If you want to boost the audio quality of your live streaming, Microsoft Teams work calls, content creation, or Zoom sessions, a dedicated microphone can get the job done. However, you may be put off by the thought of dropping hundreds of dollars for such a product. Luckily, you don't have to splash the cash to get the audio output you want, with mics like the TONOR TC30 USB microphone coming in at under $50.
Of course, the big question when considering a budget microphone option is whether it matches up to more expensive alternatives. Probably not, is the short answer, but in the following review we will discuss how the TONOR TC30 is still worth checking out, while also discussing some areas where it needs improvements.
What is the TONOR TC30?
The TONOR TC30 is a USB microphone that boasts a budget price but still provides solid specs and features. While it can deliver some pro-level capabilities, it is primarily a plug-and-use mic for general purpose that is ideal for streaming, video/audio calls, and narration. TONOR is building a reputation for affordable and functional plug-and-play mics, so let's see if the TC30 can continue that trend.
Out of the Box
- TONOR TC30 USB microphone
- Shock mount
- Tripod desk stand
- USB connector cable
- User manual
- Microphone: Condenser
- Frequency Response: 50Hz – 20Hz
- Bit Rate: 16bit
- Cardioid: Polar Pickup Pattern
- Input Sample Rate: 48KHz
- Cardioid Polar Pickup Pattern
- USB cable type: USB-C to USB-A 2.0
- Output Impedance 2.2kΩ
- S/N Ratio >68dB
- Sensitivity: -32dB±3dB
- Software: None needed
TONOR TC30 Design
One of the things TONOR has done well on all its microphones is design them to look more expensive than they are. Having a cheap looking mic on your desk may destroy your whole vibe, so it is good the TC30 is built from aluminum. In hand, the device should feel more premium than it is, and at 19cm high will not take over your workstation.
While the tripod stand does its job thanks to rubber feet that provide stability, it will not reduce movements on the desk enough. It is possible to buy better stands on Amazon for around $10 if you have the same issue. The shock mount does its job well and looks good, but it is too plasticky for my taste, especially next to the aluminum microphone.
Setting Up the TONOR TC30
With the TONOR TC30 out of the box, your next step is setting it up and putting it to work. Setting up PC peripherals can be a headache or at least time consuming waiting for drivers and other software to install. TONOR dispenses with all that, making the TC30 a true plug-and-play microphone.
Simply plug the microphone into your PC via the included USB cable and you're good to go. It is also worth noting that putting the microphone together from the separate components in the box (mic, pop filter, mount, and stand) is easy enough and takes just a couple of minutes.
TONOR TC30 Audio Performance
The first thing to know about the TC30 is that it is a condenser. That is the most common type of microphone available and generally the best for everyday casual users. Condenser mic's offer consistent frequency response without compromising noise management when speaking. These microphones are also more sensitive, so need a support (stand or hand) to use properly.
With the TC30, you can quickly record voice notes at around 20cm or less away from the mic by using it in hand. If you do, you may not be happy with the results. At this distance your voice will be a little too choppy and the frequency output fuzzy. It won't be a disaster – and post-production editing can help – but close-up performance will be so-so.
By the way, this is absolutely expected. While you can take the TONOR TC30 in your hand, it is really a desktop microphone. In other words, it hasn't necessarily been designed for up close and personal recording. Sure, it does a solid job at close distance, but if you want a microphone to use in your hand there are better options.
Through trial and error, you can find the range in which the TONOR TC30 performs best. It seems that range is between 25cm and 40cm. In this range the mic does an excellent job at eliminating natural peaks and drops in voice tone, offering a uniform audio output. Noise management is also most efficient at these distances. Stretching beyond 40cm and the TC30 will start to lose quality in overall performance.
Who is the TONOR TC30 For?
Thanks to its premium stylings and excellent audio quality at specific distances, the TONOR TC30 may seem a tempting pro-level microphone. When you consider it costs less than $50, it may become an easy decision. However, I would advise against this microphone if you require pro-grade performance. In fact, I would advise against any microphone at this price point if you're a professional recorder or editor.
But that is not what the TONOR TC30 is, so to compare it with more expensive and dedicated products is unfair. Instead, the TC30 is a general use plug-and-play microphone that is perfect for office workers, small businesses, gamers, streamers, students, and everyday consumers. With its specs, looks, and performance it is one of the sub-$50 mics worth considering.