Because of the pandemic, microphones and cameras are already a part of our daily lives. With that, we’re going to feature a quality-grade USB mic here in our AKG ARA USB microphone review.
A lot of external video cameras have integrated microphones. Plus, they’re often just a bit better compared to using built-in laptop microphones. Unfortunately, good external mics are usually tricky to utilise.
But luckily, the ARA from AKG is an effective USB microphone that’s easy to use. If you’re curious about this product, continue reading our AKG ARA USB microphone review.
We’ll provide you with all the essential details you need like its features, specifications, design, functions, and performance.
Before we look deeper into this microphone, our AKG ARA USB microphone review will focus on its packaging and contents.
This USB microphone arrived in a sleek and premium-looking cardboard box. It sports a clean silver-grey theme that gives off a professional and premium aesthetic.
The front displays an image of the microphone, while ARA is written on the upper-left corner. On the opposite corner, AKG Harman can be found as well. Under the image, specifically on the lower-left corner, you’ll find brief details about the product.
Inside the box, everything was nicely and neatly packed. We loved how organised things were so you won’t have to worry about any damages that may occur during shipping.
Aside from the microphone, you’ll find a 2m USB-C to A cable, and a 3/8″ – 5/8″ mic-stand adapter. There’s even a quick start guide, regulatory documents, and an Ableton Live11 registration card.
There aren’t any other items to find inside the box. But we’re pretty glad that things were kept nicely and neatly in place.
AKG ARA USB Microphone Review – Design and Functionality
After unboxing for our AKG ARA USB microphone review, we saw that the mic was fairly small and elegant. Its metal case was stunning, and it had a lovely combination of silver and grey.
ARA is technically described as having a contemporary design but with a vintage aesthetic. And, we definitely agree. We were pleased by how professional it looked, especially when in use.
This microphone comes with an element called the Dual-capsule array which captures the frontal sounds of the mic only. So, it’s definitely ideal for conducting one-on-one conference calls, interviews, or even when recording musicians.
It’s also ideal when recording on podcasts, vocals, or when using it for calls. With it, you can also switch to “Front & Back” so it can capture sounds all around.
This USB microphone’s height makes it a masterpiece for any studio or home desktop. And it’s also at a more functional level which means, the diaphragm is much closer to your mouth. Thus, resulting in a more intimate sound that’s less roomy.
There’s a decent weight to the product’s base which comes with a soft padded layer that’s underneath. This is present to keep the microphone planted on your desktop.
Here, you need to unscrew the circular part of the base. Doing so will display a thread for linking the ARA to a standard mic stand.
Tilting the mic up/down is a very useful feature. It is especially true should you plan to record your voice to recording acoustic guitars and the like. This is while you’re seated comfortably behind your desk.
The blue screws on each side of the mount can be adjusted and tightened adequately. It will allow the proper holding of the mic at your preferred angle.
On the front of the ARA USB microphone, you’ll see two knobs. The knob at the top allows you to select between two capture array modes that are supported by the mic.
When turning to the left, the mic will capture the audio coming from the microphone’s front. Again, it’s something ideal for recording videos or podcasts of yourself.
When turning it to the right, the microphone captures sounds from both the front and back. This is perfect for recording conversations between two or more people.
The lower knob manages the volume and it also allows you to immediately mute the mic by pushing the button. A little LED between the knobs informs you when the mic is muted. Even if it’s just a small LED, it’s positioned adequately to help prevent those “hot mic” moments.
At the base of the ARA USB microphone, you’ll find a USB-C input. It works in conjunction with the available USB-C to A cable plus a 3.5mm headphone jack to monitor.
To put it simply, the ARA USB microphone is a product for people who create all types of content. You don’t need to be a professional to use this, which is what makes it great.
Key Features of the AKG ARA USB Microphone
This time, our AKG ARA USB microphone review will look into the different key features of the ARA USB microphone. Let’s see what makes it stand out from the crowd.
Professional-grade, High-quality Audio
With 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution converters, AKG ARA delivers superior audio quality. This makes it excellent for various recording projects.
Cardioid and Omnidirectional Modes
The two-capsule microphone array offers two user-friendly capture modes to suit different situations.
Easy Setup and Universal Compatibility
The AKG ARA USB microphone has an intuitive plug-and-play design and operation. It also supports a variety of platforms including PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Versatile Mounting Options
You can use the AKG ARA with the integrated desktop mic stand to a standard boom mic stand.
Full Production Solution
With Ableton Live 11 Lite production software, the AKG ARA is ready for music production.
Modern and Vintage Combined
The ARA USB microphone combines modern design and a vintage aesthetic. When using it on-screen, you can ensure that its style is camera-ready.
Volume Control & Headphone Out
With the ARA USB microphone, you can enjoy zero-latency monitoring. Also, you can track with full control over mic gain, output volume, and mute.
During our AKG ARA USB microphone review, we learned that it has a USB 2.0 transfer protocol.
The AKG ARA USB microphone uses a USB 2.0 interface. It’s equipped with permanently polarised condenser capsules and two fixed-charge backplates.
In cardioid mode, the microphone can capture sound exclusively from its front. When enabling omnidirectional mode, it can capture sounds from its front and back.
The AKG ARA’s frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz and bit depth of 24-bit / 96kHz. Plus, it has up to 120 dB of maximum sound pressure level at 0.5& THD. For the product to operate properly, it will require 5B USB / 75 mA of power.
When it comes to the headphone output impedance, it’s 16 ohms and its power output (RMS) is 12 mv.
The AKG ARA’s headphone THD are 0.03% (USB -20dbfs input) and 0.35% (acoustic 94dbfs input). Like the microphone frequency response, it also ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz. Its headphone S/N ratio is 91 dB for USB input and 76 dB for acoustic 94dbfs input.
The microphone itself weighs a total of 665g.
Hands-on with the AKG ARA USB Microphone
Of course, we tested the product for this AKG ARA USB microphone review. This way, we can share what we’ve experienced and observed while using the product. Also, it’s to help you decide if this product should be a new inclusion for your recording equipment.
First, we’ll talk about setting up the AKG ARA USB microphone. To our surprise, the installation process was quick and easy. All we had to do was plug it in using the included USB-C cable.
Next, we selected the output device through our computer’s audio settings. By doing this, we were able to use the 3.5mm headphone jack at the microphone’s base.
When we did volume adjustment and muting or unmuting the microphone, it was fast and responsive. This makes it ideal for streaming and various recording projects.
While the AKG ARA looks great, what matters the most is its sound and performance.
We used this USB mic for everyday apps like Skype, Zoom, and Discord. And the AKG ARA definitely performed significantly better than our laptop’s built-in microphone.
Aside from talking, we also tested the microphone for recording vocals and instruments. Despite its quality and great performance, it wasn’t comparable to studio-grade and professional-grade microphones which are on a different level. But if you need a quick setup, the AKG ARA is good enough for casual music recording.
Overall, the AKG ARA is a great all-rounder USB microphone that’s excellent enough for numerous uses. With its performance, it’s easy to recommend this product if you need to upgrade your audio input gear.
AKG ARA USB Microphone Review Summary
The AKG ARA USB microphone is an inexpensive yet excellent option for enhancing your conference call or recording experience. It has great aesthetics, is simple to set up, and offers impressive performance.
This microphone has amazing features and is packed with technology that makes recordings sound better. With its dual modes, it’s best for solo recording or when you have an interview with someone else.
The AKG ARA USB microphone’s entire package is not hard to like since it offers a lot. For a reasonable price, you get a cool-looking microphone that supports podcasting, conferencing, and singing applications. Also, it doesn’t compromise audio quality and that’s why it’s easy to recommend.
After reading our AKG ARA USB microphone review, were you able to decide if this product is for you? If yes, you can purchase it online from the company’s official website to upgrade your audio input gear.