When Speedlink said they were providing us a streaming kit to review, I will admit I imagined all sorts of exciting stuff from capture cards to cameras. What we eventually received wasn’t half bad, but that’s if and only if considered in a bubble. What I mean is that though the Speedlink VOLITY READY STREAMING STARTER SET isn’t what I’d consider to be a bad product, it is out classed by other options which also happen to be more cost effective than it.
- Streaming starter set
- All-you-need bundle for streamers
- Microphone with wind shield for crystal-clear voice transmission
- Adjustable swivel-mount microphone arm with integrated cable and desk clamp
- Shock mount holds the microphone securely in place
- Height-adjustable tripod for desktop use of the mic
- Practical gooseneck pop filter
- Separate cable for use without the microphone arm
- Microphone specs: polar pattern: cardioid, transducer type: 16mm electret condenser, frequency response: 30Hz – 16kHz, sampling rate: 96kHz/24 bit, sensitivity: -38dB ± 3dB, equivalent noise level: 16dBA max., S/N ratio: 70dB, impedance: 2.2kΩ, SPL: max. 120dB, connection: USB-A, dimensions: 47 × 157mm (Ø × H), weight: 179g
- Microphone-arm specs: dimensions: 700mm (total length), weight: 512g, integrated cable connection: USB-A to USB-B connector, integrated cable length: 2.9m
- Pop-filter specs: dimensions: 150mm × 148mm (Ø × L), weight: 150g
- Shock-mount specs: dimensions: 95 × 80mm (Ø × H), weight: 150g
- Tripod specs: dimensions (folded): 149mm (H), weight: 231g
- Separate cable specs: connection: USB-A to USB-B connector, length: 1.8m
What we have in this set is essential a mic with an assortment of attachments and accessories in a single package. Out of the box you get the mic, shock mount, desk arm, tripod stand, two different pop filters and the cables.
It being a “plug and play” device technically means there should be no need for installing any software. This makes for an easy setup process, but also less options and features. Features that could have made this an easy recommendation thanks to the build quality of everything in the package.
The build quality of each component is surprisingly good thanks to the premium look and feel of the mic. The mic itself has a nice weight to it, coming in at about 179g. When fitted to the shock mount and connected to the arm with both pop filters in place, it looks amazing. So good in fact that I was quick to pack away my other mics as soon as this one was all setup. It looked so darn good on my desk that I couldn’t resist taking the occasional artsy shots of it, something I can’t say for most other gear I’ve reviewed. Looks however can be deceiving, and the VOLITY READY STREAMING STARTER SET loses most of its points whenever actually using it.
Audio captured from the mic naturally sounds thin without much punch or depth to it. At first I thought it may be the cable or the the angle it faced, but after some troubleshooting there wasn’t a substantial enough improvement in quality. Due to the lack of propriety software there was also no option to tweak the levels. The mic also captured a surprising amount of ambient noise, resulting in very noisy background audio. I’d almost liken the audio captured to that of a mid-range gaming headset mic. That’s not necessarily bad for a headset, but for a dedicated mic valued at about 90 € that’s unacceptable.
Processing the audio through editing software like audacity does improve its quality greatly, however since this is being marketed as a streaming mic, that won’t matter as much. As it is, to make it practically usable as a streaming mic you’d need to install third-party sound processing software. Most entry level streamers may not know how to, or care enough to learn use such software.
I also found the shock-mount didn’t offer as much protection as it should. It did work to some extent, but I’ve used better ones, which are not as expensive. As for the arm and the pop filters, they were the few aspects of this set that worked perfectly. The arm was sturdy enough to hold the weight of the mic and all it’s fittings, while the pop filters reduced the pop to virtually nothing.
Now most of my gripes with this product wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if it was much cheaper, but the set retails at 129,99 €. For much less than that at about $74.99 USD you can get a Blue Snowball Ice with a shock-mount, mic arm, and pop filter. In the UK you’d pay about £66.63 on Amazon, excluding the shock-mount. Considering that the Blue Snowball is a much better mic capable of capturing higher quality audio from multiple sources, why would you get this? The answer is simple. You’d only purchase this if and only if you don’t have the option of purchasing the snowball in your location. If this was priced at about $50 to $60 (£38-45) I’d easily recommend it as a cheap starter mic, but as it is I simply can’t.
The Speedlink VOLITY READY STREAMING STARTER SET used for this review was provided to us by its manufacturer, Speedlink.