Sometimes affordable microphones can be better than expensive ones, such as the popular large-diaphragm Stellar X3 Vs X2. These microphones are often an alternative to high-end models because they sound excellent. While very close to each other, these variants offer different characters, and you may like one better. Let’s see below to decide which microphone is closer to your preference.
In this comparison, we are going to talk about:
- Do You Need a New Microphone
- What is Stellar X3 and X2
- How are the Build Qualities of Stellar X3 and X2
- How is the Setup for Stellar X3 and X2
- How are the Specs of Stellar X3 and X2
- How are the Sound Characters of Stellar X3 and X2
- What are the Features of Stellar X3 and X2
- How are the Performances of Stellar X3 and X2
- Stellar X3 Vs X2
Buying a New Microphone
There is an abundant amount of microphones in the market. Some of them are well-known names such as Neumann, Shure, and Rode that have been around for quite some time and have always proven to provide great quality microphones. A microphone is a tool to capture your sound, and different tools do different jobs. There is no single answer to the best microphone for you because the applications, setups, and user preferences matter to making the decision. It is wise to consider what you need when buying a microphone.
For example deciding between a dynamic and condenser matters when you have untreated room, want to use it in live performance, or match it with the interface and recorder. Condenser picks up more of what’s around it, both your voice and the rooms. Dynamic is more durable for live applications and less sensitive but usually requires plenty of gains to drive, such as the famous SM7B. The type of connectivity also matters depending on your equipment. You may want something to hook the XLR into or prefer a more straightforward USB cable.
Another important point when buying a microphone for the first time or upgrading the older one is sound character. Most options nowadays sound good. Decently priced microphones will deliver your message effectively. They are good enough for recording demos at home, both for vocals and instruments. But, their sound characters will vary depending on how the manufacturer tunes their microphones. There are mics for amps, for vocals, to boost your high frequency, to warm your voice, and to present your voice as it is.
|Stellar X3||Stellar X2|
|Product Dimensions||11.26 x 9.65 x 6.06 inches ||11.26 x 9.69 x 4.84 inches|
|Shipping Weight||12.2 ounces||12.2 ounces|
|Shop now at Amazon||click here||click here|
About Stellar X3 and X2 Microphones
Besides the application, sound character is subjective and often depends on how we like our voice to sound, especially if it is for broadcasting and singing. You may notice different vocalists or singers have and use different microphones because they prefer the sound better for their voice. If you have a pretty high speaking voice and dislike how it sounds on the microphone, it is wise to get something that doesn’t bring up too much brightness and vice versa for people with a very deep voice.
For those who don’t have much time to consider each factor, we can easily choose one from a list of popular models or options that fall into the budget. Budget is a crucial factor as not all of us want to spend on Neumann TLM 103 Vs Warm Audio WA87. The Stellar X3 and X2 are exciting options if you have a microphone that sounds similar to expensive models but is more budget-friendly. These microphones come from Tech Zone Audio, well-known among budget or alternative microphones.
We heard the hype of Stellar 2, which many said to be an alternative to TLM 103. Some agree, and some are not, but we think the two don’t sound alike. However, the Stella X2 is a solid option in the price range for people who like the sound character. The mic itself works wonderfully but still has minor concerns. These concerns are addressed on Stellar X3, and as a higher model, this microphone sounds better to us because it is not trying to add anything unnecessarily.
The main difference between Stellar X3 and X2 is how they sound. Overall they are suitable for spoken words, singing, acoustic guitar, and even a guitar amp. But, the Stellar X2 tends to bring the brightness of your sound further. For some people who dislike the highs of their voice, it can be not very pleasant. We also prefer the proximity effect and plosives rejection on Stellar X3.
Stellar X3 and X2 Build Quality
The Stellar X3 and X2 are not cheap microphones, and we are happy that they are very well-made. Both models come in a small hard case, like a hard shell suitcase with a carrying handle. The units are made of metal and have a good weight, with Stellar X3 being slightly larger than X2. They have a matte finish covering the whole capsule and the TZ logo at the front. Unlike X2, which prints the logo, the X3 is molded on a metal plated and glued to the capsule.
The connector is at the bottom, and for X3, there are switches at the front, below the grille. Some accessories come with microphones, including a shock mount and mount adapter. Surprisingly there is no standard microphone mount if you have limited space, but the shock mount looks very sturdy. They also give you a small pouch for the microphone, but there is no stock XLR cable.
Stellar X3 and X2 Setup
Because the Stellar X3 and X2 are condenser microphones, they will need phantom power to work properly. Many devices can provide the 48V such as your audio interface. The most audio interface will do for these two, and typically the gain is slightly less than 50%, so the gain range should not be an issue. If you are on the go, these mics are also compatible with a pocket recorder that has an XLR port and phantom power, but we think they are too bulky for traveling.
Stellar X3 and X2 Specs
Next, let’s check the overall specs of these microphones. Besides condenser, the Stellar X3 and X2 only have a cardioid polar pattern which should be ideal for most use cases. The frequency response is slightly different as Stella X2 cut the top end at 18kHz instead of the standard 20kHz. The sensitivity is decent for a condenser microphone at -31dB and -33dB. The respective maximum SPL is 135dB and 130dB, and self-noise of 13db for Stellar X2 or less than 8db for Stellar X3, making the latter a pretty quiet microphone.
Stellar X3 and X2 Sound Characters
Now for the most important part, let’s see the sound character of Stellar X3 and X2. When listening to both variants, we first notice how flat the Stellar X3 is. It is arguably a boring microphone, but not in a bad way. The Stellar X3 is pretty neutral throughout the frequency response, and some people will like or dislike it. We like that it doesn’t boost the highs if you already have a naturally high voice. Many microphones, including Stellar X2, raise their treble to achieve a bright nuance.
The Stellar X3 flat profile may sound too “dark” for people with a naturally low voice. If you have a deep and big voice, then this microphone will make it more noticeable because there is no boosting in the highs that can balance things out. We also notice that it can be a bit mid-forward, and some people may be fine or dislike it; we don’t find it very pleasing. Due to the boost, Stellar X2 is also worse at rejecting plosives even though X3 is not far different either.
As for the music purpose, we like both Stellar X3 and X2 for electric and acoustic guitars. The Stellar X3 has a neutral body and mid without overpowering the top. The Stellar X2 is slightly brighter, so some notes may sound too sharp or brittle, yet we think they are still useful for the overall performance.
Stellar X3 and X2 Features
On the features part, Stellar X3 offers more than the X2. The microphone has two switches on the capsule; one is for a high pass filter, while the latter is a -10dB pad. The high pass filter is handy to roll off the low end when you have to speak close to the microphone and don’t want your voice to sound muddy or too heavy. The pad can be helpful when you want to record something loud, but we don’t find it necessary for typical voice recording.
Stellar X3 and X2 Performance
Lastly, both Stellar X3 and X2 are very similar in their overall performance. The shock mount works well to reduce the noise coming from the desk or the mount, but they are still noticeable. There will be noise when you tap the capsule as well. They are not best for rejecting plosives, so we may have to combine a foam filter with an ideal distance to the microphones. However, we find the Stellar X3 is slightly better at plosives even though it still needs some help.
Stellar X3 Vs X2
The Stellar X3 and X2 are equally good microphones for different people because they offer different sound characters. The Stellar X3 is an overall flatter, more neutral, and boring by not trying to make any of the frequency stands out. On the other hand, the Stellar is adding sparks on a higher frequency which makes people with deeper voices prefer it better. But, at the same time, it is also more prone to plosives and some harshness on the top range.
There is no perfect microphone, but Stellar X3 and X2 can be ideal for you. We recommend Stellar X3 if you prefer the naturally flat response or you prefer to adjust it on the computer. The Stellar X2 is a perfect choice if you want a brightness to balance the low and mid or like this type of character for your voice.