REVIEW – If you are reading this from the far off future of the year 2050, welcome! This is the year 2020- the infamous year of COVID-19 and Shelter-in-Place. Many of us are working at home and suffering from the indignity of poor audio from webcams as we attempt to conference call with video en masse. Of course, the subspace holo-microwave atom microphone system hasn’t been invented yet (not until 2045), so for today we’ll look at an easy alternative, the JLAB Talk GO USB Microphone.
What is it?
The Talk GO is a USB compact, lightweight microphone with two directional pattern modes built in.
What’s in the box?
- 96 kHz Sample Rate
- 24 BIT
- 2 Condensers
- 2 Directional Pattern Modes: Cardioid, and Omnidirectional
- Volume Control and Quick Mute
Design and features
I was really impressed with the included tripod: the swivel adaptor is a standard microphone thread on one side, and a “camera tripod” on the other which connects to the bottom of the microphone.
The ball joint allows you to adjust the angle just the way you like.
The included USB cable is a USB-C connector that fits into the bottom of the mic. It’s angled, which is a nice touch. On the underside is the mute button (center), headphone jack for direction monitoring, and a volume control (for the headphones.)
This is the correct view of the Talk Go as you speak into it. You don’t speak into the “pointy” end.
Mac and PC compatible- simply plug into an available USB port.
There’s no way about it, so I recorded some video using a webcam sitting atop my monitor.
First, listen to what a regular webcam sounds like in a typical home office setup, then with the JLAB Talk GO with both cardioid and omnidirectional patterns.
The webcam’s microphone picks up everything, including any noise in the room, good or bad. The JLAB Talk GO is much closer to me, which helps. The cardioid pattern helps reject noises not directly in line with the microphone, which is ideal for a single-user setup. The omnidirectional pattern is better for a group setting.
I also have a Neumann TLM103 condenser microphone in my arsenal of audio. This is a mic that averages $1100, and that’s without some kind of USB interface to your computer. Unlike the Talk GO, the TLM103 is cardioid-only. So how do they stack up against each other?
First I set the JLAB mic on a short stand to get it raised to a height I’m more used to. The Neumann TLM103 is on the right.
I wasn’t surprised that the Neumann TLM103 sounded cleaner overall. It also costs about 22x more than the JLAB Talk GO and requires a more technical setup than just a single USB cable.
But does it sound 22x better? Consider that over your typical video call (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Webex, etc) audio and video are compressed for efficiency, maybe it doesn’t matter as much as you’d think. One thing is for certain: The JLAB Talk GO is a cost effective, excellent way to improve your outgoing audio versus a webcam mic sitting on your monitor.
What I like
- Far better than your computer’s built-in mic or webcam’s mic.
- Selectable cardioid or omni patterns
- Affordable and lightweight
What I’d change
- The lightweight feels cheap, but that makes it easier to travel with.
You may not need a microphone that costs 4 figures and above to improve your audio, especially in a data-compressed conference call. Want to improve your outgoing audio on your next Zoom meeting at a great price? This mic is a “GO”!