The MXL AC-404 USB microphone tested by me today is a high-quality condenser boundary microphone, which is equipped with three capsules and offers a recording range of 180 °. I bought the good piece for 77 euros in a well-stocked specialty store, because with certain things I trust, for example, Thomann and the reviews left there by professionals more than Amazon with the most bought praise. Trigger of the whole thing is my acoustically really disastrous, because very reverberant office area, where recently also the criticism of the audio quality at various meetings accumulated. The boundary (or surface) microphone is a special microphone that is placed on a surface and picks up sound waves directly from that surface. It is often used in theaters, conference rooms, and other environments where unobtrusive miking is required. So now it’s also used in mine.
Yes, my webcam (Logitech C930) has an integrated microphone, but the distance between camera in me is about 80 cm. Even a large-diaphragm condenser microphone lying on the table and a streaming microphone didn’t really help, especially since the product for streamers still blocks my view of my OLED. We see on the picture below once the situation on my desktop, especially since I find spatially no other solution. We will of course hear the audio test comparing all four solutions in the course of the article. Which sounds best? Let’s be surprised!
But why a so-called conference microphone? I sometimes sit with it in my large meeting room and can then connect the part to the mini PC of the TV set, if once several people want to participate in an online meeting. So that’s why a boundary microphone like this makes sense. With a frequency response that ranges from 40 to 16000 Hz and a sampling rate between 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz, this microphone also guarantees decent audio quality (at least on paper). The integrated 16-bit Delta Sigma A/D converter with a THD N of – 0.01% also ensures clear and precise sound reproduction, and yes, there’s almost no noise either.
The scope of delivery includes a USB mini-B connection cable (for the microphone) and a USB A cable (for the PC) as well as a practical microfiber cleaning cloth. That’s all you get and all you need. Yes, it would work for half as well, however, it was important to me to solve a problem and not create another one. I wanted something really useful that would fit into my desk landscape and subordinate it visually.
The microphone is, of course, USB compatible and supports both USB 1.1 and 2.0, which means that it can be easily connected to both Windows and Mac computers without any additional driver installation. This makes it an ideal choice for various streaming and conferencing systems here at home (but not limited to), including, but not limited to, platforms like Zoom, OBS, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger.
Another feature of the MXL AC-404 is its 3.5mm jack headphone output (in case you need it). The microphone is conveniently powered via USB from the computer, which eliminates the need for external power sources. In terms of design, the microphone is a sturdy combination of metal and plastic and presents in a sleek black finish. It measures 78 x 25 x 109 mm and weighs just 190 g. Many professional users appreciate the MXL AC-404 USB microphone for its outstanding audio quality and straightforward plug-and-play functionality. However, it is not only great for conferencing and streaming, but also for simple audio recording. One particular use case comes from a customer who installed the microphone on the ceiling of his rehearsal room and found that it delivered amazingly clear and usable sound (according to thomann.de).
Yes, all this makes of course curious and exactly why I bought the part then. Incidentally, there is the part also with LED headlights, but that was too much for me. In the end, it’s more of a work item that is supposed to be particularly conspicuous in that it’s not conspicuous at all. It just has to work.47172-AC404Datasheet