After nearly a decade, Elgato has grown into one of the biggest names in video game streaming and recording. With popular products like the Elgato Stream Deck and the newer Elgato 4K 60 S +, it’s often been wondered why microphones weren’t in the company’s repertoire. That absence ended with the release of the Elgato Wave: 3 microphone.
This product has been provided by Elgato for the purpose of this review. All prices shown are in USD.
Unboxing the Elgato Wave: 3
The first thing you notice when you unbox the Wave: 3 is how heavy it is. But don’t worry, most of the weight comes from the attached desk stand, which will be covered later. As for the mic itself, it’s quite light and feels like it’s easily broken, but it’s a personal feeling that may differ with other users.
The Wave: 3 comes with the aforementioned mic and desk mount, plus an adapter to attach it to a boom arm, as well as a USB-C-to-USB-A cable for connection.
The mic itself features three LED lights for three different elements: mic gain, volume monitor, and mic / pc mix. Press the main button to toggle between the three options, allowing you to adjust the levels accordingly with an overall level meter located just above it.
On top of the mic is a mute button that requires a single press to turn the sound on / off. While you might be worried that you might accidentally mute yourself, the button position makes it nearly impossible. Finally, the back of the microphone includes the USB-C port as well as a 3.5mm jack for headphones.
A physical drawback comes with the use of the boom arm adapter. It took a lot of effort to unscrew the desk stand in half in order to secure the adapter. After the first time, however, the conversion was much easier.
Great sound at a great price
Priced at $ 159.99, the Elgato Wave: 3 is a condenser microphone that records audio happening directly in front of it. Unlike other mics that offer omnidirectional recording capabilities, the Wave: 3 is kept simple, avoiding things like key presses, mouse clicks, and background fans.
Elgato announces what it calls “Clipguard,” which is supposed to automatically soothe saturated sound waves before they reach your recording software. While you can catch the levels reaching red when recording your audio, the audio itself rarely, if ever, hits the clipping levels, making it a fairly worry-free recording experience. That said, if you yell into the mic, no anti-clipping software will help.
For sound quality, it is recommended that there is a gap of two fists between the microphone and your mouth. While this is clearly the best distance for recording without an audio mixing, it wasn’t difficult to get quality sound while sitting about a foot away from the mic, making it one of the best microphones in the world. remote recording available for the price. And even with a gain of between 60% and 75%, there was no noticeable background noise when recording.
There’s also a built-in pop filter which – for someone like me who really emphasizes the “P” in almost every word that contains it – is extremely handy. Plus, it eliminates the need to have one attached to a pole mount, giving the setup a much cleaner look.
Another advantage of the mic is that it can be used with the included mic stand. No matter how badly the desktop was bumped, it had no noticeable impact on the audio recording.
Besides the quality of the microphone, the Wave: 3 is a product rich in software features. The mic can use two proprietary Elgato software and hardware: Wave Link and Stream Deck.
Wave Link software may seem a little intimidating at first, but it’s straightforward. It’s a digital mixer that lets you get the perfect audio mix for their streams, podcasts, videos, or whatever else you create. The software lets you create two separate output mixes – one for you and one for your audience – with up to eight channels all of which can be quickly controlled and adjusted.
An interesting ability with multiple mixes is the ability to have a local mix to listen to, like music, while also providing a second mix for your stream or video that only mutes the music while keeping everything else. It’s a small but essential touch for those who need music when playing but don’t want to risk a copyright strike.
What makes software a home run is the lack of resources it needs on your PC. Getting it to work with software like OBS, Audacity, Premiere and many others caused no constraints.
With the Stream Deck feature, you can simply control everything in Wave Link with the push of a button. From muting the mix to general volume settings, it’s all there for you with little to no configuration as the software will automatically install the correct Wave: 3 profiles for use.
Elgato Wave: 3 – ride the wave
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. What people see about someone initially is likely to stick with them forever. The same can be said about entering a product market for the first time: that first product is sure to leave its mark on consumers in one way or another.
With the Wave: 3, Elgato couldn’t have made a better first impression. Even with some of the minor issues encountered, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Wave: 3 is a microphone that shines right out of the box. It’s as plug-and-play as any device in the $ 100 price bracket and can easily compete with some of the more expensive devices available.
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