Tula Mic review: an impressive portable microphone / recorder

Tula Mic is a portable USB microphone with two capsules and a built-in standalone recorder. It has a collapsible stand, noise reduction and 8 GB of storage space for up to 12 hours of continuous recording. Most importantly, it sounds good. Watch our Tula Mic review as I discuss why it’s a great portable microphone option ideal for mobile recording workflows with iPad or Mac.

Specifications and design

The first thing that caught my eye was the amount of flexibility and options that this microphone brings to the table. Here’s a glimpse of what the Tula Mic offers in a compact package:

  • Acts as a standalone mobile recorder or USB-C microphone
  • Dedicated cardioid and omnidirectional capsules
  • Texas Instruments Burr Brown up amplifiers
  • Klevgrand noise reduction
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack for latency-free monitoring
  • TRRS lavalier microphone support
  • 8 GB internal memory to store approximately 12 hours of WAV recordings
  • USB-C connection for charging, USB microphone mode and file download
  • Upgradable firmware
  • Rechargeable 3.7V 700 mAh battery with up to 12 hours of continuous charging per
  • Includes detachable built-in flip stand
  • Includes adapter for connection to microphone stand and arms
  • Includes USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Designed by Red Dot award-winning design company
  • Available in red, black, cream or sea foam
  • Easy to repair thanks to a click and screwed together design
  • Price: $ 229

Video: Tula Mic review – portable and packed with features

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The Tula Mic is super portable

As I noted at the beginning, I am always looking for a well-sounding portable microphone, and the Tula Mic certainly falls into that category. Consider its dimensions and weight:

  • Length: 3.9 inches
  • Width: 2.5 inches
  • Height: 0.98 inches
  • Weight: 0.35 lbs

As you can see, the Tula Mic is super compact and fits easily in my hands. It is a microphone that can be easily placed in a jeans pocket or in a bag.

Adding to the portability is the collapsible stand, which aligns with the microphone when not in use. Unfolding the flip stand provides an angled resting surface for the Tula Mic. You can also remove the stand and replace it with an included accessory that makes it easy to attach the microphone to a full-size microphone stand or microphone arm.

The build quality of the microphone is also pretty decent. It’s not built as a tank, but its mostly metal chassis should hold up reasonably well over time. Worth noting is that it can be easily repaired as parts are snapped and screwed together instead of everything being glued on, as very modern technology is today.

Flexibility

One of the things that makes this microphone so practical is that it can work in two primary ways. Most obviously, the Tula Mic works as a USB-C microphone. Simply connect the microphone to your MacBook or iPad via a USB-C cable and use it as a microphone input source and headphone output source.

The Tula Mic also acts as a standalone audio recorder. With built-in 8 GB of storage and the ability to record for up to 12 hours in a row on a single charge, it is a great option for recording while on the go.

Hardware buttons and LED indicators

On the front of the microphone, each side of the Tula logo flanks two LED indicators. The left LED is the recording indicator, which tells you when the microphone is actively recording sound. The right LED is the Gain Meter Indicator, which shows green for good input without mowing, yellow indicates that gain should be reduced and red to indicate mowing. If no light is displayed when the sound is present, the gain is too low and should be adjusted accordingly.

On the back of the Tula Mic, on either side of the USB-C input, rest two additional areas of interest. On the left side of the USB port you will find a small battery LED indicator which will show red when the battery is exhausted or yellow when it is low while a hard reset input is resting on the opposite side.

The Tula Mic has several hardware buttons – 13 in total – on each side of the device. These buttons control everything about the microphone and the recording functions. It’s cool to have a lot of buttons, but it can also be a disadvantage. See my conclusion for more on that.

Tula Mic left side

Go up and wind down: These buttons increase or decrease the gain of the microphone at 5dB intervals.

Jump back and forth: Applies only when playing tracks recorded on the Tula Mic, a single press will skip to the next track or skip to the previous track, while a long press will fast forward or rewind in the current track, respectively.

Dumb: A single press will turn the microphone on or off. The mute function works in both recording and playback mode.

NC: The built-in Noise-free audio noise reduction plugin, from the Swedish-based software company Klevgrand, can be used to address background noise during recording. By long pressing the dedicated hardware Noise Cancellation button, Noise Cancel can take a sample of the background noise and “pull” it from your recordings. Therefore, it is important not to talk while performing the long press so that Noise Free can learn what noise really is.

While in USB mode, users can switch noise reduction by pressing the NC button. While using the Tula Mic as a mobile recorder, noise reduction cannot be turned on if it is already activated, but the device automatically saves both a noise reduction file and the original unmodified WAV file.

Select microphone: While the Mic Select LED is disabled, the Tula Mic is in standard unidirectional cardioid mode. This mode is best used when a single person is speaking towards the front of the microphone. To record an entire room or 360-degree sound, press the Mic Select button to switch to the omnidirectional polar pattern. In addition, a long press on the Mic Select button will activate the LOW microphone input via the 3.5 mm headphone jack. In this mode, the Mic Select LED flashes.

Tula Mic right side

Volume up and volume down: These buttons increase or decrease the gain of the 3.5 mm headphone input at 5 dB intervals.

Record: A single press starts a recording, while a press again pauses the recording.

Stop: If you press the Stop button while a recording is in progress, the recording will stop. During audio playback, the button stops playback and returns to the beginning of the track. If you press Stop a third time, you will return to the beginning of the last recorded track.

Play / Pause: Press once to play the last recorded track, while pressing again will pause playback.

On off: A single press will turn the Tula Mic on or off.

Sound quality and recording experience

Of course, features and flexibility would be worthless if the microphone did not produce well-sounding recordings, and the Tula Mic does a pretty good job in my opinion. For this Tula Mic review, I recorded several samples to demonstrate the sound quality of the microphone. Obviously, different environments will give different results, but it should give you an idea.

5 inches away

This is a simple closest using standard unidirectional capsule. Note the presence of some explosives.

12 inches away

This is a test shot from approximately 12 inches away using the unidirectional capsule.

Heater in BG without noise reduction

I turned on a portable heater in the background for some ambient noise. For this recording, I left noise reduction disabled.

Heater in BG with noise reduction

With the portable heater still active, I sampled the ambient noise and then recorded with the noise reduction active. Notice the color and increased sibilance.

Omnidirectional

This is a test of Tula Mic’s radiant capsule, which is useful for 360-degree audio and things like group podcasts.

From my test, I conclude that the Tula Mic is a well-sounding microphone that can be used for a variety of applications. Because of its portability, of course, it’s great for scratch and instant recording while on the go, but it also sounds good enough for use on podcasts, voiceovers, video calls, and more. And thanks to its built-in omnidirectional capsule, it’s a podcasting opportunity with two or more people around the microphone.

Tula Mic handled explosives relatively well, given the fact that it does not come with a pop filter or windscreen. Although splosives are unavoidable when you get really close to the microphone – you can hear them in the close-up above – they can be handled with a little preparation. That said, I wish the Tula Mic included a pop filter or a windshield of some sort, but enterprising users can always come up with their own solution.

The Tula Mic’s noise reduction function is practical for noisy environments, as long as you keep your expectations realistic. Noise reduction does not block barking dogs, crying babies or the like, but it does a decent job of reducing the hum from HVAC devices and the like. Tula Mic’s Brusfi-based noise reduction works well, but as you can hear from the tests above, it emphasizes sibilance in recordings, and makes them have something of a processed sound. There are times when noise reduction will be handy, just do not think of it as a cure if you are recording in a noisy environment.

Playing and reading audio recordings

Recordings created with the Tula Mic are automatically saved on the microphone’s internal 8 GB of storage space. You can easily play recorded audio by pressing the Play / Pause button, which plays the last recorded track. Unfortunately, there is no built-in speaker for quick review of recordings, so you will need to use headphones to monitor playback.

To access recordings on your Mac or iPad, connect the microphone to your computer via a USB cable, which mounts the Tula Mic as an external drive. You can play back recorded recordings directly from the microphone storage or transfer the recordings to your Mac or iPad for further post-production.

Conclusion

Tula Mic is a microphone with many features that I can recommend to users looking for a portable microphone solution. Not only does it function as a competent USB microphone with two capsules for increased flexibility, it can also function as a stand-alone portable audio recorder. It has built-in latency-free monitoring capability thanks to the included 3.5mm headphone jack and has noise reduction capability to boot. Needless to say, I plan to add it to my travel gear.

As good as the Tula Mic is, I could not help but think that this microphone can be difficult for some users to adapt. First, it has too many buttons, which can be a source of confusion. Second, there is no screen to quickly learn about important things like gain level, remaining battery life, and storage space. Instead, rely on the LED indicators or connect to your Mac for information on remaining storage space.

Because there is no built-in display, cycling through footage can be an exercise in patience if you have many of them. This microphone could have benefited from a small OLED screen, as this would have reduced the number of buttons needed and provided users with relevant information about the status of the device in an easily digestible way.

All in all, the Tula Mic is one of the best portable microphones I have used. It is invaluable to have built-in headphone monitoring, and because you can record completely without additional hardware, it is a standalone recorder that can be used virtually anywhere. The built-in detachable stand and full-size armrest are also huge amenities that should not be overlooked.

For a limited time, you can get a 10% discount on black and cream Tulas at TulaMics.com with the code BLACKFRIDAY. The offer expires on 29/11 or while stocks last. What do you think of Tula Mic? Sound off below in the comments with your thoughts.

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