Introduction - what is the Podcaster Essentials kit?
The AKG Podcaster Essentials Pack is a partnership of headphone and microphone that is intended to be a one stop shop for you to get up and running in the exciting (disclaimer, may not in fact be exciting) world of podcasting. The single most important aspect of both audio and video podcasts is ensuring that you can be heard correctly. Given the choice between intelligible dialogue and high quality visuals, it’s dialogue that matters and this is intended to help you do that.
Neither part of the kit is truly new. The K371 has been quietly doing its thing as part of AKG's range for a few years now. It’s a closed back, dynamic driver headphone which manages the neat tick of combining a driver that’s a little larger than usual with a heaphone that’s usefully compact. Frequency response is quoted at 5Hz-40KHz and sensitivity is a perfectly reasonable 114dB SPL/V. A choice of detachable cables is supplied, all of which connect via a single Mini XLR connection on the left hand side.
The Lyra is a USB multi mode microphone that can encode at up to 24/192kHz and that features four proprietary, permanently polarized back plate, condenser capsules. It can be used to record in four different settings; Front, Front & Back, Tight Stereo and Wide Stereo. As well as the USB connection, it has a 3.5mm stereo out that means you can attach the headphones directly to the mic so you can monitor yourself as you speak. The volume for this is controlled on the housing as well as gain and being able to set the different sound settings.
Buying these two devices in the Podcaster Essentials pack makes for a notional saving of £60 over the list price of the two items bought separately. It’s only fair to point out though that these savings can be matched on the individual items with a bit of careful shopping around. Nevertheless, both devices feel solid and well thought out for the asking price. The K371 won’t win any beauty contests but the build quality is of a more than acceptable standard and it is a very comfortable headphone to wear. The Lyra actually has some evidence of styling in its design and it looks and feels pretty impressive. As someone who hasn’t spent a huge amount of time playing about with microphones, the range of options feels about right for an entry or near entry level device - flexible without being overly intimidating.
Buying these two devices in the Podcaster Essentials pack makes for a notional saving of £60 over the list price of the two items bought separately
I used the AKG pack to record the weekly AVForums podcast on February 24th 2021. Getting the Lyra mic setup for the podcast was simple enough. It is sensitive enough to be used off to one side but the best results obtained were from having the mic directly in front of me and roughly 30cm away. I didn’t use a pop filter or similar device (not least because I don’t own one) but the Lyra seems to be usefully resistant to plosives.
In terms of quality, the Lyra is a useful step up from the headset mic I generally use for the podcast. Some test recordings of me reading back through the PMC twenty5 23i review wearing my usual Logitech headset vs the Lyra show a definite advantage to the latter when replayed through my main system. Crucially, the Lyra can handle a degree of head movement and keep sounding fairly consistent but if you are a truly animated soul, a headset is likely to be superior.
One last bonus of the kit is that disconnect the K371 from the microphone and listen to it as a home headphone and it puts in a fine performance. Like a number of AKG designs I have listened to at varying prices, I would not describe the K371 as the most exciting headphone doing the rounds at the price but equally, this is a relatively affordable piece of equipment that does realistically warrant the term ‘professional.’ Connected to Chord’s Mojo and Poly combination, it delivers David Gray’s Skellig in an entirely convincing and believable way. This is a more than decent enough headphone to handle some occasional late light or portable listening without feeling like a compromise.
- Produces good quality audio
- Easy to monitor
- Very well made
- Bulkier than a headset
- Savings can be matched buying online
AKG Podcaster Essentials Kit Review
For all the jokes on social media that podcasts will soon outnumber the people listening to them, I don’t know how many people are in the market for such a device (although, with the future of work - even post COVID - looking fairly Zoom predominant, this might also be just the thing to ensure you sound decent on those too) but there’s no real arguing with what the Podcaster Essentials pack offers. This is a rugged, easy to use and capable duo of products that will deliver solid results. If you need a microphone and headphone combo, this is a fine place to start looking and the AKG comes enthusiastically Recommended.
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