Friday, July 19, 2024

A $199 portable recording studio worth more than its price tag

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Austrian Audio isn’t precisely a family identify. It was fashioned in 2017 following the closure of AKG’s workplaces in Vienna. And it is largely caught to higher-end microphones and headphones. Now the corporate is dipping its toes into extra consumer-friendly territory with the $199 MiCreator Studio, a mix condenser microphone and USB-C audio interface in an extremely transportable bundle.

At 155 x 60 x 37 mm the MiCreator Studio is kind of small, however I might say a contact shy of pocketable. It is also surprisingly dense. 13 ounces is not precisely heavy, however it’s greater than I anticipated the MiCreator to weigh simply by it. The heft makes it really feel like a sturdy and well-made system. The one exception to that is the swappable faceplates. My overview pattern got here with black and pink plates, they give the impression of being good however really feel a bit of flimsy. And the magnets that connect them to the perimeters are a bit of weak and I might see them simply coming off if tossed in bag. No less than it comes with a smooth pouch you may put it in so every thing will keep in a single place even when it does get jostled round.

Austrian Audio MiCreator

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

There are a pair of rubber toes on the underside that enable the MiCreator to take a seat comfortably on virtually any floor with little concern it’s going to get jostled round. And the mic capsule is suspended by rubber shock absorbers, so vibration should not show an excessive amount of of a priority. If the tiltable head does not provide you with sufficient flexibility, there’s screw mount beneath for attaching to a mic stand.

Controls on the unit itself are comparatively spartan. On the entrance is a change that adjustments the mic from excessive acquire, to low acquire or mutes it. And there is a knob for controlling monitoring ranges or the steadiness between two sources when you’ve gotten one thing plugged into the three.5mm in/out jack on the again. Beneath that dual-purpose jack is a devoted 3.5mm headphone output, and above it’s a change that permits you to set the enter degree of the extra enter.

The switches for altering the enter degree are in all probability my greatest gripe with the MiCreator. The distinction between the excessive and low settings are fairly large. Sure, clearly you may tweak the degrees in your DAW and most of the people could have no concern doing that. However personally I like getting my ranges as near proper as potential with out touching the acquire in my DAW for optimum flexibility.

Austrian Audio MiCreator

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

I additionally discovered that the excessive acquire setting nonetheless required me to get fairly near the mic whereas talking which resulted in quite a lot of breath and mouth noises. In all probability precisely what you need when recording some ASMR movies, however it wasn’t splendid for podcasting. Once more, quite a lot of that is simply rectified with a good pop filter. However that is yet one more factor to hold and barely undercuts the portability issue.

These minor nitpicks apart, the mic sounds nice. They’re extremely directional so, even though they’re pretty delicate condenser mics, background noise isn’t an issue. And so they seize a wholesome quantity of midrange and low finish. That is important for micing up, say, a guitar amp, and it tends to deal with my decrease vocal register properly. However many will need to toss a low reduce on their voice in publish manufacturing.

That lack of tweakability on the acquire is a matter once more whenever you plug an instrument straight into the second enter. One thing like a synth with a grasp quantity that does not alter tone is okay. However going direct in with my guitar was a bit of hit and miss. Probably the most dependable approach was to undergo my pedal board and certainly one of UA’s amp sim pedals to provide me higher management over quantity and tone, reasonably than counting on amp plugins in a DAW. Austrian Audio will get a ton of credit score although for together with an instrument cable within the field although that is normal 1/4-inch TS on one aspect and three.5mm TRRS on the opposite aspect for plugging into the MiCreator. It would look like a small factor, however it saves you from having to trace down and order a reasonably uncommon cable by yourself.

Austrian Audio MiCreator

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The corporate additionally despatched over certainly one of its MiCreator Satellites. This can be a second mic, with out an interface, designed to pair with the MiCreator. It prices $99 however provides quite a lot of flexibility. For one, it is the very same mic because the MiCreator, so you need to use them as a stereo pair or for 2 individuals in a simplified podcast setup. However the included cable can also be lengthy sufficient so that you can put one mic proper up in opposition to an amp whereas capturing some room tone with the opposite. Or, you can mic an acoustic guitar with one and sing into the opposite. And the Satellite tv for pc is really tiny. That is certainly one of, if not the, smallest full-fledged podcast studio you may can get.

If there’s one characteristic I might have cherished to see, it is a standalone working mode. If the MiCreator had a small battery and a microSD card slot so it might double as a discipline recorder, or seize an interview when hooking up your laptop computer or iPad isn’t actually possible, I might see it carving out a everlasting spot in my day bag.

Nonetheless, for $199, or $299 when bundled with a Satellite tv for pc, the MiCreator gives a shocking quantity of worth. Frankly it is higher than it has any proper being at that value. It is a superb condenser USB microphone and a stable (if easy) audio interface in a small, rugged bundle. It may be a high-quality go-anywhere podcast studio. Or be the first approach a band information new materials whereas they’re out on tour.

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