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

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

Sennheiser E935 Handheld Dynamic Mic Review

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

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

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

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

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

Performance / Features

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

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

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

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

freq.png
polar.png

Pros

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

Cons

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Universal Audio Arrow Interface Review

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

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

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

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

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

Performance / Features

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Neumann TLM 103 Review

Today we're not looking at a budget microphone, we're looking at a high end mic from Neumann, the TLM-103.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 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. In the review I also include a test on the Audient ID4 to see how the mic sounds through a Class A Mic Pre.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back around $1,100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~ -33dB
  4. Impedance: 50-ohms
  5. Max SPL: 138dB
  6. Self Noise: 7dBA

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is what you'd expect out of a mic that exceeds $1,000. It has an all metal body that feels meticulously machined. It has a metal mesh grill that does feel a little bit weak (but it's not like this will be on stage taking abuse) and this thing has a good amount of weight coming in at 450g.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. It begins to roll off the bass frequencies at around 65 or 75Hz, and then remains flat all the way up through around 3.5kHz at which point it builds to a 4dB boost from 6kHz to 15kHz at which point it rolls off the remainder of the air hitting around -6dB at 20kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. At 2kHz and 4kHz it has a fairly wide response that is almost omnidirectional but slightly quieter at 180-degreed. As a whole this thing picks up a large amount of ambient noise. 

The overall performance of this mic is excellent. The mic offers a very smooth tone, even though it has a broad boost from 4kHz - 15kHz. Additionally, this microphone has an excellent proximity effect that you can use to your benefit to beef up your voice or offset some of the boost in the presence/treble/air. The self noise of this mic is also only 7dBA, so it is quiet. This means it offers a dynamic range of 131dB which is more than you could ever need, but it's nice to have. However, it does tend to pick up a lot of ambient noise, so if you're in an untreated room, this may have a negative impact on your recordings.

Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 8.38.02 PM.png

Pros

  • Very smooth frequency response
  • Great proximity effect
  • Low self noise of 7dBA
  • Dynamic range of 131dB
  • Great build quality
  • Handles processing very well

Cons

  • Picks up a lot of ambient room noise
  • Very expensive

Conclusion

I was very impressed with this microphone. On the electric guitar it provided a fairly accurate representation of the guitar amp, but it added more bite and attack due to the presence & treble boost. The acoustic guitar accomplished a sound I am always looking for, a nice full body without sounding muddy or boomy with a nice shimmer on the high end and good attack from the guitar pick. For singing, this thing sounded amazing. It really cut through the mix and sat forward without sounding shrill or harsh and the smooth tone made it sound very pleasing. For spoken word the presence/treble/air boost offer great clarity, while remaining clean sounding, and then if you need a bit more bass you have the buttery proximity effect to use. 

If you're a voice over artist or a musician and you're looking for a brighter microphone that is very pleasing to listen to, this is a great option if it fits within your budget, and I'd 100% recommend it.

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

Buy the Neumann TLM103
US: https://amzn.to/2IT9gSa
UK: https://amzn.to/2upKG8m
CA: https://amzn.to/2I8Raur
DE: N/A

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 PGA58 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today we're reviewing one of the cheaper dynamic microphones from Shure, the PGA-58.

For this review, I have the mic connected direction to the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (1st Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 75%. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in finalcut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $55-$60 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Clip (No 5/8 to 3/8" adapter)
  3. Carrying Pouch
  4. Documentation
  5. Sticker

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 16kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -55dB
  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is on par with most other Shure microphones. It has an all metal body, and a metal grill that feels like it could handle the stage rather well. It has an off switch on the side which is always handy in spoken word situations, it has the XLR port on the bottom like you'd expect, and it has a good amount of weight to it, coming in at 10.37 oz.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 16kHz. It begins to roll off frequencies starting at around 500Hz, and then is relatively flat up through 3kHz. At that point it has a boost that peaks at around 5.5kHz followed by a steep cut down to 6.5kHz with additional variations of a few dB through ~12kHz, which ends up rolling off at around 15kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as cardioid. It does a good job at rejecting noise around the rear of the mic which would be ideal for live situations. This will assist in avoiding feedback from the PA and from on stage wedges. 

The overall performance of this mic is pretty decent. It did not do a great job in terms of handling noise or background noise rejection, but neither of these are bad enough to destroy the microphone. The off axis coloration of this mic does seem to lose a bit of the low end and high end as you move around to 90-degrees giving you a somewhat mid forward sound around the sides. The rear is quiet enough that you're not going to get much coloration from it though. 

Due to the bass roll off beginning around 500Hz, this thing will seem to lack body on instruments. On the electric guitar, I found it to be somewhat muddy, while the acoustic guitar lacked a bit in the low end and didn't have much shine to it. Where this mic really excels is on the vocal performances. It has a flatter response when compared to the SM58, and it rolls off the low frequencies to help ensure your voice doesn't get too muddy. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 8.28.30 PM.png

Pros

  • Less boosted High End compared to SM58
  • Cheaper alternative to SM58
  • Great build quality
  • On/Off switch

Cons

  • Dull sound on instruments / Slightly muddy on bassier instruments
  • Not the most flattering off axis coloration
  • Less smooth sounding than SM58

Conclusion

I think this is a rather decent alternative to the SM58 if you're on a limited budget. I don't think this microphone is ideal for acoustic guitar or electric guitar, but I think it is a fine vocal microphone for the $60.00 price tag. The less prominent presence boost, and the roll off in the bass frequencies may not be preferred for some musicians, and it may not stick through a mix as well, but I don't think you will have many issues with this in a live situation. Or if you do have this microphone and you want to start a podcast, or do gaming commentary, I think this would suffice for that as well.

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/2myIaI6
UK: http://amzn.to/2mgtHjf
CA: http://amzn.to/2FVlCrb
DE: http://amzn.to/2HK1XuE

Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Interface Review

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

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

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

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

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

Performance / Features

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Conclusion

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

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

Buy the Shure X2u
US: http://amzn.to/2tXVOcc
UK: http://amzn.to/2ICXtrd
CA: http://amzn.to/2GNpegc
DE: http://amzn.to/2G9c27p

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

CAD U1000 USB Studio Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today we're reviewing a potato, I mean a microphone from CAD; the CAD U1000. This mic is listed compatible with Windows & Mac.

For the majority of this review, I have connected the mic directly to my mac computer with the computer gain set at ~35%. I have not boosted the audio at all in post, and there is no other post processing completed on the audio.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $40-$80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Wind Screen
  3. USB to USB cable
  4. Microphone Mount
  5. Desktop Microphone Stand
  6. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sampling Rate: 44.1kHz
  4. Bit Depth: 16-Bit

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone feels decent. It has an all metal body and a metal grill covering the capsule. On the front of the microphone you will find a blue LED light to indicate that it is receiving power. Directly beneath this, you will find a headphone volume up and down control. Next you'll find a microphone mute button that does not mute the microphone's signal to the computer, but rather mutes the zero latency monitoring. Lastly you will find a 3.5mm headphone port which does offer latency free monitoring.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. I do not think this microphone offers any sound worth discussing in depth. It is underwhelming and sounds exactly like you would expect a low end USB mic to sound.

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as cardioid. It did pick up a fair amount of audio as we moved around the microphone, and also picked up a bit of the quiet keyboard that I test while reviewing the mic.

The overall performance of this mic is mediocre at best. As you can tell, throughout the majority of the review (on the mac), there are clipping artifacts in the audio. I demonstrate how no matter what gain I set the mic at, there are clipping artifacts. On the windows machine this issue did not occur. My issue here is that the mic is listed as compatible with Windows and MAC, and just like other CAD mics I've tested, the performance on the MAC computer leaves a LOT to be desired.

Pros

  • Comes with everything you need
  • Fairly quiet preamp
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Decent build quality

Cons

  • If you get too close to the microphone on a mac, it clips
  • Audio recorded sounds very mediocre

Conclusion

No I do not recommend this microphone, even if you can get it for the discounted $40. I think that the clipping issue on the mac is unacceptable and do not have faith in a company that would release a product like this.

Some of you may be thinking I'm being too harsh, and that this could be attributed to a faulty unit, however, I have tested out two other CAD microphones and experienced very similar issues, and was not able to receive any assistance from the company. For $40, I would suggest looking at something like the Samson Go Mic, and all around better microphone.

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2lAwHGU
UK: NA

FiFine K669 USB Podcast Microphone Review / Test

Today we are looking at another extremely budget USB Microphone by FiFine; the K669 USB Podcast Microphone.

This microphone is listed as compatible with the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP Home Edition or XP Professional and Mac OS and Linux OX.

For the majority of this review, I have connected the mic directly to my mac computer with the computer gain set at ~10%, and the microphone gain set at ~25%, and then boosted +12dB in post. No other processing was done to the audio.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $25-$28 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Permanently Attached Cable
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. Desktop Microphone Stand
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Max SPL: 130dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is what you would expect out of a $25 microphone. It has a metal construction but it does not feel like high quality materials, and it does not feel as though it's extremely well put together. The grill offers minimal protection from plosives, so I would suggest a pop filter. The front of the microphone has a single volume dial, which is a nice feature but has a bit of wobble to it. The USB cable is permanently attached which is less than ideal because if the cable goes bad you will just have to replace the microphone.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. When listening back to the audio it sounds compressed/thin, kind of like you're recording over a really nice phone call. Because of this sound profile, I do not think that I would personally use this for anything other than skype, chatting online, or home demos.

The polar pattern of this mic is listed as uni-directional, which means it should mainly pick up audio directly in front of the microphone. However, during the background noise test, it picked up quite a bit of my apple magic keyboard (which is a relatively quiet keyboard).

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Microphone volume dial
  • No digital artifacts / clicking when gain set high

Cons

  • Audio sounds like high quality phone call
  • Permanent USB Cable

Conclusion

Overall, for $25, I think that this microphone is pretty decent. It doesn't have excessive line noise or digital artifacts, and the audio is relatively clear sounding. However, as I mentioned it does sound similar to a high quality phone call. 

This means I will not be recommending this mic for any professional applications. If you are just going to be chatting online with your friends, or recording preproduction/demos at home, I think this microphone would be perfectly fine. You may be able to get away with this for starting a youtube channel, but you will be pushing it. Other than that I would recommend you look for a higher quality microphone. 

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kPfq9x
UK: http://amzn.to/2ld4a7R

Steel Series Arctis 5 Gaming Headset Review / Test

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

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

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

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

Headphones

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

Microphone

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

Performance / Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2l2EomV
UK: http://amzn.to/2kricku

Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1 Review / Test

Today we are testing out a microphone pack that I picked up for $17; the Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1 Kit.

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $17 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. USB Cable
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. Boom Arm Mic Stand
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 17kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Max SPL: 132dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Power Requirement: 5v Provided Through USB Plug

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is nothing special. It has an all plastic construction and it does not feel like it can handle a beating. There are no features on the microphone; no headphone port, no light, nothing. The boom arm has an all metal construction, and feels very reminiscent of a Neewer Boom Arm, and I was not able to tighten the head to ensure the microphone would not swivel. 

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 17kHz, and in all honesty, the mic sounds decent. It doesn't have the greatest low end performance, but it has a decent amount high frequencies without sounding harsh. 

The cardioid polar pattern, also did an admirable job. It did a good job at rejection on the sides of the mic, but as you move around the back, it starts to pick up low frequencies again. It also did pick up a bit of keyboard noise as well, but it wasn't unbearable. 

I was absolutely blown away by this microphones noise floor. This is typically the place where you can tell that you're using a budget usb microphone, but the preamps in this thing were extremely clean all the way up to 75%, at which point you start to get a slight bit of digital noise. But all around, the audio was still usable; all you would have to do is pass the audio through a noise gate.

Pros

  • Super cheap
  • Low noise floor
  • Decent audio performance
  • Comes with everything you need to start recording

Cons

  • Build quality feels subpar

Conclusion

When reviewing this mic, it was important to remember that I picked this up for under $20. For that price, I think that this microphone pack is an absolute steal. Out of all the budget USB microphones I have tested to date, this one has the best sound quality on instruments, on voice, and ESPECIALLY on the noise floor (apparent during the gain test). If you are looking for a budget USB microphone, then buy this pack and a pop filter and you should be set, and ready to start recording!

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2lumDvv
UK: http://amzn.to/2ksfGv2

Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset Review / Test

Today we're looking at another gaming headset from Razer; the Razer Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset.

I think the main selling point of this headset is the universal compatibility. It is marketed as compatible with Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac! 

For the majority of this review, I have the Razer Kraken Pro connected directly to my MacBook Pro with the input gain set at 10%. In my sound preferences, I checked the meter, and I was not clipping, however, you will hear that there is an exorbitant amount of clipping. I tried dropping my gain all the way down to 1% and I was still encountering a clipped sound signal even though the meter was showing sound levels no greater than 50%. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back between $50 & $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Headset (1.3m TRRS Cable Permanently Attached)
  2. TRRS Splitter
  3. Documentation

Specifications

Headphones

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

Microphone

  1. Polar Pattern: Uni-directional
  2. Frequency Response: 100Hz - 10kHz

Performance / Features

The build quality of this headset is nothing spectacular. The majority of the construction is plastic, but it does feel like relatively high quality plastic when compared to a $20 headset. The headphones do offer a nice fit; providing a decent amount of give and just the right amount of pressure to ensure that they fit the majority of people's heads. The ear cups are very soft and comfortable. While the headband does not offer too much padding, it did not become uncomfortable at any point of my testing. The microphone articulates which is something that is important in a gaming headset, and it also retracts when not in use. The 1.3m cable is standard rubber, in the middle you have a control panel to adjust headphone volume and mute the microphone, and the cable terminates into a single 3.5mm TRRS jack.

The headphones offer a full frequency response ranging from 20Hz - 20kHz. The 40mm drivers push a lot of the lower frequencies which seem to drown out a lot of the higher end. However, the audio does not sound muddy. If you are a big fan of bass-heavy headphones, then this may be a good option for a gaming headset. If you're looking for an even sounding, flat frequency response set of headphones, this is not going to be for you.

The microphone, simply put, is not good. It has a harsh tone to it which almost hurts your ears. On the mac it was clipping no matter what gain I set it at. All around, it's just not a usable microphone for most applications. If you are looking to podcast, do voice overs, or do video game commentaries with this headset, look some where else. BUT, if you are going to be using it exclusively for online gaming, this mic may be perfect for that. Due to the harsh tone, it will allow your voice to cut through the games audio and ensure you're not lost in the mix.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Mic Articulates / Retracts
  • Heavy bass without sounding muddy
  • Microphone cuts through game sound due to harsh tone

Cons

  • Bad sounding microphone for any professional application
  • Bass overpowers higher frequencies
  • Headphone volume rocker is sensitive, and easy to accidentally hit

Conclusion

Overall, I can only recommend this for a single use case: Online Gaming. That's what it was designed for, and that's where this headset will live. It has good sounding headphones (if you like bass), and the microphone will cut through the game sound to ensure you're heard. On the other hand, if you want to use the microphone for Skype calls, voice overs, commentary, podcasts, etc, this headset will not cut it and you need to continue searching.

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2kfOS0M
UK: http://amzn.to/2klnAbN

FiFine USB Condenser Mic (K056 / K058) Review / Test

Today, we're looking at another budget microphone straight from China, the FiFine K056 / K058 USB Condenser Microphone.

The main difference between this mic and the BM-100FX & NW-300E is the fact that this has 4-Pin XLR plug and a 4-Pin XLR to USB Cable, while the former 2 mics have a 3-Pin XLR plug and a 3-Pin XLR to USB/3.5mm Cable. The BM-100FX & NW-300E did not work well without the addition of a USB Soundcard to your audio connection; The K056 & K058 allow you to plug directly into your computer without the need for any additional gear. 

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $30 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. 4-Pin XLR to USB Cable
  3. Windscreen
  4. Microphone Mount
  5. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  6. Desktop Microphone Stand
  7. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -32dB
  4. Max SPL: 130dB
  5. Impedance: 1000-Ohms
  6. Power Requirement: 5v Provided Through USB Plug

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is nothing great. It feels as though it is made with very cheap metal, so I would be careful with this mic. There are two dials on the side that control Volume & Echo. Unfortunately, the dials feel a bit loose and wobble when you put any pressure on them. The bottom of the microphone is the 4-PIN XLR PORT, which means you can ONLY USE 4-Pin XLR cables on this thing, so keep that in mind when shopping around. If this cable goes bad you may be out of luck in terms of a replacement. The desktop stand, microphone mount, and windscreen are also built with low quality materials.

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz. I spent about 15 minutes trying to find a decent microphone placement for the electric guitar, but realized that it wasn't the placement that was bad, it was the mic. It lacked the majority of presence and just sounded dull. The acoustic was barely passable as well. It sounded as though it had a pulsating effect on it which made it unusable. The vocals, were okay at best. They lacked any shine or warmth, and were underwhelming.

The cardioid polar pattern did a nice job at background noise rejection, but still picked up a decent amount of keyboard noise. I believe that the echo feature is insane to include on a microphone. It only provides with the ability to control the intensity of the echo, with no way to adjust the timing of the echo. Also, there's no way to turn the echo off completely. Even with the dial set to 0, you can still hear a very slight echo.

Pros

  • Single USB plug
  • Volume Control on Mic
  • Echo (some may view it as a pro, although I hate it)
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Cannot completely turn off Echo
  • 4-Pin XLR is not very common (difficult to find replacement cable)
  • Cheap build quality
  • Subpar performance on Electric, Acoustic, and Singing

Conclusion

I think this mic is just decent. When I heard it I was not blown away, I was left thinking "Yup. That's what I expected from a $30 microphone". The polar pattern is fine, the frequency response left a lot to be desired in the higher frequencies, and the echo feature baffles me since you can't turn it completely off.

I'm not going to recommend this for any musicians as it does not sound good in any of the tests I performed. I'm not going to recommend it for podcasters either because having a slight echo would drive your listeners mad.

The only people I'm going to suggest this for are people who want a cheap mic to improve their Skype phone calls, people who want to do live streaming, or people who want to do light gaming commentary. Skype calls can have that very slight echo without bothering anyone, and for live streaming / gaming commentary, you'll have the game sound in the background to mask those imperfections.

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

Buy the K056/K058
US: http://amzn.to/2l0ILys
UK: http://amzn.to/2l0FajM

 

Rode M3 Condenser Mic Review

Today, we're looking at another microphone from Rode; the Rode M3

This is an XLR condenser microphone, which means you will need to connect this to an audio interface that offers +48v of phantom power. For this review, I have connected the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, with the +48v phantom power turned on and my gain set around ~55%. In post, I did boost the signal +8dB as well, but no actual post processing was done.

What is really unique about this microphone is that it is Multi-Powered, meaning you can power the microphones capsule through different methods; with the standard +48v phantom power, or with a 9v battery!!!

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pouch
  3. Microphone Mount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  5. Windscreen
  6. Documentation
  7. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -40dB
  4. Max SPL: 142dB
  5. Impedance: 200-Ohms
  6. Phantom Power: 48v or a 9v Battery

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone feels incredible. It has a full metal construction that feels extremely well put together, as well as a decent amount of weight to it. This thing feels like an absolute tank. On the side we have a 3-way switch that allows you switch between 1) Off, 2) flat frequency response, 3) low cut filter. When you unscrew the bottom, you will find another 3 way switch that allows you to turn on a -10dB or -20dB pad, as well as a spot to install a standard 9v battery.

The frequency response of this mic is 40Hz - 20kHz. The electric guitar sounded pretty good, offering a decent amount of low end and plenty of crispy high frequencies. On the voice it did seem to lack a bit of lower frequencies, but it still sounded absolutely usable. Then on the acoustic guitar, it sounded incredibly natural. What I liked most about it was the percussiveness that it picked up from the strumming. This is a personal preference of mine, and it is one of my favorite mics I've come across for acoustic guitar.

The cardioid polar pattern did a nice job at background noise rejection. In a studio, I think this would work well for live tracking as it would help minimize bleed between microphones. For gamers and podcasters, it does seem like it would work well at eliminating background noise, but it may still pick up more than what you desire.

Pros

  • Battery Powered
  • Great build quality
  • Great Natural Sound
  • 10 YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Cons

  • Lacks low end on voice

Conclusion

I think this microphone is EXCELLENT for the price. It is absolutely going into my rotation of mics I use for recording music. The tone is absolutely not going to be for everybody, but if you are looking for a microphone with a more mid/high focussed frequency response, then I think this is a great option.

If you run a professional studio, or you do a lot of interviews/recording in the field, I think this would be a great mic to add to your arsenal. Not only does it have an incredibly high Max SPL which will handle loud instruments really well, but it also allows you to power the mic with a 9v battery! Therefore, if you're ever out in the field, and don't have access to a phantom power supply, you don't have to worry.

I don't think I would PERSONALLY recommend this for podcasting or gaming because the tone doesn't seem to fit my voice. But if you have a deeper voice, this may provide the right frequency response which would help avoid too much bass while maintaining a crisp and clean high end. Another downside for this applications is that the polar pattern might also pick up more background noise than you would prefer. 

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

Buy the M3
US: http://amzn.to/2jjNFaP
UK: http://amzn.to/2jjx8Uq

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2jpDz96
UK: http://amzn.to/2iA4ZER

Rode NT1-A Anniversary Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today, we are looking at another high quality microphone from Rode, which is labeled The World's Quietest Studio Microphone; The Rode NT1-A.

This is an XLR condenser microphone, which means you will need to connect this to an audio interface that offers +48v of phantom power. For this review, I have connected the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, with the +48v phantom power turned on with my gain set around ~55%. In post, I did boost the signal +6dB as well, but no actual

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pouch / Dust Cover
  3. Shock Mount
  4. Pop Filter
  5. XLR to XLR cable
  6. Documentation
  7. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -31.9dB
  4. Max SPL: 137dB
  5. Impedance: 100-Ohms
  6. Phantom Power: 24v - 48v

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is excellent. We have a full metal construction with a metal grill. Unlike a stage ready dynamic mic, this mic is delicate, so I absolutely recommend using care while handling this. The pouch does not offer any padding, but it can be used as a dust cover while the mic is mounted on your stand. The shock mount is all metal and feels very well built while performing it's job admirably. The pop filter is attached to the shock mount and did an excellent job at eliminating plosives during the test. 

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz. On the electric guitar, it sounded full and crisp. During the electric guitar test, the palm muting had plenty of punchy low end without sounding muddy, and sharp high end that was not overwhelming. While testing the acoustic, we hear a similar sound; full low-mids, and crisp highs. On the vocals, the mic seemed to focus on the mids and highs without too powerful of a low end. As with every mic, this is based off a single microphone placement, and as you know, playing around with the mic placement is essential when getting the correct tones for your recording.

The cardioid polar pattern offers just the right amount of background noise rejection while maintaining the ability for your room to color the recording. For gamers and podcasters, this may not be ideal because you want as little background noise as possible, but for professional recordings made in a nice room, this will allow your recordings to sound unique to your studio.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Great Natural Sound
  • Low Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Excellent Shock Mount & Pop Filter
  • 10 YEAR WARRANTY!!!

Cons

  • Delicate

Conclusion

As I said with the Rode NT1 review, I love this microphone. I think it sounds excellent, and I will absolutely add this to the mics I rotate for music recording and podcasting. If you like the tone of this microphone, and are looking for very low line noise, I absolutely recommend this mic! Keep in mind it does have a fairly wide polar pattern, which will pick up a bit of background noise, so if you're concerned with that, you may want to look into some dynamic microphones.

I also don't think that this is the right mic for people who are just starting on youtube or podcasting. I think that when starting out, you can get by with a much cheaper microphone. Then down the line if you want to improve the audio quality and you are well researched on microphones, then you should consider this microphone.

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

Buy the Rode NT1-A
US: http://amzn.to/2iFdsK5
UK: http://amzn.to/2jhStfq

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2jpDz96
UK: http://amzn.to/2iA4ZER