Shure MV51 – Condenser USB microphone review

Shure MV51 – Condenser USB microphone review
7.5/10

Shure MV51 is a feature-rich USB mic with a good low frequency response. It works for all platforms, however only iOS users are given the option to access the mic’s advanced settings, as this requires downloading Shure Motiv™ application, which is only found in the Apple Store. Despite an array of features, Shure MV51 fails to satisfy the expectations of most users. The offered advantages are narrow and they come at a cost! No matter…

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Blue Snowball iCE – budget USB mic review

Blue Snowball iCE – budget USB mic review
6/10

Blue Snowball iCE is a stylish, entry USB mic with an attractive price tag. Unlike the similar-shaped Samson Meteorite, it is not as blatantly hot and it has a detachable USB cable with a solid Type B connector. The midrange is by far superior and technically, it produces a much more accurate sound than the former. However, there is literally nothing but midrange. It sounds thin and dark at the same time, and it also…

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Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004 Rainier USB mic review

Cyber Acoustics CVL-2004 Rainier USB mic review
8.5/10

CVL-2004 from Cyber Acoustics is a fresh and valuable addition to the USB microphone market. Reminding a lot of Blue Yeti, it offers similar features and performance with one major difference – price. At the time of writing, CVL-2004 is considerably cheaper, and despite certain shortcomings, the value for money is just excellent. To name some of the features, this mic provides zero-latency monitoring via 3.5mm headphone socket, flexible volume and gain controls and switchable…

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Sony ECM-44 Condenser Omni Lavalier Review

Sony ECM-44 Condenser Omni Lavalier Review
7/10

Sony ECM-44 is a decent quality wired lavalier with a standard XLR output, which can be powered by either phantom power or a single AA battery. It has a bright response with an overall balanced sound and even if it’s not devoid of certain flaws, there is nothing particularly bothersome about it. Except two things – a very low output and a high self-noise. This produces an obscene level of static hiss, which is difficult…

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Shure SM93 / WL93 Review – Subminiature Omni Lavalier

Shure SM93 / WL93 Review – Subminiature Omni Lavalier
9/10

Shure SM93 and WL93 are subminiature condenser lavs with omnidirectional pattern. Both mics are the same units that terminate with TA4F (aka TQG) connector, designed for Shure’s wireless transmitters, except the SM93 version actually includes an additional preamplifier with a balanced XLR output for wired applications. The preamplifier module is powered exclusively by phantom power, but it drains a relatively low current. Overall, the mic sounds very smooth and as a subminiature lavalier it also…

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The Messy Nessie – Blue Nessie USB mic review

The Messy Nessie – Blue Nessie USB mic review
6/10

Blue Nessie is a relatively new and fancy-looking USB mic with just about decent sound quality. It has some interesting features like switchable recording modes and a touch sensor mute button. The stand is quite tall and it almost raises the mic to the head level but it also makes for a larger footprint. Nevertheless, the stand is non-detachable and the whole complexity of that eye-sticking-out-of-the-socket design makes it vulnerable without providing any feasible advantage….

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Samson Meteorite USB review – cheap, small and hot!

Samson Meteorite USB review – cheap, small and hot!
6/10

Samson Meteorite is a cheap USB mic with a small footprint, compatible with Mac and PC. It also works for IPad when combined with a Lightning USB adaptor, which is not included by the way. However, an obscenely short and flimsy cable creates limitations, so it’s hard to justify using it for anything other than a MacBook or a laptop. Samson says the mic’s pickup pattern is cardioid but that’s a lie. Meteorite has a…

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Shure MVL Omnidirectional TRRS Lavalier Review

Shure MVL Omnidirectional TRRS Lavalier Review
4/10

Shure MVL is a new lapel mic with TRRS connector designed for mobile devices. It belongs to Shure Motiv line and comes with a handy mobile app for iOS users. Other platform users will have to rely on third party software but it shouldn’t have any compatibility issues. This mic is also the worst from their new line and the sound quality is unimpressive at best. It does have its own strengths, for instance, it has…

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AZDEN EX503 Omni-Directional Lavalier Microphone Review

AZDEN EX503 Omni-Directional Lavalier Microphone Review
6/10

Azden EX503 is a cheap omnidirectional lavalier, ideal for home use and super low budget production. The quality is about decent: it may not be as crisp and clear as to capture all the inflections of speech but it still sounds intelligible and doesn’t make your ears bleed badly. There are issues with static noise –Rode smartLav+ and especially Giant Squid Audio Lab are way better in this respect. This is due to low sensitivity,…

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Shure SM81-LC: Cardioid Instrument Mic Review

Shure SM81-LC: Cardioid Instrument Mic Review
9.5/10

Shure SM81-LC is a very neutral and transparent instrument condenser with electret bias. It is mainly used in studios for recording of guitars, pianos and cymbals but it’s also suitable for a wide range of different instruments. It is considered industry standard and although there are plenty of different SDCs available on the market today, few of them can quite match the old Shure in terms of quality. SM81 offers excellent definition, very consistent highs, low…

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CAD e70 Review – Dual Capsule Pencil mic

CAD e70 Review – Dual Capsule Pencil mic
9/10
Editor's Choice

CAD e70 is an excellent quality pencil mic with interchangeable omni and cardioid capsules. Very natural sounding, it is crisp and has plenty of air with a nice sparkling flavor. This mic also features fine low end, which really nails the sound of an acoustic guitar. Not thin, not too deep, and just about right to handle the most instruments. There are of course exceptions: if you want to achieve warmer and richer sound, you’re…

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AKG C1000s Multipattern SDC Review

AKG C1000s Multipattern SDC Review
8/10

AKG C1000s is an inexpensive all-around mic with a switchable cardioid / hypercardioid pattern. It has a signature bright sound that creates an illusion of higher fidelity but also helps to clear up the sound in a live environment. Definitely not the highest quality mic, but if used correctly it can produce very decent results for instruments and female vocals. For videographers, of course I don’t recommend it. There are simply no viable mics at…

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Audix SCX1-HC – indoor hypercardioid review

Audix SCX1-HC – indoor hypercardioid review
10/10

Audix SCX1-HC is a professional hypercardioid SDC, mainly used for booming interviews and dialogues indoors. It can also be used for instruments when you want to achieve maximum isolation. Hypercardioid pattern makes it ideal for working in untreated rooms as it helps to minimize the impact of reflections. This mic has high sensitivity and requires some distance from the target. It has quite a narrow pickup, compared to other hypercardioids, and thus works best for…

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Azden SMX-30: DSLR Shotgun +Stereo mic review

Azden SMX-30: DSLR Shotgun +Stereo mic review
9/10
Editor's Choice

SMX-30 is a solid DSLR mic that makes a hybrid of shotgun and X/Y stereo mic. It’s surprising to see this innovative approach from Azden, which is a relatively new manufacturer but they’ve actually created a new, highly demanded and quality piece of equipment. SMX-30 also wears a modest price tag. Costing about the same as Rode VideoMic Pro R, it brings you an additional stereo mode for free. We were skeptical about this announcement…

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Audio-Technica AT2035 Review – Best Affordable LDC

Audio-Technica AT2035 Review – Best Affordable LDC
9/10

AT2035 is an inexpensive back electret condenser from Audio Technica that boasts pretty clear and balanced sound with low noise floor. This mic is a veeery good tradeoff between price and quality and hence, an ideal choice for home studios where budget is a factor. AT2035 has cardioid polar pattern and large diaphragm that actually works for both vocals and instruments. Having said that, the essential features of pad and low pass make it an…

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Shure MV5 Review – Portable USB microphone

Shure MV5 Review – Portable USB microphone
9/10

This device reminds us of legendary ‘Elvis Microphone’ except it is digital… and, it is packed with new features! Shure MV5 is a solid USB mic that boasts very decent quality at reasonable price (probably the best in up to $100 category). It is portable and highly compatible with Windows, Mac, iPad, iOS, iPhone and Android. Although it may lack the clarity of more expensive mics, the difference is not that huge. On a positive…

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Apogee MiC 96k for Mac, iPad & iPhone review

Apogee MiC 96k for Mac, iPad & iPhone review
10/10

Apogee MiC 96k behind the simple look offers a polished performance alongside with native Apple compatibility. This device brings a smooth experience for users of iPhone, iPad, Mac and new iPod. However, Microsoft Windows and likely other operating systems are not supported. As the name suggests the mic supports up to 96k sampling rate via 24 bit DAC. Paired with Core Audio interface it also results in a very low latency and can give demanding…

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CAD U37 – budget USB mic unbiased review

CAD U37 – budget USB mic unbiased review
7/10

CAD U37 is a very cheap USB mic and while some may not take it seriously, it actually offers the best bang for the buck. Despite having some disadvantages, overall quality is quite decent. This mic is mainly designed for situations that don’t demand maximum performance. Particularly, it will be a great choice for Skype, amateur videos and even gaming. Musicians who make simple covers for YouTube will also probably find it suitable. If this…

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Rode NT1 Cardioid LDC Microphone Review

Rode NT1 Cardioid LDC Microphone Review
10/10
Editor's Choice

Introduction. NT1 is a new all-purpose LDC from Rode with a truly exceptional sound. It resembles the appearance of older NT1-A, however, the inside has been redesigned from scratch. Comparing to predecessors the sound has become clearer, purer and far more natural, showing a tremendous improvement in every single aspect! As a large diaphragm mic, it also has a very neutral response, which is a privilege of expensive professional units. Particularly, it is very similar to…

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Shure KSM9 Condenser Microphone Review

Shure KSM9 Condenser Microphone Review
9/10

Shure KSM9 is a professional on-stage condenser mic. This model is renowned and remains a favorite choice of many musicians. It offers a natural, open sound, with a very balanced low-end, beautifully smooth midrange and brilliant highs. Giving just enough brightness to put you in line or slightly ahead of the instruments, I find it working great for all types of voices too. As expected from professional equipment, you’ll get that superior quality and low noise levels. The unique…

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