Sennheiser goes USB with the new Profile desktop microphone

Mar 14, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Sennheiser goes USB with the new Profile desktop microphone

Mar 14, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Sennheiser has today announced the new Sennheiser Profile. It’s a USB-powered condenser microphone designed for live streaming, podcasting and voiceovers. As a USB microphone, it plugs directly into your desktop or laptop, but you can also use it with tablets and smartphones that sport a USB-C port.

Being a desktop microphone, the overall look is quite familiar. We’ve seen it before in countless microphones from other companies. But the Sennheiser Profile sports a number of buttons and dials that are extremely useful for working with a microphone on the computer, as well as a 3.5mm headphone output for live monitoring.

The Sennheiser Profile features a cardioid pickup pattern using the Sennheiser KE10 microphone capsule. This capsule is found in a number of Sennheiser’s other microphones, including the MEG 14-40 Gooseneck microphone series. Sennheiser says that it offers a lot of rear noise rejection, ensuring that your voice is captured clearly in your environment. They designed it to be as simple and easy to use as possible without having it distract you from the million other things you need to think about while recording or streaming audio.

The specs

Microphone typePre-polarised condenser microphone
Pickup patternCardioid
PowerUSB-C 5v max 200mA
CompatibilityUSB-C (Windows, macOS, iPadOS, Android)
Cable Length1.2m (standard) / 3m (streaming set)
Frequency Range20Hz to 20kHz
Sampling Rates44.1kHz, 48kHz
Sampling Resolution16 Bit, 24 Bit
Max SPL125dB @ Min Gain / 85dB @ Max Gain
Sensitivity @ Max Gain-10 dBFS @ 80dB SPL
Sensitivity @ Min Gain-50 dBFS @ 80dB SPL
ConnectorsUSB-C (USB 2.0), 3.5mm TRS Headphones
Headphone Output20Hz to 18.5kHz, 16 ohms minimum output impedence

On paper, it’s quite a respectable-looking desktop microphone that seems on par with similar items on the market, like the Rode NT-USB+. Sure, it doesn’t have the 32-Bit float capabilities of something like the recently announced Rode NT1 5th generation, but it also doesn’t cost quite the same. Not only is the Sennheiser Profile significantly cheaper than the NT1 5th Gen, it’s also a bit cheaper than the NT-USB+, too.

On a cost vs (on-paper) performance metric, the Sennheiser Profile looks to be a winner for many applications, such as live streaming, podcasting and a lot of voiceover uses. But how it ultimately stacks up in the desktop USB microphone lineup really depends on how well it sounds. I haven’t seen any comparisons online just yet, but it would be good to hear this side-by-side vs the competing microphones mentioned above.

What about all those buttons?

On the front of the Sennheiser Profile are a number of buttons and dials for performing various functions. Some of these also light up to give you a clear visual indication as to the current microphone status. We’ve got a one-touch mute button, a microphone gain dial to determine how loud the signal is going into your computer or tablet, a dial to mix the audio being picked up by the microphone vs the audio being generated by your computer going into your headphones, and an overall headphone volume dial.

Right out of the box, Sennheiser says, the Profile “delivers a natural, warm sound that accentuates the body and presence of your voice”. Of course, microphone placement is important, too. This microphone is going to need to be quite close to you – around 6″ or 15cm away – for best results.

Holding power

The Sennheiser Profile comes in two packages. The standard basic model profile has a base allowing you to stand the microphone on your desk. This will work fine for many people, especially if you’re just talking. If you need to do more than talk, like actively mashing away on a computer keyboard while recording or streaming, there’s the Profile Streaming Kit. This includes a 3-point self-locking boom arm for getting your mic up off the desk.

While marketed as a “Streaming Kit”, the boom arm is fantastic for anybody recording audio from their desktop on the computer. Even just moving your mouse across the table to click and tweak settings in your DAW can be picked up as vibrations through the desk and interfere with the very recording you’re trying to tweak. For those recording tutorials or voiceovers for their YouTube videos who constantly need to tape away at the keyboard will also feel the benefits of a boom arm.

Naturally, for those who are live streaming, the boom arm has the benefit of providing more microphone position options. This isn’t just important for getting the best quality sound. If you’re on camera, then it allows you to position it in a way that it’s not blocking your face!

You don’t have to get this boom arm, though, or even use the supplied desktop stand. Underneath the microphone are standard 3/8″ and 5/8″ connectors, allowing you to use it with any microphone support system you already own and use.

Price and availability

The Sennheiser Profile USB condenser microphone with the desktop stand is available to buy now for $129. The Sennheiser Profile Streaming Kit with the boom arm is also available to buy now for $199. The boom arm itself is also available separately. So, if you want to get the basic kit and add the boom later or buy the boom to use with an existing microphone, you can. It’s available to pre-order now for $99 and should begin shipping quite soon.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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