Have you ever heard of 512 Audio? Neither had we until their products turned up at the studio. They’re a fairly new venture and an off-shoot of Warm Audio. 512 Audio started in August 2021 based in Texas, where the 512 name comes from as it’s Warm Audio’s area code, with the goal of providing decent-sounding audio gear at affordable prices to content creators – like game streamers and podcasters. And comparing the two microphones we’ve had sent definitely screams affordable. Warm Audio microphones look like they start from £1000 plus, though they are aimed at high-end music studios. Whereas the Skylight condenser microphone and Limelight dynamic microphone both sit at £189 on Amazon UK.
For the sake of my testing, I used both microphones with my GoXLR Mini, to give them a test when streaming games over on the TechNuovo Twitch channel, and I can definitely say that both microphones held their own. Let’s start with the Skylight first, as this was definitely my favourite out of the two. The 512 Audio Skylight is a well-built, heavy microphone that really favours that wider sound than the Limelight. It’s a condenser microphone after all. It features a large-format condenser design and uses a cardioid pattern for the rejection of unwanted noise. In the box, you do receive the microphone itself, a nice metal pop filter which feels well built too, a shock mount for your microphone stand or boom arm and finally a case if you’re going to be storing it away anywhere or taking it to events.
The Skylight’s design looks absolutely fantastic, and really feels like they’re being inspired by Warm Audio’s love of older vintage gear. The head of the microphone has a grill but is also covered by a plastic perforated shielding to again aid with those pop sounds. Branding is very tasteful with a mirrored 512 on the front, and it’ll look nice and professional if on camera while you’re streaming or if you film your podcasts.
However, how it looks isn’t the most important factor is it with a microphone. How does it sound? Long story short, it sounds fantastic, and from the box with no additional mixing, you get a nice blend of tones that sound nice and thick and there’s a definite boost to the bass and lower mids. I’d definitely say the microphone is suited more towards vocal recording or even podcasts as opposed to streaming as for one, it can produce a very rich and warm vocal tone, and I will say for this video where you’re currently listening to the Skylight, I haven’t changed my EQ. Everything is set to flat. The second reason why I say this is that although you have to speak into the front of the microphone, the noise drop off isn’t the best when you get around to the rear of the mic. So if you’re using no post-processing effects, you’ll definitely hear your mechanical keyboard, game pad or mouse clicks while gaming. But this isn’t unique to the Skylight. All condenser microphones I’ve tried suffer from this. It’s the nature of the beast, right? I did use a noise gate in my GoXLR software to combat my PC fans, keyboard and mouse, which definitely helped but didn’t eliminate entirely. So if you’re wanting this microphone to stream, take into consideration any background noise that might happen. Secondly, with a condenser microphone, you’re going to want to consider some kind of sound dampening treatment to the room you’re using it in. I’m in my living room right now, it’s where my gaming setup is, and although my floor is carpeted, I’ve got no foam on the walls or sound panels dotted around. I should have really but I did notice that it was a little echoey when using the Skylight. Again, not unique to this microphone, it’s a condenser microphone issue. Here’s what it sounds like while playing games and recorded through OBS Studio.
Now, this is where I really enjoyed the sound of 512 Audio, and that’s with the Limelight, and I’m going to be switching to that microphone… now! So, this is 512’s dynamic solution, and I must say it was a lot easier to compress any background noises that happened while I was playing games, due to the fact this microphone is a lot more directional and has a much higher rejection around the rear of the mic. However, any bangs into the boom arm will still be picked up for sure, so make sure that’s free from your hands if you move around while talking. The sound produced still favours bass and mid-tones, but there is a low-cut filter that can be toggled on the microphone itself. I left it on flat, I don’t think I need any more bass removed from my voice, but your mileage may vary. The switch though is in the worst place, as its mounting arm pretty much blocks it when on the boom arm. You’ll need to decide whether this is important to you before recording, as switching halfway through is going to require removing the microphone from the stand. Talking about the mount, it’s a pain in general. It’s a bid fiddly and stiff to connect the two. There’s definitely a quality shift between this and the Skylight though. The Skylight feels very heavy and very premium, and although the Limelight has a metal construction, feels super light and almost like it’s made from plastic. Accessories included also suffer compared to the Skylight. It’s definitely taken on some inspiration from the Rode Procaster or more than likely the Electrovoice RE20. In the box, there’s a carry case, but no pop filter or even windshield which is a bit of a shame. Both microphones however need some kind of stand. You don’t get a desk stand in the box for either mics. Here’s an example of what the Limelight sounds like while playing games. Again, EQ is left flat, but I have added a noise gate to deal with my PC fans, mouse and keyboard.
One thing you may have noticed too during this review is the boom arm I’m using. This is a boom arm made by 512 Audio themselves. It very much resembles the Rose PSA-1, they’re almost identical. But it’s nice and tough and made from metal and has some decent tightening screws on there to really fix your microphone in place. They also make a metal pop filter, which for the Skylight might be a little useless depending on the power of your plosives, but if you’re going to be using the Limelight at close proximity of your mouth with a high gain, it’ll definitely be worth getting one. And finally, they do their own monitor headphones which actually sound pretty decent, and I’ve been using them myself on my streaming setup for a little while, and they’ve replaced my current EPOS H3s. Sound quality isn’t too boomy, but if you’re wanting to monitor your audio while streaming, and also monitor those in Discord, then they’re definitely worth using. They favour the highs more and are actually quite advantageous if you’re playing competitive FPS games like CS:GO or Valorant.
The whole entire streaming setup from 512 Audio is great, and yes, there are pros and cons to each microphone which I’m hoping you got from this video. If I had to make a choice for streaming, I’d definitely go the Limelight dynamic route for my voice while streaming, just for that audio rejection. I’d have to EQ the mic to suit my voice as well, as I would have liked to have added a bit to the high mids and maybe a tad in the highs, just to give me a purer sounding voice. Though the Skylight microphone sounds wicked, as you can probably tell here. Also the quality of the accessories coming from 512 is very nice, and could easily take over a streaming setup. It’s a shame desk stands aren’t included even if they were very basic stands, as not everyone has the room or even the need for a boom arm, and the pop filter is decent but only really needed for the Limelight. The headphones though, great stuff. Definitely a go to now for my setup.