As a podcast host I am rather familiar with microphones. You talk into one and it records what it hears. The process is pretty simple however as with anything worth doing well the quality of the hardware does come into play.
In this review I’ll be going over the Beyerdynamic FOX. The FOX is a professional grade USB studio microphone. It features a large-diaphragm condenser and is primarily designed for vocal and instrument recording.
Let’s start with the specs
Transducer type: Condenser (back electret)
Operating principle: Pressure gradient
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Polar pattern: Cardioid
Sensititvity @ 94 dB SPL / 1 kHz: -15 dBFS / -33 dBFS
Self noise: -88.5 / -107 dBFS A-weighted
MaxSPL at 1 kHz: 97.5 / 97.5 dB SPL
Dynamic range: 77 / 77.5 dB A-weighted
Power supply: USB
Output power into 16ohm: 32 mW
Output power into 80ohm: 13 mW
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Dynamic range: 98 dB A-weighted
There are a number of things I really like about the Beyerdynamic Fox. First is the form factor, the microphone is very compact and features a very solid and hefty metal shell. Not only does this help with audio quality but, just feels right and won't take up too much space when you travel.
Fox also comes with a clip on wind shield and is something most, if not all, studio microphones make you buy separately. Simply click the shield to the front of the microphone and away you go.
The final item is a mute button. This is an often overlooked feature on studio microphones with the idea that your DAW will handle what to record and give the sound engineer full control. Well, with USB microphones the studio is a little simpler and the ability to mute the recording without touching the software is extremely helpful.
Some of the other controls are the Mix dial. You are given two ways to monitor your recording. The first is with a zero latency monitoring though the onboard headphone jack. This is what we use when podcasting and helps us know what the recording will sound like. The Fox allows you to mix between what is recorded at the microphone and from the recording device, PC, smartphone etc..
The final dial is your basic volume for the onboard headphone jack.
As with most condenser microphones there is a built in gain and the Beyerdynamic FOX offers two settings, High and Low. High gain is for recording quiet sounds while Low gain will work for loud sounds. Personally I found both settings to be rather quiet when it comes to recording and only having two settings was a bit of a disappointment.
I am happy to see a USB Type-C connector on the Fox and the braided USB cable apperas to be extremely well made. Unfortunately the cable is only 3 feet long (1 Meter) and thus really limits where the microphone can be placed.
Much like with headphones the sound quality of a microphone is very subjective and due to several factors such as your distance from the microphone, recording bit rate and microphone hardware. So in an attempt to add a little testing to this review I’ve going to include three sound clips basically of me reading a script.
Each clip is 15 seconds long and I tried my best to make each one sound the same.
The first will be the Beyerdynamic FOX followed by the Blue Yeti and finally using our podcast setup on the R0de Procaster. The R0de is a completely different kind of microphone and included just for variety.
As you can hear there are some subtle differences between all of the microphones. I find that the Fox offers a little deeper tone but is honestly very similar to the Blue Yeti in sound quality.
On the script I talk about how the gains were set so that the recording volume was the same. While I could do this for both the Blue Yeti and R0de Procaster I was unable to boost the gain on the Beyerdynamic FOX and it was honestly too quiet for my tastes so it and the other recordings were boosted in post before getting exported to a MP3.
The Beyerdynamic FOX is what I would consider to be a compact professional microphone. It features a large diaphragm condenser transducer supporting a full spectrum frequency response and Caridoid polar pattern. The USB connection will default to a 24 Bit 96kHz recording level making it one of the highest quality USB microphones I have ever used.
Of course sound quality is based on how you are recording the audio so be sure to match your DAW to the same levels.
You will get everything you need to setup the microphone including a clip on wind screen, a braided USB Type-C cable, Beyerdynamic FOX and microphone stand. The FOX uses a standard microphone thread allowing to be attached to a variety of stands if you need something more than the included desk stand.
Overall I was really impressed with the Beyerdynamic FOX. The sound quality was quite good and the microphone worked extremely well both Windows 10 and Audacity. The recording level did need to be boosted quite a bit making me feel that it would be a poor choice for a gaming setup or used as an everyday microphone. In contrast microphones like the Blue Yet offer a variable gain which will increase the recording volume and background noises.
While the recording volume needed to be boosted I can say the FOX did an excellent job at blocking out ambient noises similar to what I have noticed when we switched to using a Dynamic microphone, like the R0de Procaster, on the Hardware Asylum Podcast.
Included Wind Screen
USB Type-C Connection
Excellent background Noise Filtering
Included Desk Stand
24-bit / 96kHz Default Recording Quality
Recording volume was very low
Gain switch seems limiting, need more options
The included cable is only 1 meter long