Elgato Wave: 3 USB microphone sounds great, but requires patience

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Kris Naudus / Engadget

The differences between Wave: 1 and 3 are not immediately apparent, as they are largely the same. These are long, black oblongs that remind me of old-fashioned radio microphones, the kind you might be tempted to grab in your hand and sing ballads – although I would advise against this, as it’s heavy with audio mics. on both sides. You can easily share this mic in an interview or use it to capture ambient noise, which is one of the reasons you should choose a dedicated mic instead of sticking to a gaming headset.

The main difference between the two models is the sampling frequency, with the $ 130 Wave: 1 recording at 48 kHz, while the $ 160 Wave: 3 has a capacitive sensor on the top and samples up to 96 kHz. If you’re looking for professional-quality sound for your podcast or for doing voiceover work, just spend the extra $ 30.

audio application

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The Wave: 3 is designed to be plug-and-play and I was able to use it only with Audacity. However, to get the most out of it, you need to download the Wave Link software, which allows you to configure multiple inputs and control their output to your stream. It’s super simple, allowing you to add new entries with one click, selecting from a drop-down list of available hardware and software. (I was able to add Spotify as an entry, for example.)

The software is available for PC and Mac, but the Man Made Wave: 3 doesn’t play well with Apple machines. Whether or not I used the Wave Link software, it took quite a bit of effort for my MacBook Pro to recognize a headset and the Wave mic at the same time. This not only required adjusting the Wave Link controls, but in some cases I had to dive into the individual app settings to make it work with programs like Zoom. This happened even when I used a Corsair model like the HS60 haptic. The easiest way to get headphones to work alongside the mic, regardless of the operating system, was to use a 3.5mm jack. Then I plug the headphones directly into the mic, selecting Wave: 3 as input and output.

Elgato Wave: 3 with pop filter

Kris Naudus / Engadget

It’s boring, but when the Wave: 3 is working, it’s pretty awesome. I have used it very well for calls on Windows and recorded on our podcast it sounded as good as my colleague’s more professional setups. The on-board controls are also very easy to use. To mute the sound, you just need to lightly press the button at the top. Pressing the volume dial down, during this time, allows you to quickly switch between microphone functions.

Elgato also sells a separate pop filter for $ 30 and a shock mount for 40 $. They are specially adapted for Wave mics, and it was incredibly easy to attach them to the Wave: 3, no tools required. But accessories induce a self-adhesive shock, and at this early stage in the product’s life, generic alternatives will be scarce.

As for the mic itself, I’m very happy with the audio I managed to record. The Wave: 3 may cost more than the standard Yeti mic, but it also records at a higher bit rate: 96 to 42 of the Yeti. For superior sound, you need to buy the most expensive Yeti Pro, which also offers XLR output – overkill for most streamers and podcasters, though musicians might want to take a look at this one. For most streamers, the Wave: 3 is a solid audio tool – if you can get it to cooperate.

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