Sennheiser’s first USB desktop microphone does a lot right

Sennheiser needs little introduction, but chances are you know the company best from its headphones and soundbars. Meanwhile, in the professional audio world, it’s perhaps best known for its microphones – some of which have reached legendary status (I’ll also personally recommend the MK4 for podcasting to anyone who asks). Enter the company’s latest offering – the $130 Profile USB Microphone – which aims to bring some of that pro-audio magic to the podcasting or streaming world.

The company doesn’t make many USB microphones, so it’s fair to say the profile is Sennheiser’s game for the maker market. The space currently dominated by the Blue Yeti or Rode’s NT-USB, among others. Not only is it priced comparably, it also offers the same key features, such as gain control, direct monitoring, and a mute button (something not every USB microphone has, but probably should).

A small detail that makes the Profile stand out is the built-in tilt mechanism. Where, for example, the Yeti and the NT-USB can be tilted via their stands, the Profile can be placed in the desired angle without an additional bracket. There is a standard 5/8″ thread on the bottom for attachment to boom arms and tripods. You can also buy the profile in a $199 bundle that comes with a special boom, which has its own original design that’s slightly less imposing than rivals like Rode’s PSA1+.

Thankfully, Sennheiser has bucked the general trend of making podcasting/streaming microphones bigger than they need to be. The Yeti ($100) is imposing (even the Nano is on the cramped side), the NT-USB ($170) isn’t much smaller, and other popular options like the HyperX Quadcast ($140) and even Elgato’s Wave 3 ($ 150) feel large in comparison. At $130, the profile also sits on the more affordable side of its rivals.

Of course, it doesn’t matter how many features there are if it doesn’t sound right. Of the three mics listed here – which is far from exhaustive but includes two popular alternatives – the Profile is most similar to the Blue Yeti, which isn’t a bad thing considering its continued popularity. There’s a pretty steep shelf below 100 Hz with some light boosting around the 5 and 12 kHz regions – the latter of which is common to add some of that elusive vocal “sparkle”.

Overall, the sound profile is a good match for what most streamers and podcasters are looking for – fairly neutral with a slight boost to the frequencies that add clarity to most voices. Combined with the competitive pricing and full range of gain/mix/mute settings, the profile makes a very convincing case for itself.

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