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GoXLR Mini, $252.32 (historic low)

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  • May 19th, 2021 5:03 pm
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Jan 13, 2003
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[Amazon.ca] GoXLR Mini, $252.32 (historic low)

During the pandemic these were out of stock often, but now they're back in stock and for a fair price. This has a strong quiet mic preamp, physical volume sliders, headphone and line out, optical input, and good updated software.

This is good for anyone, not just streamers, but you must take on the role of amateur audio engineer to understand what it does and why. It's like a sound card, but with much more control. In the past, computer enthusiasts would need to use a musician's USB interface like Scarlett Solo ($155). GoXLR adds many more controls and features on top of that.

The hardware is slightly old now and overdue for a style update that might never come. The functionality remains great. Competing products have come out, but none hit the same spot. Plug into USB 2.0-only to prevent errors. You must manually register for the manufacturer's warranty after buying.

I recommend the Mini over the full size one because 1) the voice changer buttons are a novelty and most people never use them after the first week, 2) the displays on the full size one are hard to see and people will buy an extra accessory just to tilt the whole box up so you can see them better, 3) the full size one is way bigger on your desk, and 4) the full size one costs way more money.

You can make this work with a USB mic like Blue Yeti by plugging the headphone output -> line input. That's a good temporary hack so you don't need to spend money on a new XLR mic right away. I happen to think the Blue Yeti sounds very nice and true, so I wouldn't rush anyone to replace it.

If you need XLR mic recommendations, mine in order of cost are below. Once you reach a certain level of quality, mics start sounding "different not better", so it's really about picking what pleases you personally. There are a millions mics out there and lots of comparisons on YouTube.

Dynamic:
Behringer XM8500
sE Electronics V7
Beyerdynamic V70D

Condenser:
MXL 990
Rode NT1
Earthworks Icon Pro

The main practical difference between common dynamic and condenser microphones is that the dynamics sound less accurate, but they have a tighter pickup pattern, which means slightly less background noise. Neither technology will fix a bad recording environment (background noise or reflective surfaces) or bad mic technique (too much distance or not pointing at your mouth).

My recommended XLR cable is Audioblast's HQ-4 Star Quad. I only recommend good cables because microphone signals are very weak, which means they get amplified a lot, which means that any noise that gets into the cable is also amplified a lot. Most people won't need the better cable, but if you're the one who does, you'll be glad you spent the money now rather than the hours troubleshooting a random buzz from some power adapter.
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07WDPQMTV/
($40 is cheap for a star quad cable which rejects interference; Mogami costs 2x more.)

If you're interested in getting a better mic but this all sounds too confusing or expensive for you, I recommend the Elgato Wave USB mics which are excellent all-in-one which work with the Elgato Stream Deck if you want more buttons. (GoXLR has a Stream Deck plugin too.)
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