Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 26, 2022
9.45 x 5.12 x 5.12 in
The gaming microphone space seems to be getting increasingly competitive and the sub $150 price bracket seems to be even more so.
Recently, as you know, we reviewed the Maono DM30 USB condenser microphone for gaming, and it was a great little unit with a solid steel build, a good base, and good sound overall.
Tonor sent us the Orca 001, which is around $70 for a USB condenser microphone.
Tonor Orca 001 USB Gaming Microphone
A great unit with some nice design features but a hard edged sound
The Tonor Orca USB MIcrophone is aimed at gamers although there is no reason you can’t use it for calls, video conferencing, and podcasting.
It’s important to keep close to the microphone for the best results – within about 10-15 centimeters.
It looks great and has a nice mute, LED volume display, and ambient noise suppression.
Its only challenge is that other units in the space, with a similar price point, have extra features.
Definitely a strong unit and a strong output that will complement any desk or gaming setup.
- Plug Type: USB A & Type-C
- Sampling Rate: 48kHz
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 50Hz-16kHz
- Sensitivity: -38±3dB
- Output Impedance: 2.2kΩ
- S/N ratio: 95dB
What’s in the Box?
- 1 x USB condenser mic
- 1 x Desktop stand
- 1 x Two in one USB cable(USB & Type-C)
Stuff I like
- Looks awesome
- LED lights a nice touch
- Simple mute function touch sensor on the top
- Sounds great and if you’re close enough it produces a solid sound
- Ambient sound reduction a nice feature
- Did I say it looks awesome?
Stuff I like less
- Bit of confusion around the volume/gain buttons on the front – feels like gain adjustment not volume adjustment?
- Not a warm sound which makes it great for gaming, less so for podcasting
When you open the box, it looks pretty impressive. This thing is really well-designed and kind of has this angry android robot look to it, which suits gaming down to a T.
Unlike the original Tonor microphone we reviewed a few years ago, which was perfect for the 2020 surge of online video conferencing, this one definitely comes out of the box saying, “I’m ready for gaming, plug me in.”
It has a USB port at the bottom, which you can plug into, and the cable comes with the microphone. One end is USB-C, and the other end is USB-C with a USB-A adapter if you need it.
The microphone is plug-and-play compatible with PS4, PS5, Mac, PC, and Android devices. No driver is needed, so you just plug it in and it should be automatically identified.
How does the Tonor Orca 001 Microphone sound?
Here is a sound test for the Tonor Orca 001 – vote below with your thoughts.
Let’s start with the hardware.
There’s a lot of thought that went into the base. It has quite a nice square-shaped base with rounded edges.
There is a nice little cable channel that goes through underneath and out the back. This means that the USB-C and/or the headphone cable that you might have plugged into the bottom of the microphone goes out the back of the microphone and keep it nice and tidy.
I like this feature of the Tonor Orca 001 and wish that more microphone manufacturers with stands would produce these.
Starting from the top of the microphone, there is a touch-sensitive top to it, which is your mute button. When you touch the top, the LED light on the front of the microphone goes off to let you know that the microphone is muted and not listening to you.
This is quite a nice visual feature, although when it comes to mute buttons, I do prefer a physical touch button.
The Maono DM30 has the physical touch button, while the Maono PD400X and this Tonor Orca 001 have the touch surface button, which just doesn’t give me that tactile feeling like I’m definitely off even though the lights are gone.
At the front below the microphone grill is a LED light strip that changes color based on how loud the level of the microphone monitoring you want.
If you dial it right down, it goes to a very clear color until it goes into mute. Then if you dial up to the blues, the greens, and the oranges, you’ll hit red, which is 11 for maximum output.
This is quite a nice visual indicator, but I expect that once you set the gain to what you want, you’re not going to change it much from there.
Below the up-down volume or gain buttons is a noise reduction button. If the ambient noise in the room is loud, you can hit this button and it comes on a nice soft orange to indicate that it’s doing a bit of noise reduction on all the sounds around you.
Now this will slightly compress your vocals as well but if you are using the microphone at the right distance, this shouldn’t make a big difference.
The best way to use the Tonor Orca 001 USB microphone is to stay close to it. And when I say close, I would say probably within about 10 or 20 centimeters for the best effect.
If you are monitoring with your headphones, and you have the volume buttons up too high, it’s going to sound pretty harsh in your ears, but the output at the other end is not so strong.
If you listen to the audio test that we’ve done, which will be included below, you’ll see what I mean.
In my ears, it sounded a little bit harsh. When I was further away, it sounded a little bit boomy, and it was also picking up sounds around the room. But the output that it gave to the computer sounded pretty good overall.
This is pitched as a gaming mic and, as I’ve said, the Tonor Orca 001 microphone is plug-and-play compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, PS5, and Android.
You can also use it on Twitch.
You can use it for Zoom, YouTube, Skype, Discord, Google Meets, and basically anything where your computer needs a microphone that you need to speak into.
But I will say that it does seem to be designed for gaming, especially if you’re going to be shouting and getting right up on the mic.
If you need something mainly for conference calls and online meetings, then there are better budget mics out there.
I’ll include the audio file below for you to listen to. That was just a closed-case example in a fairly quiet room using the microphone.
Overall, the Tonor Orca 001 is a decent microphone. It’s not overly expensive, but I think the audio quality is not as impressive as I would have hoped.
It does sound good, but I did find that there was quite some sensitivity. There were moments in the recording where I felt that it was dropping in and out a little bit based on how much signal I was giving it with my voice.
I find the volume button at the front confusing whether it’s gain or volume, but as I turned it down, the monitoring on my headphones went down but so did the gain on the microphone.
So I’m guessing that it is more or as much gain as volume. It might take a little bit of experimentation to figure out where that sweet spot is for you.
I enjoyed the option of volume and gain with the Maono DM30, and found it a little easier to work with.
Plus the addition of the Maono link software meant that even if I didn’t understand how to use the hardware, I could use the software to control what I wanted to do.
In short, Tonor Orca doesn’t get full marks from me.
If you are happy with the sound test that we’ve done, you’re in that price bracket, and you love the look of this thing, then it’s totally up to you to decide if this gaming condenser microphone is for you.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-18 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.