these are mid-to-low-end condenser mics. Either a Blue Snowball or a Blue Yeti will probably be an upgrade from the cheaper ones, a Yeti or Yeti X will probably still be an upgrade from the more expensive ones (the Talk Pro retails for $149), and the relative prices reflect that.
A condenser mic can be very unforgiving out of the box (more on that last bit in a sec). It will tend to pick up every noise from everywhere in its pickup areas, even ones you didn’t notice like pets making noise outside or your own typing and breathing. For Zoom calls and such where you’re not speaking that much and can mute the rest of the time, or where it’s just you and another person on Skype shooting the breeze 1-on-1, that might not matter.
A dynamic mic like a Shure or a Samson is going to be more forgiving of a not-perfect audio environment out of the box, but also more expensive.
If you need to do better-than-iPhone-quality audio work and a condenser mic is all you can afford, you can make it sound not-terrible by investing an hour or so in making some simple adjustments with whatever audio software you already know (if you don’t know any, invest that time in learning OBS). The key settings are the noise suppression (cutting off quiet noise like fans and distant traffic completely, below a threshold), gain adjustment (making the sound you do pick up louder or softer overall), and compression (rescaling the volume so the extremely soft sounds are louder and the extremely loud sounds are softer so that you don’t make people have to choose between not hearing quiet parts or having their eardrums blown out on loud parts). You might also want to look at things like adding a noise gate and adjusting the attack time on it (this is one way you can filter out sharp, loud transients during quiet sections). Some mics also support these kinds of adjustments with physical controls or in firmware. Fiddle with it till it sounds good – and if you have a tin ear and the quality of recording matters, get a friend who doesn’t to listen.
All of the previous point applies equally to dynamic mics of course. You can make a $50-100 mic plus filters sound pretty close to a $250 mic right out of the box in a specific circumstance, but you can’t make a $50-100 mic plus filters sound like a $250 mic plus filters across a variety of uses.
So my kid has been kinda interested in trying his own YouTube video game playing/streaming thing. I would like to support/encourage him, so I would appreciate any insights into these offerings that any pros/semi-pros here might have. (TIA)
@haydesigner Get the GO. It has a full sound for cheap. He can get started and buy a BLU or Shure mic later. The GO is best vocally out of the 3 of these. I DJ and played with all 3 along with dozens of other mics. This one has the best volume and most well rounded sound. IMO
I come here every day to read the smart-ass comments, and like today, learn something from the generous folks that share their knowledge about a product on offer I may be interested in (not today), but often know nothing about. Thanks to all!
@1DisabledWarVet Oh, heck. Got that wrong. Auburn-the-color is kinda red. But you wanted the Tide, which is only arnge if yer doin’ laundry. But the Tide’s crimson, not Cremson. Cremson is them sumbitches over 't South Carolina.
@robson@bugger ‘s comment made it look like the Blues would be an upgrade, but in fairness, his comment doesn’t specify what line of Blue mics would be something to get later. It could have referred primarily to their professional (actual) mics and not their consumer USB products. It’s possible both are an upgrade.
If you’re in the market, I’d suggest trying his advice: the Go is $20 and you’ll be hard pressed to find a decent setup for that. If you find it works, great! If not, you have notes on what you want changed and how and you’re out $20. You may be able to find a use for the extra mic anyway.
I haven’t heard any USB mic that beats separate components (except perhaps in really unusual circumstances, like extremely high RF flux and poor cabling), but plenty of people either don’t care or don’t have the budget for a $100 interface plus a $150 mic and $40 in cables (let alone the really expensive ones). Some also don’t have the technical skills to handle the extra four ways to adjust the audio input and output those tend to introduce, and getting the computer to handle everything for them is also a fine choice.
I’m considering one of these for a specific use case. I’m on the board of directors for the local Little League. While most attend meetings in person, we do have a few call in on Zoom. The current set up is a Chromebook on a hotspot from an iPhone. You can’t hear anyone not sitting fairly close to the chromebook. I’m thinking an omnidirectional set up may work? Will any of these work with a chromebook (it’s 3 years old if that matters)?
@memini See the notes about using them in Omni up above; the Omni function can be kind of weak. Even a dedicated omnidirectional mic can only do so much if there’s a lot of variation in the distance from the mic to the person speaking.
As for compatibility with a Chromebook, it should work OK as long as you set the audio source properly after plugging it in.
@memini they make conference mics specifically for this purpose that will give you better results. They’re designed to sit on the table and pick up people all around. Some models in this same price range have good reviews.
I’m considering the Go for Zoom/Teams calls for work, but I usually use a BT earpiece rather than an open mic and speakers (and I don’t want to use headphones). I guess if I was confident that I’d like it, I’d pull the trigger, but for $6.00 more on Amazon, I’d be able to easily return it if not. Hmmmm. Decisions.
Oh, Wait. “Shipping: Free (because you’re a member).” I thought I paid extra for shipping before. Well, now I really need to think about this.
@ashemo I do a ton of Teams calls. I was a Bluetooth guy but when I heard myself on a recording of a meeting I started testing all the equipment I had. Laptop mic, Bluetooth earbuds, wired headset, USB headset, all had various sound quality issues with the microphone (use voice recorder to record yourself and see what you sound like). Eventually I invested in a similar USB mic (Neat Bumblebee II) and it made a huge difference. Since I sometimes have to present to customers I figured it didn’t hurt to invest in sounding good.
I can use speakers and do most times, but I can also plug wired earbuds into the microphone and hear call audio through them if I need to keep it quiet.
I’m tempted by the Go just to see but I already have a good USB mic and who am I kidding, I’m not likely to carry and set up a USB mic if I was traveling. I would just make do with Bluetooth or whatever for that short time.
Here’s some more input from the outside world: Wirecutter calls the JLab Talk a “great value” and a notable competitor to the Yeti, and that’s at its $100 price tag. They were less satisfied with the Go and the Talk Pro.
Got mine Pro today. It came with the usual Texas air, the mic, the Y thing that goes around the mic that lets you attach it to the tripod, the tripod, and the USB-A to 90 degree USB-C cable.
When I plug the mic in, I get a constant clicking noise. It comes through the headphone port, but it also appears on the waveform in Hindenburg, so it’s not just plugging headphones into the mic that produces it.
Changing from my boom arm mic stand to the included tripod
With and without the Y fork that screws on
Changing USB ports
Changing USB hubs
Changing USB cables
Plugging directly into the computer (M1 MacBook Air, 8/512)
Rearranging the cables to be farther from the computer (electronic noise)
Just holding it in my hand
Jacking with the gain
My older JLab Talk doesn’t do this, with the same setup. I’m wondering if this isn’t why it was sent back for refurb.
Anyone else having issues with the mic after arrival? I’ve been a Yeti user for years and bought this as a second mic to use for my personal computer while I use the Yeti for work, and it has not been working well. The USB-A side of the cable seems like it has a slight bend in the metal, and the USB-C side is extremely tight when trying to fit it into the bottom of the mic, like pull out the circular disc cover on the bottom when you remove the cable sort of tight.
I don’t have another USB-A to USB-C cable to rule it out, but as it is it’s pretty much a paperweight. With everything plugged in it seems to cut in and out of actually registering my voice while talking, and what does come through is extremely tinny and quiet like there is some interference somewhere.
Got mine a few days ago. I have been a long time Yeti user and I needed backup in case it eventually takes a poo; it is easily 6-7 years old and still going strong. But for the price, I was hoping for a backup.
The recording settings? Yikes. The Omni, bidirectional and stereo are not good. Very tinny to say the least, like my voice bounces around inside the mic. The Cardioid works pretty good. Much less tin, full voice and has a decent range. So only one works.
The gain and volume’s are way off IMO. I have my gain and volume almost at zero, and it is way too loud still. I adjusted my computer volume to compensate, but doesn’t make sense that only 10-15% of the volume / gain nob can be used. I have gain and volume all the way down and in theory it should be next to nothing but it is still pretty loud.
The mute button works, but you still hear yourself. So you hit mute, you cough and you can hear it plain as day so you are always wondering if the stream or other people heard it. Weird.
Just a few minutes ago, my earphones port took a crap on it. It practically blew out my eardrums. I unplugged the mic, replugged it and now it works again, so I am guessing the drivers it uses are not exactly the most stable. I looked for JLAB drivers and found none.
For the price, it seems “ok” but overall not a great mic. Recording settings are bad, the volume / gain are not set correctly and the headphone plug is sketchy. Just has that cheap and wonky feel to it.
I feel better having it as a backup, but much like a NFL quarterback, its nice to have them, but you never really want to use them.
Oh well back to the Yeti; its all good, its a great mic.