Audio purists like to give USB mics a bad rap. The all-in-one design that connects directly to your computer is often seen as inferior to an XLR mic connected through a dedicated audio interface. But microphone companies have been making a lot of strides in USB microphones to offer people high-quality audio, without the price and complexity that can come with more traditional microphone setups. The Movo UM700 is one such mic, an all-in-one USB package that becomes the perfect desktop companion for anyone who wants to kick up their audio recording quality a few notches.
What you see is what you get when you take the UM700 out of the box. It comes mounted on a desktop stand that made me feel like I was about to start producing my own true-crime podcast from my office. It can be folded down into itself to be even more compact, but I left it sitting on desk while I was reviewing it and never found it to get it the way. It also has traditional 5/8″ mic stand threading on the bottom if you’d rather mount it on a different stand or boom arm. You’re not locked into using the included stand if it doesn’t work for you.
Movo made its UM700 to feel like a sturdy and quality product. The entire chassis and stand is made of metal, and at more than 2 lbs, it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s an important factor in bridging the world of professional audio with accessible and affordable USB mic designs like this one. Just the fact that the Movo UM700 presents as a quality microphone goes a long way towards helping beginners to feel a lot more professional in this space, even if they aren’t ready to dive into more complex audio capture setups just yet.
Movo UM700 Review – Features
The front of the UM700 features a mute button with a status light to easily mute capture from the mic, as well as the volume control for the headphones. Direct headphone monitoring on the bottom of the UM700 allows you to plug in any standard 3.5mm headphone connector and get latency-free monitoring rather than waiting for the processing through your computer, which can introduce a delay. This headphone jack will also feed your computer audio through it as well, allowing you to hear your game, podcast co-hosts, or whatever other audio is coming through your computer via the UM700 headphone monitoring output.
On the back are two knobs, one to adjust the input gain (volume level) of the mic, and one to change the pickup pattern to capture audio from different directions. On both the gain knob and headphone knob, I found the UM700 to be on the quieter side overall. Cranking the gain too much did introduce some mild background noise, though once I had it dialed in, both between the gain knob on the mic and the settings on my computer, I was pretty happy with the audio output and rejection of ambient sounds. It’s certainly a lot less complicated that trying to perfectly tune a full audio interface setup, but also is a bit less versatile as a result.
However, the best feature of the UM700 is a huge asset to its versatility—the ability to select from four different pickup patterns depending on what you need. Often mics will only come with a single pickup pattern (cardioid is most common). Cardioid will grab sound mostly from the front of the microphone. Stereo grabs a stereo audio signal, recording audio from the left and right independently. Omnidirectional opens up the mic to capture sound from every direction. And bi-directional puts capture at the front and back, perfect for interviewing or podcasting with someone sitting across a table from you. Having a single mic with all four options is huge.
The Movo UM700 isn’t about to replace more professional mic solutions, but it’s also not intended to. While my more expensive XLR mic and audio interface setup will remain in my vocal booth, the UM700 makes for an excellent plug-and-play option that I can easily keep on my desk, or better yet, take on the go without much hassle. It’s versatile options for various pickup patterns make it an excellent choice for podcasts, interviews, and even some instrument recording. With the upcoming PlayStation partnership with Discord, a nice USB mic may even come in handy for console gaming soon too.
Whether you are new to the game and want to upgrade your microphone setup or you’re a professional looking for a quick, versatile, and portable plug-and-play option, the Movo UM700 is the perfect desktop companion that easily outcompetes everything in its price range. It’s a relatively simple no-frills product, but what it sticks with, it does well.
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