More and more companies are looking to offer a budget offering of their flagship microphones. They are usually smaller with the on-board features pared down, but offer the same general aesthetic and a similar sound quality.
JLAB, whose Talk Pro microphone was quite nice, gives you the JLAB Talk Go, smaller, with a similar look to its big brother, but with some interesting differences, from design to control. Out of the box, you get the mic, a USB Mic, the metal stand and a strange little adapter that, at first, I couldn’t identify the use for.
Upon looking into it, the little adapter was actually an interesting little addition. Since the microphone does not come with a mount like the Pro and there is no room to screw anything into the bottom of the mic, the adapter, which looks like a tripod adapter, screws into the back of the microphone and then attaches to the stand via the adapter.
The stand, which I spoke about in my JLAB Talk Pro review, is not great. It takes up too much space on the desk. The fact that it folds up is irrelevant and your ability to adjust the angle of the mic comes from its adapter, but nothing can be done on the stand. Mounting the JLAB Talk Go to a mic arm is highly recommended and, honestly, it sits on an arm nicer than any other lite microphone I have tried thanks to that adapter.
As I said, with a mini version of any microphone, you can expect to see a decrease in its on-board features. On the JLAB Talk Go, there is a headphone jack (which has a headphone icon, whereas the Talk Pro says “aux” for some reason) and a volume dial for the headphones. There is no on-board gain control on the mic itself, so you have to manage that on your PC.
“Mounting the JLAB Talk Go to a mic arm is highly recommended and, honestly, it sits on an arm nicer than any other lite microphone I have tried thanks to that adapter.”
Also, at the bottom is a single button with a lot of control. In addition to being the mute button on the mic, holding it down allows you to switch between its two available polar patterns (Cardioid and Omnidirectional). The indicator of which polar pattern it is shows up as a colour on an LED ring at the bottom of the mic (Green or blue… or red when muted). Also worth noting is that you can actually see the lights on this microphone, unlike the Talk Pro.
The JLAB Talk Go set up is just as simple as the other JLAB mics. There is no software, so just plug in the mic, select it as your audio device, and you are good to go. There may be a little more set up in terms of the gain and things that you cannot control on the microphone, but we are talking a few moments extra, not counting adjusting the sound with VSTs.
The microphone sounds OK coming out of the box. I experienced more audio distortion in the form of sibilance and plosives as compared to the JLAB Talk Go. All condenser mics are prone to this (some more than others) and the best way to avoid it is to mind the distance between you and the microphone and invest in a pop filter. You can get one cheap enough online.
Aside from that, the sound of this mic rivals its high-end version. It is clear enough, doesn’t pick up too much room noise (marginally more than the Talk Pro, but negligible). The addition of some simple VSTs, like compression, noise gate and a bit of EQ, makes this mic as good as you can hope to hear from a USB mic on stream.
For $49 USD, there are not many mics of this quality. People who are just starting in streaming and podcasting should look at a microphone like this in the beginning. It will serve you well for a very long time. The Talk Pro is one hundred dollars more, but it is not (nor are many mics at that price point) necessarily one hundred dollars better.
The best advice I can give to anyone who is doing content creation as a hobby (or if you aren’t making any money doing this) is to not spend a crazy amount of money until you know this is something you want to do and are willing to put the work into making it a source of income. With that in mind, a microphone like the JLAB Talk Go is a foolproof choice.