Little Square Mic

The exhibit floor at AES was awash with microphones: elegant classics by Neumann and Microtech Gefell, tiny head-worn models from AudioTechnica, Steampunk-looking creations from Cascade, and lots of unique designs from tiny boutique companies. But the one that really caught my eye was probably the least-expensive mic in the room: the Little Square Mic by Studio Projects. It’s little, it’s square, it comes in fun colors. But there are three more important attributes: convenience, price and sound.

It’s hard to imagine a more versatile mic: it has dual outputs, both XLR and USB, so it can be plugged straight into a computer, or a conventional audio recorder or mixer (or use both USB and XLR at the same time!) Just plug the USB jack into your computer, and the mic can be selected as an input source for your Digital Audio Workstation, or for Skype, or iChat, or most any audio program, no interface required.

Little Square Mic
Little Square Mic

It has a yoke that acts as either an adjustable mount for a microphone stand or as a prop for tabletop use. It’s so small and flat that it could slip comfortably into a laptop bag, or even a coat pocket.

Its street price is about $179. Most important: it sounds great. Despite its small profile, it’s a condenser mic with a large-ish 33mm diaphragm, which means it’s very sensitive and produces a detailed, warm sound. It requires phantom power, which can be provided via the USB cable, or the XLR analog cable.

We’ve been fans of the Studio Projects B1, a very inexpensive large diaphragm condenser mic, and all of the company’s microphones sound better than their price tags would suggest. The build-quality seems more solid than many similarly priced mics.

We’ve previously been reluctant to recommend USB microphones, just because that single output limits them to only recording straight to a computer. If it’s a good-sounding mic, there may be circumstances where you’d want to plug it into a recorder, or a mixer, and most USB mics do not allow that.

There is one catch: because the mic is so small, the mic jack on the back is a mini-XLR, so you can’t use a conventional mic cable, you have to use an adapter cable. One is provided with the mic, along with a USB cable, but spare mic cables with those connectors are not very common, so plan ahead if you’re moving the mic around and might need an extra.

There are never any concrete rules for the exact right mic for every voice, but the LSM is so handy, it’s hard to imagine that you wouldn’t find a use for it.

Jeff Towne

About
Jeff Towne

Jeff Towne has been producing radio programs since he was a teenager, back then with a portable Marantz cassette deck and a Teac four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder, and now with digital recorders and computer workstations. After honing his broadcasting skills at high school and college radio stations, Jeff has spent over two decades as the producer of the nationally-syndicated radio program Echoes. At Echoes, he has done extensive recording of interviews and musical performances, produced documentary features, and prepared daily programs for satellite and internet distribution. As Transom.org's Tools Editor, Jeff has reviewed dozens of audio recorders, editing software, and microphones, and written guides for recording, editing and mixing audio for radio and the web. Jeff has also taught classes and presented talks on various aspects of audio production. When not tweaking audio files, Jeff can probably be found eating (and compulsively taking pictures) at that little restaurant with the unpronounceable name that you always wondered about.

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  • Bruce

    3.13.15

    Reply

    The question is, how does it sound?

  • sandeep

    7.19.15

    Reply

    Hi
    This is a question reg studio projects LSM. How would one compare the warmth and the bass response of this mic with other ldc’s like b1 or mxl v67g.
    Am asking this because this mic has a small body while other ldc,s have larger bodies.

    Regards

    Sandeep.

  • Euclio

    2.06.16

    Reply

    Hi, let me note that “phantom power” cannot be provided but through an XLR cable. This microphone, however, is able to produce its bias voltage from the +5V voltage of the USB line for the externally polarized condenser transducer element it has.

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