review

Thronmax Mdrill One Review Multi-Pattern USB Mic for Recording & Streaming

Monday, August 19, 2019

Compared to the complicated setup of an XLR microphone with an audio interface, USB digital microphones like the Thronmax Mdrill One have the advantage of being a much simpler professional streaming microphone setup.
The Mdrill One integrates an internal pre-amp and analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that takes the incoming analog signal, amplifies it, converts it to digital signal and sends it directly to the computer so, you can star recording right away without additional gear.
A few things that make the Mdrill One stand out from the competition include USB C connection and a unique microphone grille.
Instead of a regular metal microphone grille mesh, the Mdrill One microphone uses a vertical fin metal grille that is designed to soften the sound waves before entering the acoustic chamber. The Mdrill One vertical fins definitely, make it stand out from similar cup-shape microphones.
The USB C connection port is located on the bottom of the Mdrill One where you also find a standard thread for mounting the Mdrill to a standard microphone stand. There is also an auxiliary port, which allows latency free real-time monitoring of the microphone so, you can make sure your recording levels are just right. Next to the USB-C port, there is also a button for controlling the led ring light.
Aside from being able to monitor the microphone levels, the auxiliary port lets you listen to your computer's audio.
To hear the Mdrill One microphone live on your computer, you need to go to your computer's recording device menu.
If using Windows 7, you can easily get there by right clicking on the speaker/volume icon on the bottom right corner of your computer screen. Then, double click on the Mdrill One microphone to access the microphone properties and select the "listen" tab and checkmark "listen to this device".
On one side of the Mdrill One mic, you find a headphone volume knob and a microphone gain knob with long narrow grooves that makes the knobs grippy.
Both knobs protrude outwards 2cm and have a 2cm diameter so, they're big enough to accommodate three fingers when turning clock/anti-clockwise. The Mdrill One knobs are similar to variable resistors so, they have that satisfying resistance you get with potentiometers.
On the other side of the Mdrill One mic, you find a two-button control panel with led indicators. The bottom button switches between polar pickup patterns, while the top button mutes the sound. The top button integrates an led so, when sound is muted the led turns red.When unmuted, the led shows green so the green light is always lit-up.
The control panel has 18 led indicators that can light up green (mic levels) and blue (headphone volume levels).
With the mic gain knob, you can adjust the sensitivity of the microphone so, you can control how loud your recording is. The led indicators light up in increments so, you can clearly see how low or high the levels are.
The top of the Mdrill One microphone grille also features vertical fins. The three built-in microphone condensers sit close to the the top of the microphone grille in a circular pattern. Sound waves enter the sound chamber side ways and vertically from the top.
The Mdrill One microphone is mounted on a hinge stand that allows the mic to be tilted 360 degrees, allowing the acoustic chamber to be positioned at the bottom. The microphone stand structure is made of plastic and weighted at the base internally.
The top of the stand has a rubberized circular finish, which is presumably designed for resting the microphone unsupported by the hinges.
The bottom of the base features a single piece of rubber that allows the Mdrill One microphone to stand really well without sliding around
The Mdrill One microphone can be easily unhinged from the stand by unlocking the stand thumbscrews. The Mdrill One is also internally weighted with a metal die-cast frame.
Total weight of the Thronmax Mdrill One and stand is 680 grams. The Mdrill microphone by itself weighs 250 grams; hence the stand weighs more than the microphone at 423 grams. The body casing of the Mdrill One microphone is also made from plastic with the same matte metallic black finish as the stand.

The Thronmax Mdrill One microphone can directly record audio to a computer at maximum of 16-bit 48KHz sample rate (CD-like quality).
A 48KHz sample rate is high enough for high definition studio grade recording unless you are recording musical instruments (i.e. brass instrument) and percussion instruments like cymbals, which require a higher sample rate (96kHz or higher) to avoid aliasing (distortion) problems.
The Mdrill One uses three 16mm condenser capsules arranged in a circular pattern across the top of the Mdrill One Microphone. The Mdrill One condenser capsules are capable of recording in three basic pickup patterns, including cardioid (unidirectional), omni-directional and bi-directional.
The Mdrill One bi-directional pattern allows the Mdrill One microphone to record sounds exclusively from the front and back just like a dedicated birectional microphone (a.k.a. figure-8 mic). While in birectional mode, the Mdrill One can record two vocalists at once, or record an interview. The Mdrill One bi-directional pattern would also work great for a solo singer guitarist.
The other polar pickup pattern that is very useful in the Mdrill One microphone is a stereo pickup pattern, eliminating the need of stereo miking techniques like the "mid-side microphone" to create a stereo image.
Mdrill One measures 10-inches high 
The midside microphone technique typically involves placing a unidirectional cardiod mic and bidirectional mic real close together so, you do have to fiddle around with placement. With the Mdrill One microphone, you simply press a button to select "stereo mode" and you're good to go.
Being a digital USB microphone, the Mdrill One microphone requires little power to function (5V 250mA) so, it can run from a USB 2.0 port of a computer, which can deliver up to 500 milliamperes (mA)
Because of its acoustic chamber design, the Thronmax Mdrill One can also be used a microphone for long distance recording. The Mdrill One acoustic chamber acts as a mini parabolic reflector that collects and focuses sound waves.
Having said this, long distance recording with the Mdrill One is not comparable to a dedicated parabolic microphone, which uses a much larger parabolic reflector. The Mdrill One long distance recording capabilities are more on par to a shotgun microphone.
In unidirectional (cardiod) mode, the Mdrill One focuses the sensitivity exclusively on the front, making it ideal as a vocal microphone or speech microphone for recording podcasts, singing, streaming and gaming (supports PS4). The Mdrill One also supports Windows computers (Windows 7 or higher) and Mac computers (Mac OS 10.7 or higher).
Accessories included with the Thronmax Mdrill One multi-pattern USB mic are an angled 3-meter long braided USB-C to USB-A cable, quick start guide, stickers and 1-year limited warranty card, which can be extended free or charge to a total of 2 years when registering the Mdrill One online.

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