Whether you stream your game sessions, run a podcast or record vocal performances, you need a decent mic. Elgato is throwing its hat into the USB mic ring with its new Wave 1 and Wave 3 units — which shouldn’t be a shock since Corsair has been using the brand to cater to streamers since it acquired the company a few years ago. But given that these are Elgato’s first attempts at USB mics, the results look surprisingly solid.
The Wave 1 and Wave 3 are both condenser microphones — as opposed to dynamic mics — which are typically favored by voice over artists, studio vocalists and podcasters for their ability to capture sounds at low-volumes. The design of the two Wave mics looks sturdy and modern, and there are a lot of features to be found.
The Wave 1 has a headphone volume dial on the front that doubles as a press-to-touch mute button, while the Wave 3 has a capacitive sensor on the top — just hold your finger on it to cut your signal. There’s a multi-function dial on the back of both that lets you adjust volume and gain, as well as crossfade between the mic and your PC — all of which are useful for when it’s a hassle to adjust controls from your computer. And they both have a 3.5mm headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring. The Wave 1 has the typical sample rate of 48kHz, while the Wave 3 offers a more detailed 96kHz spec.
One standout feature is Elgato’s Clipguard anti-distortion technology. If you speak too loudly and are overdriving the mic’s input, the signal will be routed to a different path with a gain pad. This will limit your volume and prevent clipping (AKA distortion). That means you — or your sound guy — won’t have to ride the faders while you stream or record.
Both mics are available now through Elgato and at retail. The Wave 1 is $130 and the Wave 3 is $160. Those prices put them right up against Blue’s similar line of Yeti mics. If you’re in the market for a USB microphone, these might be worth checking out.