The Movo UM700 is a $100 quad-condenser microphone that's aimed at the budding podcaster looking to hit record and start delivering the hot gaming takes we've all been dying to hear.
With more and more people having to set up home offices, it's no surprise that we've seen a rise in affordable microphones. Last year we saw some quality microphones for under $100, and that trend looks like it's going to continue into 2021.
Directional Patterns: Stereo, Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Bi-Directional
Controls: Mute button, Gain and Volume dial
Inputs: 3.5mm headphone
Recording Sample Rate: 48kHz
Bit Depth: 16-bit
Weight: 2.3 Lbs
Warranty: 1 Year
Movo makes a ton of consumer-grade A/V gear for journalists, filmmakers, and, of course, podcasters. The UM700's design is heavily inspired by the Blue Yeti microphone (before it was redesigned) and the LED metering in the Yeti X redesign. The front of the mic has a mute button and headphone volume dial, with the rear sporting gain control and polar pattern selection. It's less flashy than a lot of microphones aimed at streaming and podcasting.
This traditional-looking mic is outfitted with a metal base, sitting at almost 3lbs. The base is useful for dealing with the occasional desk bump during a recording session. There's even a ⅝-inch thread for mounting onto a boom arm if that's more your style. The last few microphones I've reviewed have taken up less space on my desk, and it was jarring to be reminded how big normal USB mics are.
Unlike other budget mics, the UM700 still has all the knobs and dials you want in a podcast microphone, allowing you to tweak your audio on the fly. It's a welcome change from the more budget options that sound incredible but are limited in features. I did run into a problem with the audio occasionally cutting out of the UM700's headphone jack. A minor yet noticeable annoyance that did not affect my recording.
The beauty of having multiple polar patterns is the versatility it offers to basically any podcast or streaming situation. You can leave in the middle of a table and start chatting with your roommates about the best Marvel movies on omnidirectional, or do a one-on-one interview with someone at a gaming convention in bidirectional. The most common pattern you'll use is cardioid, which is standard for almost all USB microphones.
Below is a sample of what it sounds like in cardioid mode.
As you can hear, the UM700 is a bit on the quieter side. I played a bit with it on the higher gain, but the UM700 picked up the hum of my desktop and even some of the chatter of the construction workers outside. Naturally you'll want to work with a lower gain on your microphones to find the sweet spot for recording. To get the audio quality I want out of the UM700, I'd expect to spend some time in post-production editing software cranking up the vocals.
If you have a decent little home studio set up (or the inside of your closet with a comforter over your head), the UM700 will work well. Getting ideal sound requires having a handle on background noise. With that in mind, the Movo UM700 is a good budget microphone for anyone starting up their podcasting or streamer career.