Shure PG27USB – The Video

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Shure PG27 USB Microphone

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Surprisingly good USB performance. The Shure PG27USB.

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Every once in a while, a piece of gear really surprises me. Most everything that makes it to the virtual airwaves of NewMediaGear is good stuff, but there are stand-outs.

USB mics. I have mixed feelings about them. A USB port can only supply a small amount of current, which generally results in a compromised large condenser microphone. A real time headphone amplifier only draws more power away from the exciter.

When I noticed the Shure PG27USB model (there is also a PG47USB available), I had to try it out.

In flat black, with white trim, the PG27USB looks very professional. Except for the low profile level controls and headphone jack on the side and back, it looks identical to the PG27, which is the XLR version. In the box, you’ll find a leatherette pouch, base mount (for attachment to a stand or boom) along with a generously long 3 meter USB cable and manual. No drivers are needed for connection to Windows XP (or above) and Mac OS X.

A quick trip around the capsule reveals the small volume, mic gain and monitor pots. As well, a 3.5mm headphone jack and 20db pad are very discrete as you look at the side address 27USB. Everything is very tight. Fit and finish is classic Shure.

I fired up Sound Forge, checked that “Shure Digital” was my input and output device and that’s it. What really caught me by surprise was the mic sound and clarity of the headphone amp. This mic is ultra-crisp, tight and smooth all at the same time. It reminded me of my 416, and that’s quite an achievement. Soon, I was working in both Sound Forge and Audition, voicing tracks and listening to the playback – all through the PG27USB. The monitor is a ‘mix’ that allows you to sample the mic, your computers audio output, or a mix of both. There is plenty of mic gain and adjustment. Most surprising, is the sheer quality usability of the headphone amp. I sometimes forgot I was working completely in USB.

By far, the PG27USB is the most ‘usable’ USB mic I have ever tried. Everything comes together with great sound, zero latency monitoring and (did I mention) great sound. Have a listen for yourself and let me know what you think?

Shure PG27USB Street Price at Post Time: $199 USD

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Mark Jensen & Laura

Rode NT1-A Complete Recording Solution

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The Rode NT1-A microphone.

In a sea of inexpensive large diaphragm condenser microphones, you need to stand out. In the $150-$250USD range, there are many makes and models to consider.

Besides visual flash – bright colors or chrome trim, some microphones simply succeed on their reputation. Rode is in a unique position to offer an affordable studio microphone with better-than-average quality.

At first glance, the NT1-A looks like a thousand others. No glitz factor. However, a few key things stand out. The NT1-A has the traditional extra heft and solid feel. Once shipped with a clamp-on universal shock mount, the NT1-A CRS adds a re-designed, custom shock mount, with a mount of its own to hold the (included) blast filter. The new shock filter is a vast improvement on “the clamp”. The blast filter is an added bonus.

The CRS (Complete Recording Solution) simply means that you get the updated shock mount plus blast filter. In addition, you get an instructional DVD and 20′ of good quality mic cable.

Most important is how the mic sounds. This is where consistency counts. The NT1-A is not shocking or surprising in any way, although it does have a sonic character. Many describe it as ‘bright’. I had a hard time deciding.

All in all, this cast is made possible because I bought an (older run) NT-1A and decided I couldn’t do without it over the years. …never regretted the purchase

Street Price at Post Time: $229

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NewMediaGear Update – February, 2010

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