn't begin to hear any excessive noise until I hit 90-95% on this mic. 

Pros

  • GREAT Voice Tone
  • Built in Pop Filter
  • Plug & Play
  • Zero-Latency Monitoring
  • Awesome Build Quality
  • 10-YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Con

  • Does not perform well on Instruments
  • Lacks Mic Gain Control

Conclusion

This microphone is AMAZING, but as I stated in the video, it fulfills a very specific need. It was designed for podcasters, meaning it was fine tuned to sound good on voice, and that's exactly what it does. It sounds great on voice. When you try to expand the use and record instruments, it performs decently, but it lacks the shimmer required for acoustic, and doesn't accurately capture the electric. 

That being said, if you are a solo podcaster who will be recording near your computer all the time, OR if you want to up your voice over game for YouTube, I would 100% recommend it. However, I would recommend getting the shockmount or a nice boom arm to avoid the mic picking up table bumps, or spring noise from your boom arm.

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

Buy the Rode Podcaster
US: http://amzn.to/1rHo6kV
UK: http://amzn.to/1T5Pl1V

Rode NT-USB Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today I am testing out my First Rode mic, which happens to be a USB mic; The Rode NT-USB.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $170 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pop Shield
  3. USB Cable (6m)
  4. Mic Mount & Stand
  5. Carrying Pouch
  6. Documentation
  7. 2-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality of the actual microphone feels great. It is an all metal body with a metal grill and some substantial weight to it. On the side, there is a headphone port and two dials:

  1. Changes amount of sound source in headphones from Mic to Computer (i.e. Turning left puts more microphone in the headphones and less computer, and vice versa)
  2. Headphone Volume Control

The pop filter is metal but feels flimsy, and the USB Cable is a standard rubber cable. The mount is plastic and doesn't feel like it will last too long, so you will have to be careful with it. The stand also offers no shock absorption so you need a new stand, or you cannot bump your desk. Lastly, the pouch is rather nice and provides a bit of padding as added protection.

The microphone offers a cardioid polar pattern, a frequency response of 20Hz - 20kHz, and 16-bit 48kHz Resolution. The microphone did perform well on the voice, and did a nice job at eliminating background noise. When cranking the input gain on this mic, I found it to be a VERY quiet preamp which is great. 

Pros

  • Great sound on voice
  • Decent build quality
  • Plug & Play
  • Good at eliminating background noise
  • VERY quiet preamp

Con

  • Very sensitive, led to distotion even at extremely low input gains.

Conclusion

Overall, this microphone is only decent, and I don't think the performance justifies the cost. At $170, the mic should perform much better on instruments. Even at low gain settings, singing too loud or strumming my acoustic too hard led to clipping. But, for speaking, I think it sounds GREAT, and the quiet preamp is also great for voice overs and commentaries on youtube.

Even though it does sound good for speaking, I don't think I can recommend it because of the steep price tag. 

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

Buy the Rode NT-USB
US: http://amzn.to/24dP2ac
UK: http://amzn.to/1WkCBXn