SmallRig Forevala U60 review | digital camera world

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The SmallRig Forevala U60 is designed for desktop audio recording. Your smartphone, laptop, or PC is capable of recording audio through its built-in mics, but the sound will be relatively poor compared to audio captured from a dedicated USB capsule mic.

There are already plenty of plug and play USB desktop microphones on the market, but the SmallRig Forevala U60 is worth a look if you haven’t purchased a mic yet to improve the audio quality in your home studio.

At $89 (or around £80), the U60 is priced competitively, especially when compared to the popular (but more expensive) Blue Yeti mic which has a similar build and nearly identical functions. In fact, the U60 is similarly priced to the budget-friendly JOBY Wavo POD USB mic, but the U60 has a reassuringly solid aluminum construction compared to the plastic body of the Wavo POD.

Features

Dimensions: 292.2×125.9×125.9mm
Lester: 1.08kg
Materials: Aluminum and zinc alloy
Polar Patterns: Stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional
Sample Rate/Bit Depth: 48kHz/24bit
Sensitivity: -38dB

Main characteristics

The U60 black metal will look great on your desk and allow you to capture high quality voiceovers. (Image credit: George Cairns)

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Foam rubber at the base of the stand helps reduce vibration-induced noise from your PC. (Image credit: George Cairns)

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As with most USB capsule mics, the Forevala U60 has an input level knob that you can adjust to capture a healthy (but not distorted) sound level. If you’re using the mic for a live event, you can press the input button to mute it if needed. A helpful LED changes from blue when active to red when muted. An additional headphone jack lets you monitor sound coming into the mic, but you’re probably more likely to monitor sound on your recording device (like a Mac or PC).

A polar pattern button lets you make the mic sensitive to sound coming from specific directions. For example, the Cardiod pattern is the best setting for someone talking into a mic because it doesn’t pick up noise from the sides or rear of the U60. This helps you record a clean voiceover without capturing the roar of your PC fan or vocal echoes bouncing off nearby walls.

You can adjust the polar pattern to suit other recording setups. If you want to interview someone, the two-way setting will record voices from the front and back of the mic (but ignore audio from their sides). To capture a room full of people, you can use omnidirectional (but this will also pick up a lot of unwanted ambient noise). As you’ll see in our test video, a few acoustic treatment tiles glued to pieces of card can be deployed around the mic to absorb ambient noise such as echoes and create a cleaner sound. You can buy acoustic treatment tiles on Amazon.

Build and manipulate

The bottom of the U60 has a headphone jack that lets you monitor sound directly from the mic. (Image credit: George Cairns)

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Use the back polar pattern button to change the direction of the audio sensitivity. This helps reduce unwanted noise. (Image credit: George Cairns)

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Use the input level knob to adjust the strength of the recorded signal. The volume knob allows you to adjust the headphone volume. (Image credit: George Cairns)

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The U60 is a solid microphone, made of aluminum alloy and zinc. It is also jet black and looks great on your desk. Adjustable handle knobs let you tilt the mic, though in most cases it needs to stay upright to capture your vocals from the front or back. There’s also a threaded port at the base of the mic which has an adapter so you can attach it to a microphone boom for example.

Desktop microphones can pick up vibrations from other equipment (such as your PC or external drives), which can lead to hum in recordings. A high-density sponge base helps reduce vibration-induced noise, as do the silicone pads that secure the mic to the stand.

Performance

Watch the video (above).

The U60’s built-in sound card enhances stereo and spatial audio and helps keep latency at bay, so there’s no delay between your lip movements and the sound being picked up by the mic. It also captures dual channel audio at 48kHz/24bit, making high fidelity sound recordings easy.

We found the captured audio to be clear and crisp, but a bit “thin”. A little bass boost from the EQ in Final Cut Pro was enough to make the audio sound richer and fuller, as you’ll hear in our test video.

Verdict

The Forevala U60 USB mic will dramatically improve the quality of your sound recordings (compared to the tinny, echoing audio you’ll capture with your PC’s built-in mic).

For a budget mic, it has a solid metal construction and the braided audio cable that connects it to your devices is higher quality than the plastic cables that come with the Blue Yeti or JOBY Wavo POD. The sound is crisp and clear, but it will benefit from a little bass boost in a post-production application like Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro.

Read more:

• Best mics
• Best USB Microphones
• Blue Yeti Review


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