The JLab Talk Pro isn’t afraid to go after the Blue Yeti Pro USB Mic. There’s nothing shy about the Talk Pro at all; with its satin matte black finish with blue center at the top and blue, red and green lighting on the front, you almost don’t notice the stylish blue ring light at the bottom. The JLab Talk Pro screams, here I am; let’s record great content and look sexy doing it from the moment you pull it out of the box.
And while there are similarities to the popular Blue mic, the significant difference is in price, with the JLab Talk Pro costing $149 and the Blue Yeti Pro coming in at $249.99, which begs the question, does $100 make a difference when recording? Let’s find out.
JLab Talk Pro design
Visually, the JLab Talk Pro satin matte black finish is as sexy as a fresh, underpriced cardioid USB- microphone can be. Its partial plastic design with the unique styling of the all-metal grill construction lends to the mic’s tantalizing design. The plastic doesn’t feel like plastic. It actually took me a few days to realize the Talk Pro wasn’t entirely made of metal. The mic is cylindrical with a neon blue accent circle at the top of the grill. As your eyes slide down the unit, you’ll see the front marked in white font and blue lights that indicate which of the four polar patterns you are using. Centered beneath the indicator lights, is a row of buttons encased in a glassy plastic. The mute mic button at the top of the row turns green for when the mic is live and red for when it’s muted. At the bottom of the row, is the button to choose which polar pattern you wish to use.
On the back of the JLab Talk Pro, we find the headphone volume and gain control knobs which are lettered G and V in a white font. The cool thing about these knobs is when you use them, the row of lights on the front light up to indicate the gain or volume levels. When using the gain, the front row lights glow green and blue when raising the volume.
When placed in the supplied glossy black with white JLab Logo all-metal tripod mount, with its neon blue rubber padded tips giving it a firm hold on your desktop, the essence of style is palpable. At the very bottom of the microphone is a gorgeous neon blue light ring along with the USB-C port, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and a button to change the bottom ring light color. In the center, is the metal screw-on mount for the tripod, which, if you choose to remove the mounting bracket, will allow you to mount the unit directly to a boom arm.
The JLab Talk Pro weighs in at 1.1 pounds and measures 11.18 x 6.54 x 4.17 inches which is lightweight in comparison to the Blue Yeti Pro which comes in at 3.5 pounds and measures 4.9 x 4.7 x 11.6 inches. The weight difference obviously has to do with the Talk Pro’s partial plastic construction. Included with the JLabs Talk Pro is a 9-foot USB-C to USB-A braided cable.
JLab Talk Pro microphone quality
Ok, time to get down to business. Yeah, the JLab Talk Pro is pretty and yes, it’s solidly built, lightweight, and easy to travel with. But, how well does it record audio? The answer is pretty damned good. The stylish stunner is hiding three condenser mics behind that fancy grill. And thanks to that trio, you get to several pattern choices to record in Cardioid, Omnidirectional, Stereo, and Bidirectional. Featuring 24bits of depth, a sample rate of 192kHz, and 120 decibels of MAX SPL, chances are, you’re going to record some good audio.
I dove in and made several recordings with the JLab Talk Pro in different environments. The s sessions recorded in my home office were extremely clear, with excellent timbre reproduction. The microphone is sensitive in each polar pattern and easily picked up my laptop’s fans. I lowered the gain and switched polar patterns to test how the adjustment worked in each, and they all came back clear as day.
Whether I was playing around making test recordings or making a podcast, I never any distortion, nor was any recorded no matter how loud I got. My voice was crystal clear; the bass and timbre of my voice were reproduced beautifully with the host of the podcast I was on saying my voice sounded like warm butter. I didn’t know that was a thing.
Next, I moved out into my backyard to record a bit. I was impressed with how clearly omnidirectional and bidirectional patterns picked up my voice even when I was sitting two to three feet away from the microphone. The JLab Talk Pro also did a fantastic job of capturing my voice with the subtle ambient noise of the birds that frolic in my backyard during the day.
Overall, the recording quality of the JLab Talk Pro is on par with most professional microphones I’ve used in studios over the years. I have to give JLabs credit for how it handles all the audio nuances of my voice, especially when I was recording all my awful impressions of people famous and not-so-famous.
The JLab Talk Pro is compatible with Mac and Windows 10 systems and is truly plug and play. Once you have it set up either on your desk or connected to a boom arm, just plug it into your laptop’s USB port. From there, go into settings and select the unit in your audio and locations and you’re good to start recording. There is no proprietary software to concern yourself with, and you can use the JLabs pro with any audio recording software you may own.
The JLab Talk Pro is a professional-level microphone that I recommend to those looking to step up their podcast or streaming game without spending too much money. For $149, you get a microphone that matches and, in some ways, surpasses long-time champ, the Blue Yeti Pro, starting with the price. For $100 less, you get a mic that can go toe-to-toe with the Yeti in terms of audio quality. And with its unique design, the Talk Pro certainly stands out in a crowd. And the lighting makes it incredibly easy to determine your audio levels. Plus, that extra $100 can go towards other equipment purchases. Due to its partial plastic construction, some might feel it’s not as premium or sturdy as more expensive models. But, that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. So if you’re in the market for a new USB mic and don’t want to spend nearly $250, the JLab Talk Pro just might be the right mic for you.