If you’re on a tight budget and you need a great microphone for content creation, the FIFINE K690 microphone might be your best choice.
Content creation has continually increased over the past decade. Whether you’re an actual content creator by trade or just capturing your favourite personal moments with family and friends, almost all of us are creating new content daily. While I, too, have been creating new content across various requirements, I mostly used the tools at hand when it came to recording audio. This via my smartphone or the DSLR camera’s onboard mic.
Having recently received the FIFINE K690 microphone for review, I was curious as to how much it would improve my content.
In all honesty, I’ve never had an issue with the microphones I’ve used previously. Not being able to spend much time listening to my own voice, I don’t often replay recordings fully after creation, focusing more on visual quality and annunciation than much else. The review of the FIFINE K690 microphone provided a unique opportunity to change all of this, making the point of analysing voice quality, especially compared to all those previous recordings.
FIFINE K690 Build and Design
On the surface, the FIFINE K690 microphone looks like your everyday mic. However, there are quite a few useful additions that come standard in the box contents when unboxing.
Unboxing the unit reveals the FIFINE K690 microphone itself. It’s a neatly packaged cylindrical unit. Already out of the box, it is connected to the adjustable stand. This stand is very useful, especially with its 360° rotation, allowing you to position the mic however you prefer. If you’re going to be using a boom arm or any other type of stand, you can disconnect the unit from this stand, simply by undoing the screws on the sides.
The microphone is manufactured from a robust plastic polymer. It’s quite solid and, along with its matte black finish, looks metallic. The included stand, however, is metal. It, too, has a matte black finish. This gives it a sleek and premium look, along with a quality build. There is no squeaking or the likes when using the unit, which also speaks to its overall quality. The stand also has rubber feet below, so it is steady on any surface, as well as avoids scratching it.
There are quite a few buttons on the device. On the front, you have the mute button on the top. Just above it is the LED indicator light, which displays green when recording and red when muted. Below that is the volume toggle, which is used for the audio output from the device. Users can plug in their headphones underneath the mic, which has a 3.5mm jack. This is quite a handy feature.
At the rear end of the FIFINE K690 microphone, you have another two buttons. The first of these is the gain dial with the second being to adjust the polar patterns which are natively supported by the mic.
As mentioned, the bottom of the unit also houses some elements, already mentioning the 3.5mm jack. Then there’s also the centre screw to allow for connecting to another boom or stand of your choosing. There is a male to female adapter that also makes it compatible with additional connectors of different sizes. Lastly, there’s the miniUSB port. This is used for the USB cable, which plugs into your PC, laptop or another device to start recording. It’s a bit strange that the unit is still offering a miniUSB port, but it gets the job done.
FIFINE K690 Setup and Configuration
Setting up on modern devices is fairly straightforward. That’s no different with the FIFINE K690 microphone. Given the miiUSB cable included, you can simply connect it to your recording device and you should be all set. You’ll immediately notice the LED indicator light in the front turn green to indicate power.
Once connected, you can then start tinkering with the settings. This includes the gain levels and pattern, via the rear toggles, or using the settings from your device. There is no included software available, but all the functions work by default. Windows has a few settings that can also be adjusted for different profiles, which makes it quite easy and useful to configure.
If you do require a headset when in use, you can simply plug this in below the K690 and you’re good to go. Volume settings on the device make it easy to control the audio output.
For the most part, the out-the-box settings are perfectly suited to most environments you’ll be recording from, as you’ll understand in the next section.
Audio Quality and Performance
In terms of specifications, the FIFINE K690 is a condenser microphone, which offers multi-polar pattern configs (stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional) with a sample rate of 48kHz and bit rate at 16-bit. Additionally, it offers three Fifine-proprietary 14mm condenser capsules and a frequency response between 20Hz and 20kHz. Lastly, the sensitivity is between -45±3dB (at 1kHz).
Switching between the four polar patterns is quite easy. Just hit the toggle on the rear and you’re all set. By default, it is set to stereo. However, the cardioid pattern I’d suggest works best. Cardioid recording picks up sound directly in front of it. This is to record your voice while creating a video or in a meeting. For either, it works just fine. However, it is worth noting that you’ll require the mic to be fairly close to you for the best quality. If you’re not wanting to have the mic in view during video capture, you can move it a bit further and adjust the gains, but then you’ll start to pick up some environmental sounds as well.
The bidirectional recording picks up sound on either side of the mic, with omnidirectional across the entire 360° surroundings. This is good for when you have a two-person or multi-person recording session, respectively. And, lastly, stereo recording is just as it is stated. This is for audio stored in stereo format.
When in use, the FIFINE K690 microphone provides good quality audio. I attempted a few recordings based on various positions of the mic using each polar pattern. They all did their jobs quite well, overall. When using the cardioid pattern, the quality is dependent on how the mic is positioned. As stated above, you do need to adjust the gains to capture the best quality and volumes. Given that the room was fairly quiet where I recorded from, it was never too much of an issue when the unit is positioned further away and picking up surrounding sounds, as there were none. However, moving outside you’ll for sure notice the difference. The best position to have the mic is around a distance of between 20 and 30cm.
The quality of the voice is clear and natural. As stated in the introduction, I’m not fond of my own voice. That said, it’s a lot more palatable when using a good-quality mic where the voice quality is less tinny and sometimes hollow. I did not have the same experience with this mic, which was good all around.
The FIFINE K690 microphone is quite a good quality unit. Its design and build are very good and its audio recordings are great. There are also a few additional features thrown in, which can all be enabled manually on the device itself, without any software required.
At a retail price of R1,999, the unit is very well-priced, too. In fact, it’s great. Given the unit’s flexibility and audio quality, it’s really worth the purchase, especially when you’re going to be taking your content creation more seriously going forward.
The FIFINE K690 is a great microphone for those on a budget. It offers various polar patterns for your recording style while having a solid build quality. A definite shoo-in for those looking to add some quality to their newly created content.
Evan Saunders is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in the tech industry. With a deep passion for technology and a talent for design, Evan has made a name for himself as a skilled and innovative techie.
In addition to his love for all things tech, Evan is also a dedicated sneakerhead with an impressive collection of kicks. He is a sports enthusiast, and enjoys playing football and watching a variety of sports. When he's not keeping up with the latest games or streaming his favorite series, he enjoys indulging in his love of anime.
Despite his busy schedule, Evan Saunders always makes time for his other hobbies, including gaming and web and graphic design. He has a talent for creating engaging and visually stunning content, and is always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of his craft.
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