Talks About Tech Weekly 106: My Shiny Brand Spankin’ New Microphone!

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superlux e205I’m what many people would consider to be an audio geek. I can admit that I an obsessed with great audio quality. Although I make a weekly technology podcast I also record music in my studio. I can spend days perfecting a mix of song myself and Kevin record but when it comes to the podcast the most important part of the sound is the microphone. The microphone is used to capture your voice in the most accurate way possible and if it doesn’t achieve that, well…you don’t have a very good microphone.

I have used Samson Q2U (also known as the Audio Technica ATR2100) for the past year and a half or so and I loved the mic. It sounded quite good to me and it is a dynamic microphone which is better for untreated studios. Unfortunately the electronics started going on my mic and Kevins mic at the exact same time so I needed to get a new one quickly! I got on on Thomann and looked at their selection of microphones.

One of the first I came across was the Superlux E205. I needed a microphone quick and for only €39 I thought there wasn’t much to lose. There were a few issues I was aware of. Firstly, this microphone is a condensor which means that it will be much more sensitive to background noise and other noises. However, the E205 has a super cardiod pickup pattern which means that it does a much better job at background noise rejection. Although my studio isn’t treated it has a pretty nice natural sound for recording so I wasn’t too worried about bringing a large diaghram condensor microphone into the studio. I use them all the time in my music production anyway.

I ordered the microphone with a high quality oktava shock mount and a really nice metal mesh pop filter also from oktava. I plugged it in and boy does this mic sound good!

This microphone is smooth! It sounds like it was made to make your voice sound as natural and as accurate as possible. You don’t need any EQ or compression. This microphone just sounds great! Also, that background noise issue that I was a little concerned about. Not an issue. In fact it picks up less background noise than my old Samson Q2U. In comparison the Q2U sounds muffled and not very present. One of my favourite things about this mic is the proximity effect. It doesn’t really have one! It’s amazing. I can back up about a foot from the microphone and there is pretty much no volume drop-off and I can get up really close on the mic and it doesn’t get too bass heavy or muffled. This is truly a great mic and for the price of €39 I’m going to say you can’t beat it. I used to recommend the Q2U but now I’m recommending this mic! It’s brilliant. And if you need a USB version they have one of those too! Although the E205U costs about €10 more bringing it to a staggering €49 it is well worth the price and it’s still under €50! Incredible!

Now as for the accessories, their great too! I had one issue with the shock mount and that was that the stock mount that came with the microphone wasn’t long enough to go through the hole in the bottom of the shock mount. Fortunately I had a space mount from another microphone around that was long enough and I just used that. If you are looking to buy this though and you don’t have a spare extra mount you’re going to have to get one or you could buy the official superlux shock mount which unfortunately was not available when I was going to order my microphone.

The pop filter is great. It’s really small and compact and it just clips onto the shock mount very easily. The great thing about this pop filter is that it doesn’t get in the way at all like those annoying massive pop filters of yesterday. If you are recording video it will stay out of site rather than taking up your entire face in the video. The metal mesh filter does a great job of breaking up the air from your mouth. You absolutely need to use a pop filter with this mic and this one is much better than any little foam sock or other pop filter I’ve used before. Great option!

Overall this is a great microphone. It is my new go to recommendation if someone asks me what mic they should buy. It’s really cheap, super easy to get accessories for, it looks the part and most importantly it sounds amazing!

Google I/O
This Wednesday was the opening and press conference for Google’s annual developer conference I/O held every year at Moscone Centre in San Francisco. Many of the things Google announced at this years event were responses to recent announcements from Apple and Amazon but Google also some interesting new technologies too.

Android L
I was really looking forward to Android Lollipop this year but the naming team at Google got lazy and decided to call it L. That’s Ok although the new sign outside Google will just be an L sign. You can give a guess what that stands for.

One of the biggest new features of Android L is the new design language called Material Design. Material Design will run across Android phones and tablets, Chrome OS, smartwatches and the web. At the moment this design is very much in the idea stage. Google have only implemented this new design on a few apps such as the phone and calculator app but hopefully by the end of the year Google will have converted all of their apps to this new design language. This new design looks really cool as long as it doesn’t hinder functionality or hide certain features.

Android L is also introducing new performance improvements promising to bring PC-like gaming to phones and tablets and battery optimisation features. It will also integrate with Android Wear devices to authenticate your phone when it’s connected. If your Wear device is connected you don’t have to put in a passcode.

Google announced their new initiative Android One aimed at bringing high quality, affordable devices to developing countries like India.

Android Wear
Android Wear is Google’s new OS dedicated to working on wearable devices. It is designed to sync with your Android phone and when you download a new app the Android Wear version will automatically install onto the device. Notifications only display overviews or the most important notifications and information as well as from Google Now. If you get a message on your phone you will also receive it on your watch.

Android Wear will also track fitness stats such as your daily steps and heart rate if your watch supports those features.

The LG G Watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear Live are the first two Android Wear devices and are available now for $199 and the Motorola Moto 360 will go on sale later this Summer. The Moto 360 is definitely the best looking with its circular edge-to-edge design.

Android Auto
Android Auto is Googles connected car solution similar to Apple CarPlay. The system is nearly completely voice enabled and allows you to control navigation, phone calls and text messages, music and more all through the Google Now enabled voice control system.

Google already has over 40 partners for integration with this system via Open Automative Alliance launched by Google earlier this year. Developers will be able to develop apps for the car with the Android Auto SDK which will be ‘published soon’ and Android Auto will come out later this year along with the release of Android L.

Android TV
Android TV combines live TV, Android Apps and Google play services. Google have introduced a new interesting way to navigate your TV called easy searching. It is voice-enabled searching and it works way better than typing in letter-by-letter or by using a full size keyboard. You can also search using and Android Wear smartwatch. Android TV also supports Google Cast which means it will act like a Chromecast if you want.

Google also announced a number of new features to Googles $35 TV dongle. You no longer have to be connected to the same Wifi network for Chromecast to work. This means you don’t have to give someone else your wifi password for them to show something on the Chromecast. Chromecast mirroring support for phones and tablets not just your desktop chrome browser.

Google is partnering with Sony and Sharp to create Android TV enabled TV’s and Razer and Asus are going to be making gaming specific boxes. There is no date for when this is going to be available but we will definitely see this before the end of the year.

Chromebooks
The new Material Design is an attempt for Google to bring Chrome OS and Android closer to create a more unified experience between the two platforms. Android notifications and eventually Android apps will be coming to Chromebooks. Notifications feature will allow you to view an incoming call, text message and battery level notifications directly on your desktop. Vine, Flipboard and Evernote are already working on Chromebook versions of their Android apps. It is still in early development and there is no specified date for when we will see this.

Google Fit
This is Googles new platform for tracking health and fitness information. The platform will be open to developers and an SDK will be available in the coming weeks. Fit will serve as the hub for all your health and fitness data and will use data collection sensors from phones and wearable devices to provide relevant recommendations. Early partners are Noom, Nike+, Adidas, Basis, Runtastic, RunKeeper, Polar, Withings, HTC and Motorola.

CorribDigital.com
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