One of the best things about USB microphones compared to regular mics is just how compact they can get. Thanks to this, recording while traveling has never been easier! A perfect illustration of this fact is the U9 from CAD Audio. Let’s dive in for a closer look at this cute plug n’ play microphone…
As you begin browsing the world of USB microphones, you will find models that are compact and then those that are microscopic! The U9 belongs to the latter group, measuring at around 3” in length, which is small enough for you to fit in the pocket of your jeans, making it a perfect choice for those who travel a lot.
As for form factor, it is essentially a USB dongle with a capsule on one end. As you can imagine, such a tiny size leaves very little space for exploring aesthetics, although it’s still quite attractive – all black with a simple red band near the head. It’s been built very well too, with the mic portion able to rotate 180 degrees so you can position it in the direction you want when plugged into a laptop.
Considering the tiny size of this device, the first question is undoubtedly: what kind of diaphragm could they have possibly fit in there? The answer is, of course, not a very large one. However, CAD Audio managed to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of it, making it a pretty solid little unit.
It is a side-address mic with a fixed omnidirectional polar pattern. Specs-wise, the frequency response ranges from 50Hz to 18kHz, and it records at a resolution of 16-bit/44.1 kHz. There are no controls on the device itself, although it comes with a headphone jack so you can monitor output directly from the mic. Naturally, it’s compatible with both Windows and Macs, so plug n’ play is simple. Overall, not bad considering both the small size and price.
When it comes to performance, we had realistic expectations. As we mentioned, the A/D converter they went with offers a good recording resolution, which is actually on par with several more expensive USB models. You can tell it’s a lower-end mic, yet the U9 still captures vocals very cleanly with a surprisingly low level of coloration.
Of course, since there are no hands-on controls available, all of the tone shaping has to be done on the software end. If you are wondering whether or not the U9 could take on instruments, the answer is… a very strong maybe. This micro mic isn’t really designed for this application, although recording instruments is not off the table – however, it’s more suited to recording a quick idea as opposed to a full track.
Despite its inherent limitations, CAD Audio has packed more than enough juice into the U9 to ensure it is more than just a gimmick. For the low price, it is an extremely versatile model that shows its worth when used on the go.