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    *** DISCLAIMER: I am not an audio or recording expert, so please take this into consideration as you read this review. This is based solely on my experience and the research that I did to explain the concepts and capabilities of this product ***

    If you like to record videos, podcasts, or do your own YouTube videos in some kind of office setting or studio, then this may be a product that you are interested in. I started doing video reviews about a year ago and I have only used whatever phone I happened to be toting around at the time to shoot my videos with – which is probably pretty obvious. As I have picked up better phones with superior video and sound recording capability, things have improved, but I felt like it still wasn’t good enough. When recording from a stationary position with everything right in your face, the best sound quality doesn’t always come out. The tone and volume fluctuates, as does the overall clarity sometimes; it even picks up many other minute sounds that I don’t want in the background while recording. Well, those days are in the past – well, mostly – and I have the Aukey MI-U1 Condenser Microphone to thank for that.

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    Overview: What exactly is a condenser microphone? Well, I had to do some research on this myself because I was completely ignorant on the subject. The term “condenser” refers to the operating principal of the microphone, in that, as the microphone is capturing the sound source, the capacitor inside the microphone (referred to as a condenser), absorbed the soundwaves and produces the electrical signal that is then converted to digital sound – pretty fancy! It’s also a “cardioid” microphone, meaning that the mic is uni-directional. It is called a “cardioid” microphone because the sensitivity pattern is in the shape of a heart. The benefit of having this style of microphone is that it places emphasis on the direct sound input at the front of the microphone where reception is the greatest, and it ignores much of the other surrounding sound, making it perfect for vocals and podcasts. One other notable feature about the condenser microphone is that they require an external power source to make them work. The benefit of having the condenser microphone is that you can use it in conjunction with a computer, or even your phone, to enhance your recording capabilities by improving sound quality, removing distortion and interference, and providing smooth, clear vocals into your video or sound output.

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    Functionality: The Aukey Condenser Microphone is fairly easy to use, I think. Its plug-and-play, meaning that you don’t have to install any additional software to make it work with your computer (or phone). I’m not sure about broad-spectrum functionality with different devices, but it works with my Samsung Galaxy S9+ (using the USB to USB-C adapter that came with the device), and it will also work with iPhones if you have the media adapter – which is great because I do all of my recording on my phone. I also hooked it up to my laptop and it was very easy. I have a Windows-based laptop running Windows 10 (fully updated), and all I did was plug it in and wait a few seconds for it to auto-detect and setup, and then I was ready to roll. I tested it out with the sound recorder software pre-installed with Windows, and the microphone worked fine. I definitely noticed immediate sound quality improvement on my recordings on both PC and phone, as compared to the native microphones that are built into the devices. Also, fret not; the Condenser microphone comes with the USB-A to USB cable so you can connect it to any USB port (or convertor).

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    Takeaways: The biggest takeaway for me regarding the microphone is the increased clarity and the reduction in background noise. I read something recently that one of the biggest changes that you can make to your recordings to improve audience reception and overall enjoyment is to improve on the sound quality. Nobody wants to listened to background noise, inconsistent tone and volume (which is created by moving closer/farther away from the phone as you record), or the peaks/valleys when you change the inflection in your voice. If you’re too close when you’re recording, the sound can come out harsh and overly loud at times, which is not good for the end product. This is where the condenser microphone comes in. Not only is it easy to use and looks cool, but it also makes you feel more professional and proud of the recording that you’re doing. It’s very easy to use and the advanced recording capability translates into much improved sound quality, richer tones and great clarity.

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    Features: It took me a little bit to figure out the knobs, bells and whistles with this microphone. Having never used one before – much less reviewed one – it has been a bit of a learning curve trying to figure out what the terms mean, as well as the added functionality over my built-in phone mic.

    - Low-Cut Switch – The microphone has a low-cut switch that you can turn on to eliminate lower frequency noise, which helps clean up audio quality and eliminate background noise
    - PAD Switch (-10dB) – The PAD switch is actually called an “attenuator”, which is used to drop the sensitivity on the audio circuit to prevent too-strong of a signal from overdriving the circuit. Think of it as a signal dampener that gives you 10dB (decibels) of leeway, to keep from hitting those peak noises that cause distortion
    - Microphone Gain Control – This knob allows you to adjust/increase the recording level on your microphone (volume control)
    - Headphone Volume Control – This allows you to adjust the listening level for your headphones if you have them plugged into the 3.5mm headphone jack while you’re recording
    - 3.5mm Headphone Jack – This allows you to plug your headset/earphones into the microphone while you’re recording so you can hear what you’re recording in real-time, so that you can make adjustments on the fly (and it’s also cool listening to yourself)

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    Here is the full rundown on the specs:
    Specifications:
    - Model: MI-U1
    - Capsule Type: Condenser capsule (with 25mm / 1” diaphragm)
    - Polar Pattern: Cardioid
    - Frequency Response: 30Hz–18kHz
    - Sensitivity: -36dB ±2dB (0dB = 1V/Pa at 1kHz)
    - Maximum Sound Pressure Level: 130dB (at 1kHz ≤1% THD)
    - Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 89dB
    - Dynamic Range: ≥90dB
    - Equivalent Noise Level: 15dBA
    - Impedance: 16 ohms
    - Sampling Rate: 48kHz
    - Bit Rate: 16bit
    - Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.009%
    - Power Supply: DC 5V USB
    - Output Power: 130mW
    - Interfaces: USB-B, 3.5mm audio jack
    - Operating System Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
    - Cable Length: 1.8m / 5.9’
    - Dimensions: 48 x 187mm / 1.89” x 7.36”
    - Weight: 386g / 13.62oz

    What’s in the Box:
    - A tripod stand, which works really well
    - A USB Type-A to USB cable (approximately 6ft)
    - The Condenser Microphone
    - A foam/windscreen cover for the microphone
    - Warranty Card – Comes with Aukey’s 24-month warranty!

    Conclusion: I know that I am not an audio expert so recording experts and audiophiles… hopefully I did an adequate job in explaining some of this stuff. The reason that I set out to do this review was because a) I really want to get better at recording, and b) I am a casual video recorder that relies on my phone, and I know there has to be other people out there who also want better solutions. Overall, the biggest selling point for me with this microphone was that I could hook it up to my phone. Sure, there are plenty of solutions for adding a microphone to your computer, but how many of them can give you this kind of power and capability, and be used with your phone? Not everyone has recording studios and fancy equipment to be able to pull off amazing studio quality products. However, being able to incorporate a product like this condenser microphone into your day-to-day projects and use it with your phone, to me, that’s a no-brainer. The Aukey Condenser Microphone is a great product that is easy to use and incredibly versatile, and will allow you to take your recording quality to the next level! I think it’s a fantastic product and I am thoroughly enjoying it, and still learning how to maximize the features to enhance my recordings. If you’re in the market for something like this then I think it’s a great option to choose from.

    Interested in picking up one of Aukey’s Condenser Microphones? You can check them out on Amazon, where you can pick one up for $79.99 - https://amzn.to/2JDPycf As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down in the comment section.

    Last but not least, I did want to go ahead and do a short plug for the Aukey TeamTechKey program. They were nice enough to send out this dash cam for me to review, so I’d like to do the favor of sharing this program with interested readers who may be in the market for reviewing products. Aukey’s TeamTechKey is a review-based program, where you sign up and if selected, Aukey will send you products to review, but… you have to do some honest work for it if you are selected for the program. In exchange for receiving products to review, you have a week to test out the product and write-up a review, video, or some other meaningful engagement to share the product and your experience with your own userbase. Want to learn more? Here’s the link: https://www.aukey.com/teamtechkey_program - in full disclosure, this review, statement and blurb are not sponsored by Aukey or required by them, and I am not a part of this program, but I do think it’s nice that they provide this opportunity for hopeful tech enthusiasts who want to do some product reviews in exchange for some sweet products.
    libra89 likes this.
    07-26-2018 04:33 PM

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