Cherry: The first mics with the cherry – special

The UM 3.0 is a simple but decent USB microphone.

The first cherries on microphones

The UM 3.0 is a simple but decent USB microphone.

The first thing you notice is that Cherry uses a metal shell for both microphones, which leaves a good first impression despite its low weight. Sure, competitors like the NT-USB from Rode (219 euros) or even the widespread Sure SM7B (499 euros), which does its job in many professional recording studios, are noticeably more valuable, but Cherry’s UM 3.0 is still a solid one seeming microphone in hand. The UM 3.0 is completely black, the UM 9.0 is colored in a light bronze tone, both devices are connected to the PC with a USB-C cable and work via plug-and-play. Complicated software installations are not necessary.

The manufacturer has dispensed with many switches in the design: the UM 3.0 has only one control for the headphone connection on the back and an elegant touch surface for muting on the top of the microphone. The UM 9.0 also has a rotary control for the sensitivity of the microphone, which also serves as a button for switching the recording characteristics. But more on that later. Both microphones come with a metal stand, but while the UM 3.0 is screwed on directly, the high-end model is decoupled from the mount by a firmly glued spider.

That’s a nice idea, at least it makes the microphone less sensitive to movements on the table, for example during a podcast recording. However, the execution suffers from the mixed material quality of the glued-on plastic holder. In our first review copy, it came out of the box broken – the device was therefore unusable and had to be replaced. In addition, the UM 9.0 is also equipped with switchable RGB lighting. That looks snazzy, especially when the mic is being used in a live stream.

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Decent sound

The glued-on spider is the weak point of the UM 9.0.

The glued-on spider is the weak point of the UM 9.0.

In terms of sound, both microphones make a solid impression. According to the manufacturer, the frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz, the sampling rate of the audio signal is an impressive 192kHz for the UM 9.0, which corresponds to the best DVD quality. At UM 3.0 it is still 96 kHz. In the practice check, however, the quality of the two microphones that I subjectively perceived is not as far apart as the price difference would suggest. When listening to the direct comparison, the UM 3.0 is a bit flatter than the UM 9.0, which probably shapes my voice a bit better overall.

In general, the following applies to most microphones: the device must also fit the speaker. My speaking voice in particular benefits from an increase in the bass range and here the UM 9.0 seems to boost the frequencies a little more than the UM 3.0. However, this can quickly have a dull effect with bass-heavy voices. You also have to decide whether you like a certain radio effect or not. In general, both microphones are very decent devices for their price – but of course the brilliance of an SM7B is not achieved.

Interesting sound features

Full recording regalia.  On the micro arm with pop filter, the UM 9.0 looks good.

Full recording regalia. On the micro arm with pop filter, the UM 9.0 looks good.

As already mentioned, the UM 9.0 can do more than just cardioid characteristics. In fact, the microphone can be switched between binaural (left-right in the stereo spectrum separated audio), a front-rear split as well as omnidirectional audio. This should, for example, enable podcast recordings with just a single microphone, for example when the speakers are sitting opposite each other or when an entire room is to be recorded. The sound also changes a bit, of course more reverberation and room noise is recorded, and the subjective impression of the sound shaping also changes, which slightly loses pressure. In the case of binaural recording, care must also be taken to ensure that the recording is in stereo, since the soundtracks are spread across the spectrum.

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It is noticeable with both microphones that they are sensitive to operating noises: both muting via the touch surface and switching the characteristic are audible. But that’s okay for most applications – the moderate decoupling of the base from the table weighs more heavily here, which is also not completely achieved by the spider on the UM 9.0. To go with this, Cherry offers a micro-arm called MA 6.0 UNI USB, which is attached with a screw clamp and is intended exclusively for hanging microphone installation and prevents cable clutter with an integrated USB HUB. The arm is decent, only the plastic screws on the joints raise doubts about long-term durability. In addition, there is a pop filter specially designed for the microphones, which can be easily installed in front of the microphones. Its plastic looks a bit cheap, but it serves its purpose solidly.