Shure Digital Recording Equipment
Price: PG27 $178.00, PG42USB $298.00, X2u $154.00
THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF PERSONAL MEDIA
In recent years, there has been a shift from the old media paradigm of broadcast television, radio and their huge studios and budgets towards citizen or personal media production. More and more individuals with something to say are wading into the ever more crowded waters of podcasting, video-casting, or a combination of these two forms of new media.
With the advent of these new forms of media production, the need for new digital technologies which would allow these would be media moguls to turn their personal computers into recording studios on the cheap, has risen from the unyielding ashes of those old media sources whose lack of vision cost them dearly.
With such products as the PG27, PG42USB, and the X2u, Shure has brought its legendary reputation to this burgeoning market. How will these products perform and what type of value will they provide Joe podcaster who is working on a very limited budget?
The Shure PG27 Side Address Condenser Mic is designed with a flat frequency response for natural reproduction. The PG27 features a large diaphragm and a high SPL threshold that handles a wide variety of acoustic, amplified and vocal sound sources. The PG27, with its flat/neutral frequency response, is ideal for a variety of instrument and vocal sources.
The Shure X2u XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter allows you to connect an XLR (standard balanced audio connector used in professional level mics) type mic (such as the PG27) to your computer via USB. The X2u also includes an integrated pre-amp with a gain control and zero latency monitoring through the built in headphone jack.
The Shure PG42USB Side Address Condenser Mic is specifically designed for lead vocal reproduction. With its built in USB connection, the PG42USB allows direct Plug and Play connectivity to your USB equipped computer. The PG42USB also includes an integrated pre-amp with a gain control and zero latency monitoring through the built in headphone jack.
The PG27/X2u combination produced great results within a number of applications. As a vocal mic for use with Audacity and Garageband, the vocal clarity was superb in its reproduction of the human voice. There was a depth and fidelity I have yet to experience with most USB based mics. In my tests with Skype, the same clarity and depth was enjoyed. Additionally, I used this combination to record an acoustic guitar and a piano. The PG27/X2u combination handled the job with clarity and a faithful reproduction of the nuances associated with each instrument. Once again, I use the terms fidelity and depth because these attributes are so difficult to faithfully reproduce electronically. In my experience, an XLR type mic when combined with some sort of interconnect (mixer board or equivalent), has outperformed the vast majority of USB based mics across the board (no pun intended). How would the PG42USB compare to the PG27/X2u combination?
The PG42USB performed admirably in the same applications and environments as the PG27/X2u combination. Within Audacity, Garageband, and Skype, the PG42USB reproduced my voice with great clarity. However, the depth was not to the level of the PG27/X2u combination. I attribute this not to the quality of the mic etc., but rather, to the differences between XLR and USB based mics. I must give credit to Shure for the build quality and overall performance of the PG42USB. In particular, the latency normally associated with USB audio devices, was dramatically reduced to the point where it was almost imperceivable. Bravo Shure!
Both solutions worked very well and handled the various tasks in a workman like fashion. However, from a value standpoint, there are some less expensive solutions on the market that perform as well as the Shure offerings. Therefore, I must reduce my overall rating from a value perspective.
MAKING A GREAT PROGRAM EVEN BETTER
As stated above, the only negative I found in my evaluation of these quality Shure audio products, was their value when compared with similar products from other reputable manufactures. If Shure could offer these products at a more competitive price point, they would definitely be the best value in this space.
MyMac.com Review Rating:
The Shure PG27, X2u, and PG42USB are all great products that excel in their design, quality, and performance. My only fault is with their price point. Therefore, I am awarding these fine products from Shure an outstanding rating of 9 out of 10 in our MyMac.com Rating System.