In this article, I’m taking a look at the ESI cosMik uCast. The cosMik uCast is a professional USB condenser microphone that’s designed for podcasting, content creation and live streaming. It retails for $123 (EUR 109.00).
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by ESI for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Packaging, Accessories and Software
Included in the box are the cosMik uCast microphone, USB Type-B cable, USB Type-C cable, a table tripod stand and microphone holder clip. The cosMik uCast also includes some generous bundled software including Bitwig Studio 8-track, WaveLab LE, Audified inTone 2 (ESI Edition) and Cubasis LE.
The cosMik uCast is a digital-only microphone, so there’s no XLR output – only USB. Why is that you ask? That’s because it’s designed primarily for use with a computer or smartphone.
When it comes to usage scenarios, this cardioid mic can do just about anything. It’s ideal for podcasts and live streaming, as well as online conference calls. But it can just as easily be used for content creation or recording vocals and instruments.
The first time I picked up this microphone I was surprised by its heft and cool touch. Considering the entry-level price, the cosMik uCast has an all-metal build with a gorgeous anodized finish in the classic ESI burnt orange colour.
Not only is the body of the mic metal, but even the knobs, table tripod and microphone holder are also crafted from the same sturdy stuff. There are 2 on the front of the mic: one for input gain and the other for the headphone output level. Even the Mute button is metal, rounding out the fantastic build of this device.
Both knobs have a nice smooth action and solid feel. However, I do wish there were level indicators marked around them so it would be easier to dial in the levels if they’ve been changed either accidentally or on purpose.
On the bottom of the mic are the USB Type-C output and a 3.5mm headphone output that you can use to monitor your audio in real-time.
A cool feature of the cosMik uCast is its DirectWIRE technology (available for Windows only). With DirectWIRE you can integrate effects or sound processing in real-time via a DAW or other software.
With the correct settings dialled in, the cosMik uCast sounds good. Really good. I like the tone, clarity and detail in my voice using this cardioid microphone. It’s a sensitive device, so the gain adjustment comes in very handy.
One thing that should be noted is that the cosMik uCast doesn’t come with an included pop filter. I find this a really strange omission, especially considering the mic is quite sensitive to plosives. Without a pop filter or some careful positioning, you can easily mess up your audio with ‘P’ sounds.
Another thing I noticed is that I was getting thumping noises through the included tripod whenever I bumped my desk. This could be considered user error on my part, but I found it quite distracting.
Due to my room being untreated, I was hearing some reverb and background noise at first but by lowering the gain level and getting closer to the microphone I was able to easily attenuate it. This is the case with most consumer-grade microphones so if you’re really serious about your dialogue you should consider implementing some basic room acoustic treatment.
The ESI cosMik uCast is a microphone with a fantastic, rugged design and excellent sound quality. For live streaming and podcasts, the DirectWIRE feature adds a lot of extra functionality. Where the cosMik uCast really goes above and beyond is with its impressive bundled software that raises the already good value of the microphone even more. If you’re looking for an affordable digital microphone, the ESI cosMik uCast should definitely be on your radar.
- condenser studio microphone with USB-C audio interface
- cardioid polar pattern
- special 1″ diaphragm size
- frequency response: 30Hz – 18kHz
- max. SPL: 130 dB
- dynamic range: 89 dB (ADC), 93dB (DAC)
- signal-to-noise ratio: 89 dB (ADC), 93dB (DAC)
- gain and mute controls
- 1/8″ / 3.5mm headphone output with volume control
- dimensions aprox. 176mm x 50mm
- weight: around 250g
- tripod table stand and microphone holder clip included
- USB bus powered
- both USB-C and USB 2.0 cables included (each ca. 2m)
- 100% class compliant
- compatible with PC systems using Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10 and many Linux distributions
- compatible with Mac systems using OS X / macOS, native CoreAudio support (32-bit and 64-bit)
- compatible with iPhone and iPad (connection adapter required)
- EWDM driver for Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10 with ASIO 2.0, MME, WDM and DirectSound (32-bit and 64-bit)
- DirectWIRE support under Windows with virtual audio channels for internal loopback recording
- realtime input monitoring can be controlled via the Windows or Mac control panel application