This USB microphone provides an affordable entry point into the world of Ambisonic recording.
The Hong Kong‑based company miniDSP initially blipped on my radar in early 2020, when I reviewed the Dirac Live room optimisation system. The measuring microphone supplied to use with Dirac Live was a miniDSP UMIK‑1, and doing a bit of background research brought the rest of the extensive miniDSP product range into view. There’s a whole bunch of miniDSP products available, quite a few of which would, I suspect, be of interest to the average Sound On Sound reader, and here’s one of them: the ambiMIK‑1
There are a few examples of Ambisonic mic arrays out there and some of them have already made it into the review pages of the magazine — the Rode NT‑SF1 in December 2018 and the Voyage Audio Spatial Mic in July 2020, for example. The ambiMIK‑1 combines a couple of significant features of both of those two products, in that it comprises a ‘first order’ mic array similar to the Rode, and connects via USB like the Voyage Audio. It differs from both, however, in that it is significantly less expensive.
As a ‘first order’ Ambisonic microphone, the ambiMIK‑1 incorporates four capsules mounted in a tetrahedral array (a second order array would carry eight mics), all 14mm pre‑polarised cardioid condenser types. Now, if the phrases ‘first order’ and ‘tetrahedral array’ immediately have you head scratching, I can very much recommend the explanation that Sam Inglis included in his review of the Rode NT‑SF1. You can find it here: www.soundonsound.com/reviews/rode-nt-sf1.
The ambiMIK‑1’s capsule array is mounted on the end of a slim, pencil‑style body that fits in a standard mic holder and is protected by a plastic cage that proved to be somewhat fragile (don’t ask). A USB mini B‑type socket on the back end of the mic provides the necessary connection facilities. The ambiMIK‑1 ships with a table stand, a 3m USB cable and a fluffy wind screen, and requires a few downloads from the miniDSP website: the miniDSP‑MIK mic gain setting utility, the ambiMIK‑1 VST binaural and...