Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone Review

Today we're looking at Shure's update to the classic Elvis microphone, the Shure Super 55 Deluxe Vocal Microphone

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 $250.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Carrying Bag
  3. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 60Hz - 17kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Super-Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~-53dB
  4. Impedance: 290-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is superb. It has an all metal construction that feels like it can really take the abuses of stage use. There is a small plastic badge with the branding for the mic, and the foam windscreen is bright blue. The sides and rear of the microphone have no additional features, and on the bottom you'll find a 5/8" threading for a standard mic stand, and an XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 60Hz - 17kHz. There is a cut that begins at 1kHz and ranges down to 150Hz, and then drastically drops off. At 1kHz a boost begins which remains consistent to about 2kHz where we see a gradual increase with a significant boost at 4.5kHz, peaking at 6kHz. We see a dip immediately after this followed by a peak from 8-10kHz, at which point the air is cut.

The polar pattern of this mic is super cardioid. At 90-degrees the level is almost non-existent, but what is there is mainly high mids and treble. At 180-degrees, the signal is slightly stronger, and is mainly focused in the low end. 

The overall performance of this mic is exactly what you should expect out of a live vocal microphone. The cut to the low-end helps tame the proximity effect, handling noise, and plosives. The presence boost helps your voice cut through and sit on top of the mix. And the super-cardioid polar pattern helps limit bleed from instruments on stage, as well as limiting feed from the PA. 

freq.png
polar.png

Pros

  • Super cardioid polar patten is very beneficial in a live environment
  • Does a great job with the proximity effect, handling noise, and plosives
  • Your voice will cut through a mix
  • You're gonna look really cool

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very specific use case

Conclusion

I was not the biggest fan of this microphone for instruments or spoken word. The tone on instruments just was not too flattering, although in a bind, I think it is passable for that application. On spoken word, I think you're better off with a flatter microphone since you'll likely be recording in a studio and have better control over your environment and ambient noise. Live singing is where I think this microphone will really shine. It will allow the sound engineer to capture your voice as clearly as possible, and set it in front of the mix, even if you don't have good microphone technique.

If you're looking for a live singing microphone with an aesthetic that screams "I'm Elvis" or "I front a Rockabilly band", then I do not think you can go wrong with 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 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

Shure MV88 iOS Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today is the second installment of my Shure iOS microphone review series. Today, I reviewed the lightning adapter microphone, the Shure MV88

This microphone is exclusively an iOS microphone, as it can only connect directly through the lightning port.

Currently, you are able to have headphones connected to your iPhone while recording, but with the removal of the headphone jack, this may become an issue that Shure has to address in an updated MV88 that includes a 3.5mm Headphone port. 

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $150 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pop Filter / Wind Screen
  3. Carrying / Storage Case
  4. 3.5mm Extender for Headphones
  5. Documentation
  6. 2 Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: Not Listed
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid & Bi-Directional
  3. Recording Quality: 24 bit / 48kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is decent. It is still metal, but it does not have any substantial weight to it. This is most likely by design since it is a traveling microphone. Regardless, I personally prefer mics to have some nice weight to them. The mic also only offers 90-degrees of motion, so if you want to point the mic in the opposite direction, you will need to unplug and flip it over which will cause the mic to cover part of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

There are no controls on the microphone, everything is handled through the app. The app offers 5 DSP Presets:

  • Speech
  • Singing
  • Acoustic
  • Loud Performance
  • Flat

You are also able to switch between many polar patterns

  • XY - 60-75-90-105-120-135
  • Cardioid
  • Bi Directional
  • Raw Midside

There is also a control to add a limiter, compressor, or wind reducer. 

As far as performance, I think it's a big improvement over the iPhone's / iPad's internal microphone. It sounded great while recording guitar/singing simultaneously. It provided clear audio and a nice stereo sound. 

Pros

  • Provides great sound compared to internal microphone
  • Extremely portable
  • Lots of control options

Cons

  • Only 90-degrees of motion
  • Does not have built in 3.5mm headphone jack (may be issue on iPhone 7)

Conclusion

This may seem like it is an expensive device, but one you start to analyze what you're getting for the $150, you will find that it is a great deal. It is much like getting 3 different microphones and a mobile DAW. You have an XY mic, a Cardioid Mic, and a Mid Side microphone. You also get a DAW that allows you to add compression, limiters, and wind reduction as well as edit your audio. 

It's also important to note that if you are new to recording and don't have a full understanding of the process, they offer 5 presets to help get you started. 

If you are stuck using an iOS device to record your podcast, film your band's show or comedy show, or even vlog, I think this microphone is a great option to improve your audio so you can have a better quality video that you can critique or share.

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 it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2d96uJd
UK: http://amzn.to/2cIGHrd

Saramonic VMIC Recorder Review / Test

Today we are looking at a product that's a bit different than usual. We are looking at the Saramonic VMIC Recorder. I do need to note that this microphone was provided to me by Saramonic so i was able to review it.

This is a camera top shotgun microphone that can be placed into the camera shoe on your DSLR/Video Camera, or mounted to a 1/4" tripod mount. What really sets this microphone apart is the fact that it not only has an output to connect the microphone to your camera, but it also allows you to record directly to an internal SD card.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $200 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pop Shield
  3. 3.5mm to 3.5mm Cable
  4. Documentation
  5. Warranty Card

Performance / Features

The construction of this microphone feels very good. The main casing for the recorder is metal, and the front/back plates are a firm plastic. The windscreen is pretty thick and should also provide adequate protection from wind/pops. The display on the back of the mic is bright enough that you should not have any issue seeing it while in direct sunlight. The 3 control buttons under the screen also feel well constructed.

On the front of the microphone, there are two 3.5mm jacks. The top jack is the output that you will use to connect to your camera's microphone input. The bottom 3.5mm jack is an output to connect your headphones to for live monitoring. Directly below these jacks there is the battery compartment/SD slot. The microphone takes (2) AA batteries that will provide you with 8 hours of recording time. As far as the SD card, it takes a micro SD card, and according to the documentation, the mic can handle up to a 32gb card.

The back of the microphone has an LCD screen that shows you battery life, level monitoring, as well as recording time. Directly beneath the screen there are three buttons. The left button is your power button, the right button is your record button, and the center button is a d-pad that allows you to select between input volume, headphone volume, and low cut as well as navigate menus. 

The bottom of the camera has a standard camera shoe mount and also allows you to mount it onto a 1/4" tripod screw.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 20kHz which is adequate for a camera top shotgun microphone. The mic records 16-bit 48kHz WAV files, and takes (2) AA batteries which will give you 8 hours of record time.

The polar pattern is listed as super cardioid. When directly in front of the mic it sounds pretty good. As you move off axis you start to witness a large drop off of high frequencies, but it does still pick up a bit of noise. As I moved around the sides and behind the microphone, I felt that it picked up a little too much sound as well.

Pros

  • Records to SD Card & Camera
  • Compact
  • Headphone port for live monitoring!
  • LCD Screen to monitor levels & battery life
  • Good build quality
  • Mounts to camera shoe or tripod

Cons

  • Seemed to have a wider polar pattern than expected
  • Somewhat compressed sound/tone

Conclusion

Similar to other camera top microphones, I found this microphone to have a similar compressed sound and tone to it, which gives away that it is an ultra compact shotgun microphone. I also thought that the polar pattern allowed for a bit too much noise to make it to the microphone.

Other than that, I think that this thing is a great deal. I love the fact that it is so small and portable. I also like that it provides a screen to monitor the battery life and levels to ensure you're not clipping as well as a headphone port for live monitoring! Another great feature is the ability to mount the mic to your camera or a tripod. My favorite feature on this microphone is the fact that it allows you to record to an SD card as well as output to your camera. This will give you the added security of an audio backup if the camera input is clipping, or the mic input causes too much line noise.

I would recommend this for vloggers who are out and about a lot and require a camera top microphone. It will give you all the functionality you need with additional features to ensure you are getting the best sound possible. If you are recording in a studio setting, I would suggest looking into a full size condenser shotgun microphone because those will provide you with a better sound quality.

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 it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2c05NkF
UK: http://amzn.to/2bPxRs7