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ELECTRONIC MUSIC THAT DOESN'T SUCK

THE Neewer NW-800 IS NOT A CONDENSER MIC. And it seems pretty scammy.

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(Reprint of my Neewer NW-800 review on Amazon , here.)

I rarely give bad reviews. Look through my Amazon reviews and see. So do know that when I give a bad review, it has meaning.

Audio tests at top of this page.


THE Neewer NW-800 is NOT A CONDENSER MIC. At least not what people think of when they hear “condenser mic.”

That is, this mic is not a 1/2 inch to 1 inch electrostatically charged gold-sputtered large diaphragm that produces high quality audio. I tested it, heard the horrible audio, and took it apart to confirm. Pix included, 4 that I took while dismantling this piece of junk.

I think the capsule they’re using is this one that literally costs 5 cents!

Whereas THIS is what an actual condenser mic capsule looks like:

I had an open mind about this. I love inexpensive gear and own a bunch, and have owned a bunch more. I often buy it, test it, record with it for a while, then give it to someone who can’t afford ANY gear. And this one is popular, so I figured it must be at least so-so, right?

The first tip off is the size. When you unbox this, you realize it’s about half the size of every other condenser mic you’ve ever seen. It’s just big enough to photograph deceptively and look like a real condenser mic.

Inside this faux-condenser mic is a very cheap very tiny electret microphone. Same you’d have in a burner phone.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electret_microphone

Electret mics are condenser mics in the same sense that a push lawnmower is a motor vehicle. i.e. technically true. It has a motor and it has wheels. But if you paid someone for a cheap used car that runs, and they sent you a push lawnmower, it would be seen as a scam to any reasonable person.

That’s why some of the reviews here say “Doesn’t need phantom power.” Because electret mics don’t require it. The circuitry in this unit is an amplifier only, it does not need phantom to power the mic. It’s quiet without it, but louder than any real condenser mic without phantom power. They are silent without it.

I tested this mic with phantom power through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) interface. Other condenser mics, even inexpensive ones, sound great through this.

Look at the pictures here. First, they make it VERY hard to take apart, because they don’t want you looking inside. Every other condenser mic in the world screws apart easily. I had to destroy this to open it, and even that took some muscle power.

Second, that’s not what a condenser mic capsule looks like. By the time I took it apart, I discovered a TINY crappy aluminum foil element, maybe 4 mm across. It’s the thing inside the thing my pen is pointing to in one picture.

I started making records and recording analog audio in 1985. I currently record high quality digital audio daily with inexpensive gear. And I have experience with condenser mics ranging from cheap (40 dollars) to very expensive (Bock mics, 7000 dollars), and many in between.

And yes, I spoke into the correct part of the mic. (side address, side with the logo.)

Note, this Neewer brand fake condenser mic is being re-branded as several mics on Amazon, including other Neewer mics, and the Earamble mic, and others. Don’t be fooled.

So, why the good reviews on here? Because many people don’t know what a good mic sounds like, and this mic sounds slightly better than the cheap five-dollar headset mic they’ve been using, so they think it’s good. Plus a good dose of “Emperor’s new clothes.”

It’s not good.

BETTER RECOMMENDATIONS OF BUDGET MICS I’VE USED:

If you only have 20 bucks for a mic, get a good cheap dynamic mic, like the Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 (19 dollars).

Or pay 60 bucks and get the Samson Q2U. It has a built-in USB interface, sometimes comes with headphones, and sounds WORLDS better than the Neewer NW-800.

Or the 80 dollar Audio-Technica 2005 USB, which has a built-in USB interface, and sounds amazing. I use that to make albums with my band BipTunia, and to do a nationally syndicated radio show (the Freedom Feens).

If you MUST have a condenser mic, are on a budget, and you DO have a phantom powered USB interface or mixer, get the BEHRINGER C-1 for 50 dollars.

Or get the even better MXL-770. That one is 75 dollars and actually DOES sound as good as some 400 dollar condenser mics.

I’m amazed Amazon lets crap like the Neewer NW-800 be labeled as a condenser mic when it IS NOT A CONDENSER MIC, and does NOT sound anything like a condenser mic. I’m demanding a refund even though I had to destroy it to prove it’s a scam.

EDIT: Amazon refund my money and didn’t make me return the mic, after they read this review. Mic is in my trash now.

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5 thoughts on “THE Neewer NW-800 IS NOT A CONDENSER MIC. And it seems pretty scammy.

  1. You most likely got a faulty grounded microphone, about 1 of every 30 or so comes with that problem and they sound awful but all you need to do is re-sit the XLR connector on the microphone to fix the faulty ground.

    The BM-800 and NW-800 microphones sounds better than the C1, I have never used the XM8500 so I can’t comment on that one, and the rest of your recommendations are 4-6 times more expensive, so not in the same ball park of someone buying a BM-800/NW-800 microphone.

    You shit on the NW-800 electret CONDENSER capsule, but recommend the C1 that uses a electrect capsule of the same size , also you can’t take 2 capsules that look a like and state that both are the same to claim a 5 cents price tag, you lack objectivity.

    The internals on the NW-800 model (shares 90% of the design with the BM-800) uses a capsule that doesn’t requieres a 1G Ohm internal resistor to work and the one on the BM-800 uses one with a 1G Ohm resistor, and the design is just a stripped down Schoeps circuit using SMD parts instead of audio grade parts, and the size? who cares about the size when 80% of the internals of a microphone is just air.

    Here is what a BM-800/NW-800 microphone sounds like, connected to a U-Phoria UMC202HD – RAW audio: https://clyp.it/mavhxxpn

    1. The C1 has a larger and better capsule.

      Your example of “good sound from a functional Neewer” doesn’t sound good. It sounds thin and reedy. And I know there is no compression on it, but when the one guy sings louder, it sounds brittle and distorted, even when the sound file shows it’s less than at distortion.

      Do you work for the Neewer company? You sound like you do, especially with knowing “1 of every 30 or so comes with that problem.” And with you being very protective of this horrible mic. You defend it like you’re defending your job.

      If you do work for the company, you should disclose that in this comment. It’s dishonest not to.

  2. I’m not intent on starting any kind of dispute here, but RecordingHacks.Com is also suggesting the Behringer C-1 microphone contains an electret element and not a large-diaphragm capsule (recordinghacks.com/microphones/Behringer/C-1)

    At the same time, no less than the Neumann folks are saying an electret, in spite of bad press and some lousy history, can actually sound OK:
    (www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/what-is-the-difference-between-electret-condenser-and-true-condenser-microphones)

    In the end, I am willing to accept that this particular Neewer *may* have had a manufacturing issue … or as observed by the author on this page, it really could be made out of hot glue and horseshit. But it is very deceptive of them to pass this mic off as being a genuine “condenser” mic in the classic sense. So I agree — don’t buy it. Save you money and hold out for a better one.

  3. Feel free to steal and use that phrase, Bip. I see my stuff in use everywhere on the web, anonymously.

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