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MiniDSP UMIK-1 Microphone

MiniDSP is a sponsor here at Home Theater Shack!

The UMIK-1 is an omni-directional USB measurement microphone providing Plug & Play acoustic measurement. From speaker & room acoustic measurement to recording, this microphone provides low noise and accurate results you can rely on. Forget about driver installation, OS compatibility and un-calibrated mics. The Umik-1 is a USB Audio class 1 device automatically recognized by all Operating Systems (Windows/Mac/Linux). It is provided with a unique calibration file based on the serial number. Time to finally focus on your measurements with three simple steps: Unpack, Plug, Measure!

No more mic preamp, no more phantom power, no more sound card calibrations... and USB Plug 'n' Play.

JohnM is currently working on a few tweaks to make using the UMIK-1 with REW a real convenience, however it can be used with REW as it is now.

See also: Using the UMIK-1 and REW with HDMI output

Cost is $75 and that includes the calibration file.






The following measurements show a comparison of the three mics I have on hand, the UMIK-1, IBF Akustik EMM-8 and the Behringer ECM8000.

These measurements are from a first use and quick setup of a Denon 4520 receiver that I am currently reviewing. It has been setup with Audyssey XT32, but not fully optimized for my HT room. I will get into more of that later with my review, but I wanted to at least get the mic comparison out of the way.

This is not a professional lab test my any means, although care was taken to do the best I could to get the mics equally aligned. There are no doubt some minor variances due to an imperfect test, but it is sufficient to show that the UMIK-1 is a worthy choice, especially taking into account the ease of use with REW.

All mic measurements were adjusted to align at 100Hz.

Here is a comparison between my IBF EMM-8 (calibrated in Germany) vs my ECM8000 (calibrated by Cross-Spectrum Labs):

ibf_vs_ecm.jpg

Calibrated in two different parts of the world, I have to believe these are fairly accurate.

Next we add in the UMIK-1:

ibf_vs_ecm_vs_umik.jpg

I also wanted to compare my external USB sound card that I have been using with the HDMI output on my laptop. Here is that comparison using the UMIK-1 mic:

umik_soundcard_vs_hdmi.jpg

Here are all three mics with the additional HDMI output measurement included:

mic_comparisons.jpg

I am of the opinion that if you have an HDMI output on your computer, purchasing nothing more than the UMIK-1 and HDMI cable makes for a very simple setup to use with REW. No external sound card is needed, no mic preamp, and no SPL meter is needed. Even if you do not have HDMI, the UMIK-1 is still a worthy consideration... and would be my choice of mics.

I did try the headphone output, but I could never get the controls set so that they were not effecting the output signal and could not get an accurate output measurement. The HDMI output was much simpler to work with anyway.
 

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To use the UMIK-1 with REW (on Windows) in advance of the next REW beta (which will take care of all the following for you, along with some other things):

- Plug in the mic
- Start REW
- On the soundcard preferences make sure you are using the Java driver selection and select UMIK-1 as the input device and MICROPHONE as the input.
- On the Mic/meter preferences tab make sure you select "Mic or Z weighted SPL meter" as the input type and use the browse button to load the UMIK cal file.
- On the Analysis preferences make sure "Use loopback as timing reference" is not selected

The UMIK-1 can handle signal levels up to 130dB, but that means at normal measurement levels you will get warnings from REW about the input level being low. You can ignore those warnings.

The current version of REW cannot access the Capture volume control for USB mics, you can alter it manually if desired using the Windows recording volume mixer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Excellent John... do you have an estimated date for the next beta release of REW?
 

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Worst case it would be just before new year as I'm on holiday between Christmas and new year so I'll have time available, but I'm hoping to get it out before Christmas.
 

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FYI... I ordered one of these and already have the tracking info for shipping and the calibration file was emailed to me for my serial number.
 

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Another knockout calibrated mic offering. Wow, it used to take upwards of $300 for a factory calibrated mic plus an interface, now all you have to do is get out of one dinner date with the significant other, and you are set. Except for the fallout.

The timing loop back question is a good one. Perhaps MiniDSP can provide their converter delay time, add in "standard" USB buffering time, and have REW subtract those out automatically... Assuming no significant time variables. Just thinking out loud, certainly John already has a plan in mind.
 

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So I have a Mac and am completely new to all of this, but I should be able to install REW, buy this mic and plug it in via USB and away I go? Is it easier to generate test tones via a tone generator CD (I use one of these now with an SPL meter) or should I use my Mac to do that which means I need to connect to my receiver/amp?
 

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So I went to the post office today and picked up my UMIK-1. Apparently when miniDSP ships it to you they require a signature for delivery. Once I got home and started to unpack it, I must say I was sorely disappointed in what I saw. Not with the actual product, but with the care in which this product was packed. As you can see below there was nothing protecting the carrying case except a thin cardboard shell. Because of this my tab that is supposed to keep it shut was snapped off, the case was open a bit when I opened the box, it is cracked in multiple places, and the bottom is scuffed to no end. Definitely a much different experience than when I opened my calibrated Behringer mic.

As to the mic and accessories, I'm extremely happy with them. The mic has a nice weight to it and is fairly similar to the Behringer, albeit a bit smaller. The small stand is a nice touch and the USB cord feels substantial, if a bit short. I plugged the mic into my macbook pro and it was immediately recognized. Fired up REW and opened the MIDI audio controller and I was able to adjust the gain, add the cal file and it worked first time. There were zero issues, no drivers or software, and nothing else to do except calibrate the REW SPL meter with the new mic. Absolutely fantastic.


































 

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Awesome, looks good. Mine is in the mail.

EDIT: It would be awesome to see some measurement comparisons between the umik-1 and the behringer.
 

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Awesome, looks good. Mine is in the mail.

EDIT: It would be awesome to see some measurement comparisons between the umik-1 and the behringer.
I'll try, but recently my REW measurements with the behringer mic have been restricted to when I'm running parallels and there's a nasty delay which can effect the measurements a bit, but worth a shot.
 

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Ordered late December 2nd, so let's call it December 3rd. Didn't ship until December 5th-6th, then took 5 days to get to my door, although probably would've taken four since delivery was attempted on a Monday.
 

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So I went to the post office today and picked up my UMIK-1. Apparently when miniDSP ships it to you they require a signature for delivery. Once I got home and started to unpack it, I must say I was sorely disappointed in what I saw. Not with the actual product, but with the care in which this product was packed. As you can see below there was nothing protecting the carrying case except a thin cardboard shell. Because of this my tab that is supposed to keep it shut was snapped off, the case was open a bit when I opened the box, it is cracked in multiple places, and the bottom is scuffed to no end. Definitely a much different experience than when I opened my calibrated Behringer mic.

As to the mic and accessories, I'm extremely happy with them. The mic has a nice weight to it and is fairly similar to the Behringer, albeit a bit smaller. The small stand is a nice touch and the USB cord feels substantial, if a bit short. I plugged the mic into my macbook pro and it was immediately recognized. Fired up REW and opened the MIDI audio controller and I was able to adjust the gain, add the cal file and it worked first time. There were zero issues, no drivers or software, and nothing else to do except calibrate the REW SPL meter with the new mic. Absolutely fantastic.
Fuzz, this sounds really promising for a newbie who owns nothing but Mac's and Linux boxes. What I am not clear on is that I assume you need a connection from your Mac to an amp/receiver to generate the test tones? What cable do you use? I am using an iMac and my understanding is that I don't need an external sound card for this mic..
 

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Fuzz, this sounds really promising for a newbie who owns nothing but Mac's and Linux boxes. What I am not clear on is that I assume you need a connection from your Mac to an amp/receiver to generate the test tones? What cable do you use? I am using an iMac and my understanding is that I don't need an external sound card for this mic..
As long as the soundcard in your computer isn't total garbage, which the mac ones usually aren't, then all you need is one of these.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5601&seq=1&format=2
 

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Sounds like they need to do a little better on the packing. They should send you another case... please let them know.
 

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Sounds like they need to do a little better on the packing. They should send you another case... please let them know.
I used the "contact us" form on their website this morning after I opened everything up, but am still waiting for a response.

I also talked to another guy who just got his today and it was fine. Arrived in perfect condition. Lucky duck.
 

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As long as the soundcard in your computer isn't total garbage, which the mac ones usually aren't, then all you need is one of these.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021815&p_id=5601&seq=1&format=2
Most laptops I've seen don't have a line out but instead a headpone out. Can that be used to send the REW sweep signal to the receiver/pre-pro or is that output equalized for something like speech intelligibility? The reason I'm asking is because I had read that the line input on a computer is different from a mic input, with the difference being that the latter was equalized for speech (on-line gaming, teleconferencing, etc). Wanted to know if that was the same for line out vs headphone out because I'll be able to connect the UMIK-1 to my laptop via USB for input signal, but only have a headphone jack for output signal. (Trying to retire my M-Audio Mobilepre USB.)
 
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