If you are looking for a USB microphone to measure your room acoustics and apply equalization, you might have come across the Umik-1 and Umik-2 from miniDSP. These are two popular models that are designed to work with software like REW (Room EQ Wizard) and Dirac Live. But what are the differences between them and which one is better for home theater use? In this article, we will compare their features, performance, price, and give our recommendation.
The Umik-1 and Umik-2 are both USB microphones that can measure your room acoustics. They come calibrated and come with access to a calibration file that you can download from miniDSP’s website. This file contains the frequency response and sensitivity of your microphone, which helps to ensure accurate measurements. The Umik-1 was launched in 2013 and has been a popular choice for many home theater enthusiasts. While Umik-2 was released in 2020 and is an improved version of the Umik-1.
Both microphones come with a tripod, windscreen, and USB cable. However, the Umik-2 comes with a USB-C to USB-A 2-meter cable and the UMIK-1 comes with a Mini-USB to USB-A 1.5-meter cable. You will not be able to use your UMIK-1 cable if you decide to upgrade to the UMIK-2.
Umik-1 Box: Property of MiniDSP
Umik-2 Box: Property of MiniDSP
There are a few key differences between the Umik-1 and Umik-2 in terms of features. The first one is that the Umik-2 has an updated capsule and electronics design. This results in a more accurate frequency response, lower distortion and a lower noise floor.
The second difference is that the Umik-2 comes with a Windows custom ASIO plugin that allows you to use it with various audio software applications. This further improves the accuracy of the microphone.
The third difference is that the Umik-2 has a higher sampling rate than the Umik-1. The Umik-1 can record up to a 48 kHz sample rate, while the Umik-2 can record up to 192 kHz sample rate. This means that the Umik-2 can capture a more detailed frequency response at higher-resolution (32bit) samples. It can also record at higher frequencies, although it is not rated to be accurate above 20kHz.
The performance of the UMIK-1 and UMIK-2 depends on how you use them and what you want to measure. For home theater use, you will typically want to measure the frequency response of your speakers and subwoofer from 20hz-20khz, as well as the room modes and reflections that affect your sound quality.
For this purpose, both microphones will do a great job of capturing the sound response in your room. However, there are advantages and disadvantages of each microphone that may change your preference:
For instance, the Umik-2 has a lower noise floor compared to Umik-1. This means that it will pick up less background noise and hiss than the Umik-1. MiniDSP accomplished this by enlarging the capsule size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter.
Alternatively, the Umik-1 has a higher maximum SPL of 133 dB SPL compared to 125 dB SPL for the Umik-2. This means that the Umik-1 can handle louder sounds without clipping or distorting than the Umik-2. The peak reference level for calibrated home theaters is 85dB with 105dB dynamic peaks for main speakers and 115dB dynamic peaks for the LFE channel / subs, so both microphones are perfectly capable of measuring accurately to that sound pressure.
The price of the UMIK-1 and UMIK-2 may vary depending on where you buy them and whether they are on sale or not. However, as of writing this article, the official prices from miniDSP are $79 USD for the Umik-1 and $195 USD for the Umik-2. This makes the Umik-1 a more affordable option for budget-conscious users.
The UMIK-1 and UMIK-2 are both excellent microphones for home theater use, but the choice between the UMIK-1 and UMIK-2 depends on your budget and your goals. If you want the best sound quality and accuracy for your home theater measurements or plan on designing your own speakers, then the UMIK-2 may be worth the extra cost. If you want a more affordable microphone that can handle higher SPL levels, then the UMIK-1 may be a better option.
We hope this article has helped you decide which MiniDSP microphone is better for your needs. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
How To Purchase
The microphones are available from Amazon and from MiniDSP directly. It is worth checking the prices on both sites as they do fluctuate.
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