Neewer NW-8 XLR Condenser Mic Review

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

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 10:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $30.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Windscreen
  3. Shockmount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Adapter
  5. XLR to 3.5mm Cable
  6. 3.5mm TRRS Splitter
  7. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~-37dB
  4. Impedance: 150-ohms

Performance / Features

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

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

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

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

Pros

  • Dirt cheap
  • Lots of accessories
  • When connected to USB Audio Interface, it's usable

Cons

  • Not a good build quality
  • When connected as 3.5mm mic, it sounds bad
  • Lacks in low end & high end. 

Conclusion

If you are just recording demos so you can hear your song ideas, I think this microphone would be fine. But if you're planning on using this microphone for any form of professional application I believe you should move on to another microphone. 

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

Buy the Neewer NW-8
US: https://amzn.to/2Khy7jl
UK: https://amzn.to/2HsUMLD
CA: https://amzn.to/2r0CAz4
DE: https://amzn.to/2r5j03w

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

Samson C01 XLR Condenser Mic Review

Today we're not looking at another microphone from Samson, the C01.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 12:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back around $75 on Amazon

What's In the Box

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

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Hyper Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: ~ -33dB
  4. Impedance: 200-ohms
  5. Max SPL: 136dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is perfectly fine given the price. It has an all metal body as well as a sturdy metal mesh grill, and a good amount of weight to it coming in at 1.1 lb. On the front of the microphone you'll find a blue LED light that lights up when phantom power on your interface is turned on and on the bottom you'll find the XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz. The bass frequencies begin to roll off at 150Hz but peak again at around 95Hz before rolling off the remainder of the low frequencies. The mids and presence fluctuate quite a bit with a minor boost around 600-700hz, a peak at around 1.7kHz, 2.7kHz, and 5.5kHz, with a broad boost from 6Khz to 12kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is Hyper-cardioid. This means that the front is sensitive and the rear of the mic has a small lobe of sensitivity with the dead spots around 112-degrees. 

The overall performance of this mic lacks. As far as a vocal mic it seems to lack significantly in the low frequencies, sounds a bit nasally, and has some minor sibilance issues as well. On the electric guitar, I had to put the mic right on top of the amp to get some low end in the guitar, but it did end up sounding fairly decent. The acoustic on the other hand sounded brittle in the high end. Something that was not listed on the specifications sheet was the self noise, and when I was testing the mic, it seemed like a fairly big downfall of this mic. Finally, the tone of the mic all around was somewhat harsh and become painful to listen to after lengthy listening sessions. 

Pros

  • Pretty good build quality
  • Comes with a storage box

Cons

  • Subpar performance with self noise
  • Lacks in the low end
  • Sibilance issues
  • Harsh tone that became painful after long listening sessions
C01Freq

Conclusion

I was somewhat let down by this microphone. I have really enjoyed the majority of Samson mics on the market, but this one didn't meet my expectations. The frequency response left a lot to be desired in that it left the voice and guitar sounding thin and harsh. The self noise also makes this unusable for professional applications as well.

Due to how competitive the mic market is, I don't think I can recommend this mic. There are too many mics in this price range for me to recommend a mic that doesn't perform amazingly.

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

Buy the Samson C01
US: https://amzn.to/2JgDkHs
UK: https://amzn.to/2EdQZvt
CA: https://amzn.to/2pZmnJ5
DE: https://amzn.to/2pZZPZu

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

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

TONOR BM-700 XLR Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I'm reviewing a new microphone from Tonor; the BM-700

I do need to mention that this microphone was provided to me by Tonor in order for me to conduct this review. 

For the majority of this video, I'm connecting the BM700 to my computer using the SYBA Stereo USB Soundcard with my gain set at approximately 4%. Keep in mind that this is an XLR, electret condenser microphone, which means it does require some voltage in order to work properly. Connecting this microphone directly to your motherboard's microphone input will likely not provide great results, so I suggest the SYBA USB Soundcard, or a full Audio Interface that offers phantom power (Focusrite Scarlett Solo).

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $16 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Windscreen
  3. Shockmount
  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  5. XLR to 3.5mm Cable
  6. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
  3. Sensitivity: -34dB
  4. Impedance: 150-Ohms

Performance / Features

This microphone's build quality is exactly like all the other BM-700's and NW-700's on the market. It has an all metal construction, but is on the lighter side of things. However, I do think it will be able to last quite a while when it is taken care of properly. It also offers no additional features; it just has an XLR plug on the bottom of the microphone. 

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz, which is nice to see. The audio quality is nothing outstanding, but you can't expect flawless audio out of a microphone that costs about $16. The low end is not overly muddy, and the higher frequencies are not harsh. However, it lacks certain frequencies that really capture the energy of a performance.

The polar pattern of the microphone is Cardioid. During the tests, it did seem to pick up audio all the way around the microphone, but as you move away from the front of the mic, the majority of frequencies drop off. There was also a fairly drastic drop off as I moved away from the microphone. Lastly, it did decently at ignoring background noise, but it should be noted that I use an apple magic keyboard, which does not have mechanical switches.

Pros

  • It is Cheap!
  • Good audio for the price
  • Decent at background noise rejection
  • Can function on ~4.5v up to +48v

Cons

  • Doesn't capture performance's energy

Conclusion

In all honesty, due to the fact that this is a sub-$20 microphone, I struggled to find any real cons. For the price, I think it performed pretty damn well. However, I was expecting this performance since I have tested out this exact microphone under multiple different company names.

I'm definitely not going to recommend this if you're looking for a main microphone to launch a professional studio and charge a high hourly rate. But, if you are just starting on youtube, or want to launch a podcast or voice over career, I think that this is a great starting point. It will allow you to get very usable audio without breaking the bank, and if you enjoy that project, you can upgrade down the line without feeling guilty about this mic going to waste.

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

Buy the BM-700 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2ihnBdv
UK: http://amzn.to/2iH731s

Buy the SYBA Stereo USB Soundcard
US: http://amzn.to/2jgNIpb
UK: http://amzn.to/2iH91yX

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2iHnGdr
UK: http://amzn.to/2ihqPOj

Samson Q7 Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today I'm talking about a dynamic XLR microphone by Samson; the Samson Q7 Dynamic Microphone.

This is an entry level dynamic microphone that has an insanely high Max SPL of 150dB. This leads me to believe that this would work great in a live situation.

For this video, I am connecting the mic to my computer using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo with my gain set at approximately 75%

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

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Mic Mount
  3. 5/8" to 3/8" Mic Stand Adapter
  4. Hardshell Carrying Case
  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Super Cardioid
  3. Sensitivity: -57dB
  4. Max SPL: 150dB
  5. Impedance: 200-Ohms

Performance / Features

This mic has no frills or special features. No lights. No switches. Nothing. As far as the build quality, the construction is all metal and it feels incredibly sturdy and well put together. It also has some really nice weight to it. It feels like this mic would be able to handle the wear and tear of live use. 

The frequency response of this mic is pretty standard for a dynamic microphone, ranging from 50Hz - 18kHz. However, the sound signature is not my favorite of the dynamic mics I've tested. While listening to the acoustic it sounds like it lacks some high-mids while sounding a bit boomy in the low-mids. All in all, not my favorite EQ from a Samson microphone.

The polar pattern of the mic is Super Cardioid, which means it is extremely focussed. As you can tell during the tests, as soon as I move a little bit off axis the audio drops significantly. That is why I think this microphone would be an excellent decision for live performances as well as those who are concerned with excessive background noise.

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Hardshell Carrying Case
  • Extremely directional (superb noise rejection)
  • Relatively cheap

Cons

  • Quiet output
  • Not the best EQ tuning

Conclusion

I think this microphone is nothing more than a middle of the road dynamic microphone. It's not a mic I anticipate using for anything in the future, but I won't go so far as to not recommend it. 

If you are looking for a relatively cheap microphone for live performances, I think that this would be a great option since it has excellent noise rejection as soon as you get off axis. This means it would work well if you are playing with a full band, as your vocal mic would ignore quite a bit of the guitar amp/drums/etc.

Another use case I think this microphone would be fine for would be let's plays. Once again, the mic does great with noise rejection so you will not pick up as much of your keyboards noise as you would with a regular cardioid condenser mic.

Other than that, I think that you can find a better option within the same price range. 

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

Buy the Samson Q7
US: http://amzn.to/2hIam7G
UK: http://amzn.to/2i0AmsG

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett Solo
US: http://amzn.to/2iFxsKW
UK: http://amzn.to/2i0CrVE

Buy the XLR to USB Cable
US: http://amzn.to/2hIjivn
UK:http://amzn.to/2hIrQ5B

 

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 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

MXL 991 XLR Condenser Mic Review/Test

Today I am reviewing MXL 991 XLR Condenser Microphone. This is part 2 of 2 of the MXL 990/991 Recording Kit review series. This is the smaller of the two microphones in the kit, and it is an instrument microphone (not designed for vocals). It is also a condenser microphone, which means it will require phantom power to work properly, so keep that in mind when you are considering this recording kit.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $90 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. Hard Shell Carrying Case
  4. Documentation
  5. 1-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build of this microphone feels a little bit weaker than the MXL990. It has an all metal construction and an all small metal grill. It does not have much weight to it which I think would make this a great overhead microphone, but I would be careful with the mic. 

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 30Hz - 18kHz which is a decent range. It sounded relatively nice on vocals (even though it's not designed for this) and electric guitar. When I tested it on the acoustic, it sounded full and warm as well. I think that this microphone has slightly better bass response than the 991. I think that micing your fretboard with this and the soundhole with the 990 would provide a very rich and full acoustic tone.

The microphone also offers a cardioid polar pattern. This means it picks up audio directly in front of the microphone and picks up little to no audio around the sides or back of the mic. It seems to be a narrow pick up range, which helps eliminate a lot of the unwanted keyboard noise in the background.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Sturdy case
  • Nice sound on voice & electric/acoustic guitar
  • Good at eliminating background noise

Cons

  • Feels relatively cheap
  • Lacks a little in low end

Conclusion

All around, I think that this mic pack is a great beginner set. It will provide you two microphones so you can play with micing techniques and positions. The 991 itself sounds nice on the two instruments I tested it out on and I think it would work well as a room mic or as an overhead drum mic. I would steer clear of using this as a designated vocal mic as it was not designed for that, but if you do decide to use it as a vocal mic, I implore you to use a windscreen/pop filter.

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 MXL990 / 991 Package
US: http://amzn.to/29ZPZBL
UK: http://amzn.to/29LBO3j

MXL 990 XLR Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today I am reviewing MXL 990 XLR Condenser Microphone. This is part 1 of 2 of the MXL 990/991 Recording Kit review series. This is the larger of the two microphones in the kit and it is designed as Vocal/Instrument Mic. It is also a condenser microphone, which means it will require phantom power to work properly, so keep that in mind when you are considering this recording kit.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $90 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. Hard Shell Carrying Case
  4. Documentation
  5. 1-Year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build of this microphone feels pretty nice. It has an all metal construction and an all metal grill. It has some substantial weight to it too. It feels all around like a well built sturdy microphone. It doesn't feel like it's as high quality as an AT2035, but keep in mind that this microphone is between $50-$60 (if you buy the kit). 

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 30Hz - 20kHz which is a very nice range. It sounded relatively nice on vocals and electric guitar, but when I tested it on the acoustic it sounded a little bit thin. This could have been easily remedied by altering the microphones position. Regardless of the mic positions, it does seem to lack a little bit in the low end.

The microphone also offers a cardioid polar pattern. This means it picks up audio directly in front of the microphone and picks up little to no audio around the sides or back of the mic. It seems to be a narrow pick up range, which helps eliminate a lot of the unwanted keyboard noise in the background.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Nice construction
  • Sturdy case
  • Nice sound on voice & electric guitar
  • Good at eliminating background noise

Cons

  • Lacks a little in low end

Conclusion

All around I think this is a nice sounding microphone for the price. It sounded nice on the vocals and the electric guitar, but did seem to lack a little in the low end. I think this would be a great option for gamers because it does help eliminate a lot of the background noise and has a good clean sound for vocals. This would also work really well as an entry level studio mic set and will allow you to play around with multiple micing positions if you opt for the mic kit.

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 MXL990 / 991 Package
US: http://amzn.to/29ZPZBL
UK: http://amzn.to/29LBO3j

Blue Spark Condenser Microphone Review / Test

Today I am testing out a mic that I have been dying to try out. The Blue Spark.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $199 on Amazon.

WARNING: This microphone will require phantom power to function. So if you plan on purchasing this, make sure to purchase a phantom power supply, or make sure your audio interface is capable of providing sufficient voltage.

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Metal Pop Filter
  3. XLR to XLR Cable (certain packages)
  4. Shock Mount (5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter NOT Included)
  5. Documentation

note: I do not believe that all Blue Spark microphones come with an XLR cable. 

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is awesome. It has an all metal body and a nice metal grill. The shock mount is a nice sturdy metal and performs it's job without any problems. The windscreen has a very fine mesh to help eliminate plosives as well. The XLR cable is a very nice and high quality cable and the box is a nice wooden box which will provide sufficient protection while storing the microphone.

The frequency response of this mic is 20Hz - 20kHz, and you can hear every bit of this in the microphone. The sound is incredibly full without having any excess boominess in the low low end. The acoustic guitar, voice, and electric guitar all sounded great on this mic.

There is a button on the back that activates a FOCUS MODE, which slightly alters the EQ of the microphone and provides slightly improved clarity through boosting mid & high frequencies, and gently rolling off frequencies around 100Hz.

The Spark provides a Cardioid polar pattern which performs very well for voice & guitar. It picked up very minimal background noise while providing the freedom to move around the microphone a bit. As I got farther away from the microphone, you could hear a decrease in volume, and the largest drop in velocity seemed to appear between the 1-2 foot mark.

Lastly, this requires FULL +48v PHANTOM POWER! 

Pros

  • Full frequency response
  • Great vocal/guitar sound
  • Does not pick up excess background noise
  • Nice shock mount
  • Nice wind screen
  • Focus button to add Clarity

Cons

  • None?

Conclusion

I have to say. This is my favorite XLR mic that I have tested out to date. I couldn't find anything that I didn't like about it at the price that I paid. I do want to recommend that you shop around. I found this for $70 less than the normal price tag.

This microphone will not be for everyone. It will be for people who are more serious about recording music, voice overs, etc. It will require additional investment in an audio interface that provides +48v phantom power, and some people may not like that. If you want a plug and play microphone, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. If you are in the $200 price range, and you're looking for a good XLR condenser microphone, I would highly recommend this one. 

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

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YWlPz1

 

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Mic Review / Test

Today I am testing out a microphone that I was incredibly excited to get my hands on. The Audio Technica AT-2020. This whole series of microphones is supposed to be great, and my first impression is good.

As per usual, I do need to include a disclaimer that this is an XLR Condenser microphone. That means that you need a proper audio interface for your computer, and you need proper phantom power (+48v) for this microphone to function properly.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $99 on Amazon.

What's In the Box 

  1. Microphone
  2. Microphone Mount
  3. 5/8 to 3/8” microphone stand mount
  4. Padded Mic Pouch
  5. Documentation

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is excellent. It has an all metal body and metal grill and has some nice weight to it. The mic mount is a nice sturdy metal, and the microphone storage pouch is very nicely padded for protection.

The frequency response is 20Hz-20kHz, which is everything you will need out of a microphone. I think that the acoustic guitar sounds very nice and clean. Vocals sound crisp on this microphone. Electric guitar sounds nice as well. I think it does extremely well in the low end by picking up those frequencies while controlling them and avoiding an overly boomy sound.

The microphone has a cardioid polar pattern, which is fairly directional. When testing it out, it seems like the pick up pattern is about 180-degrees. So anything in front of the mic it will pick up, and anything behind it, it should cancel out. When testing this out on the keyboard test, we heard a LOT more of my voice versus the keyboard, but you could still hear a bit of clicking in the background. During the distance test, we heard a bit of a drop off in volume as the distance increased, but it was not as drastic as a dynamic microphone. 

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Nice build quality
  • Full frequency response
  • Not overly boomy in the low end

Cons

  • Not great with sound isolation

Conclusion

So all around, I think that this is a great microphone and I found it very difficult to find any negatives for this microphone. 

I would not recommend this microphone to someone who is not concerned with getting high quality audio, or willing to invest in a proper Audio Interface. If you are just doing voice overs for gaming videos and are on a budget, this is not a microphone for you. If you're starting a little home studio, and want to record higher quality audio, this is a great starter mic. 

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

Audio Technica AT2020: http://amzn.to/1ScCehb
Behringer UM2: http://amzn.to/1WYlPMI  

Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Review / Test

Today I am testing out another "cheap" microphone interface. This time it is a device by Blue Microphones that is designed for a single microphone; The Blue Icicle.

What's In the Box 

  1. Blue Icicle
  2. 6-Foot USB Cable

Performance / Features

The build quality is not that great. It is a plastic enclosure, and it feels very light. The volume knob is plastic as well, and it is wobbly. 

The design is incredibly simple, on one end is the XLR connector to plug your microphones XLR cable into. The other end has a USB port to connect the device to your computer. On the body is a single knob that controls your microphones input volume, and lastly the word ICICLE lights up when it is connected to the USB port.

The Icicle is listed as providing +48v of phantom power and when measured, I showed +44.4v of power making it through the XLR Cable. This power should be sufficient to power most, if not all, condenser microphones. 

Pros

  • Cheap Interface
  • Good sound
  • Low amount of noise
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • No Latency Free Monitoring

Conclusion

This device is pretty cool. It powers condenser microphones and it has a very low amount of noise. The NW-1500 sounded great through it. I don't think you need this if you are just going to be using a dynamic microphone though, I think you would be fine with just a simple XLR to USB Cable. Other than that, this is a nice option for a single XLR Condenser microphone user who wants to record to their computer.

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

Blue Icicle: http://amzn.to/1SoI6o7
Behringer UM2: http://amzn.to/1WYlPMI  
XLR to USB Cable: http://amzn.to/1QCXZU8

Do XLR to USB Cables Work?

I love finding new gear that solves a problem, or just makes life easier. But the problem with this, is a lot of the time, devices that claim to solve a problem, don't work properly. The device that I have seen popping up all over the internet are these XLR to USB cables. In theory, you should be able to plug an XLR microphone into your computer using this cable, and you'll be able to record. But do they really work?

I am not going to speak at length. I will just tell you what I found. I found that this cable does work, but only for microphones that do not require any DC voltage to function. This means that out of the box, you cannot use any condenser microphones (NW-700),  with this cable. You can only use this cable with dynamic microphones (SM58, PDMIC58).

I did test a work around: plug the condenser microphone into a phantom power supply, and then run the phantom power supplies output through this XLR to USB cable. This did allow the microphone to work, but the cable provides too hot of a signal and we were clipping with the microphone input gain set at 1%. To me, I think that this cable is essentially useless as it only works with a hand full of mics. However, if you have a dynamic microphone, and you are looking to simplify your set up even more, then this cable may be right for you. 

If you have any more questions about this cable, leave it in the comments down below or on the youtube video and I will try to get back to you ASAP. Thanks so much.

Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SUxIRw