ReviewsPeripheralsElgato Wave 3 Review: Premium Design Meets Superior Sound

Elgato Wave 3 Review: Premium Design Meets Superior Sound

After testing for a couple of weeks I can say that it is a game-changer for streamers, podcasters and content creators.

Expert Verified By

Best For Streamers & Podcasters!

Review Summary

The Elgato Wave:3 microphone is a sleek, premium mic designed for streamers, podcasters, and content creators. It’s built to last with sturdy components and offers intuitive controls for easy use. It delivers excellent sound quality, perfect for recording clear and rich audio. However, it’s sensitive to background noise, so you’ll want to ensure you’re in a quiet environment when recording. While it’s a bit pricey compared to other USB microphones, the Elgato Wave:3 is a solid choice for anyone looking to up their streaming or podcasting game with professional-quality audio.

Hours Tested: 2.5 weeks

Tech4Gamers Recommended Award

Overall
8.3/10
8.3/10
  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Build Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Controls - 8/10
    8/10
  • Software - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 7.5/10
    7.5/10

Pros

  • Premium Design
  • High Build Quality
  • Intuitive Controls
  • High-Resolution Recording

Cons

  • Background Noise Sensitivity
  • Software Complexity
  • Sub-Bass De-emphasis
  • Premium Price

Elgato, a subsidiary of Corsair, has made its presence known for several years. It has become a leading live-streaming brand due to its capture cards. Now, the Elgato Wave:3 is coming out with its new microphone, Elgato Wave:3. Notably, this is for all the Twitch streamers and podcasters.

It is a premium streaming microphone co-designed with Lewitt and comes with an outstanding software companion, a top-notch built-in compressor, and other extensive features, costing $159. Many similar microphones in the market aim for the same target audience and cost around the same amount. How does this one stand out? I tested the Elgato Wave:3 for a couple of weeks to find this. 

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Key Takeaways

  • The Elgato Wave:3 microphone is a sleek and modern USB microphone designed for Twitch streamers, podcasters, and content creators. With premium build quality, intuitive controls, and versatile connectivity options, it offers professional-grade sound quality and ease of use.
  • You should buy the Elgato Wave:3 if you prioritize aesthetics, seek professional sound quality, and value ease of use.
  • You should not buy the Elgato Wave:3 if you’re on a tight budget and record in noisy environments.

Here are the specifications:

CAPSULE 17 mm Electret
POLAR PATTERN Cardioid
RESOLUTION 24-bit
SAMPLE RATE 48 / 96 kHz
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 70 – 20000 Hz
SENSITIVITY -25dBFS (min gain) | 15dBFS (max gain)
MAX SPL 120dB (140dB Clipguard engaged)
DYNAMIC RANGE 95dB (115dB Clipguard engaged)
INTERFACE USB-C
DIMENSIONS 153 x 66 x 40 mm / 6.0 x 2.6 x 1.6 in
WEIGHT Mic & U-Mount 280 g / 9.88 oz | Base 305 g / 10.76 oz

Box Contents

Box Contents (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Box Contents (Image By Tech4Gamers)
  1. Wave:3
  2. USB-A to C Cable (250 cm / 98.4 in)
  3. Desktop Stand
  4. Boom Arm Adapter
  5. Quick Start Guide

Design

Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Generally speaking, USB microphones aren’t exactly known for their aesthetic design, giving the Elgato Wave:3 an immediate advantage. It takes design inspiration from Lewitt’s rectangular design microphone series but is thinner, giving it a unique appearance. The design as a whole is modern and sleek as if it were created to blend thoroughly into your face cam background. When placed on its stand, it measures just over eight inches.

Therefore, it is somewhat reasonably small. Specifically, six, if we are looking at the microphone itself. Being just 590g, it’s surprisingly lightweight, eliminating the need for a heavy boom arm. The rounded rectangular shape of this microphone, which appears on an attractive metal grille and yoke, gives it a vintage feel as if it suddenly reappeared from the 90s. They also made it easy to handle, giving it a very travel-friendly design.

Build Quality

Build Quality (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Build Quality (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Even though it’s small, it feels sufficiently sturdy. The microphone has a brushed matte finish and is made of durable plastic and black metal. Squeezing the sturdy metal grille that surrounds the capsule causes minimal bending.

In addition, the multifunctional dial has a robust feel, which indicates that it is unlikely to break or fall off very soon, even though it offers many functions. Nothing is rattling around, and it seems strong despite its compact size. Up top, you’ll find the mute sensor, which also feels nice. There is a plastic mount on the microphone, and it screws into a stand. Additionally, the stand has a rubberized bottom and substantial weight.

To ensure it remains firmly on your desk, the stand is also made of metal and contributes almost 50% of the total weight, just like the rest of the stuff in this bundle. The stand, yoke, and mount are all sturdy and smoothly finished with matte paint for an elegant look. After this, no one would be worried about its ability to endure in the long run. Moreover, the mic’s almost 360-degree movement, made possible by the yoke, is another feature I like.

The microphone is positioned between the mount by two comparatively simple bolts to detach. Because the stand is detachable, you can attach it to a more ergonomic stand. Alternatively, you can use a shock mount for a more effective vibration reduction, which makes sense since Elgato sells a separate suspended shock mount. I would say It seems like an excellently built device overall.

Control Scheme

Control Scheme (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Control Scheme (Image By Tech4Gamers)

In terms of user interface design, Wave:3 is relatively simple. Elgato recognizes that visual cues are helpful to most of its users and has included light indications here to let you know which parameter you’re adjusting and what level it’s presently at. On the front, a dial can be turned to cycle between the various volume settings. It lets users adjust the crossfade between the PC mix and the microphone gain.

For direct monitoring with minimal latency, the microphone’s back has a headphone jack of 3.5mm and a USB-C port. When you use this headphone jack to connect your headphones properly to the Elgato Wave:3, you can eliminate any potential delay and record without interruption. A red LED ring surrounds the dial when you press the touch-sensitive sensor at its top to indicate that the microphone is muted. By clicking the dial, you can also change the volume, the input gain, or the balance between the system level and the sidetone.

There is a minimal learning curve for the controls since they are all quite intuitive. However, compared to many of its competitors, it seems less expensive in the hand since the control dial and microphone body are made of plastic. Given the price, I would have wanted to see metal throughout, but they aren’t deal-breakers.

Connectivity

Connectivity (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Connectivity (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The Elgato Wave:3, like many detachable USB microphones, aims to simplify your audio setup. All you have to do to set it up is connect it to your computer, and you’re good to go for recording. Although the microphone itself utilizes USB-C, it can also be connected to USB-A ports on your PC using the included cable.

Software

You can enhance the functionality of the Elgato Wave:3 through the use of the Wave Link software. It may be tricky to use at first. However, if you stay patient and try to learn its features, you can master features like the monitor mix gain, effects like pitch shift and reverb, and the stream mix gain.

To give an illustration, a virtual audio mixer that combines all the sound-generating apps and browser windows into one audio output source. Having a single audio source for all of your computer’s outputs while yet being able to control their levels independently through WaveLink is a boon for Twitch streamers who don’t want to spend money to purchase a physical mixer.

Individuals who do not need such a management system will find it less beneficial. Moreover, WaveLink may not be useful for gamers who just only play games, use Discord, and play Spotify in the background, particularly on single monitor setups. If you have a complex audio scenario, WaveLink could be beneficial software.

Performance

Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Performance (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The fact that it is a condenser microphone rather than a dynamic microphone makes it ideal for recording. Streamers often use condenser mics because of their natural sound and broad frequency response. Nonetheless, the increased sensitivity that comes with their natural sound is not without its drawbacks. The Wave 3, like other condenser microphones, is sensitive to background noise.

So, if you’re not cautious, your mechanical keyboard can become the primary focus of your stream. That being said, it does a great job of picking up the details of voice recording when the surroundings are quiet. The Elgato Wave:3 surprises with its effectiveness when minimizing or reducing vibrations, such as those caused by tapping on a surface. The best way to test the Elgato Wave:3’s audio capabilities was to record myself and have conversations with my friends on Discord over a few days.

Premium design meets superior performance!

Throughout the recording process, I spoke from various angles, including front, back, sides, and from different distances. By tapping on the surface and the stand it was on and generating sounds in the background, while recording, I could test how well it handled vibrations and background noise.

Because of its cardioid polar pattern, the sound is recorded in a heart shape around the microphone. Additionally, it receives no sound from the back and only detects sound from the front and sides. Something that a lot of cardioid USB microphones in the middle price range often fail to do, and the fact that it somewhat rejects background noise tells everything about the quality of the microphone.

Though it’s excellent for off-axis rejection, a noise gate is still necessary for total noise elimination. It can still provide a high-quality recording despite having just one recording pattern. Furthermore, it can record at 96 kHz, which is 24-bit, although most competitors can only manage 48 kHz. The 24-bit file means you have more room in post-production for editing.

WARNING: Since it’s sensitive to external sounds, try to record in a quiet space to avoid unwanted noise interference in your recordings.

Sound Sample

Above everything else, it has outstanding performance. Based on my extensive testing, this USB microphone has some of the greatest sound quality I’ve ever heard. The audio is crystal clear and has a whole, rich tone. When I raise my voice level, I hear a little distortion, but it’s not so noticeable that it would be a deal-breaker. I advise you to keep your voice down a little when you’re recording. The Elgato Wave:3 is ideal for podcasters and live streamers because of its optimized sound profile.

The sub-bass has a noticeable de-emphasis despite the accuracy of the mids and highs. The proximity effect, in which leaning in close amplifies bass, is countered by this, so it’s outstanding for voice recordings. This often happens when you’re not in a proper studio setting while recording for YouTube or podcasts. People with deep voices don’t have to worry because the roll-off happens lower than most people would consider the vocal range.

PRO TIP: To get the best sound quality from your Elgato Wave:3 microphone, consider using a pop filter to reduce plosive sounds like “p” and “b” sounds. This can help enhance the clarity of your recordings and minimize the need for post-production editing.

Should You Buy It?

Buy It If

✅You prioritize aesthetics: The Elgato Wave:3’s modern design and premium build make it an attractive addition to any streaming or podcasting setup.

✅You want professional sound quality: With its high-resolution recording capabilities and excellent performance, the Wave:3 delivers crystal-clear audio, perfect for content creators who demand top-notch quality.

✅You value ease of use: The intuitive controls and versatile connectivity options make setup and operation a breeze, which is ideal for streamers and podcasters looking for a hassle-free recording experience.

Don’t Buy It If

❌You’re on a tight budget: At $159, the Elgato Wave:3 may be a bit pricey for those seeking a more budget-friendly option.

❌You record in noisy environments: Due to its sensitivity to background noise, the Wave:3 may not be suitable for recording in loud or busy settings, potentially affecting the quality of your recordings.

Final Verdict

Pop Filter (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Pop Filter (Image By Tech4Gamers)

There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to affordable and medium-range microphones. A USB microphone with a single polar pattern that costs $149.99 can be a bit difficult to justify. But, listen, this is Elgato for you. Since the brand is generally expensive, content creators cost a bit more than initially anticipated. The quality is quite evident.

That is precisely what Elgato Wave:3 provides with its high-end build and functionality. It also comes with its stand. Notably, this elegant mic is excellent for podcasters who want a USB connection or streamers who want something simple to connect to their streaming setup. The Wave:3 is a hassle-free, set-it-and-forget-it microphone.

Additionally, expanding your YouTube, Twitch, or TikTok content is well worth the money. When it comes to content creation, Wave 3 is just fantastic. It sounds excellent and has capabilities explicitly customized for content creators. This all-inclusive product can be what you’ve been waiting for if you don’t want to use software developed by third parties.

Coming Next: Syntech RGB GlowMic Review 

 
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