Ready to get your vlog shoes on? We have a new mic we’ve been testing over the last so many days that is targeted for the community of creators looking to save a little while adding something powerful to their inventory of gear. It is the MOVO VSM-7, a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with three polarity patterns to choose from. Essentially, taking the job of three models and combining it into a single solution (cardioid, bi-directional, and omnidirectional).
Of course, there is nothing new about multi-pattern microphones. They have been around for years. However, thanks to models like the Blue Yetti and other similar options, they have become quite the trend in the affordable range thanks to the growing number of individuals jumping into so many realms of content creation. From vlogging to streaming, multi-pattern options are a strong tool to have at your side when it comes to being able to adapt to any given situation.
You can start a recording as a normal announcer voice discussing something until you decide that you want to break into an interview with someone else. A quick switch of the mic and you move from a normal cardioid pattern to bi-directional so that you are now picking up the person on the other side of the microphone as well. One mic for two individuals means one less mic to buy. You have less editing power in post, but you save money in the process.
The same can be applied to recording vocals. If you are also playing the guitar, you may find that omnidirectional picks both your voice and guitar up (together) better than it does in cardioid. Or maybe you like omnidirectional better because of how it picks up the interaction of your voice or guitar within the room you are in (say you are recording in a small reflective room like a bathroom for some easy/affordable vocal effects). Then again, you could have someone else on guitar on the other side of the mic as you record bi-directionally.
You get a lot of options out of a mic like this and today we get to dial in what we think about this specific model.
The design of this one should appear to be quite familiar to you. It’s your typical large-diaphragm condenser solution when it comes to shape and weight. It feels as though it is well-constructed and should last you quite a long time just like any other good mic you may own. Everything from their choice of materials to the feel of the switches.
You have three switches spread across the microphone that covers your ability to switch between the three polarity patterns (this can be seen in the image above), as well as a switch that allows you to add a -10dB pad and a switch to enable HPF.
The latter of the two switches can also be handled via software in post edit or live via a mixer if you are using one in your setup. Having them right there on the microphone is useful though, even if you do have a mixer involved. It does come down to user-preference and what sounds better.
An XLR condenser mic does mean that you need phantom power driving the mic in order for it to function. This does mean using a mixer that can supply phantom power to the mic or using a special phantom power amp between the mic and whatever you are connecting it into.
Most mixers offer phantom power. Only the most affordable options don’t and you never want to limit yourself to such a model. You should always have the option for phantom power when buying into a mixer.
As for special amps that you can use instead–there are affordable options out there. These are small little amps that have an XLR input and output. Sometimes they offer USB or 3.5mm (aux) as well for when you are connecting a microphone directly to a computer. They generally run $20-$30 and you should really pay attention to their reviews to make sure you are getting a “clean” one. You always want to make sure you are using clean power to avoid any kind of noise or buzz in your recording.
We normally like to stay away from those little amps though as you are going to get better performance and reliability out of a good mixer. Which generally will run you $200+. However, budget is budget, so this always depends on what you are able to work with.
It does come with an XLR cable so that you have one less thing to have to buy into. Either that, or you’ll have a bonus XLR cable for your inventory if you already have XLR ready to go. It also comes with a few extra brands for the shock mount (just in case).
The shock mount is a nice one and compliments the design of the microphone quite well. It has a built-in pop filter that can be adjusted via a thumbscrew. Also made of quality materials, you’ll find that it lives up to the shock mount of just about any major brand out there.
It does a good job at absorbing some of your body noise and other things that may transfer across the desk or surface everything is integrated with.
The most exciting part of the discussion is how well the microphone performs. We have been playing with both speaking voice as well as simple vocals. You won’t find any impressive singing taking place here, but you can still have a lot of fun thanks to everything we have access to.
We ran the microphone to a Yamaha QL1 console which is also the same console we use on set for content like the video you can find below. In fact, the video below is a great starting point to see what you have to work with since we didn’t adjust the audio in post edit. This way you get to hear what the microphone sounds like without any adjustment.
You do experience a bit of room noise in the microphone that you will have to play with during post to get rid of. Thankfully, as long as the mic is stationary (doesn’t move around to other rooms or environments), you should be able to build presets to help clean this up in the future once you have found the right adjustments for your preferences.
It is common to pick up room noise in condenser mics since they are generally quite sensitive compared to dynamic mics. So this isn’t a surprise that we get some room noise. The noise you do edit out is a tad more than some other solutions but seems ok for the price point (this is comparing it to $200-$400 model options).
When it comes to comparisons, we wouldn’t quite say that it stands up to something from Shure, but it does compete well with brands like Sterling or Blue. The quality of your voice is absolutely there, but the cleanup afterward is what brings us to our conclusion of this. For voice clarity though, this mic has a lot of use potential.
We found this to be a great entry-level solution that is capable of packing a good punch when it comes to both flexibility and performance. The price seems quite fitting for what you get and the quality of materials is perfect.
This would be a great (affordable) solution for many looking to record and edit after. Especially if you have a mixer and can dial things in ahead of time. If you are looking to use it for a live stream or broadcast, we would only recommend it in situations where you have a mixer in-line. Software mixing solution is fine, although you typically find yourself with latency issues, in case that could be a problem for what you are trying to achieve. To be fair, our standards are a bit high when it comes to live audio, and this does play into our verdict of any model.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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