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[Test] Elgato Wave: 3: a micro USB for streaming that is both efficient and easy to use

With the Wave 3, Elgato launches into the micro USB bound for the streaming (primarily), and this is clearly to make up the numbers in view of the technical and acoustic sheet of the accessory. By the way, the price of this model earns a few tens of additional euros compared to the previous model. After a few days of handling this little microphone of streaming, is this price overweight really justified? Answers:

A mini and pretty microphone

The Elgato Wave: 3 is first of all a small microphone in size (barely 15 cm high), much smaller than the one we tested here on KultureGeek. The overall finish is very correct, but we can regret the predominance of plastic even if the base of the stand is fortunately in metal (the rest of the support is unfortunately in plastic too), just like the metal mesh of the microphone.

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In the box, the bare minimum, either the microphone on a standard stand, a USB – USB-C wire, and that’s it. Extensions to raise the foot would probably not have been a luxury, but all accessories are sold separately.

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Controls directly on the Microphone

At the front of the Micro, there is a simple click wheel surmounted by 3 small LED indicators which indicate whether you are on the Micro, the Monitoring (headphones) or the monitoring/sound mix coming out of the PC (Spotify playlist by example). You switch from one mode to another by just clicking on the wheel. Below these main LEDs is a row of 7 LEDs which indicate volume intensity on each of the three main modes. Note that the Micro remembers the volume level for each mode when switching from one mode to another (monitoring to mix for example). Well seen, a fairly large touch button located on the top of the microphone allows you to close the microphone at any time. In this case, the crown of white LEDs around the dial turns red.

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Impeccable voice recording

The connection to the PC is via the USB cable and poses no problem (immediate recognition of the accessory in our case). A quick test of the sound recording quality of this microphone (via Audacity) reassures about the performance of the Wave: 3. The sound of the voices is clear, without any hiss (unless you blow ah ah ah!) and with a ” grain” really pleasing to the ear. So of course, it will be better not to be too far from the headphones to benefit from an absolutely perfect voice rendering (no more than 30 cm is preferable), but the result is really worth the time that we will take to position the accessory.

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This sound recording quality is above all due to an impeccable technical sheet: 17 mm electret capsule, cardioid directivity curve, 24-bit resolution, 48/96 kHz sampling frequency, frequency response 70 to 20,000 Hz, sensitivity -25 dBFS (min. gain) | 15 dBFS (max. gain), 120 dB maximum sound pressure (140 dB with Clipguard on) and a dynamic range of 95 dB (or 115 dB with Clipguard technology on, which prevents distortion). All the same…

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Wave Link, the Wave: 3 software binomial

The Elgato Wave:3 is made to work in tandem with the free software WaveLink, a kind of very simplified but also very practical mini mixing table, which allows you to quickly label your tracks and switch just as quickly from one to another. You can choose your settings for your gaming sessions, for music, for streaming, for voice chat, etc. It is even possible to add Spotify playlists as input, audio from a VLC video, etc. It is just as easy to access the volume control on the monitoring mix (in the headphones) and on the streaming mix (to the public). It’s square, super easy to use and it’s really (well) thought out above all for streaming.

Elgato Wave Link

Expensive accessories

After this rather very positive observation, it is time to address what is undoubtedly the only false note of this product: the dedicated accessories, which are sold separately and at relatively high prices. The Pop filter is thus offered at 30 euros, the Shock Mount (anti-vibration) is at 40 euros and the articulated arm is at around 100 euros. For a microphone offered at 170 euros, this still adds quite a bit to an already quite salty note, which even more than bumps up the initial price if you take the complete accessory pack. Apart from these pecuniary considerations, it’s all good then.

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The Elgato Wave: 3 equipped with its pop filter

Conclusion: an excellent microphone for streaming

When it comes to reviewing, we have to face the facts: the Elgato Wave: 3 is an excellent microphone for streaming, plug and play and ultra simple to use thanks above all to its knob on the front and its paired software, the Wave Link. If it weren’t for its slightly cheap finish and the price of its dedicated accessories, this Wave: 3 would be very close to perfect. But it’s already very very good.

The Micro Elgato Wave:3 is available at €161.99 at TopAchat or €169.99 at Darty, Cdiscount, Boulanger.

➡️ See all Elgato Wave:3 USB microphone prices on our price comparison

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