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Product Reviews

Editors Keys SL300 Microphone and Portable Vocal Booth Pro Review

Mark Brown, over at EditorsKeys, was kind enough to send us out an Editors Keys SL300 Condenser USB Microphone, Portable Vocal Booth Pro (2nd edition) and the Editors Keys Dual Layer Pop Filter to review. Over the past month I have been using and testing all 3 products, both separately and in combination with each other.

General Information

Let’s start off with some general information about the three of these products. (All details and prices were accurate on date of creation of this post in October 2012.)

The SL300 Condenser USB Microphone is available on EditorsKeys.com for €119.99 ($160.98). This payout rewards you with the SL300 itself, a shockmount and the necessary USB cable. There is no installation disc included, that is because it’s not required. The microphone contains built-in drivers allowing you to simply plug-in and use in a few seconds.

The Vocal Booth Pro (2nd edition) is available on EditorsKeys.com for €179.99 ($241.98). The Vocal Booth Pro can be used either on a desk or on a heavy duty stand (which is included). Also included with the purchase are the desk stand adapters and any tools needed to fix the stand together with the booth.

The Dual Layer Pop Filter can be found at EditorsKeys.com for €23.99 ($32.18). The Dual Layer Pop Filter is compatible with all microphone stands with a simple turn to tighten mechanism, allowing you to fix the pop filter onto the microphone (stand) of your choice.

You can also purchase these three items (SL300 Condenser USB Mic, Portable Vocal Booth Pro (2nd Edition) and the Dual Layer Pop Filter) in a bundle for €311.99 ($418.58)

Editors Keys SL300 Condenser USB Microphone Final Verdict

The SL300 has a solid build with an impressive weight to it. I found the build of the microphone particularly impressive. I appreciate the weight of the microphone (even though the microphone will remain in the shockmount for the majority of the time in my use) and the solid feel to the microphone.

The mic also features a built in blue studio-light hidden behind the wire mesh. Note: The blue studio-light turns on upon plugging the mic into the USB socket and does not symbolize that it is recording live.

As shown by the symbol on the front, the microphone is omnidirectional. The microphone also features two switches on either side of the omnidirectional symbol.

The -10db setting allows you to record your audio at a -10db level which is ideal for musicians recording vocals, instrumentals, etc.. The microphone also features a “low-cut” switch allowing users to record audio and cut off any frequency below 200Hz.

I personally did not find a huge use for the low-cut feature or the -10db setting, however, that’s due to the fact that the audio I record is normally for audio commentary. I’m not the most talented musician and I understand and want to emphasize the fact that both features can play an important role in a musicians recording or instrumentals and/or vocals.

Overall I would recommend this microphone to anyone who is looking for a professional microphone within the hundred €/$ price range. The microphone produces clean, crisp audio that can only be admired. Comparing this microphone to my previous microphone (of a similar price) I was quite blown away by the quality. The audio sounds much more professional and allows me to take pride in my audio. This microphone easily deserves 9/10 stars.

Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth Pro (2nd Edition) Final Verdict

The Portable Vocal Booth Pro (2nd edition) varies in several ways from the 1st edition.  The 2nd edition features a new “barn-door” style folding mechanism, allowing for simple storage and transport. The 2nd edition also features desk-stand mounts allowing the booth to be used whilst sitting on your desk, unlike the 1st edition.

The 2nd edition also includes the microphone stand in the listed price. The acoustic foam featured in the 2nd edition of the Portable Vocal Booth Pro boasts a different design pattern allowing for optimum recording conditions (explained further below).

The “specially molded foam” that lines the inside of the Portable Vocal Booth Pro (2nd edition) aids to create dry vocals while also helping to prevent exterior audio from polluting your audio. The punched aluminium back to the booth is not just cosmetic, the design actually adds an extra layer of “audio deflection”, reducing the sound pollution into your microphone.

The stand is very easily assembled to sit on top of the stand (which is included with purchase) and after your first few assemblies you should be able to put that vocal booth on the heavy duty stand, with the microphone in the shockmount and the pop-filter applied within 5 minutes! The booth and stand truly are portable!

As I noted in the review, I probably would not have recommended the booth until I used it under different circumstances. To elaborate on this, while examining and testing the booth I found the improvement in audio quality slightly impressive, but nothing to get excited over.

However, when I used the booth with exterior noise outside or even on my desk (from my old-loud laptop), I noticed that the design of the foam and the exterior case to the booth isn’t just for fancy looks or minor improvements. The features actually did help to reduce the amount of background noise reaching my microphone to the point where the two recordings (one with and without the booth) had obvious differences.

Overall, the Portable Vocal Booth Pro has hugely impressed me (especially after the previous background-sound-test mentioned)! With a price tag of €179.99, it may be out of reach of some lower-end musicians and recording enthusiasts. However, if you’re looking to upgrade your equipment and spend a bit of dough, the price tag is actually quite affordable compared to alternatives when looking at quality. I find it hard to rate this product out of 10 due to the fact that this is one of the only products like this that I have reviewed, however, I would recommend this product.

Did I find any cons? Yes, but it’s very minor, and I like to nitpick.

I was very impressed with the combination of the Vocal Booth Pro 2, the SL300 and the Dual Layer Pop Filter. The only thing during my month of testing that stood out as a con to me was the fact that in certain cases, when you attach the dual layer pop filter to the microphone while it is in the shockmount and sitting in the vocal booth AND the vocal booth is on a desk, the apparatus can very easily tilt and fall forward which could possibly cause damage to the products. However, this was such a minor con that only arose in certain circumstances that I still couldn’t call it a full-fledged con.

 Editors Keys Dual Layer Pop Filter Final Verdict

I don’t have much to say about the Dual Layer Pop Filter. Compared to a normal pop filter (one that is not dual-layered), I couldn’t find much of a difference in audio quality. I found two or three situations in audio recordings where I think that the dual-layer pop filter did a slightly better job of reducing the pop and rise in audio levels. However,  the dual-layer pop filter is €23.99 which is similar to what you would pay for a normal (high quality) pop-filter. 

Would I recommend the dual-layer pop-filter? I would recommend a pop filter. If you were going to purchase the SL300 and the Portable Vocal Booth then I would advise you to purchase the bundle with all 3 products for €311.99. The dual layer pop filter has a similar price to a normal pop filter so I wouldn’t find any need for an upgrade from a typical pop-filter to the dual layer pop filter, but if you are someone who is searching for a suitable pop filter, the dual layer pop filter would not be a bad purchase.

 

Please enjoy the video review embedded below:

Video review goes live on the 28th of October at 7PM GMT .

Categories
Product Reviews Technology

Google Drive vs the rest

Google Drive finally launched  after much speculation as to whether the project by Google was actually real or not. There has been talk about it since early 2006, and 6 years later Google decided to release. Since the day of launch I’ve been using it as a direct replacement to Dropbox. Google instantly released the platform to be available on Mac, PC and all Android devices, recently iOS has been given support as well. The standard deal is that you get 5GB of online data storage for free and you can further increase this to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even a hefty 1TB for $49.99/month.

Once you’ve signed up to the Google Drive platform you will see that at the top of your Google bar, the ‘Google Docs’ option has disappeared and been replaced with the word ‘Drive’. This is because now all your google docs are synced between all your different platforms through Google Drive. It’s a pretty neat solution by Google and is an obvious solution to try and keep the seamlessness of the brilliant service. You have to options in your drive, one saying ‘My Drive’ which contains documents only visible to you and the other one, ‘Shared with me’ which allows for the ability of sharing documents between you and your friends.

After the creation of your Google Drive account, you have the ability to download a Google Drive folder onto your computer. What this allows you to do, is to create a folder within your computer’s hard drive and  simply drag in the files that you want uploaded to your online account, which will happen instantly without you having to tell it to. On your first upload you will be presented with the question as to whether or not you want your file to be converted to the relevant Google docs format, and you choose to abide by that or just keep the original format.

What I love about Google Drive is how it instantly updates the files you upload onto the cloud onto all your different platforms. So if I want to access a document on my iPad and continue editing it while I’m out and about , I can do just that. Simply drag the file into the folder installed on the computer, which will then get transferred onto the cloud and then onto the iPad app, this all happens in mere seconds. Google have done really well designing it and in my opinion its one of the best looking cloud storage services around.

If you are new to Cloud storage and are wanting to setup an account you’re going to want to know what gives you the best usability, reliability and which one is the most cost efficient service for you. Currently, the three main Cloud storage sites along with Google Drive are Dropbox, iCloud and SkyDrive. All three have really easy to use interfaces and are pretty simple to use. So on that front its really up to personal preference. Unless of course we are talking about iCloud, which with the recent update to Mountain Lion, preferences can be set so that documents you create in iWork are automatically sent to the cloud without you having to order that.

When it comes to reliability Dropbox is known to crash from time to time due to the sheer number of users on it. But to be honest it does not happen regularly enough to deter the regular user.

As for cost efficiency, well SkyDrive provides you with a decent 7GB, which is slightly more than the 5GB Google does. However, Dropbox is still only providing you with the tiny 2GB of data. Apple provide you with a free 5GB of storage on iCloud as well. But the prices for extra date vary for the different services. For Dropbox you can get 50GB of storage for $9.99/month or $99/year and . 100GB of data for $199/year. For Skydrive, 20GB of data comes in at $10/year, 50GB  at $25/year and 100GB at $50/year. Finally, iCloud prices are 10GB for $20/year, 20GB for $40/year and 50GB for $100/year.

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Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21 Headset Review

The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21 Headset is one of Turtle Beach’s main headsets, designed primarily for Playstation 3, but also compatible with Xbox 360 and PC. The headset retails for $79.95 from Turtle Beach’s website and can be found in various retailers that will be listed below. In our review, we will be reviewing the headset in terms of build, sound quality and mic quality.

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ComputerPlanet ND 4000 Review / Overview

Ever wanted to get a beast of a computer without paying top end prices? A Custom  built PC could be what your looking for! Today I am going to be doing a review and overview of the Next day 4000 gaming PC from ComputerPlanet.co.uk