(Last updated 11/26/2007)
The M-Audio MicroTrack II is the modern alternative to last
generation's MD and DAT recorders. The MicroTrack II is capable of
making CD-quality recordings. Doesn't your MicroTrack deserve more than
a "toy" microphone?
The MicroTrack II comes with a simple stereo "T" microphone that
plugs into the 1/8-inch (3.5 mm) microphone jack. It's a very
inexpensive microphone that's gets you recording quickly, but its sound
quality leaves much to be desired.
The "T" mic uses two omnidirectional capsules, and being that they're
so close to each other, they can't provide much of a stereo image. It
plugs directly into the MicroTrack II with no cable to isolate it, so
as you handle the MicroTrack II, press its controls, shift your hand
position around it, all of that noise gets transmitted direclty to the
"T" mic and recorded.
The "T" mic's two omnidirectional capsules, like all "omni" capsules,
are not truly omnidirectional at all frequencies. At higher frequencies
the capsules pick up primarily towards their front, so ideally they
should both be pointed towards the sound source. But since the "T"
mic's two capsules are pointed in opposite directions and can't be
pointed at the sound source simultaneously, your recordings will
sound somewhat muffled.
The "T" mic's capsules have significant self-noise (hiss of their
own) that comes through when recording quiet sounds. They also start to
distort audibly as the sounds you're recording start to get moderately
If you're recording extremely loud sounds, you'll find that the "T"
mic's output overloads the MicroTrack II's microphone pre-amps
(so-called "brickwalling"), even if you lower the recording level to
a minimum -- you end up recording its distortion. Because the "T" mic is
powered directly from the MicroTrack II, there's no way to reduce the
microphone's overly powerful signal with an attenuator cable used
between the "T" mic and the MicroTrack II.
For a "freebie", the "T" mic is nice to have. But if you're
interested in serious recording, you can (and probably should) do
One step up from the "T" mic is our Low Cost
Binaural (LCB) microphone set
. The LCBs are lower cost versions of
our Core Sound Binaural (CSB) microphone
. They are very well suited for tapers on a budget and are a good
choice for recording concerts and lectures. The two omnidirectional
microphone capsule are about look like little black jellybeans with
mini-alligator clips attached to them. They sit at the end of a
six-foot cable so they don't pick up the noise you make from handling
the MicroTrack II. The two microphones are typically clipped to the
earpieces of your eyeglasses, collar, hatband or lapels. Because the
mic capsules can be pointed toward the sound source and separated a
significant distance, they can create a very realistic stereo
image. They are made to last for years, with the finest quality US-made
connectors, our custom made cable, and rugged materials and finishes.
And at only $75 per matched pair, their price can't be beat.
The next step up would be our Core Sound
Binaural (CSB) microphone set. They look much like the LCBs but
have lower self-noise, have a flatter frequency response, more than 20
dB more dynamic range, and can record extreme sound pressure level
sources with very low distortion. Their sensitivity is adjusted so that
they relieve the MicroTrack's "brickwalling" (mic pre-amp overload)
problems when recording very loud sounds like rock concerts. They're
available with three mounting option (clips, removable clips, no clips),
and three bass roll-off filter options (no filter, fixed filter and
switchable filter). At $230 to $285 per matched pair, they're the
microphone set of choice for the MicroTrack II in most
If you're primarily recording unbelievably loud sound sources (so
loud that you'd have to scream to hear yourself), you should order the
CSBs and then add an 11 or 20 dB attenuator
cable ($35). That will solve your MicroTrack II's "brickwalling"
problem in those situations.
But if you simply want the best miniature microphones that money can
buy, and budget is not a problem, consider our High
End Binaural (HEB) microphone set. The HEBs use the DPA 4060-series
microphone capsules, in our opinion the finest miniature microphones in
the world. They have the smoothest sound, the lowest self-noise, the
flattest frequency response, the lowest distortion and the smallest size
of any of our microphone sets. Prices start at $990 per matched
Note: In most concert and lecture recording situations, one of our
Binaural microphone sets are what we'd usually recommend. But if you're
recording in a very large hall at a distance, or you are doing close-up
instrument/vocal mic-ing in a noisy hall, you might prefer a
uni-directional (cardioid) set of microphones. We offer a range of
those too -- please see our Web page or feel free to call us for recommendations!