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AKG

You'll now have a better choice of microphones if you're eager to start livestreaming or record your first podcast. AKG has quietly released the Ara, a $99 USB condenser mic clearly aimed at streamers and others just upgrading from their earbuds and headsets. You only have two capture patterns (front-only and omnidirectional) versus the $155 Lyra's four, and you're limited to a 96kHz sample rate instead of the pricier model's 192kHz. However, those might not be major issues if you're compressing audio for streams and downloads.

You'll still get some common perks like mounting options and a headphone output for monitoring. The mic works with any computer or mobile device that supports USB audio.

The Ara is available now. Whether or not it's a better buy over its most obvious rival, Blue's Yeti Nano, is a tougher call. You won't have the Yeti Nano's software effects or flashier design (an important consideration as a streamer), but you'll also get a higher sampling rate than Blue's 48kHz offering. It may just be a matter of priorities.

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