Microphone Review: Akingdleo Over Ear 3.5mm Hands Free Cardioid Wired Audio Boom Condenser Classroom Mic — A Steal at $8
For those who dictate in a noisy environment like in a moving car or out in the weather, I highly recommend a cardioid microphone. Skipping past all the technical stuff, that means it amplifies the sound coming from your mouth and dampens sound from other directions. This improves the transcription accuracy.
I personally use the Sennheiser Professional ME 3 Cardioid Headset Microphone. It’s a fine microphone, and I think it’s worth every penny — but it’s a lot of pennies. $149.95.
Last week my friend Jenna Eatough sent me a link to this Akingdleo Over Ear 3.5mm Hands Free Cardioid Wired Audio Boom Condenser Classroom Mic. At the incredible low price of $8. I promised to review it.
Summary: It’s a steal at that price, and not bad even if the price goes up a little. You might want an extension cable; but it’s a really good option, especially if you’re new to dictating.
There’s a lot more I have to say. But rather than saying it to you, I said it to my Akingdleo mic, and recorded it in two sessions, one while driving and one while hiking. The proof of a dictation mic is how well it transcribes. The sessions are below so you can decide for yourself.
Recording While Driving
This is a test of my new cardioid microphone, just delivered by Amazon thanks to a suggestion by Jenna etalk. I can’t recall the name of this particular microphone, I will have to check Amazon for that. Jenna suggested it because it has a distinct advantage over my very very excellent Sennheiser ME three cardioid microphone: it costs only eight dollars as opposed to one hundred and eighty dollars. But is this a case where you get what you pay for? We’ll find out!
Right now, I am driving down the road to see how it handles ordinary road noise and engine noise, and how good the transcription is under these circumstances. I can already tell you two distinct differences between the this microphone and the Sennheiser, arguably 3:1st, the headset is arranged with the microphone on the left side, where the Sennheiser as it on the right. I don’t know that there’s a proper answer there, just that it’s not what I’m used to. But second, the court also seems to be shorter, but I haven’t actually compare them side-by-side. But the combination of being on the left side of my head with a seemingly shorter cord means that there is very little room for this microphone to connect up to my recorder. In fact, I would say it’s almost has to be a shorter cord, because sometimes when hooked up to my Sennheiser as I traveled down the road, the recorder would slide off my center console and down into the passenger foot well. There is no way that this recorder now could slide anywhere close the foot well, even if the microphone were on the right side of my face. It barely reaches from the cup holder behind my shoulder my right shoulder, around the back of my head and to the head percent. So definitely the cable is shorter. And the third difference that’s immediately obvious has me worried. My practice when dictating in the car is to make sure that I am recording by plugging the recorder into my Jeep’s audio system so that I can hear that in fact I’m being picked up. This is very important with my older recorder were sometimes connector could pop out of the recorder and I would never know that I wasn’t recording. And there were other ways that could happen, as well, such as simply forgetting to push the button. So I always record with the microphone with the recorder plugged into the audio system so I can hear the sound and know that I’m recording. As a side note, I do the same thing when walking and dictating, plugging a set of earplugs into the recorder. When I do this with my Sennheiser, I turn the volume way up, up to thirty or so on a unit that dials up to thirty-four. Why thirty-four? It seems crazy to me, but that’s how the Jeep’s audio system is set up. And at thirty, I can just hear a nice resident echo of my voice as I talked, but not so much that it’s a distraction. With this new microphone, above twenty, I was getting the squeal of feedback. Right now I am at twenty I believe – – I’m driving, so I can’t look – – and I can hear my voice much more distinctly, with a bit of a tinny echo in my ear. There are two possibilities explanations I can see for that, one harmless and one concerning. The harmless one would be that this microphone simply has a higher gain than the Sennheiser, and thus doesn’t need to be turned up as high to pick up my voice. That would be mostly harmless, though it might mean that my voice and the recordings will turn out to be very loud, and I can’t rule out the possibility that Dragon NaturallySpeaking will be overwhelmed by the loud loud audio.
But the other possibility concerns me: what if the feedback is happening because this microphone picks up more of the surrounding audio then my Sennheiser does, and is thus picking up the sound from the speakers and getting into a feedback loop? That is, after all, exactly what feedback means. If that’s the case, then perhaps this microphone is not nearly as cardioid as it should be, and is picking up all of the surrounding noise and thus making it impossible for Dragon to transcribe. We won’t know until I get a chance to transfer this file and test it out.
Right now, I’m hopeful, expecting this to be again issue. This is not just an issue of picking up outside audio. I am definitely hearing my voice louder than I heard it with the Sennheiser. So gain makes sense. But I’m naturally worried. The whole point of a cardioid microphone is to cut out the extraneous sound. This microphone is no bargain if the recorded audio is not transcribe a bowl.
But we will find out. In the meantime, this is my initial test, driving at fifty-five miles an hour down country roads as I pass other vehicles in the tires move on the pavement and the air whistled by… How is the transcription now?
And then how is it now when I have a window rolled down? To be fair, the Sennheiser doesn’t do well with the rolled down window, either. It is not ideal conditions. But it is a useful test. Who knows? Maybe this microphone will do even better than the Sennheiser with the window rolled down. That’s why we tests point
and I pull away and accelerate with the window open – – and therefore smoke getting into my nose for a burner barrel I just passed – – and see what the quality of the sound is. I plan to do one more test when I get to Byron Center, where I hope to join the Kent trails for a couple of miles of walking before finally coming back for an excellent dinner at the Great Week Year Old Pl. in Byron Center. That’s a new Greek restaurant, or at least new to me, in the town where I grew up: Byron Center. I never would’ve looked for a Greek place there, but their Facebook ads let me know that it was an option. And it’s pretty good Greek food. It was well worth stopping last time I was there. And today, amazingly, they have new owners not that long after I discovered that. And in celebration, the new owners are offering buy one get one free heroes. How can I pass up a deal like that?
And conveniently, Kent trails go right through that area. I’ve never been on them so not sure exactly where the trailhead is there. Map shows it as being on 84th St., but I would’ve expected with it was back in the area by the library and the Township headquarters in the park back there. But that’s all very close to where the Greek heroes Plaisance so this is an opportunity to go try a new trail, get a great deal on almost new food, and try new microphone all in one X and X at that… Excursion. Don’t blame that on the microphone, blame it on me.
Now I’ve zipped her rolled the window back up, so this should be more normal dictation conditions. We shall see how well this works. It will be interesting to see how well the GPS instructions come through in this recording. With the Sennheiser, I can barely hear them, and they are too faint for Dragon to pick them up. We’ll see if that’s true with this microphone as well.
So my plan is to park in the strip mall where the great heroes is, then wander around to find the trailhead, then walk and dictate for a while, and then come back for dinner. While I’m walking, I will be attempting to answer question from Greg Vose: how firmly does this new microphone seat into the recorder. That seating is actually an important reason why both Greg and I have settled on the Sennheiser ME three microphone: losing connection in the middle of recording is a real bummer. And I had it happened twice with my old microphone. It was not directly the fault I mean with my old recorder. It was not directly the fault of the recorder, it was an interaction between the recorder and microphone. See, the Sennheiser microphone has a locking ring on it, which works really well if you have a locking ring on the recorder as well. Nothing can pop out. But locking rings on recorders are uncommon, especially on economy recorders which are very very popular with writers on a budget. The problem is, if your recorder does not have the locking ring, then the tendency is for the recorder to be held out, not firmly seated. And when that happens, it takes very little to knock it out. And when it was in my pocket, that could happen too easily. And after losing two hours of recording that way, I determined that I needed a better solution, and Greg found a recorder that had the locking nut for good strong attachment: the zoom off one field recorder. This is a great recorder for a number of reasons, not just that one; but put it together with the expensive microphone, and you end up with a three hundred dollar expense. That is far too much for most writers to invest in for entirely understandable reasons. I did the math and decided it was a good investment at the rate that I have been dictating and selling, but that’s a hard calculation to make.
Well, I have a couple of answers. I have an answer to Greg’s question or at least an initial answer, and also follow up on an earlier answer. This short microphone makes it really difficult for me to make turns. That’s probably going to be a dealbreaker in itself. I cannot fully turn my head without straining the microphone cable to its limit. I can’t lean forward or bend around to make a turn try to see around things. And already, in one case where I had to look around so I forced myself, the microphone cable briefly popped out – – not completely, but enough to disconnect the audio. So I can say right now that first it is possible to pop out; and second, this will not be usable without a cable extension of some kind.
I am at the great Greek Mediterranean Grill, so prepare to stop now, and then resume when I’m set up for hiking.
Recording While Hiking
Alright I can say with the degree of certainty now that this has some heavy gain on this microphone. No question. The sound through my earpieces is very loud. And I’m hearing a lot of these surrounding noise as well, making me very concerned that this ain’t very cardioid. And it pops out insanely easy easily, especially with the short microphone. This is a challenge.
Meanwhile, on my other quest, I found the sign that says chemtrail’s parking. This should be obviously a place to catch the trail. I see what looks suspiciously like a trail up ahead. The park is full of family is having fun people playing tennis, cars all around. The microphone is making horrible popping noises in my ears. I don’t like that at all. But the audio experience isn’t what counts what really matters is the transcription. And will find out about that later tonight. I’ve already had enough concerns that I don’t plan to transcribe any fiction with this microphone or to dictate any fiction with this microphone until I contest the transcription. You never know, but there are enough reasons to doubt. So although I do intend to trint dictate ace the end of the story when drive home tonight – – at least, I think it will be the end, but you never know – – I don’t plan to do that dictation with this microphone. I have my Sennheiser with me because I knew this was a possibility. And yes, I have found the official trail, and I’m now walking along the outskirts of Byron Center as I knew it when I grew up. There’s a lot new here, but I still like it. I wonder if those birds are showing up in the audio. All that they are.
This is a typical modern paved trail, a wide sidewalk, essentially. It goes from the park environ and more or less west direction into a housing development it certainly wasn’t here when I was a kid. Nice, clean, well-maintained houses on nice curvy streets. You surely seen a housing development much like this one, they’re all through the suburbs. The trail is not formally marked here, that was back in the park, but I’m going to assume that the wide sidewalk that continue straight off the trail that led here. And I will hope that there are trail markers as I go. It will be interesting to find out summation point
now I’m walking directly into the sun, of course. I do appreciate these new glasses – – if a-year-old counts as new, which for me it does – – because they’re the first ones I’ve ever had with the photosensitive lenses actually work. In the past, and gave up on even trying them, because they cost a lot and seem more thermal sensitive than photosensitive. Or I don’t know exactly what sensitive, but they are much more likely to make me blind on a winter’s day when I came in from the parking lot into work then to ever darken on a summer day. But these are distinctly darkened today as I walk into the sun. It’s not particularly warm. I think it’s only in the middle to high 60s Fahrenheit. But the sunlight my face is bright, and the lenses have dimmed. All right
all right, there’s a crosswalk here pavement of sidewalk style with a sign pointing to Bicentennial Park where I just came from, so I think this is the place. There’s no sign coming from my way… You just had to know. But hey when you go from concrete sidewalk to a stretch of pavement perpendicular, it’s good to guess that the pavement that the pavement is the trail to follow. It’s a nice, shady, tree-lined trail between one group of houses in another. It’s plenty wide enough for traffic in both directions. There’s a ditch on the east side and as soon as I say that of course the ditch goes under a culvert so now it’s on the west side. I didn’t see any water in it. And apparently there’s an apple tree here because there are number of apples fallen on the ground. And there’s chirping birds. Dragon, do you hear the chirping birds? There are couple of bicyclists up ahead on their side of the road, so I shall hug my side. Who nice gap in the trees. Nice, warm sun. Here’s a good mountain bike traffic out here today, it feels like as much in this short stretch as I encountered when I walked the trail by M6 over by the hospital. That was a nice trail, but this one is shadier. On the other hand, that one went by some interesting places, particularly the little Bangkok restaurant where I parked. But then, I discovered that little Bangkok wasn’t open on Sunday, which was the day I was walking that trail.
Yeah, a lot of bikes here! A lot of people enjoying this trail. It’s pretty nice. Also some walkers. Head looks like maybe a person with the stroller and a dog walking along. Maybe the whole family some others on bicycles.
I was practically a traffic jam: a family of six or seven passing a family of three with one in the stroller. I had to step off the family of seven words that good at sticking to their side of the trail.
And I just past the half mile marker. It’s nice to know they have those here.
Up ahead, there’s some sort of arch over the trail. I wonder what that is?
If you’re waiting for the answer, keep waiting. I’m not walking that fast.
Looks for all the world like a bridge, and the trainable sides of trails elevated, so it very well might be. Maybe it’s like the bridge by Sandy Pines, a golf cart bridge so that residents can get across.
It’s definitely a bridge, maybe if 20 to 30 foot span over the trail. And just beyond that is a bench. Bob and Edna Alice. I know that family name.
And along the trail the folks who just passed me found a great cat wandering around looking for people to pet me. Yes I will catch you but just a little while, as I gotta keep walking. No you’re not going to enroll and tempt me. By strange kitty…
Nice little pond up here on the left in a break in the trees. With a nice green hill behind it part of some park I suspect.
It is heard a lot of rattling on the bridge, but I didn’t see what was on it.
That’s a park, or maybe a golf course.
More bicyclists, a jogger, a gentleman in a wheelchair. Man, this trail does get activity.
And there’s another bridge up ahead, and a little outbuilding off to the left and nicely groomed lawns on both sides. Yes, I suspect we are looking at a golf course here. Gates are open on both sides with no signage. Let me just take a quick look in. Hello Mr. squirrel. He asked me to point this is a golf course. Greens and water traps and rough in flags. So I assume one side of the trail is front nine, one site is back nine.
I just passed by more joggers and another bicyclist. This is far more traffic than I saw that I am six.
Interesting smell in these woods very green. Smells plural, I should say. I could get to like this trail. It’s worth a short drive, at least in good weather.
I think I see seventy-six Street way up in the distance. That should be the one mile mark and I just past six o’clock.
Chipmunks up the tree!
I could probably do longer, but I do want to get the great heroes before they close, which is a little over two hours. So I will turn around seventy-six Street, and make my way back.
This is the new plan: more, shorter walks rather than the few longer walks that leave me spent. And his walk school, I like this one. It’s even terrain, with a little bit of hills but not bad. It’s pleasant and woodsy, not far from civilization and all, and with a lot traffic in case of emergency. I could get to like this.
It’s not Kevin with the Rocky Mountains out his back door, but still pretty nice. So regardless of the success or failure of this microphone, the Kent trails our success. Especially since I can do much longer walks whenever I feel up to it.
All right, I am approaching seventy-six Street and traffic. If the microphone picking up the traffic sounds? Are they interfering with the transcription? I’ll make sure to stand there and talk a while to give them a chance to give it a chance to show off its success.
And I just walked past the one mile mark, with still another thirty feet or so to seventy-six Street. Is a bench in memory of Mary and Westhoff. That’s a family name I don’t recognize.
I! I’m at seventy-six Street, and I’m just going to talk as traffic goes by. But here comes some cars! And another one! And another…… And… Another… As one just passed me… And a bicyclist… And now I wait and things come down so if something to compare. Now here comes a motorcycle… And a couple of bikes maybe a scooter… In a car with those two sound. Another car. Here comes one from the east, zipping by! And one from the west is approaching…
E and that should be enough traffic noise for us to check.
So I turn around and head back. But as I do, I’m going to stop because there’s a wonderful Kent trails map. That deserves a picture shows where I’m at and where I can go.
Now I’m heading south on the trail heading back to Bicentennial Park. That sound you hear is me slapping my four head at a private conversation between me and another person about 1/3 person whom we both know in respect who may have just missed a chance at income. I will go into the details, there’s plenty of income already there, but they never considered another in, opportunity. Not my place to tell them, but I hope to change their minds.
I wonder if this microphone is adjustable in any way. This high gain seems like it has to be too high. Seems like there has to be a problem there. But part of that, no doubt, is what I’m used to. It’s not the Sennheiser, there’s no doubt about that, but that says nothing about whether it’s usable or not. Only tonight’s test will tell.
There would be a certain kind of symmetry in walking this trail and dictating stories, back where I grew up. This is where I told stories forty-five years ago, so why not tell stories here today? To quote the title of a story that somebody who wrote, – – I couldn’t possibly guess who – – it’s always coming home.
Big Billy over there now I can see it is a big R on the side, the rail side logo. That’s the logo of the golf course, of course.
Up ahead is the first of the bridges again. I wonder if the cat still out here…
No sign of the kitty cat. Too bad. Can’t blame all these people for being out here on this beautiful trail on such a beautiful day mother still some summer left. This is such a nice place to be walking or biking or pushing a stroller.
This is nice… Busy, but nice.… I swear I hear the birds more in my earphones then my ears! Again on this microphone is impressive commission point
coming up to the second bridge!
I’ll have to remember in the future that I can park a little closer. There is dedicated parking for the trail right near the trailhead. But since I do want to end up at great heroes, I’m not sure does many good to be closer. An extra few hundred feet for good food is no problem.
I’m surprised and pleased that I haven’t run into any mosquitoes. Surprised because this is Michigan; please because I didn’t bring any insect repellent. I would be at their mercy.
And here comes the half mile marker’s another half mile back to eighty-four Street in the park, and I’ll be done. This will be successful regardless of the microphone! So minute mile and 1/2, and I’m running out of things to say! I can only talk about the beautiful trail so many times before I’m repeating myself.
I did just have a bicyclist call out that he was coming up of my left. I think that’s the first call out I’ve heard on the trail today. I’m not saying that there been any near misses, just the Yankee Springs trails train me to expect calls. Not here!
I can see the housing development ahead. My estimate is that’s maybe the quarter mile mark, give or take. That’s good, because I’m getting hungry! You’re also sounding really good right now.
Now. Something just fell from a tree and hit me in the face. Or maybe flu, maybe it was a bug.
But at least gave me something to talk about… Here we have the nice open area can see all the way to transmission tower that might be the one on 92nd St., Hill. I’m not sure, it’s not the big red one I grew up knowing, but it’s more or less the right direction. Of course, there are so many cell towers these days, it’s really difficult to tell…
Well, if this were a normal dictation trail session, I would do my two miles in around an hour. I’d like to be faster, but the doctor thinks that’s a little too fast a pace for me. So mile out in a mile back in an hour would be sixty minutes. And it twenty-five words per minute that would be fifteen hundred words. At forty words per minute, which is not uncommon for hiking a trail, that will be twenty-four hundred words. If fifty million words per minute, which I have been known to hit on occasion, that would be three thousand words. In a nice bit of exercise and some beautiful scenery. I could make this work! I’m back in the housing development, walking back toward Bicentennial Park. And it’s been a pretty nice day here. I’m glad Amazon delivered the microphone and gave me a reason to test this trail as I tested the mic. This could make a nice habit until the weather gets bad.
Hello almost to the edge of the housing development, and the crossing to the park. No traffic so I cross at the crosswalk and between the houses…
And into the woods! On my way back to Bicentennial Park. More nice, shady woods. Back to sidewalk instead of pavement. Once more passing the northern fringe of the buyer and I grew up with. I see now why the Apple maps app wanted me to start off eighty-four Street because there is little tiny foot trail off the paved trail takes us straight to little side street coming off from eighty-four Street but were not following that. But maybe it was supposed to take this wrong? This was an actual paved trail from a cul-de-sac into the park. Here’s a convenient sign for Bicentennial Park restrooms. That’s always a concern when trail hiking estimation point
here go couple of 4 x 4’s making noise. Let’s see how that shows up in the recording. And I am back in the Bicentennial Park parking lot, making my way out of the driveway to the side street that will take me back to great heroes. As I walked by a lot of kids having fun a lot of people playing tennis, let’s see how this affects the transcription. And here comes a vehicle driving past me. Let’s see how that affects the transcription.
And I am back to 82nd St. A short left turn and I am approaching the stripmall – – on the other side of the road, course – – were great heroes is found. Regency Commons. And I checked both ways, walk across the street, and make my way to the parking lot. I would just drop off my microphone here at the altar and express, and then they will treat myself to the euros. This is been a test of my new microphone on the hiking trail.