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I am sure many of you will have seen the AG01 review a few months back when we took an in depth look at Yamaha’s “all-in-one” streaming microphone solution. It’s a great, compact option for home recording and live streaming, but it does come with its limitations. For those of you looking for a little more flexibility in your live streaming setup, without going overboard on equipment, then Yamaha have something that’s going to be just right. Let me introduce you to the Yamaha AG03 MK2 Live Streaming Pack! It’s a microphone, mixer, and headphone combination that takes your home recording and live streaming to the next level with individual components that offer greater connectivity.
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Where the AG01 puts everything into the microphone housing, the Yamaha AG03 MK2 Live Streaming Pack separates the microphone, preamp, and mixer for a more conventional recording setup. Yes, this takes up a little more real estate on your desk, but it opens up the possibilities for much more creativity. The Streaming Pack consists of three main components. Central to the setup is the AG03 MK2 mixer, this is teamed up with a YCM01 cardioid condenser microphone and a pair of YH-MT1 headphones. A 10″ XLR microphone cable is also included for connecting your microphone and completing the setup. Let’s take a look at each component first.
The AG03 MK2 three-channel mixer is the heart of this setup. Its main channel is a mono input capable of supplying phantom power for use with the microphone. However, it does feature the now-standard XLR/TRS combination jack, so you can connect a line level input instead of your microphone should you so wish. The second input section handles channels two and three on a stereo pair of ¼” TRS connectors which are ideal for a keyboard or similar stereo source. There is also a mono Hi-Z input in this section to connect a guitar. Outputs are supplied on both stereo RCA and ¼” TS connectors, with a ¼” TRS headphone output too. There are also connections for a headset microphone and an auxiliary input, like an MP3 player, both on mini jack inputs. Then, the built in AD/DA converters joins all this to your computer via the USB connection. What this means is that the AG03 MK2 mixer is really a well-featured audio interface, but presented in a familiar mixing console layout.
The master bus routing in this compact mixer allows for a number of different setups, from a standard inline recording process to a live mixer and, most importantly, as a streaming hub with your laptop. The loopback function in the bus section allows you to take audio from your computer’s media player and feed that into the mix along with your microphone and instruments, then send the combined signal back into the computer to be recorded as one. This is a process that would previously have involved additional channels on a mixer, as well as the great possibility of creating a feedback loop that simply ruined your entire recording. Now, Yamaha has simplified that so you can include audio from your computer into the mix that then gets recorded, back into your computer!
Next, we have the YCM01 cardioid condenser microphone. This is a robust unit that comes in a matching colour to the mixer and headphones, so everything matches. Being a larger diaphragm condenser microphone, you will notice an increased sensitivity to most handheld dynamic microphones. You get brighter, more lively high frequencies that give your voice a certain “air” that is often muffled out with a dynamic microphone. It also offers a big bottom end to really give your voice presence. You can forget about using that tiny little microphone on your mobile device or laptop when recording video or audio, the sound difference is incredible. The YMC01 is a condenser microphone, so it needs phantom power supplied from the AG03 MK2 mixer, but that is no problem as the included XLR cable allows power to be supplied to the microphone, as well as sending a balanced audio signal to the mixer. This balanced signal keeps interference and noise to a minimum. The microphone will pick up sound from the front of the capsule, and to a lesser degree, off to the sides, but it cancels out sound from the rear of the capsule. So with a cardioid pickup pattern, it can be positioned as such to block out unwanted sounds like computer or environmental noise and improve the quality of your audio recording.
The YH-MT1 closed-back headphones are a studio-quality pair of cans that offer not only great sound and excellent isolation, but comfort too. Fitting completely over the ear, they keep the sound in with little spill, so you can listen to playback audio while recording and not have the playback sound filter its way into your microphone input. Of course, comfort is the key with these headphones, especially if you’re going to spend an hour or two in a streaming session.
Put all these components together and you have a handy, yet compact, setup for live streaming. Of course, it works as a traditional audio recording station for musicians with the ability to connect a range of instruments. But, with the routing options in the AG03 MK2 mixer, this Yamaha AG03 MK2 Live Streaming Pack is extremely well suited to someone looking to get a simple recording, mixing, and streaming setup to interface with their laptop. With onboard DSP processing for effects and support for PC, Mac and iOS in the AG Controller software, you can integrate this setup to just about any existing hardware. Now, all that is left is for you to get busy and start creating great content.
Head to Yamaha Music Australia for more information.