I decided to buy a microphone as I enjoy singing as a hobby and when my friends come round we often have karaoke nights. I'm definitely not a serious singer and so I only wanted an inexpensive microphone and wasn't overly concerned about the quality. This one by Philips seemed ideal at only £8 on Amazon.
The appearance of the microphone is nothing special and it resembles most other standard, old-fashioned microphones being completely black with a shiny plastic covering. There is a silver metal slider located on the side beneath a red ring to turn the mic on off. The mic is strikingly lightweight and although this means it is easy and comfortable to hold for long periods it does make it feel quite a bit fragile and low quality. The circular shape of the handle allows me to fit my hand nicely around for a firm grip. The cable is a good length at 10ft and the 6.3mm jack also has a 3.5mm adaptor.
The mic is very basic and lacks many features. The main one is the fact that it is uni-directional which basically enables sound to be detected from every direction (although it only detects sounds at close range). It is also suitable to be used with karaoke as well as portable stereos and camcorders.
The sound quality is more than ample for karaoke and for when I'm singing at home. It picks up a good range of sounds and the result is a nice clear quality that amplifies the voice really well. My only complaint is that you do have to hold it very close to the face in order for it to hear your voice and produce a decent sound. As this can be really annoying it looses a star for this reason. On the other hand it is a very reliable microphone and after years of use and numerous drops onto the floor it still works perfectly with only a few minor scratches. Luckily it is a lot more durable than it feels.
For my nieces birthday we bought her a karaoke machine which came with microphone but we thought it would be fun to buy a spare so that we could all participate in duets and sing together. It was a really good idea as at the children's party all the children wanted a go. This is a really cheap microphone and it no good for anything other than a little bit of fun on the karaoke machine.
==Price and availability==
The Philips microphone costs £9.99 which is cheap and cheerful. As a second microphone for a child, I did not want to pay much more than this. I can't see any serious musicians wanting to play with this as it is rather old fashioned looking now but as spare or extra, it is fine.
This is black with a large head and slim body. The microphone has a flip switch in the middle to turn it on and a lead from the bottom to plug into the machine. The microphone has a frequency response of 80-12,000 Hz and it is fitted with a 3.5mm connector for smaller devices and laptops, however also supplied is the standard fitting for the socket in the karaoke machine.
The microphone is light but quite big and it looks like an old fashioned television one; at least it doesn't have a foam head!
The children had better luck with this than me when I played with it as it works best when you hold it very close to your face. The children kept having it right under their mouths and it worked much better here, it is not strong enough to pick up your voice if you hold it 10 inches from your face, you really need to be holding it closer than this. I also found that the sound quality was not very good and you get quite a lot of feedback with this. As long as you hold the microphone close to your face you will find it to be sufficient and fine for a home karaoke system. As this was a present for my niece, it went down well and she was pleased that she could play with her friends.
I was not really expecting much more for the price and although I was a little disappointed with the quality it works fine for the kids. As a spare microphone or an extra one for duets on the karaoke machine it does the job. That is as long as you hold it really close to your face. At the time this was the cheapest out there and I did not want to spend much more as the machine already cost quite a lot to begin with. In summary, it looks the part and the kids will like it, just give it the ones the worst singing voice and it might save your ears!
If you're a performer who takes your music seriously, it's always a good idea to invest in a decent microphone. That said, there are a number of ultra-cheap mics on the market which outperform their price-tag - but is the Philips US2-PH62080 (also referred to as the 'Philips Universal') one of them? The microphone has a unidirectional design (meaning that it can pick up sound from any angle), a ten foot cable, and a 6.3mm input jack (with a 3.5mm adaptor included).
Design & Appearance
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In terms of its design - well, you can really tell that the Philips Universal is a cheap model. Pricier mics usually feature an all-metal construction, and have a certain weightiness about them which reeks of quality. However, the Philips model is rather lightweight with a body made entirely from plastic. The on / off switch which sits towards the top of the body feels pretty tacky, and can accidentally be knocked into the wrong position with not much effort. The microphone looks pretty cheap too with a glossy black finish and a single line of red trim towards the top - If you're interested in seeing the device for yourselves (due to dooyoo's lack of a picture), it can be viewed via the following link - http://tinyurl.com/68ptawg
Price, Sound Quality, and Extras
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In terms of its cost the mic is reasonably priced and can be picked up online for £6.99, placing it firmly in the realms of a budget model. Sound-wise, the Philips Universal is acceptable - I would even go as far as saying that it's better than expected for the price. With a lack of dynamic range, it's nowhere near as good as Shure's budget models however, and falls short in terms of delicacy of sound reproduction. That said, I actually used the Philips as a back-up mic in the band for a number of years, and I can certainly say that whatever it lacks in tone it makes up for in reliability.
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Overall, the Philips Universal Microphone isn't a high quality product by any means, but it's suitable for karaoke, or as an effects mic for a computer or camcorder. Where it does get top marks is in its durability, and even though it looks cheap with its plastic shell, the overall construction is tough, and it will survive the occasional knock. For the price, the device offers the consumer very good value for money - although it's really not good enough for live music performances.