SSL brings its audio know-how into the Connex Smart USB Microphone

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Solid State Logic (SSL) has been creating professional audio production tools for recording studios for half a century. The company has used its technologies to create its first USB microphone with an innovative DSP function to capture professional-quality audio in a variety of situations.

The SSL Connex USB Microphone can be used for video conferencing, live streaming, or professional music recording by just about anyone, even if you have no audio recording experience. Resembling a small steel pyramid with the top cut off, SSL Connex is a handy device that is completely portable and easy to use. It features an advanced DSP that builds on SSL’s deep understanding of capturing sound for music, broadcast, and movie production.

Connex is compatible with both Mac and PC and with all major video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet. It’s an ideal tool for capturing high-quality sound, whether you’re sitting around a meeting table or working at home. It is a perfect tool for podcasting, live streaming or music recording.

At just 9cm square and 4cm tall, the Connex can be used on almost any flat surface and can be mounted on a microphone boom or tripod. Inside the unit are four separate microphone capsules facing out from each side of the pyramid. The cartridges are controlled by SSL’s proprietary DSP algorithms, the same technology used in the company’s professional streaming and music production tools.

Connex’s built-in quad microphone array and four DSP modes produce the ideal sound balance for conferencing, live streaming, or recording. Each mode also has background noise optimization and sophisticated DSP correction to ensure the best possible sound without the user requiring specialized audio recording skills.

Solo Mode is the first Connex setting and is indicated when the SSL logo on top of the unit lights up white. This mode is designed to pick up a single sound source directly in front of the unit. This could be a conference call or a live broadcast with a single presenter. The unit’s DSP optimizes speech sound coming from the front while rejecting any sound from the rear and sides.

Group mode is the second state and is selected by touching the top of the Connex unit once so the SSL logo turns green. This mode is for picking up multiple sound sources. This could be used to stream a panel discussion via video conferencing system or to record a podcast with multiple guests. The DSP optimizes the sound for speech coming from multiple directions.

The third mode is Vocal, represented by the SSL logo turning magenta with another tap on top of the Connex microphone. In Vocal mode, Connex is optimized for sound sources from the front of the unit, such as a person singing. The sound is recorded in stereo and the soundstage is centered on the front of the unit. The DSP handles the audio with enough latitude for dynamic changes in sound, like a vocalist.

The final mode is for recording music. This is indicated by the SSL logo turning blue. This mode can handle louder sounds coming from the front of the microphone, such as a musical instrument. The microphone array mixes the sound into a stereo signal, while the internal audio processing is optimized for louder sound sources than the other three pickup modes.

All four modes feature advanced, immersive settings that allow the user to access separate power from each of the four capsules to create immersive, spatial recordings or live broadcasts by recording the sources separately on a digital audio workstation. .

On the front of the Connex is a 3.5mm headphone jack that provides zero-latency monitoring on a pair of headphones or earphones. The user can listen to the incoming audio of a video call or the playback of a previous recording session. Alternatively, the user can use Connex to listen to music thanks to the unit’s advanced DACs (Digital Audio Converters). The unit can even work in Push to Talk and Cough Button modes.

Connex’s headphone output also features a loopback output, which helps monitor ambient sound in a room. The touch-sensitive interface on top of the Connex can adjust the headphone level and mute. The touch panel itself can be put into setup mode to cycle through the four DSP modes. The backlit SSL logo on the unit changes color to show the selected mode, and also lights up red when the microphone is muted.

Verdict: This clever little microphone is a sophisticated audio tool that can switch between four different DSP modes with a single press. It is an ideal microphone for clearly capturing sound in a video conference room with exceptional clarity thanks to SSL’s extensive experience in sound capture. What I like most about Connex is that it gives you access to professional recording setups without the need to know how sound is captured and processed. All you need to do is choose the most suitable mode for the sound you want to capture and Connex takes care of the rest. Could not been more easy. It’s much more cost-effective than buying four separate microphones and a mixing console to record the occasional podcast or improve sound during a video conference.

Prices and availability: The SSL Connex USB Microphone Array is available now for $199.99/£178.80/€179.99. Special introductory offer pricing is available through the end of the year.

More information: solidstatelogic.com

Characteristic:

  • Portable USB microphone with high-quality quad condenser microphone array.
  • Optimized studio-quality processing using SSL EQ and dynamic algorithms.
  • Professional quality 24-bit/96kHz DAC/ADC converters.
  • Acoustically designed decoupled microphone capsules.
  • Four preset user modes: Solo, Group, Voice and Music.
  • Immersive mode for spatial recordings and broadcasts.
  • Optimized mixer settings.
  • 3.5mm headphone output.
  • Microphone loopback option for ambient monitoring.
  • Touch sensitive controls.
  • Cough switch and push to talk.
  • Illuminated RGB backlit status light.
  • Tripod thread and adapter for microphone stand.
  • 2m USB Type C to C cable and USB Type C (female) to Type A (male) adapter.
  • USB powered.
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS.

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