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Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set
March 14, 2023
50 (diameter) x 152 mm microphone
780 mm boom arm
350 g microphone
820 g boom arm
There are plenty of options for someone looking for a USB microphone for podcasting, gaming, or YouTubing. Audio tech giant Sennheiser may be better known for its thousand dollar headphones, but it has some great microphone offerings as well. Its newest release is the Sennheiser Profile USB mic, available in two different bundles — one that comes with a table stand, and one that comes with a boom arm. This review is of the version that comes with a boom arm, called the streaming set.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on September 18, 2023, to answer FAQ.
What you need to know about the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set
- Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set: $199 / $259 CAD / €199 / £179
- Sennheiser Profile USB microphone set: $129 / $169 CAD / €129 / £109
The first thing you need to know about the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set is that the boom arm is only compatible with desks and tables with a surface that is less than 75mm thick in order for the clamp to fit around it. If your desk is compatible with it, the boom arm holds its position stably. You can also attach the mic to any other standard 5/8 inch or 3/8 inch threaded mount, as it comes with an adapter. The streaming set also comes with a cloth pouch for the microphone and instructions.
The Profile USB microphone is a condenser mic with a single polar pattern, which is cardioid. It is designed for the voice, and is marketed specifically for speech applications like podcasting or live-streaming. As such, it’s got a pretty simple layout, with some limited controls on the front, and two basic port options on the back.
What’s good about the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set?
For a USB microphone, the Sennheiser Profile USB mic has great sound quality. Speech and vocals come through clearly and, even though it is not necessarily intended for instruments, it sounds pretty good recording the acoustic guitar as well.
Sennheiser Profile USB microphone speaking sample:
Sennheiser Profile USB microphone acoustic guitar sample:
The microphone has a nice all-metal build with plastic knobs and mute button. This is a soft touch button that successfully minimizes its handling noise, but it doesn’t reduce it quite as well as the touch-sensitive mute button on the HyperX QuadCast S, or flat-out eliminate handling noise like the motion sensor mute function of the ROCCAT Torch. The Profile USB mic also has a direct monitoring feature which means you can plug a 3.5mm headphone cable right into the back of the mic to live monitor the signal being picked up with no latency.
You can adjust the levels in and out of the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone via onboard knobs. The mic features a gain control knob that shines green when the gain level is appropriate for the audio source and flashes yellow to indicate the gain needs to be reduced to avoid clipping. It also features a mix control knob that balances the relative outputs of direct monitor versus device volume in your headphones. Lastly, it houses a headphone volume control knob.
The boom arm included in the streaming set has a nifty cable management system. There are notches all along the length of the arm that the cable fits neatly into to keep it from being unwieldy, accidentally getting yanked, or being featured too prominently in a livestream video.
What’s not so good about the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set?
Most of the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set’s flaws can be categorized as things it is missing rather than things wrong with the product. The main flaw of the Profile USB mic streaming set is that it doesn’t come with a pop filter, and neither does the alternate version of the product bundle. I recorded the singing sample below without a pop filter, and you can hear a harsh plosive (‘p‘) sound when I sing the word “praying.” You’ll definitely want to invest in a pop filter as an additional purchase, but it would’ve been easier if Sennheiser had just included one.
Sennheiser Profile USB microphone singing sample:
While the direct monitoring feature generally works very well, it introduces a decent amount of noise into headphones. Luckily this noise isn’t as apparent on the recording itself, but it can be irritating to listen to. I also wish the headphone volume knob would go louder — the maximum volume isn’t always sufficient.
The microphone has a hinge that allows you to angle it upwards but not backwards, which can be limiting. And while the boom arm is sturdy, it doesn’t have a great range of motion. Its hinges don’t rotate through 360 degrees, just back and forth, so you won’t be able to set it at any wacky angles. The tightening plate that attaches the mic to the arm allows you to point the microphone in any direction, but swiveling elbows rather than hinges on the boom arm would’ve increased the product’s flexibility.
Lastly, it would be nice if the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone had more than one polar pattern for greater versatility. If you’ve got to settle for one, the cardioid pattern is the best, as it is the most commonly used, but more is always better.
Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set specs
It can be tough to discern which type of microphone you’re looking at when there are so many different specs that make each mic unique. We’ve put together this table of the important specifications of the Sennheiser Profile USB mic to help you keep track:
|Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set|
50 (diameter) x 152 mm microphone
780 mm boom arm
350 g microphone
820 g boom arm
3m USB-C to USB-C cable
Soft-touch mute button
Gain control knob
Mix control knob
Headphone volume knob
Pre-polarized condenser microphone
44.1, 48 kHz
Compatible operating systems
iPad OS 14
Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set review: Should you buy it?
The Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set is a good product, though perhaps not the best bang for your buck out there. The sound quality is very good and the mic features onboard adjustments and direct monitoring, ideal for any USB mic. It would be nice if the mic featured more than one polar pattern, came with a pop filter, and the boom arm accessory offered greater mobility, but it still is a high quality accessory, especially with its cable management system to keep things nice and neat.
If this bundle is a little steep for you, it’s possible to get a microphone of a similar caliber for less money. I recommend looking into the Movo UM700 as an alternative — it includes a windscreen, has four selectable polar patterns, and it’s only $79 at Amazon.
Frequently asked questions about the Sennheiser Profile USB microphone streaming set
The product bundle that includes a table stand is identical to the one in the streaming set, the only differences being the inclusion of a table stand in lieu of the boom arm, a 1.2m cable instead of a 3m one, and the absence of a microphone pouch. The table stand is 98 mm (diameter) x 18 mm with a 3/8 inch threaded mount.
The mix control knob shouldn’t have any impact on the absolute volume going into your headphones, just relative levels of the monitor and device volumes. If you turn it clockwise, it reduces the monitor volume as compared to your device volume, and if you turn it counterclockwise, it increases the monitor volume.
No, you bypass the need for an audio interface if you have a USB microphone.
Sennheiser recommends placing the Profile mic 15cm away from the source. That’s a good place to start. It depends on what you’re trying to capture (speech, singing, instruments), and how loud the sound source is, and which features you want to accentuate and which you’d like to de-emphasize. In other words, trust your ears.