The German manufacturer Cherry presents its first USB microphones, which are intended to attract streamers and users in the home office in particular with a strong price-performance ratio. ntv.de tried the top model UM 9.0 PRO RGB, which costs 150 euros.
So far, Cherry is best known for high-quality PC keyboards and mice. The German manufacturer is now expanding its portfolio with three USB microphones, which should help users in the home office or streamers to achieve the perfect sound. ntv.de tried out what the top model Cherry UM PRO 9.0 RGB has to offer. With a price of 150 euros, it could be an interesting alternative to the popular USB microphones RØDE NT-USB or Blue Yeti.
The design of the microphone is not exceptional, but it is chic. The cylindrical body is made of metal, the upper part of the membrane is covered with a black grid, while the base shines in an elegant bronze tone.
There is a large dial on the front to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone. At the same time, it serves as a button to set the polar pattern. Opposite on the back, the device has a dial that controls the volume of connected headphones. The upper side shows the set characteristics with LEDs, and the microphone can be quickly muted via a touch surface in the middle.
On the underside you will find another small switch next to the USB-C connection, the headphone jack and a tripod socket. You can use it to light up the upper area in seven different colors either continuously or alternately. When muted, the microphone glows deep red. A nice show effect that gamers or influencers might like, but tends to stay off in the home office.
To absorb shock and vibration, the Cherry UM PRO 9.0 RGB hangs in a spider made of fabric-covered rubber band. The plastic ring in which it is stretched is connected to a metal bracket that is screwed onto a three-legged metal stand. With rubber feet, it is absolutely non-slip even on smooth surfaces.
So far so good. But the sound is more important than a successful design. And for that matter, Cherry has done a pretty good job as a newcomer. It starts with the technical values, where the manufacturer goes beyond what is usual in this price range.
The microphone sampling rate is 96 kilohertz (kHz). 44.1 kHz is usual, i.e. according to the rule of thumb about twice the highest frequency shown. Like most microphones, headphones or speakers, the Cherry UM 9.0 PRO RGB covers the range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz - the range that a good human ear can perceive. The microphone also surpasses the usual 16 bits (CD quality) in terms of bit rate with high-resolution 24 bits.
But the decisive factor is the sound that the Cherry UM 9.0 PRO RGB produces. The open source software Audacity was used for the test, the recording quality was set to 24 bit and 96 kHz. The microphone was immediately recognized without additional drivers, the same was true when used in video conferences with Microsoft Teams.
The recordings sounded best in the practical test when the microphone was about 30 centimeters away from the mouth. The depths in particular are lost a little from a distance, which makes the sound sound slightly tinny. At the right distance, the sound of the Cherry UM 9.0 PRO RGB convinces with a pleasantly warm and full tone, which also sounds clear and natural in the highs.
This applies to the standard characteristic, in which the sound is mainly recorded from one direction (cardioid characteristic). In addition, you can make stereo recordings, choose a bidirectional characteristic for two conversation partners or place the microphone centrally with omnidirectional alignment in a conversation.
The Cherry UM 9.0 PRO RGB also cuts a fine figure here, although the sound is generally a bit brighter with bidirectional and omnidirectional characteristics. This is due to the fact that conversations are rarely held at a distance of 60 centimetres. However, the sound remains good and the intelligibility increases due to the stronger emphasis on the higher frequencies.
If you only want to use the microphone with a cardioid characteristic anyway, you can also use the Cherry UM 6.0 Advanced, which is 40 euros cheaper. It also offers only omnidirectional orientation and there are no lighting effects.
The UM 3.0 only costs 80 euros and only works with a cardioid polar pattern. A major disadvantage of this model is the lack of a damping suspension. Because even the top model has proven to be quite sensitive to touch, which, among other things, makes it almost impossible to mute it unnoticed via the touch surface.
In order to reduce background noise in general, you can attach a pop filter for 20 euros, which - as the name suggests - dampens the pop noise from the letters P, T, D or B. Cherry also offers swivel arms for 80 or 100 euros (additional USB-A port/integrated cable).
The Cherry UM 9.0 PRO RGB is definitely a microphone alternative to similarly priced competitors, with the UM 6.0 Advanced probably offering the best value for money of the three newcomers without lighting effects. The sound is good and it's easy to use. However, the Cherry microphone does not have any outstanding properties and will probably find it difficult to displace established top dogs.