We've entered a time in our lives where audio recording is more important than ever. Video conferencing, streaming, recording videos, podcasting and more are just some of the things more people than ever before have been getting into but none of it gets off the ground if you sound like trash.
The only problem is that, more often than not, upgrading a recording setup is way pricey endeavor to get into. Luckily, we got companies like FIFINE brings us affordable yet quality solutions for those wanting to record on the cheap.
The FIFINE AM8 microphone that I had the opportunity to try out is an incredible example of this.
One of the first things I noticed upon taking the FIFINE out was how awesome it looked. A lot of the times I'll get a microphone designed for streaming purposes and you'll end up spending triple digits for something that looks like you got a toy from Five Below, but the FIFINE AM8 has a sleek and elegant cube like design that I immediately fell in love with. It reminds me of a modern version of the old school mics that they use at my local recording studio.
The AM8 also has this really nice looking ring of colored LEDs around it's port end that can be switched from solid color, fluxuating colors, and a slowly rotating rainbow by simply touching the button on the mic.
On one hand this is really nice because a lot of the times when I get something like a mouse, keyboard or other computer accessory it drives me nuts having to open yet another menu to go through my options. If I'm doing some sort of recording or content creation chances are I got about eight or nine different windows open and one less thing clogging my Command+Tab window (Control+Tab for you PC peoples) the better.
On the OTHER hand, however, is the fact that they went with a very sensitive touch button for the lights. At first I thought it was kinda cool but as I tried using it I found myself CONSTANTLY switching the color settings. I actually thought the mic was disconnecting with how often a simple touch of the mic could switch things over to the solid red color.
I found myself actualy putting a piece of black tape over the button to ensure this would stop. Normally this would be fine but the mix requires you to be 2 to 6 inches away from it for the best sound which means if you're streaming it's gonna be right there with your keyboard and mouse.
I made a video checking the audio levels and sound and you can here what happens when you get out of the two to six inch range. The first part of the video is me reading from the instruction manual, and second part if me sitting back of range and picking something up from the floor while talking. I go through five different movements and you can hear significant sound changes.
This is good for the average recording as it cuts out a lot of background noise. Believe it or not I actually had kids in the house while I recorded this and you cannot hear them. But it might also take some disciplinary exercises for people who tend to look around while using a mic.
For example, if you're recording off a script you'll have to make sure you have the script behind the mic so you're not constantly turning to and from the script or you're going to have some fluctuating volume issues.
But something I liked about this mic is that once you have a good setting you like it just stays that way. No readjusting everything any time you plug it in.
I did have two qualms with this mic. One isn't that big.
The minor qualm is that the logo of the mic is set in a way in which if you don't have the controls on the underside the logo is upside-down. It looks better with the controls on the underside for the most part but whenever I reached for the controls to adjust the levels I found myself constantly bumping the lighting button. Until I got used to it I had the controls on the top of it meaning the logo was upside down.
The big qualm though is that it doesn't come with a Type-C. If you record off a Mac (from experience a lot of people in the recording industry tend to rock MacBooks) you'll notice that newer Macs don't have USB ports anymore as they've evolved up to the better Type-C cable.
Of course, I have a hub that allows me to plug older USB items into my Mac which was when I found out that the mic can't be recognized when plugged into a hub. I ended up having to get USB-C to USB-C cables to actually review the mic.
From the consumer level it would irk me to get something "Mac compatible" only to find out that I need to make a second trip to the store because it isn't.
All in all though, when I got the mic set up and actually working it created a solid recording experience. Especially for the price of $55 (at the time of writing) you get a sound that almost closely parallels more high-end professional mics. It's a great little piece of tech that, honestly, you can't go wrong with for a starting mic and maybe even a long term one.