2020’s emphasis on working and playing from home put an emphasis on how good we look and sound when meeting online. The pandemic year saw shortages of high-resolution webcams and good microphones that are only now beginning to ease. Today I’m reviewing the Movo UM700 USB Microphone ($99.95), a high-quality professional mic without a big price tag.
Movo UM700 USB Microphone Design
The first thing that jumped out at me when I unpacked the Movo UM700 was that it is at the perfect height. Too many times I’m found mics that needed a separate stand or were so low that I had to bend over to talk into them.
The included swiveling stand is great for placement on a desk or table where it is almost at mouth level. Don’t let that closeness worry you, though — the UM700 comes with a foam pop filter to ensure that you won’t get those loud “plosives” on your audio track.
The bottom of the stand is covered with a soft material that prevents typing from making too loud a sound in the mic, and it also keeps the UM700 in place.
If there’s one thing that made me roll my eyes almost immediately, it was that the Movo UM700 USB Microphone comes with a standard USB-A to micro-USB cable. Considering that all new Macs and iPad Pros (and many Windows devices) are equipped with USB-C ports, wouldn’t it make more sense to use USB-C? Likewise, a number of mics come with XLR connectors for truly pro use. This mic doesn’t.
The bottom also features a threaded mount for attachment to a microphone stand, as well as a standard 3.5mm audio-out jack for attaching monitor headphones.
The controls on the UM700 are fairly standard for mics of this caliber. On the front is a volume knob for adjusting the output volume to the headphones as well as a mute button for temporarily muting sound input. That’s helpful when you’re in the middle of a podcast and feel a sneeze coming on!
The back of the mic features a gain control for adjusting sensitivity as well as a four-position pattern knob.
What do I mean by pattern? Every mic is most sensitive in particular directions. The patterns built into the UM700 include Stereo (uses 2 channels to capture a realistic sound image); Cardioid (isolated pickup from front); Omnidirectional (captures from all directions); & Bi-directional (front/rear pickup).
Stereo is nice for recording music from a small group, while cardioid is great for those situations where you’re the only one being recorded or streamed. Bi-directional pickup is useful when interviewing another person across from you, while omnidirectional has its place in recording meetings.
Other Design Points
The UM700 isn’t going to move around on your desk like smaller mics might. It weighs 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg) and just feels sturdy.
Size-wise, the UM700 takes up a space of 4.4 X 3.8 inches (11.2 X 10.8 cm) on your desktop. The maximum height of the mic is 11.6 inches (29 cm), although that can be adjusted down.
Functionality of the Movo UM700 USB Microphone
Fortunately I have a USB-C hub that features three USB-A ports, so I was able to plug the hub into my MacBook Air, then connect the mic to the hub. As expected, the mic immediately appeared as a USB sound input device.
A green LED indicates that the UM700 is “live”, while pressing the Mute button turns on a red LED. Here’s my second gripe about this microphone — the mute button has quite a loud “click” associated with it. Most competing mics have much quieter mute buttons.
Movo claims a frequency response of 20 – 20,000 Hz, and in my testing I found that it did a very good job of picking up sounds across the frequency range. The UM700 sound was rather “warm” and full to my ears in recording, unlike some mics that have had a cold and mechanical sound to them.
The UM700 is similar in function and capability to the Blue Microphones Yeti mic, yet costs $30.00 less. For podcasting or recording video soundtracks, it’s much less expensive than competing mics from Shure, Rode, and Audio Technica.