Elgato’s access to the USB microphone space continues with the $129 Wave 1 USB microphone. Wave 1 is the company’s entry-level model for streamers. It has many of the same design features as its higher positioned Wave 3 USB microphone with fewer bells and whistles. Today, we are here with our Elgato Wave 1 Review.
Elgato Wave 1 Review: Design
The satin-black Elgato Wave 1 has an exquisite design. Just like the Wave 3, Wave 1 is made of plastic and aluminum. All the weight is in the metal base and, like its bigger brother or sister, takes up a small amount of space on your desk or workspace. The microphone comes already mounted out of the box and is ready to use with a USB-C cable and a mounting adapter to connect the Wave 1 to a boom arm of your choice.
On the front, you have the multi-function button that allows you to adjust the volume of the headphones, while a quick push of the button turns the sound of the LED ring on/off… On the right side, there is an embossed Wave 1, and on the back of the microphone, you will find the 3.5 mm headphone monitoring jack and the USB-C input. If you want to mount the Wave 1, Elgato sells a pop filter ($29.99) or a shock absorber ($39.99).
Elgato Wave 1 Review: Microphone
Elgato designed the Wave 1 from scratch together with Lewitt’s sound engineers. If you’re not familiar with Lewitt, it’s known for producing high-quality microphones for professional studios, streaming, and creating content. With a speech-tuned capacitor capsule and a sleek cardioid pattern, recordings are crystal clear and accurate. With up to 24Bit / 48 kHz analog to digital conversion, 70-20,000Hz frequency response, and a 115-decibel dynamic range, my test recordings picked up all the nuances of my voice, including a reliable record of timbre and bass. However, it’s not as sensitive as the Wave 3.
Although I could record from a few feet away, if the gain is all in the Wave Link software and it’s a clear recording, you need to stay within the suggested two to three fist distance to get the best records. The Wave 1 does a reliable recording indoors and out but excels indoors. I find the Wave 3 slightly more sensitive than the Wave 1, but the difference is almost negligible for the ear. The other great feature of the Wave 1 that he shares with his big sister is the built-in pop filter that helps prevent plosives during recording.
With their proprietary Clipguard technology, you don’t have to worry about your levels or distortion when working with your recordings in the post, so don’t be afraid to get loud. The Wave 1 offers many great qualities, but the Blue Yeti Nano rivals or surpasses the Wave 1 in terms of recording and broadcast quality, while also providing the same plug-and-play capabilities. The Yeti Nano also offers two pickup pattern modes instead of one; it has an equally small footprint, it looks better, made of quality materials, and costs only $99, making it the better entry-level model choice.
Like other premium microphones on the market, the Wave 1 comes with its proprietary software. Unlike many of its competitors, the Wave Link software improves the overall performance of all the audio I stream or record because it allows me to control up to 8 different audio sources or USB microphones on my computer. Wave Link also allows you to create two independent output mixes, one for yourself and one for your audience in real-time.
It also plays nicely together with other audio and content creating software such as OBS, Audacity, and Elgato’s Stream Deck. It is a seamless experience that removes much of the stress of creating, giving the user control over his or her audio recording and streaming environment.
Elgato Wave 1 Review: Conclusion
The Elgato Wave 1 is an entry-level microphone that delivers solid, but not mind-blowing performance. Its lightweight form factor makes it great for recording on the go or at the workplace. At $129, however, it’s more expensive than other entry-level USB microphones that record at the same broadcast quality level, such as the Blue Yeti Nano ($99). However, the added value of Elgato’s proprietary Wave Link audio mixing software cannot be overlooked.
By not only fine-tuning the Wave 1 recording but also controlling up to eight audio sources on the computer, a lot of weight is placed on it, which should extend access to the mid-tier content creators to the ears. For more options, check our list of Best Microphones For Recording Vocals
The Elgato Wave 1 is an entry-level microphone that delivers solid, but not mind-blowing performance. Its lightweight form factor makes it great for recording on the go or at the workplace. However, at $129, it's a bit pricey.
- Crystal clear recording
- Wave Link Software
- Clean, elegant design
- Partial plastic construction