Tech Tools: JLab Talk Go USB microphone boosts your sound

Take things up an audio level with this lightweight laptop recording device

Jlabs Talk On Mic
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Price: €70
Where To Buy:

JLab Talk Go USB microphone

If you have, like many others in the past two years, found yourself in need of more than your laptop’s built-in microphone, the JBL Talk Go could fit the bill nicely. The USB-powered mic is designed for use with your laptop or desktop computer, offering you a better-quality option than the integrated mic on your device.

At the touch of a button, you can switch between cardioid mode, which will record sound mostly from directly in front of the mic, and omnidirectional, which will take in audio from around the room. The former is best for podcasting or video meetings; the latter works for a multiperson set up or if you need to pick up audio around a table. The mic also comes with its own stand in the box, so you are ready to go in minutes.

On the bottom of the mic is the power button, which also works to switch between cardioid, omnidirectional and mute modes, the USB-C power connection, a 3.5mm jack so you can connect headphones to monitor the output, and a volume wheel to adjust levels.

A ring around the edge of the bottom panel will show you what mode the mic is in, colour-coded for ease. Blue is cardioid, green omnidorectional, and red is mute.

The good

The Jlabs TalkOn microphone gives good sound quality, considering its price. It is lightweight, so it is easy to throw in your bag to take on the move, as long as you remember the cable.

The included stand is sturdy and the instructions on how best to position it are welcome.

Sound quality is also good. The mic has a 96kHz sample rate and 24-bit depth, which won’t mean a lot if you aren’t up on your audio terminology, but in practical terms it means clear, detailed recordings.

The not so good

You need a constant power supply, and it is USB-only, so you can’t use this for recording to your mobile device, for example.

One person’s lightweight is another’s cheap. I wasn’t a fan of the internal foam popguard either.

The rest

This is the entry-level mic in the Jlabs Talk range; if you want to upgrade, look at the Talk, or the Talk Pro.

The verdict

A reasonably priced USB mic for those who need something extra.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist