Sennheiser's 'Profile' microphone for streamers gets a lot right

For the price, the USB mic offers great sound and comprehensive features.

James Trew / Engadget

Sennheiser needs little introduction, but there’s a chance you know the company best for its headphones and soundbars. Meanwhile, in the pro audio world, it’s perhaps most famous for its microphones - some of which have achieved legendary status (I’ll also personally recommend the MK4 for podcasting to anyone who asks). Enter the company’s newest offering - the $130 Profile USB microphone - that aims to bring some of that pro-audio magic to the podcasting or streaming worlds.

The company doesn’t make a lot of USB microphones, so it’s fair to say that the Profile is Sennheiser’s play for the creator market. The space that’s dominated right now by the Blue Yeti or Rode’s NT-USB among others. Not only is it priced similarly, it offers the same key features such as gain control, direct monitoring and a mute button (something not every USB mic has, but probably should).

One little touch that makes the Profile stand out is its built-in “tilt” mechanism. Where the Yeti and the NT-USB, for example, can be tilted via their stands, the Profile can be adjusted to your preferred angle without an additional mount. There’s a standard 5/8” thread underneath for fixing to boom arms and stands. You can also buy the Profile in a $199 bundle that comes with a dedicated boom, which has its own original design that’s a little less imposing than rivals like Rode’s PSA1+.

Thankfully, Sennheiser has bucked the general trend of making podcasting/streaming mics larger than they need to be. The Yeti ($100) is imposing (even the Nano is on the chonky side), the NT-USB ($170) isn't much smaller and other popular options like the HyperX Quadcast ($140) and even Elgato’s Wave 3 ($150) feel large by comparison. At $130, the Profile also sits on the more affordable end among its rivals.

Of course, no amount of features matter if it doesn’t sound any good. Of the three mics mentioned here – which is far from exhaustive but covers two popular alternatives – the Profile most closely resembles the Blue Yeti, which is no bad thing given its sustained popularity. There’s a pretty steep shelf off under 100Hz with some light enhancement around the 5- and 12kHz areas - the latter of which is common for adding some of that elusive vocal “sparkle.”

Overall, the sound profile is very much in line with what most streamers and podcasters will be looking for - fairly neutral with a slight enhancement in the frequencies that give most voices extra clarity. Combined with the competitive pricing and the full suite of gain/mix/mute settings the Profile makes a very compelling case for itself.

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