EDITED VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:
The Skylight and is a cardioid condenser microphone. It designed for studio use lie in the booth here. It'll run you about $199.
In the box the skylight comes with a dedicated shock mount. The shock mount is heavy duty, made of metal and fits right around the mic. It mounts to the microphone via threads on the bottom. My impression is that it is durable, and pleasant to use.
The first thing you note about this microphone when you get it is the weight. Its a beefy dude. It weighs in at a meaty 1000 grams -- a full kilo for this mic. 2.2 pounds. That's heavy. My $3000 u87 weighs like half of that. THis mic is solid.
Given how heavy the microphone is, Let's see how it does for dampening any resonance from the body. If I tap on the mic or the shock mount do we hear any sound coming it. I'll also tap on my desk here to see if it transmits noise.
There are no buttons or switches on this microphone, it's just a microphone. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. Its just a decision that the manufacturer makes. I have microphones that cost over one thousand dollars that also lack any buttons or switches, so don't let it put you off. Some mic's include buttons and switches for certain features, others do not. I will say that in 99 percent of my recordings here in the booth, I do not activate any switches, as I want the original intended sound from the mic, and will make adjustments in the D A W.
The Skylight's kit does come with a pop filter, so you do not need to purchase the 512 Pop filter, or any other a pop filter separately. In theory, I am particular to this design that's included with the Skylight. From what I can tell, it's a copy of the wind tech pop guard -- or at least the Windtech pop guard was first of this type that I was aware of. I really like this style of pop filter and the wind tech works well. It doesn't get in the way of your copy, and if you're going to use this in front of a camera, then a big pop filter does not get in your way. That's nice. And as I said, It also removes the necessity to purchase the extra pop filter from 512. YOu only need that pop filter if your mic doesn't have one. However.
So, in comparing, you can hear the difference between the two to see if you think that one is more pleasant than the other. The techzone audio Stellar X2 is also a cardioid consider microphone, so the patterns are the same. The idea here is that there are two different "flavors" of sound, and you can decide which you find more pleasing.
The specs of the 512 mics do not include a self noise figure, which is not a great sign. When I compare it to the Stellar X2, it has a higher noise. The NT1a is an extremely low noise microphone so I expect the Skylight to have a higher noise floor. And, since the sensitivity of the Skylight is lower than that of the other mics, I need to have the gain up higher on my interface which can give the impression of a higher noise floor overall. That said, it's not an incredibly noisy mic.
Otherwise, what specs they do give are are as expected. The frequency range is from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz although since there is no response graph they don't disclose how much attenuation there might be at either end. The maximum SPL is 144 db, which is quite loud considering that there is no pad switch on the mic. This indicates that you could place this mic in front of the loudest sources. Way louder than we would ever get in voice over.
The basket and grill on the Skylight is interesting, it is super robust, but there is a lot of stuff between the you and the capsule. I don't know if that's designed to adjust the sound in any way, or simply to protect the capsule. But as we listen, it may explain why the mic sounds like it does. There is certainly a possibility that all that stuff in the basket would affect the sound. The capsule on this microphone is very well protected here, but there is nothing I found indicating that the grill is designed to intentionally influence the sound towards a certain timbre or characteristic.
There is both this thick metal grille, and behind that there is a metal ... "wool". I believe the wool is there to help moderate any plosives. However, I've seen in my wave forms that even with all that wool and the supplied pop filter in place, I do get signs of plosive- ness. So I'd need to be very careful of mic technique when using the Skylight. Something to be aware of.
There is no way to take the basket off without dismantling the mic. Maybe all this stuff is there to try and "warm up" the microphone by cutting the highs a little bit as when I compare it with other mics there is definitely less high end which makes it seem midrangey. SO, if you do find you have a very sibilant voice, or a very sharp ess sound, this design may work in your favor.
The reason I mention this is that I have other microphones where modders will specifically reduce the amount of stuff between the protective basket and the capsule to avoid any unwanted resonances or comb filtering, or attenuation of highs. Even a modest amount of foam can attenuate the highs, and the Skylight seems to have less high end, so that may be due in part to the basket design.
The limelight is a Dynamic mic, and will, will sound different from the Skylight.
THis is a different beast altogether. It's always risky to switch to a dynamic microphone after listening to a condenser, because there are usually very obvious differences between them. So give it a second.
The limelight is a dynamic hyper cardioid microphone. It's also 199 dollars. A dynamic microphone is often considered when you're not in a super treated vocal booth. They're good when you might have multiple people speaking at once, like in a podcasting or streaming type scenario. Dynamics, also, by design have a more limited frequency range, which can affect the overall sound of the mic. They tend to be less sensitive, so at the same gain on your interface, the dynamic will be quieter compared to a condenser.
If the Skylight was a heavy, robust feeling microphone, its curious to note that the Limelight is quite light by comparison. That's not to say it doesn't feel durable, but to other microphones in this form factor, it's light by comparison. Weighing in at only 350 grams. It feels lighter than it looks. I'm surprised by that, and it does not convey the same sense of quality when you hold it.
The limelight does have a switch on the bottom near the XLR jack. It's a low cut switch and it's on the bottom. This will change the response of the microphone to cut away the very lowest bass frequencies. According to the documentation it cuts off at 100 hertz at 12 decibels per octave. So, a fairly steep cut.
If I'm being kind, the switch placement is ...inconvenient to say the least.
It's on the bottom of the microphone, and when it is mounted in it's mount, the switches are blocked. So in order to check the difference between the sound you have to physically remove it from the mount. This is a pain in the butt. In most cases, you'll probably set it and forget it, so make sure you test it both ways before you get set up because once your recording you can't easily switch it. This switch is here to reduce a small amount of ambient rumble. If you have an air conditioner or furnace that rumbles, if there are trucks going by outside, engaging that switch can help., and it can help with proximity effect if you tend to eat the mic and get right up close to it.
Let's compare with some other mics to get a sense of the frequency response since it's not disclosed. Let's start with the H&A AC 50. You might not be familiar with this mic, but Upon opening the Limelight, and seeing that switch, this is the first mic I thought of. The switch placement is very interesting to me. If you look at these microphones from the bottom, you cannot distinguish one from the other. Except for a slightly different paint color they are essentially identical. The mounts are absolutely identical, but the various slots on the body are different. Perhaps both H&A and 512 are buying their mic bodies from the same supplier. I'm not saying they're the same mic internally, not at all. - the AC50 is listed as a cardioid pattern, so there is a difference in pattern between the two. It's just so similar in appearance. You could easily think these two mics were from the same company. The H&A AC50 will run about $99. I'll have links to everything in the description.
I cannot pull the grill off of the Skylight, so I cannot how much foam is under the grill to stop any plosives. I, conducted a very unscientific test. I stuck a paperclip in one of the holes, and you can feel foam under there.
Tthe 512 audio suspension arm and it is comparable to other suspension arms at this price point. It holds the mic perfectly well, the springs are internal and it don't creak. It does the job. I would expect this to provide years of sturdy reliable service. If I had one complaint, it's that there is a channel allowing you to feed a cable internally to hide it from view. But you'd need to solder on the XLR adapter after the fact. I doubt many people would. I have a suspension Arm from H&A that uses a plastic cover to hide the channel, so you can put any cable in there as you need. I find that to be a much more sensible option at this price point. And again, Visually the 512 ARM and H&A are are very, very similar. Again, I wonder if they're sharing the same supplier in China.
There is the 512 Pop filter, and it's not very good. The design appears to imitate a similar style to my favorite pop filter which is the Stedman PS101. The popfilter "adopts" the same grille design as the stedman, which is a specially shaped mesh which -- on the stedman at least deflects air down at an angle, and away from the diaphragm of the mic. Watch as I demonstrate with a flame here to show how the air is defected. Imagine the flame is the capsule of the mic.
At 40 bucks it costs a lot less than the stedman, but in my experience it does not do nearly as effective a job as the stedman in deflecting air away. So, take that into consideration.
Also 512 created pop filter that only kinda works with their own suspension Arm. It does clamp on, but it doens't fit quite right, it's designed to fit onto a round tube like floor microphone stand, not a square tube like most suspension arms. So if you buy both thinking they're compatible, they're only kinda compatible.
Without the adapter you can make it work but, if you can, save up for the stedman, or another, more effective filter design.
Finally there are the Academy Studio headphones. These again, are just OK. They come with a case and two different cables. And, in what seems to be a bit of a theme, these are visually extremely similar to the Audio Technica AT m40x headphones. Side by side if you took the logos off, you'd see that they are almost identical in appearance. And, they share the same price point at $99, They both offer a removable, locking cable, a padded headband and a similar looking closed back design. The earcups of the Academy headphones are softer, but the cups are all the same size. Audio Technica's do fold up into a more compact space, the Academy's do not fold.
But, once you start to put sound through them, the sound difference is night and day. The Audio Technica at m40x's have rightfully earned a good reputation for the price point. Good rich sound, especially given they;re only $99 bucks. On the other hand the Academy's sound thin, with significantly less bass and a generally thin sound. I've found them fatiguing to listen to for any long period.
I wanted to see if other headphone reviewers were hearing the same things, but I couldn't find one a video reference. Hopefully at some point there will be videos who can offer a more scientific rundown of the Academy headphones response and either corroborate or refute my impressions. .
I'm not generally one to make recommendations, so, I'll leave it at saying that these are not for me and I would make a different choice with my $99, including the AT M40x or the venerable Sony 7506 headphones.
So that's all I have for you today. If you need my overall impressions, it's this. As a lower priced division of Warm audio, which has a generally very good reputation, I think most of the 512 Audio products are only fair to middling offerings. In some cases they are poor imitations of a better product like the pop filter and the Academy headphones. The Limelight is just OK at the $199 price point and given the similarities to the $99 competitor, I wonder just how much better the Limelight is at twice the price. Finally, I think the Skylight is probably the best offering of the 512 product line, but you do need to be careful with the might technique even given the robust wind protection that comes in the kit.