Headphones maker JLab has launched its first USB microphone series, with the mics aiming to offer an affordable and easy-to-use route into streaming and podcast recording.
The JLab Talk range starts from just $49 with the entry-level Talk Go, and also includes the $99 Talk and the $149 Talk Pro. It’s a clear challenge to the Blue Microphones range, which includes some of the best microphones currently on sale.
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The Talk Go mirrors the budget Blue Snowball Ice as a cheap tool for gaming and amateur streaming. The mid-range range Talk, meanwhile, takes on the Blue Yeti as a mic for those who want high recording quality for streams and podcasts without the high price of professional gear.
The Talk Pro actually does promise “professional level” recording quality for its still-relatively-accessible $149 outlay. It has the highest recording resolution of the three at 192kHz — the Talk and Talk Go both max out at 96kHz — and is designed to handle music and vocal recording as well as gaming, streaming and podcasts. It still connects over a USB-C cable, as do the other two, so it could be a viable option for aspiring musicians who only have a simple PC or laptop setup.
For voice recording, though, the Talk and Talk Go look like they could be even better value. At $99 the Talk is cheaper than the Blue Yeti and has the same four directional recording modes as the Talk Pro: cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo and bi-directional. The Talk Go isn’t any cheaper than the Blue Snowball Ice but, unlike Blue’s mic, it provides both cardioid and omnidirectional modes.
The Blue Snowball Ice only has a cardioid condenser, meaning it can’t clearly record someone speaking behind it. The Talk Go might therefore be a better budget microphone for podcasts where everyone sits around a single mic.
All three of the new JLab Talk microphones are available now, from JLab, Amazon and Best Buy. If you’re thinking of starting your own stream or podcast, check out our ultimate guide to Twitch and our tips on how to start a podcast.