Elgato Wave 3 VS Wave 1

Should you get Elgato Wave 3 or Elgato Wave 1? The article below will show you the differences between Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1 and the considerations for getting one of these mics. Both are plug-and-play USB microphones that offer excellent sound, but Wave 3 is a little bit more expensive than Wave 1 due to having more features.

Continue reading below to learn further about:

  • The design of Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1
  • What built-in features and controls are available on Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1
  • The Elgato Wave Link software that works with Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1
  • Why the software of Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 can be very useful for streamers
  • The sound quality comparison between Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1
  • Whether you should get Elgato Wave 3 or Elgato Wave 1

Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1: Design

Elgato Wave 3 is a popular USB condenser mic. It is considered better than its competitors in the market because of several reasons, and one of them is the truly portable design. It measures about 8 inches tall and 4 inches wide, and the weight is only about 0.62 lbs. It is really easy to bring along.

The build quality is impressive, too. Elgato Wave 3 comes with a black eggshell finish, and the integrated desktop stand is weighted at the base to provide stability. The mic swivels so that you can adjust the angle precisely. However, you can detach the stand and utilize the included adapter to mount the mic on a floor stand or boom arm.

Elgato Wave 1 is the company’s entry-level offering in the USB condenser mic category. It shares a lot of similarities with its sibling. It is also very portable with similar dimensions, and it has a similarly good build quality with a black eggshell finish, weighted desktop stand, and included adapter.

On the back, there is the USB Type-C port for connecting to your computer. The unique thing about Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 is that they can receive sound from your computer via the USB cable. This effectively blends the mic’s sound and the computer’s sound without a complicated setup, and it is very useful for streamers who want to mix their voice with their game or music. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack for direct monitoring.

The difference between Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 is found on the control panel. Unlike its sibling, Elgato Wave 1 does not have LED lights above the control knob. That is because this microphone is missing some features.

 Elgato Wave 3Elgato Wave 1
Product Dimensions1.57 x 2.6 x 6.02 inches
1.57 x 2.6 x 5.55 inches
Shipping Weight1.29 pounds 1.29 pounds
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Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1: Features

On Elgato Wave 3, you can find a multi-function control knob that can be used to adjust the input gain, the headphone volume, and the crossfade balance between the mic’s sound and the computer’s sound. Above this control knob, there is an array of LED lights that help to indicate the current level of the setting you are adjusting.

Meanwhile, on the top of Elgato Wave 3, there is a capacitive mute button, which is very easy to access. You can easily mute the mic with a simple touch. Behind the flat, solid grille, the microphone houses a 17mm electret capsule that has a cardioid polar pattern. Elgato Wave 3 has a frequency response range of 70 Hz – 20 kHz. Since it is a USB mic, it performs the analog-to-digital conversion internally with a 24-bit resolution and 96kHz maximum sampling rate.

Elgato Wave 1 is slightly different. While it also has a control knob on the front, this only functions for adjusting the headphone volume. There aren’t LED lights to indicate the current level. It also does not have a capacitive mute button on the top; instead, you can press the control knob to mute and unmute the microphone. Here, the rest of the features can only be adjusted via the software.

Although Elgato Wave 1 is cheaper, it is already armed with the same 17mm electret cardioid capsule. It also has a frequency response range of 70 Hz – 20 kHz. The built-in analog-to-digital converter has a 24-bit resolution, too, to provide excellent sound quality. However, the maximum sampling rate here is limited to 48kHz. Read also: HyperX SoloCast VS Blue Snowball here.

Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1: Software

Both Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 work with the Elgato Wave Link software. This is a very nice software that not only provides control over the mic’s features and settings, but also offers additional capabilities.

To begin with, you can adjust the input gain of your Elgato Wave 3 or Elgato Wave 1 via the software. You can also adjust the headphone volume and the crossfade balance between the mic and computer. In the case of Elgato Wave 3, such in-software controls are totally optional, as you can adjust them directly on the mic. In the case of Elgato Wave 1, they are essential because the mic doesn’t have on-board controls.

If you are a game streamer who plays multiple games, you will find Elgato Wave 3 much more convenient to use due to the on-board controls. If you are a podcaster, or if you are a game streamer who usually only plays one game at a time, you probably don’t need to adjust those settings frequently, so Elgato Wave 1 should be sufficient.

The Elgato Wave Link software also has the ability to mix up to 8 different audio sources from any game or application that is open on your computer, as well as from any connected microphone. The user interface is neat and easy to understand. Again, this capability can be very useful for streamers and podcasters by simplifying the process of combining the sounds.

If you prefer to use a different software, such as Audacity, OBS, or Elgato Stream Deck, you don’t need to worry. Both Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 also work perfectly well on those software applications.

Elgato Wave 3 vs Wave 1: Performance

In general, the sound quality between Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 is quite similar. After all, they are using the same electret capsule, and they also have the same 24-bit resolution. Both Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 also come with a built-in pop filter that effectively minimizes wind noise and sharp plosive sound, as well as the ClipGuard technology.

ClipGuard is an analog-digital hybrid processing that prevents peaking distortion. When enabled, it is very effective in keeping the output clean and within reasonable volume. It is incredibly useful for dealing with loud sounds.

The sound quality of Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 is best described as clean and highly articulate. These mics are perfect for capturing all kinds of human voices. Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 can capture every nuance in your voice with solid bass and timbre. With the ClipGuard feature enabled, they indeed sound less natural and more processed, but more importantly everything is clear and easy to hear.

The difference between Elgato Wave 3 and Elgato Wave 1 comes down to the maximum sampling rate. But this difference doesn’t really affect the sound quality.

Elgato Wave 3 has a maximum sampling rate of 96kHz. Because of this, some people get the impression that the Wave 3 is slightly more sensitive. But, ultimately, the higher sampling rate simply makes it easier to process the audio, especially when dealing with fine details. Meanwhile, Elgato Wave 1 only has a maximum sampling rate of 48kHz, but the Wave 1 still has a very good quality.

- Condenser capsule with a tight cardioid polar pattern captures speech with precision
- Use the Wave Link app to control Wave: 3 and up to 7 other audio sources, plus create 2 independent mixes
- Up to 24-bit / 96kHz analog to digital conversion delivers lush detail
- Proprietary Clipguard technology makes distortion virtually impossible
- Condenser capsule with a tight cardioid polar pattern captures speech with precision
- Use the Wave Link app to control Wave: 1 and up to 8 other audio sources, plus create 2 independent mixes
- Up to 24-bit / 48kHz analog to digital conversion delivers lush detail
- Proprietary Clipguard technology makes distortion virtually impossible

Conclusion

In general, Elgato Wave 3 is more recommended. It comes with better features. The on-board controls are very handy, as they will allow you to focus on your work. You won’t need to open the Elgato Wave Link software just to adjust the input gain or headphone volume. Elgato Wave 3 also has a higher maximum sampling rate. In terms of sound quality, though, both microphones are very impressive.