Movo UM300 Review 1

Movo UM300 Review

Microphone Performance »

Closer Examination

Thanks to its all-metal body with a professional-looking metal mesh sitting on top of it, the Movo UM300 looks and feels like a serious piece of equipment, definitely better than anything you'd dare to expect at the $60 mark. The microphone comes mounted on the supplied table stand. The stand is also made out of metal. It is quite heavy and has no trouble keeping the microphone in position. The bottom of the stand is protected with a layer of dense foam, which will prevent it from scratching the surface you put the microphone on. The UM300 is some 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) shorter than the UM700, which makes it a bit more difficult to put into an optimal position when it's sitting between yourself and your keyboard, although its capsule doesn't struggle with slight off-axis voice pickup.

The microphone is affixed to the base by two plastic fastening knobs. They keep the microphone firmly in place while still giving you the option to tilt it to an optimal angle. This is a side-address microphone, which means you have to talk into its "front," just above the Movo logo. I'm pointing this out because some users might be inclined to talk into the top of the Movo UM300 due to its shape and design. Your goal is to angle the capsule towards your mouth as that will offer you the best performance both in cardioid and omnidirectional mode. If you decide to place the Movo UM300 on a boom arm, you can simply unscrew the two fasteners and use the integrated 5/8" threaded mount. This isn't something I'd recommend, though, because the UM300 doesn't perform that well when very close to the mouth. As you'll hear on the next page of this review, its capsule doesn't handle plosives well, and the microphone isn't bundled with a pop filter, further implying that Movo would prefer it if you'd keep it on the table, resting on the supplied stand.

The stand of course allows us to swivel the microphone to any desirable angle. Again, do keep in mind that this is a side-address microphone though, so you have to talk into its side. While the stand certainly allows you to swivel it into that position too, the built-in capsules are located above the printed "Movo" logo, so that part of the microphone should be pointing toward your mouth.

On the bottom of the Movo UM300 microphone is a USB-C port and 3.5-mm headphone output. The headphone output is for direct microphone monitoring. After connecting a pair of headphones to this port, you'll hear everything picked up by the microphone's capsules in real-time with no perceivable delay. This port also outputs the audio coming from your PC if you select the UM300 microphone as the default playback device. Headphone volume can be adjusted by using the front-facing multipurpose knob. The same knob also adjusts the microphone gain and mutes the microphone. To switch between these two modes, press and hold the knob until the glowing ring surrounding it changes color. A blue ring indicates that the knob adjusts headphone volume, while a purple one means the knob changes microphone gain. A short press of the volume knob mutes the microphone and is indicated by a red glowing ring. Doing so gets picked up by the capsule and can be heard as an annoying "knock." Listen to the following sample to hear what I mean.

Because the same volume knob is used both for headphone volume and microphone gain adjustment, the knob itself doesn't have start or end points, so the only way you'll know if the headphones and microphone are too quiet or loud is by listening. I found this fairly annoying, especially when it came to adjusting the microphone gain because there was no quick way to set it to a preferred level after changing the distance from the microphone capsule. I should also point out that the usable microphone gain range is very narrow, so only a small turn of the volume knob separates pleasant microphone volume from extreme clipping. Because of all that, the most reliable way to get decent sound quality from the UM300 is to set its volume to 100 in Control Panel and do a couple of quick counterclockwise turns of the knob to lower the microphone gain as low as it can go. This makes the microphone loud enough when used from a normal sitting distance and removes the risk of clipping.

The button below the volume knob is used to cycle between the two polar patterns supported by the microphone capsule: cardioid and omnidirectional (more on them on the next page of this review). The current selection is clearly marked with a blue LED.
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Jul 3rd, 2022 16:17 EDT change timezone

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