Elgato Wave:3 USB Condenser Microphone Review – Perfect for Streamers/Screamers!

What if I told you that you can
get a condenser microphone
and audio interface, all
in this tiny little package?
And you know what? It even
comes with hardware limiters.
So you can scream like Linus
and it just won’t peak!
Today, we’re going to be reviewing
this Elgato Wave 3 Microphone
to see how it stacks up against
a proper condenser microphone
and audio interface setup.
Let’s get cracking!
Nowadays, every guy or girl
also wants to be a streamer.
And if you’re one of those people, you
probably bought a mirrorless camera
or webcam and everything
looks beautiful!
Except for your face. That one,
your mother give. I cannot help you.
And your viewers are still
complaining that your audio
sounds like robot chicken. So you
went online and researched on
microphones and audio interfaces and found 
out that they are either horrible and cheap  
or good but very expensive
and complicated to set up.
Back in the day…
Audio recording was reserved for audio engineers
and musicians to use in studio settings.
With the introduction of Youtube
and bedroom musicians,
they started making audio interfaces
that are much smaller like this.
So you can use in your room. But those
are still relatively expensive to get into.
Take, for instance, an entry-level

microphone plus audio interface could set  
you back as much as
RM1,000 to 1,500 or USD300 to 400.
With the current voronacrirus crisis and
the surge of the population of streamers,
we start to get a demand for a more
streamlined audio recording experience.
All in one, plug and play,
all that good stuff.
Which is why Elgato is introducing this
Wave 3 Microphone to hopefully fill that niche.
So we’re going to check out this microphone
when it comes to its aesthetics, its tech, its specs,
and do an audio test to let you
hear the difference between these
and see how it stacks up against
a proper condenser microphone  
and audio interface.
Stay lah. Give face, geddit?
The Elgato Wave 3 is priced at
whatever it is, wherever you are from.
So please check out the links
below to find out more.
MOBHouse is going
It looks really sleek in a matte black
metal and plastic construction.
The body is made of plastic with
steel grilles at the front and back
with tiny circular perforations
and an Elgato logo at the front.
The stand, that allows the microphone
to swivel around almost 360 degrees,
is made of aluminum and has a weighted circular
base with a thick rubber padding at the bottom.
The u-mount is detachable from the base so you
can mount it on any microphone stand or arm
with a quarter-inch thread screw, such as the
Elgato Master Mount and Solid Arm combination.
So I have the Master Mount but not the Solid Arm.
Why? Because I have a Master’s Degree in Architecture.
But I’m very fluffy and completely
not solid, except for certain parts.
And by parts, I mean
my personality.
Get your head
out of the gutter.
In terms of dimensions, this microphone is
153mm tall, 66mm wide, and 40mm deep.
And it weighs only
585 grams.
Let’s take a closer look at the
specifications of this bad boy.
Now, the Elgato Wave 3 comes
with a 7mm electric capsule.
But it’s not a true
condenser capsule.
But in my point of view, I think
that it should perform just fine.
And I have no doubt about the quality
of this thing because it was designed
in collaboration with Lewitt, in case you guys
are unfamiliar, is a pretty reputable manufacturer
for microphones. It has a cardioid polar pattern,
which means that it’s going to reject sounds
really well from behind the microphone where you
don’t want it to pick up any weird sounds, such as
the sounds from your PC and whatnot. In terms of
resolution, we have 24-bit, which is pretty standard
these days and a sample rate of up to 96kHz,
again pretty standard. The frequency response is
70 to 20,000Hz, which is pretty good. A little
bit lacking at the lower end but let’s hear how
it sounds like later when we do the audio test. I
think it should still perform pretty well because
it would help cut out some of the
rumble at the lower frequency.
In terms of sensitivity, we have -25dB,
relative to full scale with the minimum gain
and 15dB, relative to full scale
with the maximum gain.
The maximum sound pressure level is
120dB or 140dB with the Clipguard engaged.
I’m going to talk about the
Clipguard later on so stay tuned.
In terms of dynamic range, you get about 95dB
or 115dB with Clipguard engaged, once again.
In the box, you’re going to get a microphone, USB-C
cable, desktop stand, and the boom arm adapter.
This shock mount and the pop filter
can be purchased separately.
In case you guys are audio geeks like me, while Elgato
didn’t provide us with a frequency response chart,
the guys at Sound Guys (pun intended)
did one and this is what it looks like.
Based on this chart, it seems that this mic was
tuned specifically for podcasters and streamers
with a de-emphasis of the sub-bass range
and a pretty clear mid and treble.
But let’s see how it sounds like when
we test it out in the audio test later.
In terms of I/O ports, you have one USB-C port that
provides power for the device as well as enable
an easy plug-and-play connection between your mic
and your laptop or PC or Mac. Next, you have a
3.5mm headphone jack to help you monitor your
mic directly with zero latency or monitor the mix
out of your streaming PC or laptop. Moving on,
we have the functionality and let’s take a look at
the buttons. Firstly, we have the multifunctional
control dial at the bottom of the front, which
enables you to control the mic gain, your
monitor volume as well as your mic/ PC mix
that you can toggle between by clicking on the
dial itself. The button feels tactile and gives a
satisfying click and it requires a little bit of
force to actuate to avoid any accidental button
presses when you’re adjusting the dial. The dial
also has clicks that will be helpful for you to
remember your precise settings and they even come
with LED lights that will light up in accordance
with the icons so you know which setting you’re
currently adjusting as well as the levels that
you have picked. Up top, we have a capacitive mute
button, which means that it’s not going to give
you any feedback when you click on it, which will
light up your LED ring around the multifunctional
control dial red when it is activated. That way,
you’ll always be aware when you accidentally muted
yourself. We also have the Wave Link proprietary
software that comes free with any Elgato
microphone and it supports up to nine channels
and two separate audio mix outputs; one for
monitoring and one for your stream. It’s available
on both Windows and Mac OS. This is very useful in
situations, for instance, when you want to make your
background music louder for yourself so you can
groove but not for your audience, have a
producer-director give you instructions
in your own mix, or make the game audio louder
for yourself but not for your audience, or even
turn up your notifications louder when you have new
subs, followers, and of course, donations so you
don’t be an ungrateful Roti Canai that
doesn’t acknowledge his lovely viewers.
I’m talking about you.
So like I mentioned in the intro as well as
this specification segment, this microphone
comes with a very unique feature called
Clipguard, which is essentially a hardware limiter.
So what happens is when you get too loud,
the microphone will switch your audio input
to another one that is 20dB lower.
It’s very useful for you streamers
who are always triggered or when
you are very excited and happy
when you get a huge donation. It
will save you a lot of work in post
because you don’t have to add any compressor
or limiter effects in your mix. Now, of course, you
can turn on those effects with plugins while you
are streaming. But that will compete for computing
resources with your game as well as your stream
and coding. So that’s not recommended but I do not
recommend that you turn on Clipguard when you are
doing something like recording vocals for music
because you want to leave all those nuances in
your voice unaffected. So you should just control
your gain properly. Here’s a little test of the
Clipguard. As you can see, I’m not adjusting
the gain. It is still set to
the third level right here.
Don’t forget to subscribe to MOBHouse
Productions if you haven’t already.
Because you are definitely missing out
on some quality content like this.
Now, before we check out the audio test, I’m going
to talk to you guys a little bit about the microphone
placement, which will affect how your
microphone sounds quite drastically.
Here are three things that you need to
pay attention to. Firstly, we have distance.
Now, you need to get the sweet spot
between you, which is the source
and the microphone by moving around
and listening to see which position
make you sound the most full and natural. Now,
I found that this microphone has a sweet spot
of around 15 to 20cm from you and the front
face of the front grille of the microphone.
Now, a microphone that is further away from the
source, which is you, is going to pick up a more
natural representation of your head and chest
resonances and give you a more natural sound.
Also, extraneous sounds such as your lip and all the
other unwanted noises are gonna disappear a lot
faster when you move away from your microphone
than the prominent attributes of your voice.
There’s also the proximity effect, which is a
phenomenon that leads to a boost in the bass
frequencies the closer you get to the microphone.
And this is how Hollywood and podcasters achieve
that god-like voice. My name is Shane and
you should bow down to me and subscribe to
my Youtube channel at MOBHouse Productions.
Secondly, we have the vertical position.
Now, higher frequencies tend to project downwards
from your nose and mouth, which means that if
you move your microphone lower from your nose
position, you’re gonna get a more brighter sound.
Now, consonants such as S and P sounds are also
a lot more apparent when you’re on-axis to the
microphone so you might want to shift it a little
bit around to avoid that if you’re a very sibilant
speaker. Now, I said 3 things but there is 2.5,
which is the horizontal position and that is quite
an unknown quality. If you’ve gone online, you’ll
see that some singers tend to sing a little bit
off-axis to the microphone and audio engineers
will use things like pop filters to help guide
these singers where to place their mouth
when they sing so that the singer doesn’t undo
all the professionally-tuned position that the audio
engineer has done. For most of you guys who
are streamers and podcasters, ignore that. Just
skip to point number three, which is the angle
of the microphone. Now if you use a cardioid
pattern microphone like this in the off-axis
position, you’re gonna get an altered frequency
response. Now while there are definitely scenarios
where I wanna use microphones on the off-axis.
Affordable microphones like this tend to have a
very uncontrolled off-axis frequency response,
which means that you’re going to get very weird
peaks and troughs. I recommend that you use
this microphone in the on-axis, which means that
your mouth is singing or talking straight into
the middle of the capsule and if you want to
change the quality of the audio, you can
always put on an EQ in post and you’re done. 
Moving on, we have the much anticipated blind mic
test that will show you how this Wave 3 compares
with the Blue Ember, when combined with a decent
audio interface and XLR cable, should set you back
about 30% to 40% more. Also, you have to fork out for
that hardware limiter, which would cost as much as
the Wave 3 Microphone itself. Now, I think that the
Clipguard hardware limiter that is implemented
in this microphone is one of the best things that 
I’ve ever seen in a microphone like this. You would
also miss out on all that software integration,
which I think is very handy for streaming and
podcasting. We’re going to show you audio samples
from each microphone individually and label them
as Mic A and B and we’re only going to reveal to you
which microphone is which at the end of the test.
All the other tracks are unaltered and unprocessed.
So what you hear is what you get.
Without further ado,
let’s dive right in.
So that’s all for the test. Please pardon my subpar
singing because it’s been a hot while since I did
anything like that. Leave a comment down below,
let us know which microphone sounds better to
your ears. I think it’s quite subjective so
you guys will have to judge for yourself.
Now, my verdict will be based on how well I
think this microphone performs for the task
that it was designed for. So without further ado,
let’s check out what I like about this microphone.
First and foremost, I think the Elgato sounds
pretty great for podcasters and streamers
and it is no surprise because it’s actually tuned
by Lewitt. There’s a little tiny de-emphasis in the
sub-bass range, which I actually think helps
account for the proximity effect as most of
you guys will be using this microphone quite close
to the fac. Now it has pretty good ergonomics with
the included desktop stand. But because you
can’t adjust the height if you just use it like that
and you’re a little bit further away, you’re gonna
have to pump up the gain, which is why I actually
recommend that you guys get a mic arm to get it
to the optimum position to capture your voice
so that you can actually turn down the gain
and get a little bit less room noise into your
recording and your streams. The build quality
is also pretty great. While it’s not fully metal, I
think that this thing is quite solid and should
be able to serve you quite well even if you
take it out from time to time. Next, the control
options are aplenty and I think that it helps
you customize your user experience pretty well.
There’s also direct monitoring so you can hear
yourself with zero latency as it doesn’t need to
go through your PC and then come back out to
the output. Now, the Clipguard hardware limiter is
such a killer function and helps this microphone
punch way above its weight and yeah that’s great.
Once you try it out, you will never go back.
It also has pretty good software integration, which
is very handy and the flexible mounting options that
are given to you, where you can detach this and
install a short mount, is also pretty good.
Finally, it is plug-and-play and while you don’t need
the Wavelength app to actually use this microphone,
I do recommend that you install it because
it will help you have a lot more options.
Moving on to the meh~
And honestly, there are just two things. First and
foremost, the shock mount and the pop filter
are not included. You have to purchase them
separately and the mute button is actually
capacitive and is quite accident-prone so I
would like to have something that is clicky.
And finally, we have the cons, which honestly I
couldn’t find any. I really like this microphone.
Which brings us to the final verdict! I give this 
Elgato Wave 3 Microphone a 9.5 out of 10!
Personally, I think that it is the perfect
plug-and-play option for streamers, podcasters,
content creators, bedroom musicians, and even
freelancers who need a microphone on the go.
Why the extra 0.5 points? Well, the Clipguard
hardware limiter actually pushes it over the
edge for me because it makes it viable for
semi-professional work where it will help
you prevent your talent’s voice from peaking.
So that’s pretty insane. I only hope that Elgato
makes a mic arm for this because the microphone
is pretty light and I actually have to add
extra weights to push down this arm and hold it in
place for this review. Elgato, take my money and go.
That’s all, folks. If you thought this video is
awesome, you know what to do and also, don’t
forget to leave a comment down below, let us know
what you think about this microphone or if you have any
questions and I will try to reply to you guys one by
one as well as pick some of your comments and
reply it in an actual video in the future. Don’t forget
to subscribe to our Youtube channel and hit
the notification bell to see more content like this
and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see
more of my face. That’s all folks, I will see you
in the next one. You are awesome, you’re worth it!

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