With lockdowns still kind of in full swing, more and more people are taking to the internet and streaming their gaming sessions. For most people, a headset mic does a good enough job of beaming their voice across the internet, but those looking for a more professional sound may well consider a standalone microphone.
Condenser mics are designed to pick up voices, making them the perfect choice for anyone who wants a more professional sounding set up. Looking to stream? Want to produce videos? A condenser mic is the perfect choice for your needs, but there are a lot to choose from. High-end condenser mics can cost up to £4,000 and beyond, which obviously isn’t ideal for everyone. Fortunately, there are condenser mics that are designed to provide a boost in sound quality without breaking the bank.
The Tonor USB solves that problem, providing users with an affordable product that boosts sound quality in recordings. Costing around £34.99, the box comes with all the basics you need to get started including the mic itself, a tripod for it to stand on and a pop shield that doubles up as a shock mount. The stand is a little basic and is unlikely to suit most desk setups, but this is easily remedied by purchasing an additional boom stand that can let you move and position the microphone to meet your needs.
The addition of a pop shield is welcome as it gives your sound that extra little bit of smoothness that would likely be missed without it. Condenser mics are designed to pick up high-frequency noises, so without a pop shield you are more likely to pick up the natural noise of mouth movement which can reduce the quality of recordings. Bundling one in helps he Tonor USB Mic definitely scores a few extra points for that.
The mic itself is fairly sturdy, with a dark blue/grey coat of paint and a mic cover. Its fairly bare bones presentation matches up with its price, valuing customer value over shifting additional parts and items in the box. It comes with a USB input that takes seconds to plug in, and works without the need for any drivers.
The Tonor USB Microphone is a competent mic that accurately picks up speech at a decent quality. One of my main issues is that its sensitivity means it also manages to pick up a lot of background noise despite the cardioid pattern, so for anyone who wants to use this mic in a relatively normal area you might have to rethink how you intend to use it.
While reviewing the Tonor USB Mic, Nvidia also released their RTX Broadcast Software. Designed to bring the best out of streaming setups using AI, the RTX Broadcast software uses AI to filter out background noises. There’s some pretty crazy videos of people using hoovers and automatic tools next to the mic and the software is able to block it out, and in my experience it vastly improves the quality of your voice over the internet. This is naturally dependent on having a modern Nvidia graphics card, but other programs like Discord and Audacity have less advanced noise-cancelling features built in, which makes background noise more manageable.