Mfffgff and mudffgghhh. What? Mfffgff and mudffgghhh. Jon, we can’t understand what you’re saying.
That was my Zoom experience with the old telephone headset I used. I also had an old VGA webcam. So I got a new HD camera with a built-in mic, and although some people could hear, most couldn’t. Then I tried wearing my Corsair gaming headset. That worked fine, but I didn’t want to wear it on a Zoom call, so I put it on the desk between my keyboard and monitor. That hid it and reduced its capture ability making me lean over to speak into it and look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Part of the problem was I had no easy control over anything. I’d have to go into one or more setup menus to get to the mic, and even then, it wasn’t very satisfactory.
And then I learned about Corsair’s new Wave:3 desktop microphone. My pals at Corsair loaned one to me to try, and it was love at first utterance.
Corsair Wave:3 condenser mic
The first thing you notice about this mic is the quality feel of it. The base is solid and has an anti-skid soft-rubber pad on the bottom. The second thing you notice is the volume control—right up front with a level indicator. In addition to volume selection, the knob is a button you can push to make it mic only, headphone only, or mixed. It connects to the PC via a USB-C and Windows finds it instantly.
At the top is a flush-mounted mute button, and when pushed, the light blue ring around the volume control turns red. From unboxing to using, the whole thing takes about 5 minutes and is intuitive to use.
How does it work? Excellent. I have two client-side tests for a mic: Dragon Naturally Speaking and Windows’ built-in speech recognition. Dragon is particular and insists on a good mic almost next to your lips. Windows is less demanding but also less accurate—you get what you pay for. Nonetheless, the pair of them is a good test and setup.
However, Corsair provides a mixer software program they call Wave Link with a friendly UI that shows you your speech volume. It’s perfect, but Corsair missed a bet, I think—they should have put in analog VU meters. I just love that retro stuff, frustrated steam-punker that I am.
Corsair Wave:3 UI
You can add various apps to the UI and select the volume for them with sliders. That makes life easier for you as you don’t have to keep twisting the knob as you move from app to app. You can have up to nine input channels. And, you can create two completely
|The difference between a dynamic and a condenser microphone is a dynamic microphone is better for capturing loud, strong sounds (drums or loud vocals), particularly in a live setting, whereas a condenser microphone is used to capture more delicate sounds and higher frequencies (studio vocals for example), particularly in a studio setting. A dynamic microphone also doesn’t require power whereas a condenser microphone does (https://musicianshq.com/whats-the-difference-between-dynamic-and-condenser-microphones/).|
independent output mixes—one for you, one for your audience—and monitor each on the fly.
One of the several cool features of this $200 microphone is the anti-clipping technology. You don’t have to watch levels while speaking (or try and salvage distorted audio in post-production). When input levels peak, Corsair’s Clipguard technology instantly reroutes sound through a second signal path that runs at a lower volume. The result is clean audio output, no matter how loud you scream.
I put the mic between the monitor and the keyboard, so in a zoom call (camera atop the monitor), the mic can’t be seen. And then, just turn the knob until people stop saying “Huh? What?”
The mic is digitized at 24-bits at 96 kHz, which, with its high-quality condenser sensor, provides broadcast studio-grade clarity. One of the major applications for the Wave:3 is gaming broadcasters and podcasters.
Corsair also offers an optional pop filter, a little screen that snaps just in front of the mic. There is also a shock mount for the mic and a multi-adapter (arm not included).
What do we think?
Corsair identified the gaming broadcast market early on and has invested heavily into it. They have acquired companies that make green screens and other accessories and, if not already, will probably be the leading supplier in the segment. The company has established a brand and a style, and so far, everything we’ve tested has been of high quality.