We are big fans of USB microphones with multiple microphone patterns, as they provide additional flexibility for experienced studio users, as well as a way for those learning to practice new techniques and setting up microphones. JLab’s Talk Pro has between four polar samples, as well as some excellent specifications, including a high sampling rate. During testing, it provided a user-friendly, versatile experience with solid sound quality. At $ 149, its price drops somewhere between affordable and cheaper options, which means there’s no shortage of competition, but there’s something to love here.
Camera ready design
The aesthetically pleasing black and blue design of the Talk Pro will look good on camera. It has a screw-in tripod stand (you can also screw it into a standard microphone stand), so it can be easily tilted and locked in place with buttons that tighten at the edges of the bracket. When tilted towards the mouth, with the curved tripod stand, it measures approximately 11.1 x 7.6 x 7.6 inches (HWD), but the height varies depending on the angle of the microphone.
In the internal version, the side address of Talk Pro contains three capsules with a 16 mm capacitor, which can be selected or combined to create cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo and bidirectional polar patterns / shooting modes.
There is a mute button on the front of the microphone, as well as an LED meter and a polar pattern selection button – you can also see which microphone pattern you have selected via a simple LED map. There is a USB-C connection on the bottom of the microphone (a 10-meter braided cable with an angled connection is included). The bottom panel also has a 3.5mm headphone jack for live monitoring and an LED control button; Pressing it changes the color scheme of the LED ring that glows at the bottom of the microphone, which is another nice touch for the scenarios on the camera.
There are two Gain and Volume buttons on the back panel, which you can control without looking. You can see the meter set right in front of you on the front panel.
Talk Pro has an impressive 192 kHz, 24-bit depth and frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz. It is compatible with Mac OS 10.10 or later and Windows 7, 8 and 10.
Multiple microphone samples
In cardio mode, which is the most common pattern you will use when there is only one vocal, Talk Pro provides a sharp sound. Compared to, say, the Blue Yeti X for $ 170, the microphone is a bit darker, but still has a decent amount of treble. It is relatively easy to launch explosive capsules from close range, so you will consider a pop filter.
Talk Pro is unlikely to win clashes with Blue or Shure in the category of best vocal microphones, although it can certainly compete. Despite that, it seems that these brands have mastered the sound that rounded out the high tones and clarity, and Talk Pro sounds a little more transparent, which can be a good thing. Most likely, the biggest advantages that Talk Pro provides are its non-cardioid modes – stereo, omni and figure-eight / two-way patterns sound great and will be very useful when recording multiple vocalists in the same room or recording at -location sounds.
When you switch between microphone samples with amplification at a fairly high level, a strong, annoying noise appears in the microphone itself. It’s not ear piercing, but it doesn’t sound like professional equipment. JLab would do well to find a way to muffle that noise or mute it in the future – the competing models we tested didn’t suffer the same whimsy.
In addition to this release, the Gain and Volume buttons allow for quick and precise on-site adjustment, and polar pattern selection allows for versatility. Combine that with high sampling speed, and Talk Pro has the potential to deliver high-quality vocal recordings, especially for podcasts.
JLab Talk Pro corrects most things, including multiple microphone samples, high sampling speed, zero delay tracking, on-board gain control, and relative ease of use. The annoying sound when switching polar patterns is not an interruption of the deal, and this is a microphone that should definitely be considered if you are buying in the $ 150 range. The reality, however, is that there are a lot of quality USB microphones in the area under $ 200, and in the end it comes down to what your priorities are. For example, you might want a microphone that has fewer patterns and that simply sounds good out of the box. In that case, we’re fans of the aforementioned $ 170 Yeti X, as well as the $ 100 Shure MV5, which has a pre-set DSP (digital signal processing). If you can spend more in the meantime, the $ 250 Shure MV7 is an advantage over the classic Shure SM7B and an even stronger option for podcasters.