Austrian Audio is just not precisely a family identify. It was fashioned in 2017 following the closure of AKG’s workplaces in Vienna. And it is principally caught to higher-end microphones and headphones. Now the corporate is dipping its toes into extra consumer-friendly territory with the $199 MiCreator Studio, a mixture condenser microphone and USB-C audio interface in an extremely transportable bundle.
At 155 x 60 x 37 mm the MiCreator Studio is sort of small, however I would say a contact shy of pocketable. It is also surprisingly dense. 13 ounces is not precisely heavy, but it surely’s greater than I anticipated the MiCreator to weigh simply by taking a look at it. The heft makes it really feel like a sturdy and well-made gadget. The one exception to that is the swappable faceplates. My evaluate pattern got here with black and pink plates, they appear good however really feel just a little flimsy. And the magnets that connect them to the edges are just a little weak and I might see them simply coming off if tossed in bag. Not less than it comes with a gentle pouch you may put it in so all the pieces will keep in a single place even when it does get jostled round.
There are a pair of rubber toes on the underside that enable the MiCreator to take a seat comfortably on virtually any floor with little concern it’s going to get jostled round. And the mic capsule is suspended by rubber shock absorbers, so vibration should not show an excessive amount of of a priority. If the tiltable head does not provide you with sufficient flexibility, there’s screw mount beneath for attaching to a mic stand.
Controls on the unit itself are comparatively spartan. On the entrance is a swap that modifications the mic from excessive acquire, to low acquire or mutes it. And there is a knob for controlling monitoring ranges or the steadiness between two sources when you may have one thing plugged into the three.5mm in/out jack on the again. Beneath that dual-purpose jack is a devoted 3.5mm headphone output, and above it’s a swap that lets you set the enter stage of the extra enter.
The switches for altering the enter stage are in all probability my greatest gripe with the MiCreator. The distinction between the excessive and low settings are fairly large. Sure, clearly you may tweak the degrees in your DAW and most of the people may have no challenge doing that. However personally I like getting my ranges as near proper as potential with out touching the acquire in my DAW for optimum flexibility.
I additionally discovered that the excessive acquire setting nonetheless required me to get fairly near the mic whereas talking which resulted in plenty of breath and mouth noises. In all probability precisely what you need when recording some ASMR movies, but it surely wasn’t ideally suited for podcasting. Once more, plenty of that is simply rectified with a good pop filter. However that is yet another factor to hold and barely undercuts the portability issue.
These minor nitpicks apart, the mic sounds nice. They’re extremely directional so, even though they’re pretty delicate condenser mics, background noise is never an issue. And so they seize a wholesome quantity of midrange and low finish. That is important for micing up, say, a guitar amp, and it tends to deal with my decrease vocal register properly. However many will need to toss a low reduce on their voice in put up manufacturing.
That lack of tweakability on the acquire is a matter once more once you plug an instrument immediately into the second enter. One thing like a synth with a grasp quantity that does not alter tone is okay. However going direct in with my guitar was just a little hit and miss. Probably the most dependable means was to undergo my pedal board and one in every of UA’s amp sim pedals to offer me higher management over quantity and tone, slightly than counting on amp plugins in a DAW. Austrian Audio will get a ton of credit score although for together with an instrument cable within the field although that is normal 1/4-inch TS on one facet and three.5mm TRRS on the opposite facet for plugging into the MiCreator. It would seem to be a small factor, but it surely saves you from having to trace down and order a slightly uncommon cable by yourself.
The corporate additionally despatched over one in every of its MiCreator Satellites. It is a second mic, with out an interface, designed to pair with the MiCreator. It prices $99 however provides plenty of flexibility. For one, it is the very same mic because the MiCreator, so you should use them as a stereo pair or for 2 individuals in a simplified podcast setup. However the included cable can also be lengthy sufficient so that you can put one mic proper up towards an amp whereas capturing some room tone with the opposite. Or, you might mic an acoustic guitar with one and sing into the opposite. And the Satellite tv for pc is actually tiny. That is one in every of, if not the, smallest full-fledged podcast studio you may can get.
If there’s one function I’d have beloved to see, it is a standalone working mode. If the MiCreator had a small battery and a microSD card slot so it might double as a area recorder, or seize an interview when hooking up your laptop computer or iPad is just not actually possible, I might see it carving out a everlasting spot in my day bag.
Nonetheless, for $199, or $299 when bundled with a Satellite tv for pc, the MiCreator affords a shocking quantity of worth. Frankly it is higher than it has any proper being at that value. It is a wonderful condenser USB microphone and a stable (if easy) audio interface in a small, rugged bundle. It may be a high-quality go-anywhere podcast studio. Or be the first means a band data new materials whereas they’re out on tour.