3 stars on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0041OSWUQ
[MOD: Changed link to full site instead of mobile]
Read the Amazon reviews, looks like it’s decent for podcasting but awful for singing and the bundled software sounds horrid.
Taking a pass on this one…
I bought this on woot a few years ago. Works very well for podcasting or dictation software. Very clear, runs loud, the stand is flimsy as heck but the mic is solidly built. It is definitely one-directional, though. Good for one person recording. I use it on a mac seamlessly.
I don’t have this mic, but I have had good luck with other M-Audio equipment; they make pretty nice budget large-can capacitor microphones, which is the technology inside this thing. I have a couple Novas in my studio; they’re the higher-budget version of this mic, see regular use, and are my go-to microphone for mandolin.
But don’t expect mics of this type to act like dynamic microphones, or small condenser mics. They just don’t. They’ve generally got a flatter response curve, are more sensitive, are much more directional, and are easier to damage as a technology. Back off them a little bit on vocals, don’t blow into them for any reason whatsoever, and consider making a pop filter. (They’re easy. Coathanger in a loop in a layer of nylon hosery. Or if you want to get more complicated, I put up a tutorial.)
For instrument recording, it’ll depend on the instrument, but don’t set it across from you on a table; unless you’re talking drums or something amped - say, acoustic guitar - you’ll want to be pretty close, like a stretched-out hand’s width away.
As mentioned above, these kinds of mics are pretty directional, so aim the thing at the sound. The pickup point is the front of the grill, on the side with the little circle-like “cartioid” symbol. The opposite (back) side is highly insensitive, so you won’t get much signal if you’ve got it set up backwards. Similarly, do not sing into the top end of the mic. This is wrong. It doesn’t pick up there, despite what the set dressers on Castle apparently thought last year when they had people singing into the top. This is correct.
I suspect a lot of the “low volume!” complaints on Amazon are from people singing into the wrong part of the microphone.
Multiple sources note that if you don’t want to use the included software (and, really, who would?) you can use GarageBand; the maker’s website says it’s compatible with OS X CoreAudio, so anything that talks CoreAudio - which is to say, on Macs, anything - should work with the microphone.
Anyway, there, have a data dump on large-can condenser microphones. Good luck!
“Cardioid”, as in “heart-shaped”, which is used to describe the directional pick-up pattern of the microphone. I had to search through a few photos of this mic on other sites to see this symbol clearly. And, if what you say about the best place to put the sound source is true, then that symbol really is misplaced, as it indicates the top of the mic as being the most sensitive location.
I bought this during the last Wootoff. Prior to making the purchase, I’d already been looking for a vocal microphone and this was on my short list.
Upon arrival I unpacked, installed the included software on my Windows 7 machine and did some sample recordings. Results were fine but as reviews on this state, the ProTools software is horrid. Uninstalled that and went with Audacity and it works fine.
On my Mac Mini, the machine I actually bought this for, I skipped the software and driver install. Installed Audacity, plugged in the mic and everything works fine… better, actually than on the Windows machine, which I suspect is just a matter of the quiet room where the Mac lives.
I do voice over and spoken word stuff. To my ears, the quality is as good as anything I used while working in radio, so I’m happy. The price for a refurbished device is a substantial savings over new which makes me even happier.
i bought this bad boy some 3 years ago via the real-deal-woot. the 16-bit input sounds fantastic in every application i’ve used it in, from voice over recording via audacity to in-game voice communication. apparently my voice transmits so clearly i’m constantly being accused of using a sound board when i first join game servers. pick-up range is fantastic, and–although the bundled configuration software leaves something to be desired–it functions well. if you’re in the market for a general purpose mic you should pick this up. “buy” rec even stronger for those needing a voiceover mic.
reviews on amazon seems to point to the fact that the only reason it sounds crappy is due to the crapware it’s bundled with.
which leads me to believe that if you did as one user mentioned above and simply skipped installing the software that came with it and installed audacity, it should perform much better.
of course, i can’t be sure of this because i’ll never get the chance to check it out. just very recently purchased an audio-technica 2020usb :s…nice timing, woot.
Almost bought as a backup to my AKG and because of the Protools software - I’ve been using Audacity. Thanks to you and everyone else who just saved this out of work voice talent/jock $40.
I’m looking for a decent mic to do some video game and commercial voice over work. Does anyone know if this will get the job done If used in a good room with a pop filter and Audacity software?
Don’t expect high-quality results for singing/instruments.
If you’re sure you want a USB mic, you should take a look at the >$100 offerings from Blue Microphones, like the new Spark USB. Stay away from their snowball mic for music. Like this Avid, it’s OK for podcasting, bad for singing/instruments.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that’s not entirely accurate. “Cardioid” refers to the shape of the pickup pattern as drawn on a polar graph.
So looking at a cardioid response pattern, 0 degress off-axis would be directly in front of the microphone, 90/270 degrees would be off to the sides (where the response drops), and 180 would be on the other side, where you’d hope the mic doesn’t pick up at all. This is testing the sound source on the same horizontal plane as the pickup.
Hope that’s accurate and helpful.
I’ve got the same microphone, stand, and software from Best Buy a while back, and I tried talking into every angle of this microphone. I remain one of the “low volume” complainers. The only way I could even hear my voice is if I put my mouth two inches away and turned the gain up so high that it sounded like a waterfall in my bedroom. SHHHHHH sound. I don’t know what I was doing wrong or if I just had a defective mic. I currently use a Zoom H2N and love it. It’s more expensive, but so was this package back when I bought it.
wait? you’re using a zoom H2N … in place of a mike? … or in place of a mike And the computer?.. since an H2N is a digital recorder (with excellent built in mikes)
I bought this from woot years ago. It was missing a piece from the stand and has never stood up properly but the sound is fantastic. I use it for skype and recording singing.
Ordered it in December 2012. I received the microphone with a trial disc of Torq 2.0, no disc of Pro Tools LE in sight.