If you are looking at higher quality microphones for creating more professional voice-overs
or vocals you will most likely want to break away from using USB microphones which
plug directly into your computer otherwise you will be faced with quite a limited
If you get a decent USB audio interface you will be able to connect virtually any
phono or XLR microphone into your computer and open up the range of microphones you
can use. And remember with USB microphones you tend to pay quite a bit extra for
the USB electronics they contain.
The Yamaha Audiogram6 is a really useful and affordable USB audio interface and like
its name suggests it can provide you with up to 6 audio inputs into your computer
via its USB connection. It is extremely versatile, being able to accept 2 XLR microphones
(3 pin) even if they need phantom power (phantom powered microphones need a power
source which is provided through the microphone’s XLR cable).
In addition you can even plug in an instrument like an electric guitar as it has
a button you can press to adjust sensitivity.
It provides an array of controls including compression for the main 2 inputs, plus
gain and volume controls for all individual inputs and the master output. In addition
it also allows you to adjust the DAW level too. This all allows you to mix the different
inputs as well as monitoring the output on headphones or you can play it through
the line out to your music system if you really want to annoy the neighbours.
Being USB powered it doesn’t need a transformer or power cable with plug... so it
is really convenient if there are no spare power sockets around.
I have experimented with it for quite a while now and it provides nice clear sound
without any sign of the electronic hum sometimes associated with USB input devices.
Yamaha also bundle it with the well respected Steinberg Cubase AI5 DAW recording
software which they advise is equally at home with music production and voice-over
Because the Audiogram6 controls are analogue and can be easily seen on the top of
the device, very quick adjustments can be made to get the settings just right and
it is very intuitive in use (you don’t really need to refer to the instructions apart
from setting up and using the recording software).
Yamaha advise users to download the latest drivers from their site as they have reduced
latency when monitoring your recordings through your DAW software. I have used it
with other recording software too and it works fine.
Yamaha have a slightly cheaper product called the Audiogram3, but for the added versatility
and compression adjustment, I prefer the Audiogram6, as I’m sure I’ll need more flexibility
as time goes on.
So if you are looking for something that is well made, versatile and will allow you
the flexibility to experiment with all sorts of different microphone and other audio
inputs have a look at the Yamaha Audiogram6.
Yamaha Audiogram6 USB audio interface review
(Scroll down to see video)
Yamaha Audiogram6 typically retails for around £130 including VAT
The Audiogram6 is available from numerous suppliers. To find out more from the manufacturer
go to the Yamaha website using this link
The above price was correct as at 5th December 2011 (please check price before purchasing).