Elgato Wave 3 – A microphone that escaped from the studio

Once again our beloved Elgato made a miracle with the Elgato Wave 3. Which was sent to us to test in the all-fresh white colour.

To create the Wave:3, Elgato collaborated with Lewitt. Lewitt produces professional microphones for live shows and studios. Based in Vienna, Austria, Lewitt Audio puts its microphones to rigorous calibration and quality control in world-class testing facilities with experienced audio engineers. This is how they carry their microphones in legendary recording studios. So Elgato also equipped their microphones of the Wave series with their sound technology.

Elgato X Lewitt

Unboxing

Unboxing the box of the Wave:3 in the classic Elgato blue color we see 95% less use of plastic. I would say that the presence of plastic in its packaging is almost zero.

95% less plastic use, targeting the 100%

Following the Elgato for the Earth project, the main parts of the packaging are made from environmentally friendly and recycled cardboard. Instead of wasteful packaging, they use 100% recyclable, moulded pulp. When they have to use plastic, they use the minimum possible and always prefer recycled material.

What’s inside the Wave:3 package?

  • The Wave:3
  • One USB C cable 2.5m long
  • A desk stand
  • One boom arm adapter
  • The manual (Quick Start Guide)
Elgato Wave:3

Design

The black colour for me is always a one-way street. For my peripherals but even for my clothes. When I saw the white Wave:3 on the Elgato site I wanted to get my hands on it. The matte white colour is incredible.

At the front, the black steel grille creates a nice contrast of the full white of the microphone, in the best way. Anything black and white, properly designed and minimalist, can lift the design, even on a microphone. On the top of the matte black grill, there is a glossy Elgato logo. The only glossy touch on the otherwise full matte microphone.

Just below the grille there are 3 LED dots and in the second row 7 intensity LED dots.
The volume dial is all the way down and we’re done with the front of the Wave 3.

On the sides there are the classic screws that clamp the microphone onto the desk stand or unscrew it completely from the stand to clip it to the boom arm. I always pay attention to details, that’s why I especially like the WAVE:3 logo written on the right side of the microphone. A nice touch from Elgato.

Finally, on the back of the microphone there are 2 ports. One USB-type C and an input for headphones. There is also something at the top of it but we are keeping it as a surprise for the following part of the review.

The metal U mount that comes with the microphone is sturdy enough to hold the mic in place. The bottom part has a layer of rubber that helps the microphone not to slide on the desk.

Functionality of the Elgato Wave 3

Wave:3 is the successor of the well-known and successful Wave:1. Their main differences are in the design of the front as there are no LED indicators on the Wave:1 and the operation of the dial is much simpler.

The only other difference is in the sample rate. With Wave:1 limited to 48 KHz, while Wave:3 goes to 96 KHz. In practice, 48 KHz is quite enough for live streaming and YouTube. The higher sample rate is suitable for more “professional” uses. Elgato brought this sample rate to the table with the help of Lewitt. So that it can even be used in the studio.

Since we talked about the volume dial, the Wave:3 version has multiple functions. With the help of the multi-purpose dial, you can adjust:

  • The volume of the microphone input (its sensitivity in other words)
  • Headphones volume (which can be connected directly to the microphone)
  • The cross-fade between the microphone and the computer

Time for the surprise! As I was looking for the mute button on the microphone, I saw that there is no such button. Instead, there is a mute touch button on top of the microphone.

Touch it and it will do its job

I’ve seen some users complain that they accidentally turn on mute because it’s a touch button and it causes them problems. I really don’t see why anyone should be touching their microphone while using it. The only exception is if you are a sensual singer. From the moment I got the mic, I placed it where it was convenient for me and never touched it again. Even if for any reason, the mute is activated, then the ring light around the dial changes to red from white. Pretty hard to miss if it happens.

Hardware

The microphone

Underneath the matte black grille is a multi-layer noise shield. This way it protects the microphone membrane from picking up harsh “explosive” sounds. That said, it is a built-in pop shield that does its job perfectly without necessarily needing the extra Elgato pop shield.

The Wave:3 uses a condenser capsule. This type of microphone is the best choice for voice recording as it has a cardioid polar pattern. So it records in a heart shape around the mic, picking up sound mostly from the front and sides and less from the back. Unfortunately, if it is not set up correctly, it can get a lot of noise from the environment. It is well known that condenser microphones are more sensitive than dynamic ones.

In short, it would be the perfect microphone in a room with the right sound isolation but could create some issues for someone using it for everyday use. This is because there is a possibility that it will pick up the sound of the keyboard and mouse clicks. A problem that can be easily solved by bringing the microphone closer to your mouth.

Technology

Now onto the big guns of Wave:3. Where none of the competitors can match the Wave:3 is high recording quality with 24-bit / 96 kHz analog-to-digital conversion. Thus, the detail and clarity of the recording level reaches its maximum point.

My favorite feature is this concept that Elgato has called Clipguard. Clipguard is a limiter that activates during our not-so-rare nerd rage moments while gaming.

How many times have you found yourself screeching at the screen because your jungler got your blue buff, or when your only goal you’ve been fighting for an hour ended up being an offside? Well, that’s why Clipguard will become your new friend. It will probably become the new friend of your friends, since it will protect them in Discord from your outbursts.

Clipguard will therefore automatically condense the audio you record to avoid accidentally peaking the microphone. Honestly, Clipguard works much better than I expected. Other microphones use similar limiters but none do it as well as the Wave:3.

To use Clipguard you do not need to install Wave Link (the software used by Wave:3). You simply connect the microphone to your computer with its type C to usb cable and Clipguard does its job automatically. No settings, no nothing. Ready to use.

Accessories

The Wave:3 comes with a built-in pop shield, but in case you want even greater protection and better results, you can buy Elgato’s pop filter as an extra.

Beautiful, minimalist and very easy to use, since it clips onto the microphone with its side clips.

Another useful accessory compatible with the Wave:3 is Elgato’s shock mount. Microphone shock mounts can provide basic protection against microphone damage, but their primary use is to isolate microphones from mechanically transmitted noise and vibration.

For the end I saved my favourite and must-have for every microphone. Of course, I’m referring to Elgato’s Wave Mic Arm LP. What a microphone arm offers are things you don’t know you need until you use them for the first time. Wave:3 comes with the boom arm adapter which is making it compatible with almost every arm in the market.

With a good arm you save a lot of space on your desk since the microphone is floating. You reduce the vibrations a lot and this is achieved 100% with the Mic Arm and Shock mount combo. Finally and most importantly, you have your microphone in any position you need it without restrictions. A good way to prevent extraneous sounds that your microphone may pick up. With the arm, you can have the Wave:3 at a distance of 10cm from your mouth, which is the recommended distance from Elgato.

Software

The Wave:3 is designed in such a way that you don’t even need a software for a top tier result thanks to the built-in pop filter and ClipGuard technology. It can be made even better by installing and using WaveLink properly.

WaveLink is Elgato’s software for the Wave:3. If I had to describe it in a sentence, I would say that it is a virtual audio mixer. WaveLink brings together all programs and windows that produce sound and presents them all together as a single output source. In this way, it relieves the hands of every streamer because they do not need to buy an extra mixer device but will have their own digital mixer through WaveLink.

You have a source for your microphone, a source for music, a source for game sounds, a source for Discord, etc. You can then adjust the volume for each source. Furthermore, you can choose how loud each source will be in your headphones and how loud each source should be in your stream for example. So you can perfectly tune the music for your streamers, while muting that sound on your own headphones to focus on your game.

With this feature, Elgato proves once again how well they know their target group. Of course, with the push of a button you can listen to the output of the stream, so you can hear exactly what your viewers are hearing.

You can also add extra audio sources manually. As shown in the image above, we already have 7 audio sources and if we push 8 at the right side, then we can add an eighth one with a limit of 9 sources.

So WaveLink will be a godsend for someone who has a lot of audio inputs and wants to stream, but for someone who uses the microphone every day on discord or in zoom meetings, you might also make much use of it. Don’t forget that the microphone doesn’t even need software to offer 100% of its performance.

Verdict

Wave:3 can meet the needs of an average user or even someone who works remotely and wants the perfect sound in their meetings. It’s one of the best options for a streamer or video creator, and with its studio-level sound, I’d say it’s climate change against the yeti.

The Wave:3 retails for €169.99 and can be purchased directly from Elgato.

In case you want to have a set with perfect sound and image, take a look at our review for the Elgato FaceCam and you will not be disappointed.

I would like to thank Elgato for providing the review unit we used.

Michail Papadopoulos

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