How This $15 Microphone Leveled Up My WFH Game

How This $15 Microphone Leveled Up My WFH Game

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(CNN) —  

Left in the pandemic’s wake is a hungry and growing audience of media consumers. Small-time content creators like myself have successfully tapped into this market by streaming games, hosting podcasts and creating videos. While a solid webcam is only part of the equation to expanding viewership, you’ll never grab an audience’s attention in the first place if your content is riddled with crackly background noise-filled audio.

Tonor’s TC30 USB Condenser Microphone ($15 with code AGQDQ2DC; amazon.com) delivers a nearly flawless audio input capture that has become a pillar of my daily workflow. Its premium matte black travel-centric design — complete with detachable tripod and pop filter — easily gives the mic an appearance 10 times worth its cost. After seeing the device in Amazon’s third top-selling computer microphone slot and the thousands of positive authentic user reviews, I bit the bullet and bought it. After just two days with the TC30, I ordered a second TC30 to create a multi-mic setup. Yes, it’s that good.

Flash forward to a week of putting the microphone through its paces in different environments, and I’ve found it to be the perfect entry-level USB microphone. Hell, even intermediate content creators will want to check this out for an extra microphone in their production flow. Throw in the fact that the device improves work-from-home communications for crystal clear Zoom calls, and you’ll see why Tonor’s TC30 deserves a spot on your desk even if you aren’t necessarily looking to be the next great podcaster.

Hunter Fenollol/CNN

Does the TC30 actually hold up to our picks for the best microphone? According to our testing rubric, in both sound clarity and noise isolation, the answer is a resounding yes. My vocals boomed with crystal clear sound after simply plugging in the USB cable. Noise isolation remained high despite distracting background noise, such as passing traffic outside my home office window or clanks of pans at my girlfriend’s parents’ house. While the microphone caught the clacks of my mechanical keyboard’s brown switches, they were quite dull despite being just inches below the mic. Crisp overall sound quality with minimal interference is possible in a microphone this affordable, thanks to smart engineering, quality build materials and multiple mounting options.

The included pop filter eliminates crackle and extends wide to ensure coverage from all directions. A hefty metal tripod sturdily hoists the microphone into the air without flinching. If you happen to have a scissor boom arm, you can disconnect the tripod and throw the mic onto that instead. Finally, an anti-vibration shock mount ensures pure sound capture by negating interference from background noises like keyboard strokes and accidental bumps into the microphone. These three accessories definitely don’t come standard on most microphones, even on more expensive options.

Hunter Fenollol/CNN

Compared to a category leader like the Blue Yeti, the out-of-the-box sound is admittedly hollow and could be a tinge louder. While it doesn’t sound as lifelike as the Yeti, some quick tweaks of your EQ and compression in a third-party recording software can help the sound approach the quality of true studio microphones. Unlike those microphones, the Tonor excludes onboard buttons, solely records in a cardioid format and lacks any companion software for audio adjustments.

Cardioid mode records audio directly in front of the mi

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How this $15 microphone leveled up my WFH game

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