FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - Recording Performance Tests

While a typical user may not always need a dedicated microphone, there are definite use cases for one, especially for those who still work from home. In addition, dedicated studio-grade microphones are often the audio input of choice for content creators, streamers, and gaming enthusiasts. We have tested microphones in various contexts in the past, and the result has ranged from barely usable to surprisingly clear. While we could just sit and say, "It picked up my voice loud and clear, 10/10", there are some audio tests we can do to see how it actually performs. Furthermore, we can also test use cases for a microphone, whether it means speaking for recording podcasts or instruments and singing for music recording. A single product may not work for every situation, but this will be a demonstration of its capabilities. With respect to the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8, I primarily tested this with a direct connection to my motherboard via USB and all of the recordings were made with this connection. For any test with the XLR connection, I used my Focusrite Scarlett Solo.

As you already know, the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 has a cardioid polar pattern. This means sound is loudest and captured most naturally from the front. In this case, it is actually the "top" of the microphone that you should be speaking into, as this is where the dynamic capsule is pointed. As you move to the sides and the back, there is a notable reduction in volume as well as a change in its characteristics. In our off-axis pickup tests, we recorded how the microphone deals with sounds that are not directly facing the diaphragm to look for any distortion or change in quality. The AmpliGame AM8 is quite directional, as it easily captured sound directed at the capsule. Moving to the sides and back, you could hear the notable drop-off in both perceived distance and quality.

One thing that the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 has that most of our other USB microphones do not have is the additional XLR output. With this, some limitations will be removed like its recording bit resolution and sample rate. For example, my Focusrite Scarlett Solo can capture at a rate of up to 24-bit, 192kHz. Unfortunately, the MP3 file format maxes out at a 48kHz rate, so any recordings will be downsampled. Even so, I found the recording with the XLR connection was slightly more natural, which could allude to a cleaner analog-to-digital converter on the Scarlett Solo compared to the internal one in the AmpliGame AM8. Regardless, I am happy to see this flexibility in connectors here, as users can gradually upgrade their audio input on their own time.

As for the more technical tests, we tested the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 for how it handled plosive and background noises. Plosive sounds traditionally refer to a speech sound where the vocal tract is blocked and airflow stops right before the pronunciation of these sounds. If you try making sounds like p, k, t, d, b, or g, you will notice right before you say these letters, your airflow will have stopped. Afterwards, this produces a "puff" or immediate contrast in air pressure. When it comes to microphones, this air pressure change can result in an unpleasant sound. As for background noises, this is affected by the pickup pattern of the microphone as well as the off-axis capturing behavior.

For plosives, the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 was good at reducing plosive sounds. Without the wind screen, the plosives were a bit more noticeable on the harsh "p" sounds. This was especially true on the first line. However, with the wind sock installed, the plosive noises were reduced. It does not minimize everything, but it still was beneficial. In addition, the microphone looks better with the wind sock attached, as it makes the whole thing one continuous shape. At a minimum, the screen ensures users do not speak too close to the diaphragm, which in turn removes other undesired sounds from being captured.

The FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 picked up a slight amount of background noise, including my keyboard and mouse clicks. I found the AmpliGame AM8 picked up a deeper resonant sound rather than the clicky higher frequency noises. This was definitely true for both the keyboard and the mouse clicks. You can still hear the clicking of the mouse, but it was reduced compared to other microphones like the Maono GamerWave. The deeper resonant sound came more from the vibration between the table and the peripheral. It was not too pronounced, but it was still present.

Testing for vibrations, I recorded the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8 while it was attached on its stand and tapped on different surfaces of the microphone. This would give me an indication of how well the base rejects or reduces accidental noises. One immediate thing I appreciated with the AmpliGame AM8 was the fact there was no resonant sounds captured. All of the tapping noises recorded were relatively muted or dampened quickly. Tapping on metal parts like the base or the arms revealed no metal resonance and the recorded noise actually felt like it was dampened. Whether this is due to the rubber rings between the arms or the rubber base under the stand, everything is working in order to keep the AmpliGame AM8 free of extra vibrations.

As with all recordings, a good microphone should capture the source in a natural way. For the spoken word test, I recorded an excerpt from the terms and conditions from a letter I received from Costco. From the recording, all of my different speaking articulations were captured while reading the information. Everything sounded relatively natural with no nasally or robotic portions. With its relatively wider frequency response, it was capable of capturing human voices cleanly. This was definitely an improvement over most gaming headsets and I was quite happy with how the AmpliGame AM8 picked up my voice.

The next recordings were of me strumming on an acoustic guitar, then overlaying the recording with me singing into the FIFINE AmpliGame AM8. I placed the microphone about 10cm near the 14th fret on my guitar, away from the sound hole. Thanks to its tilting mount, I could direct the microphone down to where my guitar was without needing to use extra equipment. As expected, I used a song I wrote for a previous review in order to avoid any legal issues.

Overall, the guitar was recorded well without anything sounding too cramped together. I did find the lower end of the guitar to be a bit heavier than the rest, but the high end was still picked up in my strumming. Everything was captured quite naturally with a decently detailed midrange. With my singing on top, you can hear my voice was similar to the spoken word test with a natural sound. I still have a lot to learn with singing and having sufficient air support, but the AmpliGame AM8 did not restrict me in any ways to record what I sound like. As such, I think the AmpliGame AM8 is flexible enough to even be used for capturing instruments or singing.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Recording Performance Tests
4. Conclusion