512 Audio is a new brand but launches with a pedigree, founded by some of the team behind Warm Audio which has been making acclaimed products since 2011. The team is out to make a splash with its first two releases, a pair of microphones aimed squarely at content creators and home recording professionals. Today, we’re looking at the Limelight and Skylight, as well as the new boom arm and pop filter accessories. At $199 for each mic, are they an upgrade over the USB mic most PC users opt for? Let’s find out.
Looking for the second part of this review where we look at the Skylight Studio Condenser Microphone? Click here to go there now!
- Current Price:
- Capsule Type: Dynamic
- Capsule Size: 28mm
- Polar Pattern: Hypercardioid
- Frequency Range: 50Hz – 15Hz
- High Pass Filter: 100Hz (12dB per octave)
- Sensitivity: -54dB 13dB (0dB =1V/Pa at 1kHz)
- Impedance: 600 ohm
- Max SPL: 138dB
- Weight: 0.84 lbs (379g)
- Dimensions: 6.59in x 2.39in (167.5mm x 60.8mm)
- Included Accessories:
- Adjustable Swivel Mount & Protective Carry Bag
See and hear these microphones for yourself in the video above!
Limelight Dynamic Broadcast Microphone
Starting off with the Limelight, this is a dynamic microphone in the same vein as the ElectroVoice RE20 or Shure SM7B but much more affordably priced. Visually, the microphone clearly takes inspiration from the RE20, and I consider that a positive. It’s a cool vibe that looks good on camera and immediately brings to mind radio broadcast studios.
At the same time, the Limelight betrays its more affordable pricing in its construction. Compared to the RE20, SM7b, or even the Rode Procaster which is only $30 more on Amazon, the Limelight only weighs half as much, which is immediately noticeable, even though it’s made entirely of metal. This doesn’t necessarily speak ill of the microphone itself (the capsule and electronics are lightweight in all of these mics), but it’s something I picked up on right away.
The Limelight is a dynamic microphone with a hypercardioid pick-up pattern. It’s less sensitive than a condenser microphone like the Blue Yeti or Audio-Technica AT2020, which means it won’t pick up nearly as much surrounding noise from your PC, clacky mechanical keyboard, or even housemates in the other room. If you’re streaming in an untreated room, and especially so with hardwood floors, you need a dynamic microphone to keep those echoes from making their way in. The Limelight works exceptionally well at blocking external noise.
512 Audio has tuned the Limelight specifically for vocal capture. It brings out the warmer tones in your voice without sounding exceptionally boomy thanks to its built-in high-pass filter (very low end rumble get attenuated before creating rumble). It also features a built-in pop-filter to help block those plosives.
I enjoyed the sound of the Limelight. Compared to my Rode Procaster, it sounded more natural to my ear. It lacked the dynamic “crunch” and compression that’s common to broadcast mics. I liked the smoother tone it offered as a result. The microphone also wasn’t that difficult to drive. I supplied it with 60dB of gain from my GoXLR so I could have some headroom and push it further back from my mouth. If you don’t mind proximity effect, you can get away with 54dB fairly easily, so no need for a Cloudlifter here.
It’s not all high-points, though. The microphone is sensitive to plosives when used close to the mouth. This is to be expected when you’re eliciting proximity effect, but will require a separate pop filter if you like to get right on the microphone. The mic was also very sensitive to any external noise, like moving the boom arm or any taps made to the desk. Capsule isolation could be improved in the next round, but if you buy in now, just know it’s best to position the mic and then let it be.The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
This article is Part 1 to our closer look at 512 Audio’s first entries into the microphone market. Click here to read Part 2 where we explore the Skylight, 512’s studio condenser microphone.