Yeyian Agile NL 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 as working from home or at least having a hybrid arrangement is pretty common in the workplace. 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, "Yep, 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 various 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.

As you may have already read in previously, the Yeyian Agile NL captures sounds with a polar cardioid pattern. A cardioid pattern typically means the sound is picked up at the greatest amplitude from the front, while it tapers off on the sides and even more so at the back. From the off-axis pickup, you can see how the microphone deals with sounds that do not directly face the diaphragm. This will to show if there is any distortion or change in quality of the captured sound. In the two recordings above, the recorded audio from the front was clear and natural, but the side and back sounded quite a bit more distant or shielded. As we moved to the sides, my voice dropped back and sounded further away. At the back, it was very noticeable with a hollowness in my voice and a definite reduction in amplitude. This was pretty much as expected for the cardioid polar pattern.

Moving to the technical tests, we tested the Yeyian Agile NL for how it handles plosives 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.

In our plosives testing, we tried three scenarios for the Yeyian Agile NL, once bare, once with the windscreen on top and once with the pop filter attached. When speaking into the Agile NL alone, almost every P-word came with a puff of air. However, the Yeyian Agile NL benefited from any additional forms of protection, as the windscreen and pop filter helped with removing these undesirable sounds. The windscreen reduced the effect of it mildly, although you could still hear a bit of the air movement. The same could be said about the pop filter. The good thing is you can use both the windscreen and the pop filter in conjunction with each other for further plosive reduction. As for background noises, the Yeyian Agile NL picked up quite a lot of background noises from my keyboard and mouse clicks. This uses a condenser capsule, so it is not too surprising. However, it also captured the vibration noises made when I made keypresses, since the mic was mounted to my table. I wish Yeyian improved the shock absorption in the mounting arm to lessen these sounds.

As with all recordings, a good microphone should capture the source in a natural way. For the spoken word test, I recorded myself reading an excerpt from Yeyian's website. Once again, you could hear all of my different speaking articulations while reading the marketing material. The sound was natural and clean without any distortion. One thing I noticed was a bottoming out from my voice, as this mic does not capture the full 20Hz to 20kHz range. Even so, this was still a marked improvement over gaming headsets and their integrated microphone, as it sounded open and without any nasally sounds.

The next two recordings were of me strumming on an acoustic guitar, then overlaying the recording with me singing into the Yeyian Agile NL. The song I used was once again from the NZXT Aer F120 and F140 review, albeit this time singing the second verse. I placed the microphone near the 14th fret on my guitar, away from the sound hole. Unfortunately, the cut-out frequency at the bottom end also made the guitar sound also bottom out with the lower region missing. This made the guitar sound a bit more artificial with both a hollowness and a lack of resonance. The guitar also sounded a bit muddy at times, with some details not being fully picked up. It is also possible the Agile NL could not handle this louder sound. With my singing, the same could be said with the decrease in the bottom end. At the end of the day, I think the Agile NL is meant more for vocal applications than instruments, which is unfortunate as it reduces its versatility for streaming other things than just gaming.

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