Ever wonder what you sound like? For someone like me, that is a person who talks way too much, there is this nagging anxiety that my voice may be incredibly annoying. It’s hard to tell what you really sound like, you know?
So that thought set off this adventure into audio recording. I play some instruments as well, so I figured this would be a good way to really know what others hear when I’m rambling on about something, playing music, or (God forbid) singing. But, as someone who is not an audio professional, I did not want to drop a hefty sum on a device that was mainly going to just be for experimentation. That’s where the CAD u37 came in. It had good reviews across the web and the price point was low.
I purchased it for around $40, but it’s available on the CAD website for $89. Unsure why there’s such a big difference in prices across the web, it’s up to you if you want to shop around on it. There’s a certain website named after a rain forest that may be helpful for you.
I ordered my microphone, excited like a kid on Christmas, and anxiously stalked the mailman for the next few days. Upon arrival I opened the box and here’s the results on what I learned about both myself and this microphone:
Opening the box it seemed easy enough to put together. There was a stand, in multiple pieces, a microphone, an instruction booklet and a USB cord. Easy enough. I ignored the instructions completely. I put it together wrong. I took it back apart. Fished the instructions out of the trash and read them. It fit together perfectly by following the direction of the people who made it. Fancy that.
Lesson 1: read the instructions, Gil, you’re obviously no engineer.
The first thing I noticed on the microphone were two switches on the front of it. The top switch has a 0 on the left side and a -10 on the other. While the bottom switch had a straight line on the left and a curved line on the right. Flipping them back and forth proved quite satisfying. After reading the instructions I learned that the top switch lowers the decibels and the bottom one lowers the bass to reduce background noise. I’m sure this is useful for someone who knows what they are doing. Besides that the microphone looked really nice on my desk. A pretty champagne color and a classic microphone shape. My one complaint is the blue LED on it is a bit bright, but you get used to it. Or put tape over it like I did. Upon walking into my room it almost looked like I was some kind of professional something or other. I found myself thinking that, yes, I am a professional audio guy. My confidence was through the roof. I highly recommend it solely for the ambiance it gives.
Lesson 2: You impress yourself too easily, Gil.
I hooked it up to my computer and it was not detected. My immediate assumption was my USB plug was broken, so I tried all of them on my computer until frustration set in thinking my microphone was bunk. Frustration turned to despair and then acceptance. The next day a realization hit me. I had to download the drivers for the microphone manually. According to the internet this is a common issue people have with it, but it’s not a difficult fix. Still, it would be nice to just plug in and use it like most other devices I’ve owned. Not a huge complaint and a simple Google search fixed the problem. After that, it hooked right up and was detected by my computer.
Lesson 3: Google search the issue before succumbing to depression. It’s there for a reason, Gil.
Testing: Stage 1
Well, it was time to face the music. So to speak. After riding the high of assembling the thing and the crushing despair of my installation problems, I was thrown through a loop. Was I really ready to hear myself in that kind of clarity? First thing was first. Just a regular test into the microphone to see how the audio quality was. My worst fear was realized. Not that the microphone was bad, the opposite actually it was smooth. No background noise being picked up, after I turned off my fan at least, just my voice in the void. But, I quickly realized that I do not enjoy the sound of my own voice at all. It has given me a complex that I now have to live with. However, for the price? This microphone did a great job of letting me know this.
Lesson 4: Stop talking forever, Gil.
Testing: Stage 2
It was another day before I had the courage to start the second phase of testing on this microphone. This would prove to be a complete ego-shattering experience. I had decided to play my banjo and sing at the same time as a kind of stress test on the microphone. I will say this. I was impressed that it was able to pick up both sounds quite well. I will also say this, I need to practice much more. No wonder everyone looked so sad at the last open mic I played at. I need to write an apology letter to that bar. Still, just like the voice test, the mic proved to be quite sufficient at it’s intended purpose. I won’t say it was crystal clarity, but it was much better than anything I’d used before.
Lesson 5: Give up those music dreams, Gil.
Thus ends my journey. What I’ve learned you ask? Well, the CAD u37 is definitely a quality mic for the price point. At least the one I purchased it at, which was around $40. At the $89 price there may be better options to search around for. Being said I have no problems with this microphone, as long as absolute perfection is not what you’re needing.
I recommend this for anyone looking to test the water with amateur audio recording be it with instruments or spoken word. I’m very happy with my purchase, though my self-esteem has been a bit lowered by it. Not the fault of the microphone though, just my lack of talent and self-awareness which this device was more than capable of bringing to the surface.
It has actually helped me out too, I’ve become quite a bit better since my purchase of the microphone so I would say money well spent for both me and the people that are forced to hear me. Thanks CAD audio, you’ve done a great service to me and my community!
If you’re recording audio on a budget the CAD u37 has a lot of bang for your buck. In my humble opinion, this is the microphone to go with.