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Earthworks Icon Pro XLR Streaming Microphone Review

Earthworks is known within the recording business, constructing its unimaginable status on the accuracy and realism of its measurement microphones. It doesn’t cease there, nonetheless, delivering some glorious handheld and instrument mics, such because the SV33 utilized by Lew of Unbox Remedy. At the moment, we’re trying on the Icon Pro, the corporate’s first product immediately focused at streamers and content material creators. Coming in at $499 for the XLR model and $349 for USB, the Icon guarantees a wealthy, detailed sound good for voice over. It doesn’t come low-cost, however in the event you’re in search of a professional-level microphone, this may be one to think about. 

Specs

  • Present Worth: $499 for Pro XLR, $349 for Studio USB
  • Microphone Kind: Condenser
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 30kHz
  • Polar Sample: Cardioid
  • Diaphragm Measurement: Small
  • Max Acoustic Enter: 139dB SPL
  • Energy Supply: 48V Phantom Energy
  • Noise: 16dB SPL (A weighted)
  • Colour: Stainless Metal
  • Dimensions: 5.137″ x 1.6″
  • Weight: 1.5 lb
  • Guarantee: 2-year

Earthworks Icon Pro – Unboxing and Construct High quality

The Earthworks Icon Pro is next-level. I don’t say that superfluously. In comparison with the overwhelming majority of microphones focused at streamers immediately, it’s an all-around higher-caliber product. That begins from “go” with the packaging. Whereas I solely put a lot inventory into unboxings, the Icon Pro is well-done with detailed paintings on its outer sleeve, and an inner field that doubles as a storage case when the mic’s not in use. There’s thick, lower foam to maintain the mic and the included Triad-Orbit Micro mic adapter protected and safe. 

Unboxing the mic, I used to be instantly struck. It options a stainless-steel chassis with a brushed end that fantastically displays gentle sources round it. With simply the LEDs from my PC case and the Nanoleaf Canvas panels on my wall, it virtually appears to glow. The capsule is hidden behind a grille that does away with the standard woven wires and is as a substitute a perforated sheet. The metal physique creates pillars across the grille and actually creates a hanging look that oozes high quality. All of that metal additionally lends the mic an excellent quantity of weight. Regardless of being pretty small at solely 5.1 x 1.6 inches, it weighs a pound and a half and feels weighty and substantial within the hand. 

Additionally included within the field is a Triad-Orbit Micro mic adapter. In essence, this adapter is pretty easy: it’s a high-quality ball head with 4 notches on its outer shell to assist maintain it in place. In observe, nonetheless, it’s fairly helpful. Mounted to my Rode PSA-1 increase arm, this allowed me to reposition the microphone wherever I favored with out having to loosen the increase arm itself. It’s a pleasant addition, contemplating this tiny adapter sells for $38 at Sweetwater all by itself. The Studio model of the microphone additionally features a desktop stand, although stepping as much as the Pro, it’s assumed you’ll be mounting it to an arm.

What you received’t discover is any sort of shock mount or pop filter, and that’s as a result of the microphone doesn’t want both. A pop filter is built-in and, counter to many streaming mics, really works properly. It’s additionally surprisingly resilient to desk and dealing with noise. I may swivel it on my increase arm completely silently. Aside from an XLR cable and a 5/8-to-1/4 inch adapter (and an audio interface, after all), you received’t want to purchase something extra to get began recording with this microphone.

One other noteworthy high quality is that that is an end-address, cardioid microphone. Not like most condensers you’ll discover, this microphone is designed to talk immediately into the top of it, permitting it to take up much less display actual property in your face cam. As a cardioid mic, its pick-up sample encompasses the zone immediately in entrance of it and makes an attempt to reject exterior noise. As a condenser, it’s nonetheless pretty delicate to surrounding noise, so is greatest fitted to quiet environments or, ideally, sound-treated rooms.

The opposite vital factor to notice is that the microphone solely requires 48V of phantom energy to function (or the USB connection on the Studio model). You received’t want an exceptionally costly interface to make use of the Icon Pro or put money into one thing just like the Cloudlifter. You will want some sort of interface, however there’s no want to interrupt the financial institution. 

Earthworks Icon Pro – The Killer Function

What actually makes this microphone stand out is the design of the microphone capsule and its supporting electronics. The Icon Pro makes use of a small-diaphragm condenser capsule with a wider than common frequency response. Whereas many broadcast microphones use dynamic capsules, just like the Shure SM7B, or condensers with giant, heat diaphragms, the Icon Pro goes the other way. Why?

The reply is velocity. The identical approach a sports activities automotive can take-off quicker than a Ford F150, the Icon Pro is ready to reply quicker to any sound wave hitting its diaphragm. The result’s higher transient response, the sudden starting of sound. It’s what makes recordings sound life like and detailed. A big diaphragm microphone, by advantage of its elevated measurement, isn’t capable of reply as rapidly, so these first bits of element are sometimes rounded off. 

It then provides on high of this with a wider 20 – 30,000 Hz frequency response vary. Most broadcast microphones used for content material creation are restricted to twenty,000 Hz of their higher vary, such because the Blue Bluebird or Audio-Technica AT4040. This upper-frequency response lends air and ambiance to what you’re recording and modifications the general sound profile to 1 extra grounded in the way you really sound whereas nonetheless managing to fill out the physique of your voice.  

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How does the Earthworks Icon Pro sound? 

Should you’re studying this and questioning about the entire well-liked large-diaphragm condensers that additionally sound nice, you’re not fallacious. The distinction between a big diaphragm with slower transients and the Icon Pro’s small-diaphragm isn’t one in every of “this sounds good and that sounds unhealthy.” It’s a distinction in realism and element. In a lot the identical approach {that a} high-end headphone will reveal element and sound extra life like than a mainstream Sony WH1000-XM4, the Icon Pro sounds far more true to life than one thing just like the Blue Yeti and even the SM7B. 

What that interprets to for content material creation is a microphone that’s barely brighter in tone however nonetheless has sufficient heat to sound full. The transient response and better “air” of the microphone additionally make recordings sound nearer to how it might sound if somebody have been talking to you in particular person. It’s a distinction that’s troublesome to place into phrases, however there’s a definition and poignancy to recordings on the Icon Pro that was obvious when put head-to-head towards my AT4040. 

As a trainer compelled to go hybrid this yr, I’ve recorded lots of of hours of spoken phrase content material. I started the yr utilizing a mixture of dynamic microphones, just like the Shure MV7, Samson Q2U, and Samson Q9U. Whereas these microphones every provided an excellent “radio voice,” I received uninterested in the compressed sound I heard on the perimeters of my voice. I switched to the Aston Microphones’ Spirit condenser microphone which was a lot higher. I then swapped to the Rode Broadcaster which I caught with by means of the remainder of the yr. 

Take heed to the total audio assessment, recorded on this microphone, right here!

For this assessment, I used to be significantly curious how it might stack up towards the final two. Each delivered glorious outcomes and are priced cheaper at $449 and $419 respectively. 

There’s merely no query that the Icon Pro sounds wonderful. Aspect by facet with these microphones, the Icon Pro provided probably the most life like presentation of my voice. It additionally provided the brightest tonal signature and averted making me sound boomy, even once I received near the microphone. It lacked versatility in comparison with the Spirit which had two extra polar patterns (omni and figure-eight) however for single-source recording, the tone was neck and neck between the 2. Towards the Broadcaster, the Icon Pro emphasised the bass notes much less, however articulation (transients) was higher. The Broadcaster, whereas nice at what it does, can be pretty one-note and isn’t an excellent selection for recording sources aside from vocals, like devices.

Despite the fact that the Icon Pro is focused at spoken phrase, its velocity makes it a a lot better match for recording guitars and piano. Should you’re a content material creator that performs an instrument, the Icon Pro has a major element benefit, precisely capturing the assault of notes. It might solely have one polar sample nevertheless it nonetheless manages to be pretty versatile for various kinds of single-source recording.

It is also price noting that the pick-up vary on this microphone is solely nice. You need not maintain the microphone 3-4 inches out of your mouth. I used to be capable of maintain it 12 inches away and easily flip up the achieve and nonetheless obtain a full, great-sounding recording. 

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Must you purchase the Earthworks Icon Pro? 

The massive query is whether or not it’s price paying fairly a lot for. At $499 for the XLR model and $349 for the USB model, it’s fairly an costly mic. One may say “however the Shure SM7B is just $399” and they’d be right — nonetheless, that microphone additionally requires an excellent quantity of achieve to operate. You’ll want to purchase an in-line pre-amp, just like the Cloudlifter, to get an excellent stage out of it or a high-output interface just like the GoXLR which prices further to realize an excellent stage. By the point you issue even a pre-amp in, you’re at or above the $499 worth level, which actually ranges the enjoying area for this caliber of mic. 

For this assessment, I in contrast it side-by-side with a few of my favorites, every of which value much less. Not one of the mics sounded unhealthy, and although the Icon Pro XLR sounded barely extra life like and ethereal, it’s very a lot a matter of tone and style. 

So who’s the Icon Pro for? Should you’re a person who:

  • Needs a extremely detailed sound
  • Needs a microphone that appears beautiful on digicam 
  • Could need to dabble in recording different sources
  • Can file in a quiet surroundings or handled room
  • Doesn’t thoughts paying for craftsmanship and pedigree

The Icon Pro may be for you. 

It is a professional-caliber mic, priced and outfitted to match precisely that kind of purchaser. It is a nice mic selection for a person fascinated about making the step as much as that stage or who’re creating content material that makes them sufficient cash to justify investing in high-quality recording gear. Should you do end up at that time, it’s properly price contemplating, significantly in the event you don’t thoughts paying a bit further for a superb on-camera look and the pedigree that comes with the Earthworks model.

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The product described on this article was offered by the producer for analysis functions.

https://www.mmog.com/hardware-reviews/earthworks-icon-pro-xlr-streaming-microphone-review-2000122773 | Earthworks Icon Pro XLR Streaming Microphone Review

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