Review: MacMice MicFlex
The best USB microphone in the world is a large claim to make, as written on the MicFlex web page. Fortunately, the claim seems rather valid about this new and unique USB microphone. By mixing characteristics from their SightFlex stands for the iSight and a good USB conversion circuit, MacMice has created a stylish and superb-sounding USB microphone.
MicFlex Detached from Base
The MicFlex is priced around $40, competitive with other USB microphones and consumer USB audio products. The microphone itself is a small cylinder attached to a flexible, metal coil, similar to many gooseneck desk lamps, as well as MacMice’s iSight accessories.
At the other end is a standard USB connector, for directly connecting to a computer or plugging into an included base. The base is essentially a USB extension cable with a heavy silver hemisphere on one end. Unlike the rest of the microphone, the base is not metal. It can also be used with other USB devices, such as flash drives, and digital cameras, allowing easy access to a USB port on machines having the USB ports located in the back.
Installation is an easy, straightforward process. Plug the microphone into your computer. Direct connection to the computer yields the best sound, as in our tests, hubs delayed response times, causing distortions – this also happens with other USB audio devices. USB extension cables did not cause this problem.
Having the shiny new MicFlex made me want to use it at every chance I could, repositioning it to the best possible angle, and admiring the great design. People who want to start using iChat AV, but have a Mac which lacks a built-in microphone will find the MicFlex to be a perfect choice if they are unable to use an iSight (yes, some still use dialup or slower Macs). I used it with iChat AV to talk with some friends, and (according to them) it sounded much clearer than the built-in microphone on my iBook, or previous cheap analog microphone. I also used it with SoundStudio to record a voiceover for a project, and it sounded crisp and clear, with no extra noise. MacMice also suggests using it with acoustic guitars on GarageBand, although I do not have the ability to put this to the test.
The MicFlex is a well-designed product, providing excellent sound quality, a simple installation procedure (plug it in and it works), and a design which matches almost any recent Mac perfectly. The only gripes we have is that the base is painted plastic and that bending the microphone back to a completely straight line is almost impossible, but they are minor. Overall, MacMice’s original claim has proven to be very true.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The MicFlex is a well-designed product that also works as well as advertised, and is a stylish, clever new take on a somewhat boring accessory.
Pros: Metal construction matches Macs, excellent sound quality, competitive price
Cons: Plastic base’s paint could be scratched, hard to return to original straight line