TONOR ORCA 001 Review Cardioid USB Microphone

Friday, November 04, 2022

Get recording in literary seconds with TONOR's new ORCA 001 - a USB condenser microphone kit with shock mount and base stand that come pre-assembled out of the box. 

The ORCA 001 USB microphone has a cardioid pickup pattern - same pickup pattern as the TONOR TC-777 microphone, as well as USB-C connectivity port and 3.5mm audio port for mic monitoring. On-board the ORCA 001 microphone, there are three physical plastic buttons: a toggle button and a two-button rocker. The top of the microphone has a capacitive touch faceplate for mute/unmute.You can also mute the mic by toggling the mic gain. 
The physical buttons are raised and tactile with a clicky actuation. The rocker buttons are designed to control the volume gain of the microphone between 11 levels, which are color coded (e.g. green=50% gain). The toggle button for noise cancellation has an led light built-in too to indicate on and off state. 

The top of the mic capacitive touch area is made of plastic, while the body has a lightweight metal construction with two perforated metal grille panels, concealing the microphone capsule. Built-in to the microphone, there is also a shock mount made of plastic with red bungee cords, which can be removed from the shock mount.
The shock mount attaches to the included stand via a large headed thumbscrew. The thumbscrew can be undone, allowing you to mount the TONOR ORCA 001 microphone/shock mount onto a boom arm microphone. The weighted stand comes pre-attached to the shock mount speeding things up during setup. The weighty stand not only makes the TONOR ORCA 001 microphone feel more premium, it is also functional, allowing you to anchor the microphone on a desk or on top of a computer monitor (watch video)
The weighted stand weighs 400 grams, while the microphone and shock mount weigh 200 grams. The ORCA 001 stand has a square base (13cm in diameter) with shock absorbing padding. When mounted on the stand, the overall height is 22cm tall high. The stem of the stand measures 13cm high.

The ORCA 001 cardioid capsule has a high signal-to-noise ratio  (SNR) of 95dB, which means the microphone signal level is a lot higher than the noise level. This is a good thing for a podcast microphone such as the TONOR ORCA 001 which is a highly sensitive mic. You can speak into the microphone without raising your voice or being close to the microphone - useful for someone with a quiet voice or recording quiet ambient sounds. 
Like with any microphone, you can improve the signal-to-noise ratio by positioning the TONOR ORCA 001 mic closer to the sound source and lowering the gain - useful for close miking drums. However, the TONOR ORCA 001 is not really suited for recording loud sounds because it has a relatively low SPL (sound pressure level) rating of 110dB, which means if the source sound is louder than 110dB it will distort/clip the recording. To put this in perspective, human speech is rated at 85dB. High SPL is always better for a microphone for distortion-free recording.
As far as performance, the ORCA 001 mic records audio clearly and naturally bassy, making vocals and instruments sound strong. The audio recording is a bit quieter but fortunately that is something that you can fix in post production.

Potential deal breakers
  • Microphone stand is not height adjustable
  • Non-adjustable pickup pattern - cardioid only
  • Low SPL means the mic is not suitable for recording loud sounds
  • Noise cancellation works but lowers the volume gain
  • The shock mount is not detachable from mic
  • The shock mount provides very little isolation - likely due to the length of the bungee cords and small size
  • No pop filter included
  • Gain buttons aren't as good as a dial knob, which is preferable, more convenient and easier to adjust gain
  • RGB gain indicator not as easy to read 
  • No volume control for mic monitoring
  • Not the most ideal microphone for professional recording

Selling points for ORCA 001
  • Single tap mute button
  • Zero latency mic monitoring (sidetone)
  • Quick to setup - comes pre-assembled 
  • 90 degree mic tilt (one directional)
  • A less expensive alternative to the Blue Yeti
  • Ideal for budget gamers
  • Built-in toggle for noise cancellation
  • USB-C connectivity
  • USB plug and play functionality 
  • Passthrough headphone jack
  • Adjustable gain
  • High sample rate (48 kHz) - perfect for music production and video audio integration
  • Compatible with PS4, Mac computers and Android phones
  • Weighted stand prevents the stand from being knocked over
  • Compatible with most video chat software such as Discord, Skype
Other accessories included are a 5/8" screw thread adapter for boom arm (not included) and a 2 meter long stiff fabric USB-C cable with dual-ended USB-A/USB-C connection and metal plugs. You can buy the ORCA 001 from amazon.

Similar Gadget Explained Reviews


Connect With Gadget Explained