As technology progresses, I'm happy to see that broadcasting equipment progresses right along if not faster than consumer technology, especially in the remote broadcast/production field. Mainly what I'm talking about is the true portability of broadcast and production tools. A laptop or netbook can be taken out in the field and easily be turned into a full-blown production studio or even remote site. With some great software that is already out there the only thing needed is a good microphone.
For the longest time, the only way to connect to a computer was with a cheap 1/8" plug mics or a handful of adapters on a dynamic mic. We're now seeing a boost in really nice USB mics that allow for true plug-and-play use in nearly all the production software choices available. What I like is that some of the USB mics are built for dual-use to plug directly into a computer via USB or connect to a sound system with an XLR connector.
This time around I got the pleasure of trying out one such microphone, the Audio-Technica AT2005USB mic. While the name says USB it also has an XLR connection. This microphone is definitely one I'll be putting in my bag the versatility to connect to a computer or a mixing board by just plugging it in makes it the perfect go to mic for remotes. It's as if this mic were its own backup, in case you were planning a VOIP broadcast and things get switched around where you need a full mixing board this mic will be there.
Out of the box
The first thing to note is the bottom of the mic where the connectors are. There are three jacks to use, the XLR for normal use, the mini-USB for connecting to the computer (cable provided) and a headphone jack (with volume control). This mic, when used in the USB mode, be used as a headphone amp to directly monitor the audio going into the mic. The mic also has an on/off slide switch. When used with a USB connection it has a blue LED that indicates it is connected. The on/off switch in either USB or XLR mode does not affect the LED.
|Performance at a glance|
|■ Cardioid pickup|
■ Dynamic element
■ 50Hz to 15kHz frequency response
■ 16-bit, 44.1/48kHz output
■ Headphone jack to monitor mic audio
Also included are a 2m (6.6') USB cable (as mentioned above), a 3m (9.8') XLR cable, a desktop tri-pod stand (with folding legs), a mic stand clamp (which is threaded for standard mic stands), and a zippered bag for safe storage. The bag will hold the mic/stand/USB cable and mount, albeit a tight fit. The mic has a mesh grill to help prevent the plosive sounds, however, I still recommend a foam windscreen cover for the mic if it's used outside.
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