If you want to start creating content these days, you’ve got a fair few things to consider. 'What content should I create?' is a pretty good starting point, but once you’ve got past that, the chances are you’ll be wanting to think about your setup. 'What capture card do I need?' 'What’s the best webcam to use?' 'Do I need a killer gaming PC?' All of these are valid questions, but there are arguably no more pertinent than this: 'Should I get a dedicated microphone?'
After all, if you haven’t got one of these, then your loving audience won’t be able to hear your dulcet tones with respectable clarity.
Well, enter the Streamplify Mic, a $65/£60 solution to all your vocal needs. What you get here isn’t just a mic, but a full kit with shock mount, pop filter, tripod and cables to get you started in a matter of minutes.
Most of the kit feels pretty substantial, with a blend of metals and hard plastics on show, which, for the price, is rather good indeed. Just note the pop filter is a little thin and rattly, but in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t too much of an issue. Too often, cheap mics are a sea of hollow plastics designed more for looks than function, so it’s nice to see Streamplify taking some care with their entry.
What’s more, everything is nice and easy to put together—it’s as easy as putting together some flatpack furniture from Ikea. No, wait, it’s a hell of a lot easier than that. Oh, and one bonus feature Streamplify won’t mention on the box: assembling this mic is definitely likely to keep your relationship intact, unlike assembling a BILLY bookcase from Ikea—we’ve all been there.
As for the look and feel of the mic itself, it actually feels sturdy in hand, with a smooth metal finish that also helps it to look rather sleek indeed. Its all black colouring also helps it to look professional, which is useful if you’re intending on using this bad boy for conferencing as much as you are streaming. Fear not, RGB fans, as Streamplify hasn’t forgotten you. To go with the purposeful black looks, there’s a strip of RGB lighting below the mic grille that flashes various colours, and looks rather smart, even if it serves no real life purpose (apart from to look cool, of course).
The interface on offer is nice and simple with a headphone jack for real-time monitoring of audio input, which is handy; a small button for controlling the bundled RGB lighting; as well as a dial for on-board gain control. This is traditionally a feature reserved for more expensive mics, so kudos to Streamplify for including it here. Do note though that there isn’t a start and stop point in the dial, so you can turn it 360 degrees, which can make it seem like the volume perpetually increases, so just be wary of its actual start and end points.
The adjustable on-board mic gain is definitely welcome, but means that the microphone only becomes properly usable when your turn the dial all the way round, which is a bit of a pain, as below there, it seems insanely quiet to my ears, and therefore it may do to other people, too.
The gain dial is also a click-in button that can allow you to choose between the two playback modes. There’s the choice of either what Streamplify calls the mic’s ‘Full Playback Podcast Mode’ which will filter through any ambient noise so you can check your levels, or ‘One-way Playback Gaming Mode’ which cancels out any background noise. It’s a useful feature to have, and there’s a small noticeable difference between the two.
But, the reason you buy a microphone isn’t for its construction or anything like that, let’s face it. It’s all to do with vocal clarity and sound quality. I’m pleased to say, for the price, this baby sounds pretty decent. There are no hisses, crackles, or pops for that matter, and with a cardioid pickup pattern this microphone works especially well for voices. Truth be told, it sounds nearly as good as my old faithful, the Rode NT-USB, which I’ve had for a couple of years, and sits at double the price of this Streamplify option.
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All in all, the Streamplify Mic feels like a steal for its asking price. It’s well built, even if it does have a rattly pop filter, and its audio output is crisp and clear, which is all you can really ask for. The on board gain control, mic mute, and two playback mode features are all handy, and means this microphone is punching above its weight class somewhat. The same also goes for the fact you get an entire kit in the box, which keeps things convenient.
Convenience is the name of the game here. If it’s what you’re after, then you won’t be disappointed with the Streamplify Mic in the slightest.