Rode Reporter Omnidirectional Dynamic Mic Review / Test

Today I'm reviewing something a little different than any mic I've tested in the past; the Rode Reporter.

This is a dynamic, omnidirectional, XLR microphone. The majority of dynamic mics are used in stage situations where you want to reject most background noise. In that case, a cardioid setting is what you would want. This mic on the other hand is not designed for stage use. This mic is designed to be used as a reporting microphone (as I'm sure you guessed from the name). The omnidirectional polar pattern allows you to hold the microphone in between yourself and the interviewee while picking up the majority of the audio. This will remove the need to move the mic back and forth between yourself and the interviewee too much.

For the majority of this review I am connecting the microphone to my computer using a Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface with the gain set around 75-80%, and the audio was boosted +10dB in post as well.

If you are interested in this microphone kit, it will set you back $130 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Zip Pouch
  3. Microphone Flag
  4. Documentation
  5. 10-Year Warranty

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 70Hz - 15kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Omni Directional
  3. Sensitivity: -56dB
  4. Impedance: 150-Ohms

Performance / Features

This microphone's build quality feels pretty dang awesome. It has an all metal construction to hold up against the rigors or reporting. It has some decent weight to it, but it's not too heavy so it won't get uncomfortable during long interviews. It also has a ridiculously long handle so you can look like bob barker as you shove the microphone in an interviewee's face. And most importantly, the microphone's capsule is mounted on an internal shock mount to limit the amount of handling noise.

The frequency response of this mic is 70Hz - 15kHz, which is within the range of a standard dynamic mic. The fact that this rolls off around 70Hz is actually a good thing considering the use case. If you're in loud areas, or outside, you want to eliminate low rumbles, or wind noise which this frequency response will help with. The thing I was most impressed with was that my voice sounded pretty natural.

The omnidirectional polar pattern is the really unique feature of this microphone. As I previously stated that is because this microphone is meant to be held between two people while picking both voices up without having to reposition the microphone constantly. In that use case, this polar pattern works extremely well. 

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Natural Vocal Sound
  • Omnidirectional Polar Pattern
  • No requirement for Phantom Power in the field
  • A lot cheaper than a multi lav wireless system

Cons

  • A bit on the quiet side (need to boost preamp pretty hard)
  • Hyper focused use case

Conclusion

This is not my favorite sounding dynamic mic I've come across, and it will not do the best at background noise rejection, BUT, for video interviews or reporting, I think this thing is an absolute home run. It fulfills all your needs for field recording for relatively cheap when compared to alternatives. Therefore, if you are looking to do interviews in the field, I think this is a great budget option.

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 Reporter
US: http://amzn.to/2iXWA2l
UK: http://amzn.to/2iT0Eys

Buy the Zoom H6
US: http://amzn.to/2iXX9sT
UK: http://amzn.to/2i4o4nd

 

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

 

Fifine K668 USB Microphone Review / Test

Today we are looking at another budget USB Microphone, this time by FiFine: The Fifine K668 USB Microphone. This microphone is plug and play and is listed as compatible with windows and mac computer.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $20 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Attached Microphone Mount (No Stand Adapter)
  3. Attached USB Cable
  4. Desktop Mic Stand
  5. Documentation

Performance / Features

The construction on this mic feels pretty nice. It has an all metal construction as well as some nice weight to it. There are no additional features on this microphone. It is the bare essentials. 

They do not list a sample rate or any information about the interface. It is pretty apparent when listening to the review that this microphone was calibrated incorrectly. With my microphone input gain set to 1%, I was clipping at 1-foot. I had to be approximately 2 feet away from the mic at 1% gain to avoid any clipping artifacts.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 16kHz which is fine for a cardioid microphone of this size. To be honest, the frequency response is irrelevant because the audio clips at such a low level.

The polar pattern is not listed on the specs sheet, but on the amazon listing, they list it as cardioid. When I tested it, it seemed to be fairly omnidirectional, or at least a VERY WIDE cardioid polar pattern. It picked up audio very well all the way around the sides well past 180-degrees.

Pros

  • Decent construction
  • Affordable
  • Plug & Play
  • Windows/Mac Compatible

Cons

  • CLIPPING AT 1% INPUT GAIN!!!
  • Super wide cardioid polar pattern 
  • Sounds all around bad

Conclusion

If you couldn't tell by the previous portions of this review, I do not recommend this microphone to anyone. The fact that it clips with the gain set at 1% is absolutely unacceptable and it makes any audio you record unusable. The only situation I was able to derive that you might be able to use this mic for is a makeshift USB Shotgun mic. If you set it a few feet away, it seemed to work decently. However, if you end up using the mic in this situation and you have a loud sound source, you have no wiggle room to decrease your input volume, and ultimately, you would be screwed. This problem alone makes me label this microphone a complete piece of junk.

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

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2bqQhA2
UK: http://amzn.to/2c06qyN

V-Moda Boom Pro Headset Mic Review / Test

Today I am testing out the V-Moda Boom Pro Headset Mic. This is an add on microphone for any headset that has a 3.5mm microphone port. It is listed to be compatible with the V-Moda M-100's and some Beats headphones. However, I found that it is compatible with any headset that has a 3.5mm line input. This is not the microphone input jack, but rather, the 3.5mm jack that you plug the cable that runs to your computer into. 

What's In the Box 

  1. V-Moda Boom Mic
  2. TRRS Splitter Cable
  3. Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality on this thing feels pretty nice. The joints all feel like they are sturdy. You can articulate the microphone. The cable is braided so it will hopefully last longer. The remote in the middle of the cable feels decent, and it has a headphone volume knob and microphone mute switch as well as a clip. Lastly the TRRS splitter is rubber and feels slightly cheaper than that actual headset. 

The frequency response on this mic is not listed but based on the performance I think it sounds really nice. The voice sounds natural and doesn't sound overly compressed like most headset microphones. The microphone was also fairly hot. I was plugging directly into my computer and had the level at about 5%. 

The polar pattern based on my examination seems to be omni-directional. That means that it picks up sound in every direction. When typing on my relatively quiet keyboard you could hear a bit of the noise in the background. This leads me to believe that the microphone will pick up a lot more noise if the user were using a mechanical keyboard.

Pros

  • Nice voice sound
  • Braided cable 
  • Compatible with many headsets

Cons

  • Picks up background noise
  • Overly hot signal

Conclusion

I think that this is a really nice product. It's great to have the option of replacing a crappy microphone on a headset with a much higher quality one. However, this does require that your headset have a 3.5mm line out. So you will have to do your own research and find out if the headset you own or the headset you're looking at fulfills those needs. Just be careful with clipping because this microphone has an incredibly hot signal.

Other than that, I would just recommend this to anyone who isn't happy with their mic, and has a compatible headset. 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. 

V-Moda Boom Pro Headset Mic: http://amzn.to/1n3YYDo
V-Moda Crossfade M-100: http://amzn.to/1J5WmhZ
Afterglow AG-9 Headset: http://amzn.to/1J61HFW

Tonor Stereo Shotgun Microphone Review / Test

Today I am testing out my very first Shotgun microphone, the Tonor Stereo Shotgun Mic. If you don't know what a shotgun mic is, it is a uni directional microphone on steroids; meaning it is very very uni-directional. These are typically the kind of microphones you will see on film sets at the end of long boom arms, hanging just above an actors head to pick up what they are saying. These are used in those situations because they are great at isolating what they are pointing at while ignoring the surrounding noise. And if you are interested in this mic, it'll cost you about $30 on Amazon.

What's In the Box 

  1. Super Cardioid Microphone
  2. Windscreen
  3. Microphone Mounts
    1. Cold-Shoe Camera Camera Mount
    2. 5/8" Mic Stand Mount
  4. XLR to 3.5mm Cable
  5. 3.5mm to 1/8" adapter
  6. Documentation
  7. Storage Box

Performance / Features

Before I mention anything, I want to mention that this thing requires a single AA battery to work. Moving on. The construction is all metal and feels relatively sturdy. The metal construction does not lead to a heavy microphone; it is still fairly light, which is what you want with a shotgun microphone (when you have a mic on the end of a 7 foot boom pole, you want the microphone to be as light as possible). As far as accessories, the microphone clips feel cheap, the box won't offer much protection, the cable is super long, and I'm sure the adapter would work.

The microphone has two settings on it: (1) Normal, and (2) Tele. The normal setting is what I use for the majority of the video, and I think it sounds natural and pretty good for the price. The tele setting is supposed to zoom in the microphones focus and make the polar pattern even more narrow, which it does. However, once you switch to the Tele setting, the audio sounds overly processed and becomes unusable in my opinion.

The frequency response lacks on this mic providing 100Hz - 16kHz. I wish that this microphone didn't omit everything above 16kHz and below 100Hz, but it is a $30 microphone and I can't expect it to rival a $200 shotgun mic. That being said, the normal mode still sounds pretty decent.   

Pros

  • Super Directional
  • Power Provided via Battery
  • Metal Build Quality
  • Light Weight
  • Included Mic Mounts
  • Normal Mode Sounds Decent
  • Low Cost!!!

Cons

  • Tele Mode is Unusable
  • Lacks Full Frequency Range
  • Bulky

Conclusion

I was rather impressed with the normal mode on this microphone, but once we switch to tele mode, this microphone becomes a paper weight, so as long as you stick on normal mode, you'll be fine. I think that this microphone has a very specific target audience that can benefit from it's use, that is video creators who have a home studio and are on a budget. Let me explain.

If you are making a film, I do not think that this will provide clean enough audio to work for you. However, if you're on a budget and can't afford anything better, this is a decent option. If you're a vlogger who goes out and about who wants to improve your audio, this microphone is definitely not for you. It is too big to put on top of your camera and use. Basically the only people who I can see using this are people who have a boom arm at home, and can place this microphone just out of frame in their videos, who are also on a budget...those are the only people I can fully recommend this mic to. 

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/22qS5Mu