Review: Yamaha AG01 USB Microphone

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Review: Yamaha AG01 USB Microphone

yamaha ag01
Words by Rob Gee

Yamaha Music Australia | RRP: $499

The world of home recording has come a very long way in the more than 30 years I have been involved, and there have been certain key players along the way that have taken new ideas and developed them into innovations that have changed the way we go about a process. 

I think it goes without saying that Yamaha is one such company that has made huge advances in home recording, not only catering to the advanced user, but making it very easy for beginners to get started. Concepts like adding USB interfaces to their MG Series of mixers and including a basic Cubase licence with the unit have made it possible for so many musicians, creatives, and dreamers to get their ideas heard. But of course, they are never content with delivering the same product over and over and are always looking for new innovations. Well, the AG01 is one such innovation that further makes home recording an option to an even wider user group.

Read more gear reviews here.

The USB microphone is by no stretch of the imagination a new concept. We’ve seen it in various guises for more than 15 years now, but it has never offered so much versatility as the AG01 does. Yamaha have done a tip of the hat to online streamers and created a microphone that is going to give them greater flexibility and creativity. But, it’s not just a YouTube microphone, this piece of hardware is just as happy in front of a guitar, tracking vocals, recording a piano or capturing a lecture. It’s a workhorse like no other, one could go so far as to say it is the Swiss Army Knife of recording microphones, except, it’s Japanese.

Available in a satin black or white housing, you can choose the AG01 that works with your décor. Of course, this comes into play when used for video where the microphone can be seen, but it just becomes a matter of personal preference when used in the home studio. And it certainly has a place in the studio, with the Yamaha AG01 being a large diaphragm condenser microphone with built-in AD converters capable of delivering 24 bit/192kHz audio directly into your recording software. And look, it sounds really nice too. You could use this for vocals, acoustic guitar, hand percussion, piano, woodwind instruments, and a whole host of other applications. I was tempted to get the cello out and see how that sounded, but no one wants to hear me play cello. So, as a straightforward USB recording microphone, it ticks the boxes for sure. But, it’s in the architecture of the device that the AG01 goes so much further.

On the underside of the microphone is a host of connections. Two USB ports are supplied, one for five-volt power, the other for connectivity to the host device. A headphone output allows for playback monitoring, a stereo line input is available through a mini jack, and a TRRS mini-input and output combination port allows the AG01 to be linked up with your smartphone for recording and playback in place of the phone’s built-in microphone and speakers. These connections all have plenty of space for the cables to run out of with the built-in desk stand keeping the base of the microphone of the desk and the capsule up close to the height of your mouth.

With a number of different setups available, you can record YouTube videos via the AG01 and monitor directly from the headphones, you can feed audio in for overdubs on videos for either vocals or instruments, conduct live video streaming through a host of software platforms, and even use it as a conventional audio interface for recording or capturing music. As with so many products from Yamaha, Cubase LE, Cubase AI, and Wavelab Cast software packages are included with the AG01. This gives you a great arsenal of audio editing and recording tools to help you create the sound you want. 

But, if you just want an improved audio capture when streaming or recording into a video platform, there is no need to launch these programs as well. The Yamaha AG01 has some pretty cool built-in DSP functions that make it really easy to improve the sound of your voice or instrument with the swipe of your fingertip. Using the AG Controller app on your smartphone or device, you can unlock a range of features including EQ, compression, and reverb with simple presets available if you just want your sound to instantly appear better, without having to play around with settings in the app. It’s like having a lazy sound engineer in your pocket all the time. 

Gone are the days of setting up a microphone, preamp, mixing desk, effects rack, and audio interface with about 30 cables to join everything up. It’s all taken care of in this one unit, ready to record into your new software, straight into your phone with video, or streamed directly onto the internet. 

The only decision is whether you invest in a cool-looking articulated microphone stand or go with the included desk mount. Either way, you’re sure to find a quality sound with relative ease and room to grow should your setup require expansion. 

If you’re in the market for a new microphone, or even your very first microphone, then check out the Yamaha AG01, it might just have everything you need, and a few extras too.

Head to Yamaha Music Australia for more information.