As we mentioned earlier this month, the crew over at Anker released a new condenser mic. Over the past few weeks I’ve been using it for a variety of conference calls at work, and have our take on it to share with you.
Setting up the Anker PowerCast M300 is a pretty simple affair. The mic itself is already mounted on an arm, and only have to thread it into the sturdy base (which has a ball fitting, so it’s easy to adjust the angle without messing with thumb screws). Past that, you’re hooking in the USB-C cable (it’s USB-C on the mic end, and then either USB-A or USB-C on the computer side). Let it light up, check your sound settings, and you’re off to the races.
Speaking of lighting up – the Anker PowerCast M300 has two different set of lights. In the middle of the mic, you’ve got a teal light (to let you know the mic is live) that switches to red when you mute the mic (which is easily done by pressing the gain knob on the side of the mic). On the base of the mic, you’ve got an RGB ring. Using the button on the bottom, you can quick-press to cycle through 22 different RGB settings, or long press to turn the RGB lighting off (or back on).
The one thing you cannot due is turn off that center light. This is not something you’d want to do during the day, but if you’re of a mind to just sleep your machine at the end of the day (as I do) then there’s obviously still power coming to it, as the light stays on. Just mute it (or unhook the cable) and you’re all set. Also of note – if you have your mic at an angle (as I do) it can be difficult to see the live/mute lighting. Just pop a hand over to the side of the mic, though, and you’ll be able to pick up quickly.
In terms of sound quality, the test for the Anker PowerCast M300 was pretty simple. First up was calling and leaving myself a voicemail, with moving the mic around to different positions. Secondly, was just using it on calls and asking some folks via chat how I sounded. For the voicemail test, things were nice and clear (and it didn’t pick up any of the random background noise in my workspace in the basement, so all the better). Of course, if I moved the mic closer, or raised it up, my voice was louder, but that’s how these work.
In terms of the conference calls, people didn’t note there being any difference or problem with my voice clarity. Of course, if you want to check that, you could always plug in wired headphones to the port on the Anker PowerCast M300, and hear what is being pressed out. It’s an odd sensation, I’ll give it that, but it offsets the weird feeling of talking through earbuds (at least for me). Not on a call? Your music/podcast can pump through the mic, but I didn’t feel the sound quality was quite as good as hooking directly to the machine.
I’ve found that I can place the Anker PowerCast M300 on the far side of my keyboard, and it picks up my voice just fine. That’s sort of my casual, in-and-out-of-meetings position for the mic. If there’s something that I’m making a conscious decision to be more immersed in, I’ll move the mic closer to me, so it’s in the way of my keyboard (sort of similar to closing your laptop lid in a meeting), as just a physical representation of the mental shift.
All in all, the Anker PowerCast M300 has been an interesting addition to my daily desk kit. To get the audio to my ears, I’m relying on the Anker Q35 (gotta cut out that external noise), while using the Anker PowerCast M300 to send my voice out onto the interwebs. Especially appreciated is the physical mute button, just as it was on the H700; hard to beat not needing to fumble around to find the software button. While we used the included stand that came with the mic, the Anker PowerCast M300 can be mounted onto a boom arm or tripod if you want to; it’s got a 13.5mm thread size on the base connection; if you want to use the smaller threaded hole on the side of the mic, that’s a 6mm. At $49.99, the Anker PowerCast M300 is a very, very affordable mic, and definitely up your audio game without breaking the bank. ankerwork.com
Details from Anker
- Realistic Vocals:Sound more like yourself with a large, 16mm condenser microphone that boasts a wide bit depth and high sample rate. Record rich and pure sounds as the cardioid polar pattern picks up what you say without any background noise.
- Plug and Play:Connect to multiple devices without a hassle. No extra settings or extra steps. Just plug it into your device of choice to get started on streaming your broadcast.
- On-Board Gain Control:No need to fumble with complicated controls that are on a separate device. Easily adjust the volume right on your mic to your liking, or mute it if you need to step away.
- Headphone Jack:Time to get used to the sound of your own voice. Plug your headset directly into your mic to hear what your audience is hearing and adjust accordingly.
- Pick Your Favorite Color:Show off your personality with 23 RGB colors at your fingertips. Change the color of your mic’s base to match your mood, to create a certain type of atmosphere, or to complement your outfit.