Review: Sennheiser Profile USB Microphone

This Sennheiser Profile review first appeared in Recording Magazine. I reprint it here with permission, and I encourage you to subscribe to that publication, as they are a stand up bunch of folk! PS: you may find affiliate links in this post and I may get a commission if you buy something. 🙂

Surprisingly Useful, Easy-to-Implement Tool for More than Just Podcasting

The Profile is Sennheiser’s USB mic offering, created for podcasting and streaming. Podcasting may be its bread and butter, but it turns out this simple, intuitive little tool is quite handy for a variety of applications.

Affordable, Solid, Creative Tool

Overall, the Profile USB is pointed squarely at content creators – whether that’s podcasts, audio for video, or even musical use, the Profile is designed to make it quick and painless to get vocal recordings done. With a competitive price point and solid audio quality, it’s an attainable way for most creators to get solid audio for their projects.

The Profile’s Profile

The Profile is a cardioid condenser capsule, USB-C powered mic in a black metal housing that’s both light and robust. The back is simple – USB-C connector and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the front, it’s got three basic knob controls: mic gain, mix (to balance the headphone output between mic input and computer output), and overall headphone volume. A handy, soft-touch mute button lights up a red LED ring when you’re muted. The LED ring around the gain knob also indicates power and clipping, which is convenient for setting levels at a glance.

The mic itself also features an adjustable tilt function with a self-locking joint – handy for aiming the mic right at the sound source (which will usually be your face). The Profile comes with a table stand, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a mic pouch. The Profile Streaming set replaces the table stand with a desk-mountable boom arm with integrated cable management.

What It’s For

The Profile was created for podcasting and streaming, and it is perfectly suited for those tasks, not just because it’s a USB mic. Everything about the Profile, from the desktop stand included in the mic package to the desk-mounted boom arm included with the Streaming Set to the tilt function, screams podcast or livestream. Its frequency response is even bent toward the speaking voice. It’s probably the plug-and-play nature of the unit that gives it the biggest edge, though. It is super simple and easy to get started with the Profile – as it should be with a USB mic.

How It Sounds

The Profile is clean and clear, like you’d expect a cardioid condenser to be. It does have a slight low-mid bump from around 200 hZ to nearly 500hZ, which situates it perfectly for spoken stuff like podcasts, livestreams, or YouTube videos – think quick-to-produce, instructional videos. As far as its musicality, it stands up great but for dense mixes it may require a little judicious EQ, since that low-mid beefiness sounds a bit dark in a mix. Still, with a little wide Q rolloff in that area, it could do in a pinch. The cool thing (to me, a yelly tenor) is it doesn’t have a big presence peak at 2 or 3 kHz – that may be handy sometimes, but it’s nice to find a mic without it.

Overall, the sound quality on the Profile is superb, way above average for USB mics, without a lot of sibilance or plosives, and a lot of room to crank the gain without distorting.

More Uses Than You Think

If, like me, you’re old school and new to USB mics, you’ll discover very quickly why they’re so game-changing. It’s not just that you don’t need an audio interface. Well, it is, actually. It means this really compact unit can serve as an all-in-one device for recording all kinds of vocal stuff – not just a podcast. You can livestream an acoustic performance, you can sound good on a Zoom call, you can make videos.

But I got more excited when I went outside of those standard uses. It happened when I noted that the package comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable – not what I needed for the computer (although not a big issue). But that’s exactly what’s needed for a phone. Why does this matter? Because the phone camera is about 100 times better than my webcam, which means most of my video is shot with the phone.

The Profile is equally easy to implement with the phone as with the computer and that combined with its size and price tag makes it imminently useful. So, I shot some videos with the phone and the profile. Then I took the Profile out with my laptop. As a vocalist, it’s pretty common for me to sketch out song ideas or even throw down four-part harmonies on the go. The Profile was great for that, and its easy use removed creative barriers, causing me to write and record backing vocals for an entire song in about an hour.

I realize this usefulness isn’t unique to the Profile, but at $129 for the mic itself and $199 for the Streaming Set with boom arm included, it’s squarely in the running for most useful since most USB mics made by quality manufacturers like Sennheiser are much pricier. You can find cheaper USB mics but they’re – well – cheaper.


The Bottom Line on the Profile

There’s no shortage of USB mics out there, but Sennheiser is kind of king of audio for video, so it makes sense that they’ve gotten into this game. The Profile is better built than many of its peers, sports great sound quality, and proves itself useful for a wide array of applications. In fact, it’s quite likely to go in my remote production bag, since it’s plenty of interface for cutting vocals in a hotel room or sounding great on a remote podcast or livestream. If you’re in the market for an easy-to-implement USB mic that sounds awesome, you can’t go wrong with the Profile.

Price: $129; $199 Streaming Set

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I’m a singer, songwriter and producer who has made some videos that no one saw, and other, simpler ones that a lot of people saw. Talk to me @RecordingLikeMacgyver and while you’re at it, grab your 10x My Tracks eBook to make your tracks better right now!

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