Worker Bee Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Produced by NEAT Mics
posted by Scott Ertz
Does this mic's sound quality stand up to its design and price?
The microphone has a truly unique Design and a Sound Quality nearly unmatched in its price category.
While there are no major issues, you should note that the mic does not have Noise Cancellation and, as such, will pick up all sounds in a room.
The Bottom Line
For recordings in the mid to high range, the Worker Bee should be on every sound engineer's radar.
Where To Get It
PLUGHITZ Live Unboxed
Even at its original retail price, this microphone was an excellent value for the quality you get. At its current price, it's almost unfair. When compared to other microphones of this style and quality, it is less than half the price of its competitors. When compared to the designer's previous company, the Worker Bee is still less than half of its competitive price.
The Design of the Worker Bee is almost perfect. The body and shape are fantastic. For a video show or music recording, the microphone stands out in a compelling way without being distracting. The major identifying aspect of the microphone, and its entire line, is the black and yellow color scheme. It is reminiscent of another high-end audio brand, which gives it a quality feel upfront. But the design also lends itself well to photos and videos.
The only real issues we encountered with the design of the microphone came in the form of its interaction with the included shock mount. Unfortunately, because the microphone has a square base, it means that you can only rotate the mic in 90-degree increments. Our previous mics used a round base, which meant that we could rotate them to any position we wanted. It is far from deal-breaker, but if I had my choice, I would prefer full customization over limited options.
Over the years, we have used many different microphones in our studio. None of them have had the Sound Quality of the Worker Bee. Between its directional Noise Cancellation and the voice-centric pickup, the sound replication is amazing. We have used the microphone regularly for our 3000 Brigade Presents show for a while and have been consistently happy. Because of its custom-designed diaphragm and its overall Design, the microphone can maintain this quality across a variety of uses, especially for big sounds like guitar amps, drums, and sound effects.
The quality is the result of the partnership that formed the company: a world-class microphone designer and a word-class music company. The company focused on getting the pickup exactly right for the microphones and managed to hit the sweet spot.
The Worker Bee uses the industry standard XLR connection. By default, this connection will plug into almost any mixer or PA system. Most modern mixers offer a USB connection, but if your mixer does not, you can also use a USB audio interface. If you are looking to bypass the mixer entirely, you can also plug the microphone into most interfaces directly. The Worker Bee does use Phantom Power, so you will want to look for a mixer or interface with that capability to get the full benefits of the microphone.
The Worker Bee is not a consumer or communication microphone, like a Bluetooth headset, so its Noise Cancellation is also different. However, it does feature the ability through its directional pickup. In our studio, the current broadcast computer is loud because of its cooling system. When we replaced our previous microphone with this one, we noticed that the amount of the fan noise that was being picked up was significantly lessened. That is because the pickup on the diaphragm is very directional, so if the noise is behind the microphone, it won't be picked up. In our case, all that can be heard is the sound bouncing off the back wall towards the mic.
In addition to the noise reduction produced by the Design of the microphone, it receives additional capabilities through the included shock mount. If you really punch the microphone stand or the mic itself, you will get a loud noise. However, normal taps, including kicking the stand during recording, will not be picked up because of the mount.
The overall Build Quality of the Worker Bee is fantastic. Nowhere on the body are there are uneven seams, sharp edges, or unexpected pieces. The post that connects the diaphragm to the base does so in a smooth and even junction.
There is only one notable but uncommon issue that we have encountered. The issue is with the pop filter. It can be difficult to snap into place, popping off moments after you think you've attached it. If you do get it to snap on, however, it stays in place through any condition. In our experience, the trick to getting the pop filter to connect every time is to look at it from the side, ensuring that it is gripping the notch around the pickup.
Size & Weight
The Worker Bee is heavier than you might expect for its small size. Unlike its bigger brother, the King Bee, the body of the Worker Bee is very small. The height of the body is half that of the King Bee, making it far more portable. However, it does mean that the range of pickup is slightly smaller.
However, despite its small size, it still has weight to it. However, the weight is completely appropriate. Two of the important aspects of a quality microphone are the material of the diaphragm and the magnet. A quality neodymium magnet, when covered in nickel (which is required so it doesn't shatter) is going to be heavy. And the best materials to produce a diaphragm are also heavy. When combined, it produces a heavy product, but not without purpose.