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A bargain mic for yellers

Kevin and Bobby started a new podcast: Essentially Useless.

Kevin hit me up for a mic recommendation — budget: $150/person.


Elgato Wave:3

Bobby is a yeller. Yelling is a nightmare to mix. It’s also a big problem for streams — where platform compression can make digital peaks unlistenable.

Elgato Wave has the only reliable (software limiter) I’ve tested. Limiting is something I’ve spent hundreds to solve with hardware. At $150, the Elgato Wave is a bargain mic for yellers looking to improve their stream.

Why it I recommend it

This mic is the pinnacle of USB-mic technology, sporting a classy design, in an affordable package.


Elgato Clipguard anti-distortion technology is the killer feature of Wave. I’ve never recommended a USB-only mic until the Elgato Wave announcement. That’s because USB-mics aren’t extensible.

When I started podcasting and streaming, the first first piece of outboard gear I needed was a limiter/compressor. But that’s all I’ve needed.

To keep a strong and peak-free audio signal, I tried the DBX 286s ($229) — which I do not recommend. I eventually landed on the SoundDevices MixPre-3 ($899) — which I love.

But, $229 is the entry point for solving this issue with hardware. And that’s outside of the $150 budget.

Elgato to the rescue with the only software-powered clipping solution I’ve seen that works. I’m not sure how they do it but, in my tests, Clipguard is a reliables limiter. Making it well worth the $150 price-tag.

Lewitt inside

Wave was designed my Lewitt. If you don’t know much about audio, Lewitt makes incredible microphones. As an A/V nerd, this is what captured my attention.

I trust them just as much as industry titans Shure, Rode, and Audio-Technica.

The mic has an incredibly low self-noise, sounds great, and does an admirable job (for a condenser) at rejecting background noise.


This thing looks nice and is small enough to disappear from the frame.

I lke the old RCA-style look in a contemporary matte black.

The competition

There is no competition in this space.

Should I buy a Wave:1 or Wave:3?

The street price of the Wave:1 is $130. The Wave:3 is regularly discounted to $145.

At a $15 difference, absolutely get the Wave:3. But if you can only find the Wave:3 at retail ($159), and that $30 is a deal-breaker, here’s what you need to know.

There are 3 major differences:

Other than that, it’s the same mic and all features can be controlled via Elgato WaveLink software.


The compromise with this mic is that build quality.

I think that’s a great compromise because folks can’t feel your mic thru the stream and you won’t be touching it a whole lot.

Compare that to the Shure MV7 which retains a high build quality but at the expense of shit sound.


Elgato Wave Pop Filter

Elgato Wave Pop Filter ($29) is an attractive design pop filter if you want to get right up on your mic. But I had no trouble with the build-in pop filter — with the mic placed about 6” from my face at a 45 degree angle.

Elgato Wave Shock Mount

Elgato Wave Shock Mount ($39) is in attractive minimal shock mount. I like it. But the included crap-plastic mount isn’t terrible either. Try it without and see how it does for you.

Bottom Line

Elgato Wave:3 is the best microphone for streamers and podcasters on a budget. Clipguard is worth every penny, even if the mic didn’t sound great. But it does. At ~$150, it can’t be beat.

As an Amazon affiliate, I may make a small portion of purchases made from the links on this page.