This article is Part 2 to our closer look at 512 Audio’s first entries into the microphone market. Read Part 1 here to read about the Limelight, 512’s dynamic broadcast microphone. Below, we’ll be diving into the Skylight Studio Condenser Microphone and the Boom Arm/Pop Filter accessories.
- Current Price:
- 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
See and hear these microphones for yourself in the video above!
Skylight Studio Condenser Microphone
The Skylight is the Yin to the Limelight’s Yang. It’s a condenser microphone that uses a large-diaphragm capsule to deliver a rich, warm, and detailed sound signature. It’s a better fit for wider recording purposes, such as recording instruments or voice-over where you want a more natural tone to your voice. It features a wider frequency response range of 20Hz - 20kHz and can be used to record louder sources thanks to a higher sound pressure rating of 144dB versus the Limelight’s 138dB.
As a condenser, the Skylight is much more sensitive than the Limelight. That means you’ll need to be much more considerate of external noise, including typing on a keyboard, fans from your gaming PC, and any sounds from roommates or children. That extra sensitivity affords you a much more true-to-life sound, however, so if you don’t like the dynamic “crunch” that results from their reduced frequency response range, the Skylight will be a better fit for you.
Despite costing the same as the Limelight, the Skylight feels like a much more complete and high-quality package. Like the Limelight, it’s made entirely of metal but is much heavier at a full kilogram. It also comes with its own shock mount and pop filter, so you won’t need to worry so much about making adjustments mid-stream. I have to say, between these two microphones, I like 512 Audio’s sense of style. The banded grille just looks great.
When it comes to sound quality, the Skylight is quite good — but don’t count your chickens just yet. There’s a smooth, almost silky, quality to the capture thanks to that large 34mm condenser capsule. It’s not neutral, though, and has a slightly bass emphasis that gives it a warm tonality. For my voice, I liked this. I’m not naturally very bassy and the Skylight lent me that additional presence I crave when recording voiceover. If you’re looking for a flat microphone for instrument recording, though, the coloration here may be a negative. It’s worth taking it for a trial run if at all possible.
Still, for my purposes recording VO at the PC, YouTube videos, or even my acoustic guitar, I actually really liked that sound signature. There’s nothing sharp about this microphone, so it you have a source with some rough edges, like an acoustic guitar that’s particularly bright, the Skylight can effectively dial that back to capture beautiful recordings.
512 Boom Arm and Pop Filter
Along with the microphones, 512 Audio sent over it’s Boom Arm and Pop Filter accessories for me to try. The boom arm follows the design of the Rode PSA-1, so there’s no tensioning needed at the base or mid joints. The tensioning system is an improvement over the popular Rode, however, in that it’s not nearly so sensitive to lightweight devices. I was able to mount a small webcam to it and it stayed where I positioned it without moving. Such a lightweight device isn’t enough to hold the Rode in place, however, so there’s definitely added versatility in mass.
At the same time, I found it harder to adjust. The base joint was very tight out of the box. Pushing it back torqued the desk clasp fairly hard, forcing me to really tighten it down to keep from moving it. The stem which inserts into the clasp is thick and seems resilient, but I fear that over time it could bend, decreasing its range of smooth rotation. Time will tell, but there’s clearly room for improvement in the smoothness of its operation.
Still, for the money, it’s not bad. It’s clearly much higher quality than the majority of affordable boom arms you’ll find on Amazon (thicker metal, better adjustment above that joint, robust materials). Even the tightness of the bottom hinge is likely to be less of an issue for most users only recording with one microphone. If you’re not making drastic changes to position, as I did in the video going from end-address dynamic to side-address condenser, you’ll likely have far few instances of needing to make big changes in position, limiting how noticeable it will even be.
Finally, we have the pop filter. And, well, it’s a pop filter. 512 went with a metal mesh for the filter material and it gets the job done well. It’s also able to be slightly contoured to match your mic better, which a fabric mesh filter can’t do (unless it has a bendable metal frame). The gooseneck is great and held its position well. It’s a simple accessory and 512 Audio did great with it.
Final Thoughts (on Both Microphones)
The Skylight and Limelight are both solid first entries from 512 Audio. In both cases, there’s room for some criticism, but if you enjoy that warmer tonality, I think there’s quite a bit to like here. The Skylight winds up feeling like the more fully-featured packaged, but I still really enjoy the natural character of the Limelight. Both microphones were also very quiet, so they passed the “hiss” test to deliver clean final products.
As always, though, it comes down to what’s going to work best for your voice or source. If you like a bit more warmth and don’t find yourself making big adjustments mid-recording, you’ll probably find a lot to enjoy here for a reasonably low cost of entry.The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
This article is Part 2 to our closer look at 512 Audio’s first entries into the microphone market. Click here to read Part 1 where we explore the Limelight, 512’s dynamic broadcast microphone for content creators.