affordable essentials for creating audio content
From the team that brought you Warm Audio, 512 Audio has released a new line of essential audio equipment for podcasting and live broadcasting. Let’s take a closer look.
The production of home audio content is booming. We’ve all been stuck inside for the past couple of years (for obvious reasons), but this wave – sparked by the ease with which creators can access platforms like YouTube and Twitch – is unstoppable. It is 512 Audio’s mission to ride this wave.
The Texas-based company has just released a line of gear, including microphones, headphones, a pop filter, and an adjustable boom arm, to get you started in audio creation. We tested it to see how it stacked up.
At the commercial end of the signal chain, microphones play a crucial role in capturing the character of any sound source, especially the voice. And in the case of these microphones, voice is definitely the target.
Limelight is 512 Audio’s hypercardioid dynamic option. At first glance, it is clearly modeled on that broadcast archetype, the ElectroVoice RE20. But the similarities don’t extend much further. On the one hand, the Limelight is quite light, which makes it easier to position.
Tonally, it tends towards a lower midrange focus. So if you like the mellow tones of classic broadcast sounds, this is sure to please your ear. Leaders in this area, like the aforementioned RE20 and Shure SM7B, tend to have brighter upper mids, helping vocals effortlessly cut through mixes. The Limelight is a bit more rounded and mellow in this range.
In addition, being a hypercardioid microphone, its off-axis rejection is quite good. This makes it an easy choice if you are creating a podcast with other people in the room and looking to reverse the effects of the spill.
If you like your vocal tones with a bit more presence in the highs, the Starlight is a more suitable choice. Rugged side-address large diaphragm condenser, it is not as directional as the Limelight, however, it has a flatter response over a wider range of frequencies.
Its proximity effect – which you can exploit if you like intimate, low-pitched sounds when you get closer to the mic – isn’t as pronounced either. In short, it’s a more coherent microphone, but more susceptible to noise and the best choice if you plan to record a solo livestream in an acoustically controlled environment, for example.
Another advantage of the Starlight is its versatility. Its sensitivity and balance across the entire frequency spectrum make it an excellent choice for picking up acoustic instruments during a recording session. Need to record an acoustic guitar in addition to your voice? Of the two microphones offered, it is more suitable for this task.
While you are recording you obviously need a monitoring tool. Speakers, however, are not suitable for all situations. Having desktop monitors near a sensitive microphone is a recipe for bringing feedback into your signal chain – not the best vibe for your live broadcast!
The 512 Audio monitoring solution comes in the form of the Academy headphones. Being a closed design and displaying a coloring that favors the lower frequency spectrum, they are not ideally suited for clinical mixing tasks. Still, with 45mm drivers and chunky ear cups that provide a solid acoustic seal, these boxes are perfectly reliable for monitoring recordings or giving to your performers during a studio session.
There are also a few handy accessories that make the desktop recording experience smoother. One is the Pop Filter (512-POP) – a standard clamp for the mic stand case that will be no stranger to audio professionals. But for those new to their first podcast, for example, this humble piece of equipment could be the difference between a professional-sounding recording and one marred by explosive explosions.
The other is the now ubiquitous (if you watch a lot on YouTube) boom arm (512-BBA). A smart but hassle-free piece of engineering, just clip it to the edge of your desk, attach a microphone of your choice, and record. It also rotates, so if you’re in front of the camera and want to remove it from your face when you’re not speaking, you can just gently push the microphone away.
Like its parent company Warm Audio, the 512 Audio range is competitively priced. This makes it especially appealing to those who are testing the waters in content creation. And while there are more luxurious, high-performance microphones and headphones on the market, this solid offering will give you the tools you need to start your audio journey in style.
For more details, visit Studio connections.