A hungry and growing audience of media consumers is left behind after the pandemic. Small content creators like me have successfully entered this market by streaming games, hosting podcasts, and creating videos. While a solid webcam is only part of the equation for expanding audience numbers, you’ll never attract an audience’s attention if your content is interspersed with crisp, noisy audio.
Tonors TC30 USB Condenser Microphone ($ 15 with code AGQDQ2DC;; amazon.com) provides an almost flawless audio input that has become a pillar of my daily workflow. The premium, matte black, travel-centered design with detachable tripod and pop filter gives the microphone a ten-fold look. After seeing the device in Amazon’s third best-selling computer microphone slot and the thousands of positive authentic user reviews, I bit the ball and bought it. After just two days with the TC30, I ordered a second TC30 to create a multi-microphone setup. Yes, it is that good.
I’m looking forward to a week of putting the microphone through its paces in a variety of environments and I’ve found it to be the perfect entry-level USB microphone. Hell, even advanced content creators will want to search this for an additional microphone in their production flow. When you factor in the fact that the device enhances home communications for crystal clear zoom calls, you’ll see why the Tonor TC30 deserves a spot on your desk, even if you don’t necessarily want to be the next great podcaster.
Hunter Fenollol / CNN
Does the TC30 actually live up to our recommendations for the best microphone? According to our review section, the answer is a resounding yes for both sound clarity and noise isolation. My singing boomed with crystal clear sound after I simply plugged in the USB cable. The noise isolation remained high despite annoying background noises, such as E.g. traffic driving by in front of my home office window or the clink of pans in my friend’s house. While the microphone picked up the clatter of the brown switches on my mechanical keyboard, they were pretty boring, despite being only inches below the microphone. Thanks to intelligent engineering, high-quality building materials and multiple mounting options, clear overall sound quality with minimal interference is possible in such an affordable microphone.
The included pop filter prevents crackling and extends far to ensure coverage from all directions. A sturdy metal tripod lifts the microphone firmly into the air without flinching. If you happen to have a scissor arm, you can take off the tripod and throw the microphone at it instead. Finally, an anti-vibration shock mount ensures sound-only recording by eliminating interference from background noise such as keystrokes and accidental bumps against the microphone. These three accessories are definitely not standard on most microphones, even on more expensive options.
Hunter Fenollol / CNN
Compared to a category leader like the Blue Yeti, the out-of-the-box sound is admittedly hollow and could be a bit louder. While it doesn’t sound as lifelike as the Yeti, some quick tweaks to your EQ and compression in third-party recording software can help the sound approach that of real studio microphones. In contrast to these microphones, the Tonor excludes integrated buttons, only records in cardioid format and there is no accompanying software for audio adjustments.
Cardioid mode records audio right in front of the microphone for a richer sound at the expense of realistic sound. The Blue Yeti microphone not only has a cardioid mode, but also a stereo mode, an omnidirectional mode and a bidirectional mode for a total of four different sound profiles. For those recording music or live events, this is the difference between the sound that surrounds you as if you were actually there and a flatter, more direct sound.
Since the lack of buttons can be fixed by manually adjusting levels on your computer, these two limitations aren’t a big deal breaker. However, the microphone is locked for audio recording in cardioid mode for a single voice only. Musicians who want to record stereo acoustics or omnidirectional audio for an ambient presence can pass this microphone on.
Hunter Fenollol / CNN
Between Zoom calls and Discord chats, my Tonor TC30 keeps getting love. As my daily driver, I use this microphone to chat during work, game sessions and group calls. Outside of communication and content creation, the microphone encouraged me to try out new functions such as Windows dictation in addition to the Alexa app for the PC. While the TC30 works fine with both Mac and PC, it really shines on a Windows computer.
By pressing the Windows and H keys at the same time, I began dictating articles with the utmost precision. While I’ve dictated Google Docs in the past, I’ve never had a more accurate translation experience than with the TC30. One benefit I would not have expected from this device was to see my thoughts translate into text in real time with near flawless accuracy.
When commands are given, my laptop is hands-free and equipped with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. While my Facebook portal (with Alexa) quickly turns on lights or sets a timer, requesting certain songs or unlocking my Smart Lock using a voice code is usually a headache that requires at least two tries. Using the tone to control Alexa from my PC was absolutely painless. Whether I asked Alexa to play Drake’s “What’s Next” or unlock the door for my friend, my responses were immediately taken action. Pairing commands and dictations increased my daily productivity by spending less time writing or repeating phrases for tricky, intelligent assistants.
Tonor’s TC30 is a simple Type A USB condenser microphone that is of surprising quality and costs only $ 15. Its phenomenal sound out of the box and its portable body make it highly recommended for beginners to advanced users. It even comes with an excellent two year warranty. Audiophiles will definitely have some nitpicks, however.
Sound is rich but not entirely true to life, and the device lacks both physical buttons and recording modes for musicians wanting to record a scene or acoustic audio.
For anyone else looking to improve their sound quality without spending three numbers on a premium pick like our recommended $ 129 Blue Yeti or $ 159 Elgato Wave 3, this is one of the best mics you can get. This is even more true when you find that the entire setup costs roughly the same as a single lunch special!
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