Getting into podcasting or YouTubing can be tough if you’re on a budget. But fear not – today we are looking at one of the most interesting affordable USB microphones on the market, in the Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1. At under $60, it proves one of the few super-budget solutions you can turn to that actually works! We think this is worth a closer look…
From a design perspective, cheaper usually tends to mean more basic. While the Pod Pack 1 isn’t anything to write home about, it’s by no means an ugly mic. The mic itself is a side-address unit that sits comfortably in a simple but sturdy aluminum chassis with a black finish. The build quality is about as good as it gets in this price range, meaning that you can count on the Pod Pack 1 to take a bit of daily abuse without impacting your work flow.
Firstly, in all of the publicity photos, this mic is attached to a boom arm. Interestingly, this arm is included in the wallet-friendly price. With dual suspension springs, the boom arm attaches nicely to a desk with a beefy clamp and allows you to adjust the position of the mic to the exact location you want. The sole fact that an actual boom arm is included in this package really makes it a bargain in its purest form.
Back to the mic itself, and Marantz has included a rather solid diaphragm capsule that, while basic, proves to be up to the task. Otherwise the brand has kept features low to avoid cutting corners, Because of this, you won’t find several polar patterns to choose from or attenuation switches and so on. The Pod Pack 1 comes with just the fixed cardioid pattern, with a decent frequency response range of 20Hz to 17kHz and a 16-bit/48kHz recording resolution.
Finally, in addition to the boom arm, this mic comes with the necessary USB cable, so you are good to go straight from the box.
After going over the quirks, design and limited features, the next logical question is about how good this microphone sounds. The short answer would be ‘good enough’. For a sub-$60 price tag, there are naturally going to be some limitations in terms of resolution and frequency response, but nothing too detrimental to the overall experience.
Marantz delivers a mic that sounds very decent, with clean and clear recordings and a diaphragm that is responsive enough to be used in a variety of applications. Of course, this includes capturing vocals and even recording acoustic instruments, with a respectable max SPL of 132dB.
While it won’t be making many appearances in professional recording studios, the Marantz Professional Pod Pack 1 is an absolute bargain. It shows off a good sound quality and build, while the included boom arm enhances the value even further. For such a low price, it offers a great solution to podcasters and vocalists who are on a budget, but still want to enjoy the full condenser experience.