Anker sent me over one of their new Microphones from their AnkerWork brand, the office equipment sub-brand of Anker with fancy microphones, conference call speakers and Webcams, I’d been looking for a new desktop mic, so this seemed like a good shout. Is the M300 for its £60 price tag worth it? Let us find out.
- Nicely built
- Great sound
- Plug and Play
- Hardware mute switch
- Monitoring port
- Slight low end boost?
The PowerCast M300 is a black plastic and metal affair with a hefty weighted base with articulating ball for positioning. The M300 is a condenser mic, meaning that the mesh grille up top faces towards your mouth. The M300 has a side-mounted ¼”-20 threaded bore that is used for mounting the included stand, however, this is just a ¼”-20 hole and can be mounted to any equipment using this standard.
Opposite the mounting point is where the volume control dial/mute switch resides. This rotary dial allows you to lower your gain or click it in to mute yourself, very useful if you need to sneeze or cough in the middle of a meeting and cannot remember the hotkey to mute yourself in Zoom or Microsoft Teams, there are also LEDs embedded around the mic that you can set to a certain colour that will change to red when you’re muted so there is a visual identifier if you forget to unmute after that sneeze.
The bottom of the M300 has the USB-C port for interfacing with your computer or host device, a 3.5mm audio jack for monitoring your own audio with headphones, as well as an RGB button for changing the base colour of those LEDs I spoke about earlier, I, however, like to keep it on the Anker blue, it’s pretty classy in my eyes, however, there are 23 colours in total for you to choose fro, and you cycle through them with the button on the bottom.
- 16mm Condensor capsule
- Cardioid pickup pattern
- 96Khz/24bit sample
- USB plug and play, no drivers.
- USB-C port on bottom
- 3.5mm Audio jack
Audio & Use
Using the PowerCast M300 on Windows and Linux (elementaryOS) was a piece of cake. The supplied USB-A to USB-C cable is lengthy and supple, and there were no drivers needed, truly a plug and play experience. I use Audacity to record audio on my computers, however, the built-in voice recorder on windows worked just as well. The M300 was picked up in Chrome as well with the USB passthrough support it has. Zoom, Slack, Teams, Discord, Google Meet, WhatsApp and Telegram all had no issues tapping the M300s audio feed and the mute button worked without hesitation, nice feature parity there.
One feature I don’t personally use all that often is the headphone jack in the bottom for monitoring my own audio. If I was more professional or was doing more audio critical work instead of meetings I likely would, however for the majority of my use cases I need to get my voice across in a clear fashion, I don’t need to make sure it sounds perfectly like me with no distortion etc.
So how does it sound? Actually quite impressive, the recordings are quite neutral with but a slight low-end boost, however that can be taken out in post-processing. I had to increase the gain on my Linux computer, however, on windows, it truly was plug and play. The cardioid pickup pattern makes it easy to use, just point and shoot (or speak) into the grille at the top, leave a small amount of distance and you are clear. I do wish there was a small pop filter to filter out plosives (Ps and Ss with that harsh nose) however a third party pop filter is easy to get or even make yourself.
The PowerCast M300 isn’t the cheapest desktop mic out there, nor is it the best sounding one out there, but at the £60 price point, it’s a very nice price to performance option. Having the physical gain control, the monitoring port and status LEDs are very nice. If you need something cheaper the Tonor TC30 is a USB-C cardioid mic with a pop filter for under £40, but it doesn’t have the mute function and I don’t think it sounds as nice. If you want to go a bit higher-end, I do still love the Rode NT-USB Mini for £90 with that gorgeous sound, and smaller size whilst still retaining gain control and monitoring capabilities.