512 Audio Skylight Review – XLR fixed cardioid microphone perfect for streaming & upgrading your USB microphone

Sharing is caring!

512 Audio Skylight Review Rating

Summary

The 512 Audio Skylight is a superb XLR large condenser microphone that is perfect for anyone wanting to improve the quality of their voice recordings, and it is ideal for streaming or even WFH virtual meetings.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Overall - 80%
    80%

A new brand called 512 Audio launched two new XLR microphones last month, the Skylight and Limelight.

The new microphones have been developed by the team from Warm Audio, an award-winning audio company what have developed classic-inspired microphones, preamps, guitar pedals and more

Both microphones retail for £189.99. The Limelight has a has a hypercardioid  pickup pattern which creates a hyper-focused pickup field to capture your voice and cut out unwanted ambient noise. The Skylight I have been checking out has a fixed cardioid pickup pattern which is designed to record your voice in front of the mic and reduces ambient room noise.

I'll preface this review, stating I am no audio expert and have limited XLR microphones experience. I have more experience with mainstream focussed USB microphones geared towards gamers and streamers. After a year of zoom calls, virtual briefings, and more virtual social interaction, I have come to find low-quality microphones increasingly annoying. It is incredibly easy to miss out on important information because the user on the other end has lots of noise or a crackly poping voice. Some people struggle with my northern accent and my enunciation is not the best. I have therefore learned to appreciate the importance of a good microphone. So, I am writing this review as someone wanting to improve the quality of audio by shifting from USB to XLR.  

512 Audio Skylight Large Diaphragm Condenser XLR Microphone...
  • Designed For Your Voice: Custom-tuned frequency...
  • Large Diaphragm Capsule: Vintage-inspired 34mm...
  • Clearly Impressive: Produce a polished,...
  • Cardioid Pickup Pattern: Capture your voice in...

Features

  • Designed For Your Voice: Custom-tuned frequency response captures every detail with warmth and clarity.
  • Large Diaphragm Capsule: Vintage-inspired 34mm gold-plated capsule engineered with premium components delivers a rich, modern sound that cuts through your mix.
  • Clearly Impressive: Produce a polished, professional sound for podcasts, streaming, and vocal recordings.
  • Cardioid Pickup Pattern: Capture your voice in front of the mic and reduce ambient room noise
  • Professional Pop Filter & Shockmount: Includes custom metal mesh pop filter to eliminate plosives and a durable low-profile shockmount to reduce vibrations for clean audio recording.

Specification

  • Capsule Type: Condenser
  • Capsule Size: 34mm Gold plated large diaphragm
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -42dB +3dB (0dB =1V/Pa at 1kHz)
  • Impedance: 200 ohm
  • Max SPL: 144dB
  • Weight: 2.20 lbs (1kg)
  • Dimensions: 7.87in x 2.18in (202mm x 55.5mm)
  • Included Accessories: Shock Mount, Pop Filter, Carry Bag

Design

The 512 Audio Skylight looks and feels amazing, it is built like a tank weighing in at 1kg, being an all-metal construction.  

The included shock mount and pop filter are added bonuses that help keep the overall costs down.

Set-Up

XLR microphones require a bit more set-up and expense as you will need a USB audio interface. I opted for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. You will also need an appropriate XLR cable and boom arm.

Performance

512 Audio Skylight Sample
Blue Yeti USB Sample

It uses a fixed cardioid pickup pattern that captures what's in front of the mic and rejects surrounding ambient noise. In my office, this works extremely well; the off-axis rejection eliminates the fan noise from my PC particularily well.

The microphone is typically a bit less than arm's length away from me with a moderate amount of gain it can comfortably pick up my voice without introducing noise. It also doesn't pick up too much noise when tapping on my desk or even the boom arm. Though, it does pick up the tapping from my mechanical keyboard quite a lot.

The microphone offers a smooth sound profile with low-end emphasis, which works well for speech, making things sound full-bodied. I don't play any instruments, but it is worth taking the low emphasis into account should you wish to record music.

Without the pop filter, plosives can cause issues, so you will want to keep this attached.

Overall, the switch from a USB Blue microphone to the 512 Audio Skylight offers a significant upgrade to upgrade to my voice quality. As a northerner prone to mumbling, anything that improves my clarity is a big bonus.

Price and Alternative Options

Both the 512 Audio Skylight and Limelight have an RRP of £189.99 and they are available now from Amazon.

The range of options for XLR cardioid microphones is extensive, covering a wide spectrum of pricing. While this is not on the high end of the spectrum, it does cost more than many good entry-level XLR microphones.

  • The Blue Blackout Spark SL XLR I have previously reviewed is available for £179 available on Amazon
  • The popular Shure SM58-LCE Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone is £85
  • The Shure SM7B is £330
  • The Audio-Technica AT2020 is just £75
  • The RØDE Microphones PodMic is £91.46

Overall

The 512 Audio Skylight is an excellent XLR microphone that is ideal for podcasting and streaming, delivering an extremely clean, warm sound. It is built like a tank and looks outstanding.

If you are looking to transition from USB to XLR, then there are obviously cheaper options that would likely offer a significant improvement in the quality of your streaming/recording. However, if your budget can justify it, then the 512 Audio Skylight is well worth considering.

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.