M-Audio Uber Mic

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by rplgn, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. rplgn

    rplgn

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    Hello audio enthusiasts, I have recently purchased the M-Audio Uber Mic which is a microphone meant for recording use in connection with a computer. Usually you would have an amp inbetween where you can boost the sound using line-in connection but those PC microphones work by USB and provide their own audio processing in software and the microphone itself.

    The Uber Mic sounds too quiet for me. Does anyone have experience with this microphone or M-Audio in general? Are they a good company that responds to support requests? I may have to return that microphone otherwise.

    wavecompare.png

    Left is the Sennheiser PC 363D, right is the Uber Mic, in similar recording tone and conditions. I have also included the samples in this YT video:

    A quick look at the M-Audio Uber Mic (and its flaws) - YouTube

    If you consider buying that microphone then please reconsider your purchase. The lack of custom amplification might turn you off. The mic gain is not an amplification feature but rather a sensitivity control, it is not the same, does not work for me!

    Kind regards

    Martin Turski
     
    rplgn, Mar 23, 2021
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  2. rplgn

    rplgn

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    The idea that a 100,- € Microphone would just refuse to give out good sound was not willing to leave me. I remember that I looked at the M-Audio website itself and there was all this professional audio equipment powered by mostly raw audio line-in. So I had this crazy idea: why not bypass the bad Uber Mic software by using the line-out connector meant for headsets on the Uber Mic and connect it with the line-in of my Surface Pro? As a result, I could use the volume dial as analogue amplifier! Take a look at the result:

    Uber Mic using the raw line-in method:
    ubmic_lineinrealtek_audacitywaves.png

    Uber Mic using the standard advertised USB method:
    ubmic_usbdriver_audacitywaves.png

    It completely baffles me that M-Audio is unable to create good Windows 10 sound drivers for their products! I wonder how much better the Mac variants are. They do want to advertise this third-party sound editing suite to you that is not a free product, but hardware is supposed to work out of the box... o_O

    For your own insight, I have attached the raw sound samples to this post.

    I hope that M-Audio will improve their software so that you'd not depend on funky setups like these:
    ubermic_setup.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    rplgn, Mar 23, 2021
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  3. rplgn

    rplgn

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    Today I have received an official response from InMusic, the company responsible for the M-Audio brand. Here it is:

    maudio_response.png
    So their excuse is about the Gain Level knob. Before contacting customer support I have extensively tested it, suffice to say it has failed me, but to remove any shadow of the doubt here is the knob and my experience with the lacking USB microphone gain amplification, using the M-Audio Uber Mic as an example.
    gainknob.jpg

    First off, they are correct in stating that gain is supposed to adjust the signal input level of the microphone sound. But we can either argue that the gain amplification range is terribly small/low or the hardware digitizer inside the mic is behaving questionably. You can check out a basic idea of gain in this YT video: What's the Difference Between Gain and Volume? - YouTube

    I recorded two samples: one with my normal voice tone, one with whispering tone. Here are the waves as displayed by Audacity:

    Normal Voice:
    ubmic_123test_mingain_maxgain_middlegain.png

    Whispering Voice:
    ubmic_123test_whisper_mingain_maxgain_middlegain.png

    The first section is the gain at minimum, the middle section is the gain at maximum and the last section is the gain at medium/middle.

    As you can see, the gain knob is unable to reach the peak level. This is especially terrible for whispering audio (ASMR, quiet instruments, etc), the signal has to be scaled in Audacity at post-processing stage. I want to remind you that the Uber Mic has been advertised as all-round microphone, one of which is the use for live-streaming or YouTube. The most common complaint is that you are speaking too quiet. This is where a good signal amplification phase is crucial. Without it I absoletely cannot recommend the Uber Mic using the advertised USB digitization method. Take a look at my previous reply to find a much better yet more complex recording setup.

    My finding can be generalized to USB microphones in general (Blue, RODE, TONOR, AUNA, etc). If you search the internet you can find many people that complain about a missing microphone boost feature. With that they mean a software-based amplification stage that makes up for any too-quiet sound. The response from InMusic, the M-Audio brand owner, was disappointing because it did not confirm my finding as actual issue but rather an uncertain feature. I pray that the company changes their view on this and does implement a software-side amplifier!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
    rplgn, Mar 24, 2021
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  4. rplgn

    rplgn

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    Now it is time for a quick sound range and clarity test using my voice. It should demonstrate the difference between mono and stereo recording. We compare the stereo Delock 63926 with the mono built-in Realtek port of my Surface Pro (2017). I speak the same words three times, with same signal amplification settings, two times, with and without hummgate for Realtek. Spoken through my M-Audio Uber Mic.

    Comparison of the Audacity waves (Delock vs. Realtek with hummgate)
    dsrt_comparison.jpg


    The raw sound samples are attached to this post. Both soundcards were set to 100% signal amplification in the Windows 10 sound settings. The knob configuration on the microphone was left untouched.

    Analysis
    In my opinion, my voice sounds clearer through the Delock soundcard. Also sound recording using the Delock does not produce any humming, while the Realtek soundcard does produce humming for both the humming-reduced and unreduced versions. After all, I dare to say, the microphone port of a PC is not the most important peripheral to have the greatest quality, huh.

    For the Delock, I find it surprising that even though the Uber Mic is not set to the stereo directional feature, there are tiny differences in both recorded channels as indicated by the waves. The Realtek soundcard does tell Windows 10 that it does provide output in two channels, but this is obviously a dud because the R channel is an exact copy of the L channel (to be expected because the port only allows for one channel sound line-in).

    Conclusion
    For voice chat applications the microphone port of the Surface Pro is just fine. But it does not cut it for recorded stuff like YouTube videos or podcasts. In that case, the Delock is the preferred choice due to it's input signal clarity. I did not cover the obvious advantages of the Delock like S/PDIF support, make up your own mind about that! ;)
     

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    rplgn, Mar 28, 2021
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