A decent video is ruined by poor sound. It’s a trivial statement, but one does not realise how important a decent microphone is until the audio is subpar. I did not always get my audio right. It took some trial and error and a decent amount of feedback from you guys. It was surprising to learn how quickly the comments would pour over the bad audio, while a decent sound would always go unnoticed. For the past couple of videos I used Tonor USB Condenser Microphone – so was it good?
So far, not a single person commented on the quality of the sound where the Tonor Microphone (TC-777) was used. That’s a good start, but it doesn’t tell you the full story. Let’s start from the beginning. Tonor reached out and asked me to check out their microphone and the stand (review). In the wake of the pandemic, it’s not a bad idea to pay attention to your audio setup at home, if your days are spent on internet meetings, Zoom calls etc. You can get away with a laptop grade microphone, but if you want to show your professionalism, studio-alike audio is a great way to make a first impression.
If you want to know exactly how Tonor Microphone sounds, watch the video attached to this review which was made in its entirety made using this microphone. In this article, I will point out the strong and weak points of the mic.
Condenser microphones are best for voice and musical instrument pick up. Tonor Microphone has a cardioid pickup pattern, which means you have to turn the mic to face your mouth for the best pickup. The benefit of that is reduced noise from the surrounding area, but you have to pay attention to the position of the microphone. The mic comes with a basic stand which is ok. I got the microphone with a pre-tensioned arm too which is something that makes the positioning ideal.
There is an added benefit of looking like a PRO my next Zoom meeting, all small things add up I guess? Jokes aside, let’s speak about the most important aspect of the Tonor microphone
The voice recordings are quite impressive if done in the correct environment. The raw recording turns my rather annoying at times voice into a husky 3 am radio DJ equivalent. That’s even before the post-processing. I usually apply a couple of simple effects to limit the hiss and spikes by applying a low pass filter and a high cut off.
The voice recorded by the mic has a nice sound to it. There was no hissing noise although I could tell that the voice sounds a tiny bit lower than in real life. Tonor microphone is definitely better at picking up lower frequency sounds.
With that in mind, I picked up a guitar. First time in ages actually. The strings desperately needed attention, but I’m pretty sure it was “my out of practice” fingers that were ruining the melody more. I wanted to hear a little bit of live music being recorded. Just don’t judge the slightly out of tune G string. It’s the best I could do with strings unchanged for years.
This is where the post-processing fun starts, to capture a musical instrument you have to nail the distance, pickup sensitivity and then process the audio in post. I’ve done first two leaving you with unprocessed sound. It shows what you can expect from the microphone.
And it’s surprisingly good. The only gripe I have with the microphone is the sensitivity. I would very much prefer a slightly more sensitive microphone. You could clearly hear the imperfections in tuning the old strings, hesitations in my fingers and every single mistake made by me. There was a little bit of noise, but at this level, it could be easily cleaned up in post. It’s a decent 4 for this price bracket.
Tonor Microphone is suspended in the cage using rubber bands. These provide good enough damping, but I cannot shake off the feeling that the cage is too long for this to work properly. Fortunately, the cage has options to use the bands inside the cage which works better.
The microphone could be more sensitive. To find the best level, I had to set it to 92% – 95% (app dependent) and still be fairly close to the mic’s membrane to the ideal pickup. I would feel better if I had a little more range to play with.
The cable isn’t detachable which is a shame.
It’s less than $40 on Amazon. It’s a quick and easy, plug and play upgrade to audio setup at home. With a bit of testing, you should get the levels just right to impress whoever you’ll have to Zoom next. Since no objections were noted and the audio sounds pleasant in my voiceovers, I’ll continue using this microphone for my voiceover work. Got feedback? Let me know in this Reddit thread.