Elgato has been teasing a new line of products for over six months, through their "Project Wave" YouTube trailer and the accompanying webpage. The wait is now over, and as some correctly guessed Project Wave is a new line of microphones specifically designed for streamers and content creators. The latter comes as no surprise. Elgato, which is owned by Corsair, specializes in streaming gear: capture cards, key lights, green screens, and streaming controllers. Their new lineup consists of two microphones, the Wave:1 and Wave:3. This review will focus on the more expensive, more feature-packed Wave:3.
It would be unfair to describe the $159.99/€169.99 Elgato Wave:3 as a mere streaming microphone. It is actually a standalone USB microphone with an accompanying digital audio mixer. The microphone technology used in the Wave:3 was developed by LEWITT, an Austrian company specializing in professional studio and live sound recording, while Elgato utilized their expertise in streaming solutions to make the Wave:3 extremely appealing to content creators. The microphone is equipped with a condenser capsule with a tight cardioid pickup pattern and an internal pop filter. The built-in ADC (analog-to-digital converter) has a maximum resolution of 24-bit/96 kHz, which is more than enough for anything you might want to use it for, and comes with a proprietary Clipguard technology developed for on-the-fly sound clipping prevention. Elgato also equipped the microphone with a capacitive mute button, multifunctional dial, headphone monitoring output, and boom arm adapter. It doesn't come with a boom arm or any other accessory, such as an external pop filter or a shock mount, but Elgato will happily sell you a pop filter ($29.99) and a shock mount ($39.99) separately.
In this review, we'll thoroughly examine not only the microphone, but also the supplied digital mixer, which could quite possibly be that one killer feature that's going to nudge you to buy the Wave:3 over other standalone microphones, such as the Blue Yeti X or very popular Rode NT-USB. One other reason for you to get it could be the full Elgato Stream Deck integration. In case you own their stream deck, you can easily populate it with Wave:3's channels and most settings for complete control over the microphone and its digital mixer within arm's reach.
- 17 mm electret condenser capsule
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Sample Rate/Resolution: 24-bit/96 kHz
- Max SPL: 120 dB
- Dynamic Range: 115 dB
- Frequency response (specified by the manufacturer): 70–20,000 Hz
- 1x 3.5-mm headphone out (direct monitoring)
- 2.5 m USB cable
- Windows, macOS, Elgato Stream Deck support
- Weight: 585 g (microphone + stand), 280 g (microphone only)