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Showing 1-10 of 788 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 840 reviews
on September 19, 2012
If you are computer gamer looking for quality sound chances are you have tried gaming headsets before. Now for most people if these headsets play sound decently and transmit your voice audibly then that is all they are looking for. However, chances are you are not one of those people if you are looking at a $16 lavaliere mic.

Your obsession with audio quality has probably led you to various audiophile-oriented internet forums (head-fi.org) seeking out information about what headset/headphone + mic setup would be optimal. By and large most forums will point you away from "gamer" oriented headsets, deriding them for their poor return on value on sound quality, instead recommending increasingly audiophile-oriented (read: expensive) headphones that do not come with built-in mics. Thus begins the search for a separate microphone that will allow you to use your headphones without losing the quality/convenience you are used to with a headset.

This is where a product like the Olympus ME-52W may have come to your attention -- the other more common choices for those with headphones are probably: the Zalman ZM-MIC1, the AntLion ModMic, Logitech USB desk mic and a gaming headset.
ZALMAN ZM-MIC1:I passed on the Zalman mainly because I was worried that its omni-directional microphone would pick up the sound from my mechanical keyboard, also the thin wire did not look terribly durable, a concern when I tend to snag my wires on various objects at an alarming rate.
ANTLION MODMIC: For the AntLion ModMic, the price at $40 was prohibitive for a microphone simply intended for talking to my friends on skype or guild on ventrilo. My headphones of choice are only the lowly $30 Superlux HD 681 (which are quite excellent for the price) so I flinched at the thought of paying more than that for a mic.
DESK MIC: With a desk microphone, I liked the idea of avoiding another wire around my neck with a desk mic but I was too concerned with the sound quality of the microphone if I leaned back into my chair and also the sound coming from my aforementioned mechanical keyboard on the same desk.
GAMING HEADSET: The allure of a one device/one line setup is hard to miss. With gaming headsets I have tried: Plantronics Gamecom 367 and the Creative Fatal1ty Gaming Headset. Both of these headphones used some felt material which rubbed against my ears constantly because of their small can size (or conversely, my large ear size) and became uncomfortably warm after playing for awhile because they were closed headphones as well. Their sound quality was about the same as a basic $5-10 dollar set of headphones for songs, perhaps a bit better with positional audio for gaming. The mic quality was actually fairly good, but they definitely not as clear nor as good at ignoring background noise as the Olympus ME-52W. More worrisome about gaming headsets to me is their cheap build quality; I had the Plantronics Gamecom go dead on me in less than a year of use which was surprising because they actually looked fairly durable. The Creative Fatal1ty have held up better in that regard but were just too uncomfortable for me for daily use. I was seriously considering the SteelSeries Siberia V2 for a time but for the price point (~$90) you headphones from audio-oriented companies such as Sennheiser, Audio Technica and Grado that are simply superior in sound.

With these other options carefully examined and explained, I will now enter the part of the review where I actually review the Olympus ME-52W.

SETUP: As far as setup goes, this should have been simple but was not because there was serious interference when I used the wire included with the mic. It was probably not thick/shielded enough so the microphone emitted a very audible hum/buzz no matter what options I chose, although this is understandable and I do not blame Olympus for this because this is a mic for an audio recorder that would presumably not have the interference my computer setup has from other wires. It was also very silent no matter what setting I used and if I dared turn up mic boost the buzzing/hum would overpower my voice. I used a 6' stereo extension cable that did the job and the mic has worked flawless since. One other concerning thing is that this mic is mono and if you playback your sound from the windows sound menu it will only come out of one ear, but skype/ventrilo was smart enough to auto-correct this so my voice plays over both channels. The clip is very handy and clips permanently onto my headset cord which makes it very simple: I just wear my headphones and I am ready to go.

SOUND QUALITY: The clarity of my voice with this mic over skype/ventrilo has increased dramatically. I think it sounds as good as a lapel mic a lecturer might use for a sermon and certainly makes my voice sound more life-like and less like I am in a fish tank than the mics I have used before. My voice is deep and it seems like my old headset would just crush the sound at times so I had to repeat words. Also my breathing doesn't produce the pop/boom anymore like with a headset.

NOISE CANCELLING: The noise cancelling feature is probably where I am the most disappointing with this mic. Perhaps I was expecting too much but the mic does not isolate so much as deadens down the background noise from my keyboard/mouse clicker/5.1 stereo system. People can definitely still hear the background noise but it sounds very far off in the background compared to my voice so it is not a huge issue -- my voice is still crystal clear and it does not pick up noises that are well into the next room. Even though I expected a bit more from a product that claims to be noise cancelling, it is far better than my old boom mic on the Creative and better than my temporary cheapo desk mic which does no sound-isolation at all.

Overall if you were a gamer looking for a good mic to go with a pair of quality headphones instead of a gaming headset and can get over some of the setup woes you may encounter, I would definitely recommend this mic for its audio clarity, convenience and sound isolating properties because it simply outclasses any of the other available options available without moving several price brackets up.

Disclaimer: This is a review of the Olympus ME-52W used as a gamer's VOIP/skype lapel mic for a PC, even though it is not marketed specifically for that purpose. I am but a simple gamer/computer enthusiast that has a propensity to over-analyze any technologically related purchase for the sole purpose of getting the best deal, not an audiophile or audio professional prepared to back my statements regarding sound quality with mounds of empirical data.
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on May 21, 2010
My first reaction to this microphone was astonishment at is its small size. It's larger than most lapel microphones, but that's because of the physical requirements for noise-cancellation. Still, it's very small, especially for a true "cardioid" (noise-cancelling) microphone.

The performance is superb! As Jim wrote, it is very sensitive. I tested it in a quiet room at distances up to 10 feet away. At about 3 feet, my voice was strong and clear. At 10 feet, it was obviously remote, but the sound was good and very clear, with no echo. Off-axis, the sensitivity drops rapidly. At about 70 degrees, the sound weakens noticeably, and beyond 90 degrees, it is almost inaudible.

M. L. Strickland is correct in warning that the microphone requires external power. The instructions on the box specify 1.5 - 10 volts. Writers who reported that the microphone was very weak were almost certainly using a recorder that does not provide the necessary excitation voltage. This energizer voltage draws negligible power from the recorder's batteries.

However, he is wrong when he writes, '... the noise "cancelation" is only provided by a directional shield. True cancellation is obtained by using a stereo mike with the two pickups wired to cancel noise that arrives at both equally.'

Noise-cancelling microphones have existed almost from the start, long before stereo ever existed. The close-up photo on this page clearly shows a slot ("port") in the side of the microphone's body. There is another on the other side. These ports channel sound to the back of the transducer (the sound-sensitive element) so that it is 180 degrees out of phase with the sound striking the front. These opposing signals cancel each other acoustically, but there is always some sound "leakage" through the case and because of imperfect cancellation, resulting in a weak output.

This microphone is intended for recording sounds at a distance, which is the purpose of all cardioid (unidirectional) microphones. Its output level is higher than on most microphones, so there is a possibility of distortion, especially if the sound source (such as the speaker) is too close. For a normal voice, I suggest it be held 8 to 12 inches from the speaker's mouth.

This microphone was bought to be used on an Olympus DS-330, a six-year-old monophonic digital voice recorder. The internal microphone is sensitive and effective, but because it is omni-directional, recordings in a noisy environment, or at a distance from the speaker, are unclear. The ME-52W mic worked equally well in the "Dictation" (low-sensitivity) and "Conference" (high-sensitivy) modes, but the "Dictation" mode is preferable. It's almost identical in sensitivity to the "Conference" mode, and omits residual background noise, such as radios and air conditioners.

With a rated frequency range of 100 - 15,000 Hz, and depending on your equipment, the ME-52W makes excellent voice recordings, and respectable, but not perfect, music recordings. It essentially eliminates echoes, and strongly reduces background sounds. If it's compatible with your equipment, it should be a winner.

Edit; 16 Jun 2012:
Several inquiries regarding the use of this microphone on stereo recorders prompt me to add this comment.

This microphone is monophonic, and two-channel recording from this mic requires one of two conditions:

1: The recorder has a "mono-input" or "mono-recording" mode, which delivers the signal from the microphone to both recording channels,

or

2. A mono-to-stereo adaptor must be used. These adaptors are available at Radio Shack stores, and usually in the electronics departments of Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores. The "plug" end of the adaptor will have two contacts: the tip, and a "ring" below it. The plug on this microphone has only the tip contact. These adaptors usually cost about $2 to $3.

Stereo hand-held recorders have become very popular, but most of the less-expensive models do not have cardioid microphones. A couple of notable exceptions:

TASCAM TASCAM DR-07MKII Portable Digital Recorder
Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder

Both recorders cost about $100.

When searching for stereo recorders, be sure to look for "cardioid" or "uni-directional" in the descriptions of the microphones

Edit; 19 Jul 2012:
This microphone will not work with the iPad, iPhone, or iPod, as many users have discovered, for two reasons:
1: The jacks on these devices are non-standard
2: The microphone requires power from the device to which it is connected.

While browsing through the comments today, I came across a reference which I immediately checked out, and I learned that these Apple devices do have excitation power available for external electret microphones, but a special adaptor is needed to access the power connection. One supplier of such adaptors is <kVconnection.com.> Their web-site describes the configuration of the jacks in the Apple devices, and lists a number of adaptors and cables to connect unpowered electret microphones, such as this Olympus ME-52W, to them.
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on April 20, 2016
I use this with the Pocketalker Ultra 2.0, a personal amplier, with the mic extension. It completely eliminates extraneous noise from anything that gets in contact with the Pocketalker. It really delivers as promised!
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on February 6, 2016
This definitely increase the quality of my recordings (I use an Olympus brand voice recorder). I record class lectures on the lowest quality setting and they come out great.

Sometimes ill spend 5 minutes removing background noise with audacity (very easy, just look up a tutorial on Google) and the result is amazing.The microphone is directional so you want to aim it at the thing you are recording, but it tilts up and down so you can leave the recorder flat on a desk and aim the mic towards the speakers mouth.

Remember, Olympus voice recorders have a microphone sensitivity setting. Use "dictation" if you are going to be recording yourself or someone right in front of you (within a few feet of the microphone) and use "conference" to increase the sensitivity to record things like a lecture where the speaker is more than a few feet away. Audacity can be used to remove background noise and make the voice clearer, and also eliminate the noise of yourself or someone else typing notes if that's a problem in your recording.

I've also used this on my mac book to video conference and my voice was MUCH clearer than using the tiny built in microphone. It works great buy you need a cheap USB audio adapter because the mac book audio port doesn't work correctly with this microphone

For the price, this is worth every penny. Unless you have a really high quality expensive voice recorder, this microphone is going to be better than the one built in.
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on December 3, 2014
Wow! I'm using this with an Olympus WS-822 and I finally got around to doing a test with the microphone vs the unit by itself. I'm blown away! This thing is amazing how much more it isolates just the sound of my voice talking so it came through drastically clearer. You don't hear the rustling sound of holding the unit in my hands or any time I move it around, either. I've also been impressed with this microphone at how well it picks up sound regardless of distance. It's almost kinda freaky. In my tests, I could hear NO difference in volume or clarity between having the microphone just a few inches from my mouth up to about 24 inches away. My son was recording a book for school and when I, sitting next to him, corrected a word he misread it came in JUST as loud and clear as if I'd spoken it into my own microphone. I don't know how it does that!? So don't worry about getting it super close to your mouth when you clip it to your shirt because at that range it seems like anywhere on your upper body will all sound the same. There is also very little difference in sound (at that close range) whether your mouth is pointed directly at the microphone or in the opposite direction, like if your head is turned sideways while you speak.

When I set it on the table and walked away I couldn't hear any difference between 5 or 8 feet away (which are the only distances I tested) and although you could tell there was some distance at that point it was still impressively clear and loud so I think it would work great at a meeting around a big table.

I'm super impressed with this, especially for just a little over ten bucks! Great purchase!
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on March 1, 2015
I use this in class with the included extender cord. I taped the silver part of the mic with a single layer of black electrical tape so it doesn't scream, "I am a microphone!!!". I use it with the Olympus WS-822 and dangle it out of the rear pocket of my backpack next to the zipper pull. No one can tell it is a microphone when it dangles in tandem with that pull cord.

Audio quality is great. It really enhances the range compared to just using the built in microphone in the recorder. The only downside is that it records in MONO. Fine for lectures. If you have another use, which I cannot think of at the moment, then just remember that there is only one channel coming in being captured.

I recommend this, especially for the prices and what you get. Because of my specific configuration, I do not need the alligator clip. But it looks like it would also work fine.
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on June 15, 2016
This microphone provides excellent sound quality, especially for its compact size. It cuts down on extraneous noise while doing interviews with subjects. It works well while plugged into a laptop and using it for voice dictation along with programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking. I recommend looking the product up on YouTube to see some of the views YouTubers have done will using the product to get an idea of how well it works.

PROS:

Small
Comes with clip
Cancels out some noise
Directional shield which helps with noise cancelling

CONS:

So small that it can get lost!
Requires external power
Not really "true noise cancelling"
Won't work on iPhone, iPod, or other Apple "i" products
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on December 13, 2013
I got this microphone to do a little motovlogging. It plugs into my GoPro Hero2 (or the Hero3+ with the adapter) and has enough cable to reach from wherever the camera is on the helmet to the inside and in front of my face. It comes with a little foam "windscreen" and an alligator clip which actually comes in handy... not for inside the helmet though.

For general use, the mic does a pretty good job and the sound isn't all bad. Reminder: it only records on the left channel so unless you have editing software that can turn it into a mono channel, you'll need to get a mono adapter. It's nice to have sound from one place and the camera in another. It's also nice to have something this small since you can put it pretty much anywhere, like in a pocket or the back of a hat - and still pick up good sound.

For motovlogging, I'm going to keep looking for another mic. This one has a "pop pop" as it clips from too much sound - a combination of my bike's exhaust, the wind noise, and my voice. I can use a noise gate and compressor and other effects in my editing software to clean it up, but nothing eliminates the sound of a mic clipping. Also, when the surrounding environment has that much noise, the mic exhibits its tendency to sound like a cellphone since it's picking up everything and compressing your voice to what's loudest in front of it; lower and higher frequencies get drowned out. The windscreen is not tolerant of even mild abuse, so I quickly fashioned a new windscreen out of a strip of T-Shirt and a zip tie, and the alligator clip is useless in a helmet, so plenty of Gorilla Tape does the job there. I put the mic behind the left cheek pad with the opening of the mic almost in front of my mouth.

All in all, I'm happy with it because I'm doing what's important: sharing my rides with YouTube. However, I'm a stickler for improving the quality of my videos, so I'm still on the hunt for another microphone. This one was at a great price, is a great size, and does what I need it to. I wouldn't look past it or fail to recommend it to another person in a similar situation.
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I tested this an Olympus WS-823 voice recorder , which does supply the excitation voltage required by this mic.

For some reason, Olympus doesn't promote this unit with pictures of all its included accessories which make it an even better value than it appears to be. The ME-52W package includes not only the microphone (which has an adjustabl;e head which is often not explained in advertising, but a 3 foot cable and lapel kit. In other words you have everything you need for very versatile usage.

I tried it as a lapel mic first with the microphone between 6 and 10 inches from my mouth and the head pointed toward my lips.I used an AM talk show as a source of background noise. I recorded with the radio on and off. The ME-52W is very directional with excellent noise reduction. Obviously, it doesn't completely eliminate background noise, but it does very definitely reduce it. By the way, I did not tinker with the WS-823's own recording environment toggles which I suspect would have increased the background noise rejection.

I then tried it literally as a hand mic, holding it 2 - 3 inches from my mouth as the Olympus instructions suggest. My background noise source, that AM talk show,was directly to the rear of the microphone. Again excellent rejection characteristics.

Next I tried it as a hand-held directional microphone. Using the normal record mode on the WS-823, the recorded audio was listenable, but on the weak side. setting the WS-823 to "lecture" mode, intended for lecture situations in large rooms and auditoriums, the audio was excellent.

In all, a very good microphone especially if you take the time to optimize your recorder's settings.

Two minor negatives. The lapel clip Olympus supplies is ridiculous. It has a bright chrome plating which makes the ME-52W unsuitable for video recording since the clip could be used an an aircraft landing system with the way it reflects light. Some judiciously applied black tape takes care of the problem and another as well. Whether it is the chrome plating or something else, the clip is so slippery that opening the jaws and keeping them open until you want to close them is a hassle. The clip constantly wants to launch itself into orbit. Next, the supplied windscreen - a welcome provision, by the way, is a shade too big for the barrel. You can use either a tie to secure it or double-sided adhesive tape on the barrel. If you use tape, be sure not to cover up the two slits toward the rear of the barrel: t7hey are needed for effective noise cancellation.

Overall an excellent, very versatile microphone at a very attractive price.And, yes, the audio quality was very good to excellent in all instances of my testing.

Jerry
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on February 4, 2015
This mic is good for the money. There's not much I can complain about it, but it's good, considering the price. The quality is fairly well, but much better than laptop webcam audio (which is what I use mine to replace). The noise cancellation does it job to an extent. It blocks out noises that are commonly found in rooms like basements (dehumidifier, central air systems, central-vac systems, and other small noises). However, it doesn't work all that well in the wind, but putting the little cover over it does some work. When it came, it was packaged extremely well, and not thrown into a little plastic bag.

PLEASE NOTE: If using on a laptop with only one audio in port (meant for headphones with a build-in mic) like most laptops, you need a 3.5mm audio splitter. I use the one made by StarTech, which was $4 (I have a review on that as well). The adapter has to be male to female-female.
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