The audio market is exploding with new podcasting and streaming microphones from well-established, respected audio companies. The almost-century-old German headphone and microphone manufacturer Beyerdynamic recently entered the fray with the M70 PRO X, a stylish front-addressed dynamic broadcast microphone released alongside the M90 PRO X studio condenser microphone. I recently put both Beyerdynamic PRO X mics through their paces at my home studio (I’ve given the M90 PRO X its own dedicated review). Comparing the M70 PRO directly to the similarly focused Shure SM7B microphone, I was surprised to find just how finely tuned the Beyerdynamic mic’s sound is overall and how it fits in the content creation ecosystem.
The Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X’s design
As a company that boasts a very clear, unifying visual aesthetic across all sectors, Beyerdynamic is no slouch when it comes to product design. The M70 PRO X is a microphone with simple lines and a matte black chassis—features that are exemplary of the entire PRO X line (which includes the DT 700 PRO X and DT 900 PRO X headphones, both of which are worth a look for mobile producers). The M70 PRO X includes a snug companion shockmount to which it attaches using a single screw mechanism, as well as an optional clip-on pop filter to block plosives in close-talk applications.
The body of the M70 PRO X features uniformly spaced oblong windows around its outer edge that reveal a protective gray mesh grill underneath. At first glance, this detail suggests that the microphone can be spoken into from the sides, but it actually receives sound through the grill on the top—a fact made more confusing due to the identical body shape and shockmount of its sibling the M90 PRO X condenser, which does receive sound from the side. This difference is indicative of the internal design differences between condenser and dynamic microphones, but some first-time users may not find this intuitive based on the design alone.
Being a dynamic microphone, the M70 PRO X uses a relatively rugged internal cartridge and magnetic coil to capture sound via induction. These circuits are typically less sensitive to distant noises and more forgiving than condenser microphones, which makes them ideal for capturing clear, consistent sound across a variety of acoustic environments. For this reason alone, it’s clear why the M70 PRO X is marketed primarily as a streaming and podcasting microphone: vocal clarity is key to producing a high-quality speech recording and a dynamic mic is inherently better than a condenser mic at rejecting room echoes and reverb.
Unlike many other podcasting microphones on the market, the M70 PRO X doesn’t feature USB connectivity and instead relies upon a traditional XLR connection for sending audio signals. This opens it up to compatibility with an entire world of professional audio equipment, but it does mean that the microphone requires a separate audio interface. On one hand, reliance on an external audio interface makes the M70 PRO X overall less portable than a single-cable USB microphone; on the other hand, the industry-standard connectivity of XLR gives users more control over the choice of their interface, preamp, and other connected equipment.
Getting started with the Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X
The M70 PRO X ships in a black cardboard box alongside a shockmount nestled in a molded plastic insert. Below this insert is a surprisingly large gooseneck pop filter that’s reminiscent of the Shure Popper Stopper and which offers a more substantial level of coverage than I expected. The microphone itself comes in a drawstring neoprene bag that’s sure to come in handy for long-term protection but there’s sadly no case for the shockmount or pop filter, so users who want to keep all three items together and protected during storage and travel should keep the box and packaging.
Thanks to its simple design, preparing the M70 PRO X for recording was a straightforward and intuitive process. The basket in the center of the shockmount perfectly matches the diameter of the microphone, and all I needed to do to attach the two was unscrew a silver ring from the base of the microphone, place the microphone in the basket, and reattach the ring to securely fasten the microphone to the mount. I’ve set up plenty of microphones and shockmounts in my day and know that the process can be fraught with stability and alignment issues, but this was by far one of the easiest experiences I’ve had. My only concern was that the microphone rubbed a little bit against the inside of the basket, which may lead to eventual scuffs on the microphone body if performed repeatedly. As far as the PRO X shockmount goes, only time will tell if it will drift or come loose over time, but I found that its basket design inspires more structural confidence overall than traditional ring designs.
After attaching the M70 PRO X to its shockmount, I screwed the entire apparatus to a microphone stand and added the pop filter by screwing it onto the stand’s boom arm. The gooseneck design should theoretically make it quick and easy to find the best position for the filter, but the neck is rather short and doesn’t offer a lot of resistance at certain positions, so I had to make a few adjustments to ensure that the filter sat securely without drooping. I then plugged the microphone into my Universal Audio Apollo 8 interface with a single right-angle XLR cable, booted up Apple Logic Pro, and it was off to the races.
The M70 PRO’s sound
According to its spec sheet, the Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X has a specially tailored frequency response curve that features a generous high-end boost beginning at 1,000 Hz, spiking with +8 dB at 4,000 Hz and again with +9 dB at 8,000 Hz. It’s very common for manufacturers to bake a slight high-frequency lift into their microphones for the sake of speech clarity and doing so can often provide a more lively production-ready sound that requires less editing in post. In the case of the M70 PRO X, however, this boost adds nearly 10 dB of information to one of the most varied and nuanced ranges of the human voice, which seems to be a risky design choice considering that it cannot be toggled on and off. This is clearly aimed at complementing the widest possible range of voices and excelling in livestreaming scenarios but the sheer scale of the boost, unfortunately, limits the microphone’s usefulness in recording scenarios where you might want to capture a natural and unaffected sound for the purposes of music production.
To get a clear impression of the M70 PRO X’s sound in context, I placed it alongside a Shure SM7B dynamic microphone and recorded two simultaneous close-speech tracks for direct comparison. The SM7B is one of my personal favorite vocal microphones for recording my own voice due to its flat frequency response and smooth high-end but it also happens to feature a switchable +5 dB high-frequency boost that helps it capture a response in the same neighborhood as that of the Beyerdynamic mic.
Overall, I found that the M70 PRO X held its own against the SM7B in nearly every frequency range. The M70 PRO X delivered thick, detailed low-end information with plenty of accuracy and without a trace of muddiness, supporting a smooth, natural-sounding midrange that lacked the hollow shoebox-esque sound that plagues cheaper dynamic microphones. Unfortunately, my voice happens to contain some unpleasant resonance in exactly the same range as the M70 PRO X’s dramatic high-end boost, so the resulting recording contained an unusually prominent enhancement of high-end frequencies that I normally seek to remove.
The M70 PRO X also captured quite a different sound when placed behind the included pop filter, an effect that was somewhat expected but surprisingly effective in taming some of its unsavory hi-fi boost. With the pop filter in position, the microphone received levels from 2 dB to 5 dB less, which prompted me to turn up the gain on my interface. This resulted in a rich, full sound with a smoother high-end finish that’s much closer to that delivered by the SM7B.
So, who should buy the Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X?
Although the official literature says as much, it took me a while to grasp the extent to which the Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X was a dynamic microphone for podcasting and streamers specifically. Beyerdynamic has a long-standing reputation for creating some of the most flexible high-end audio equipment on the market and, coming from a background rooted primarily in music production, I think the Beyerdynamic microphone’s uncharacteristically altered frequency response threw me for a loop. Still, streaming and podcasting are very different creative processes than music production. Though the M70 PRO X may be somewhat of a one-trick pony, it undoubtedly excels at pushing a rich and lively broadcast-ready sound without the need for extra editing or software.
If you’re working in critical music production applications or have unwieldy high frequencies in your voice like I do, you might be better served by a more sensitive and natural-sounding microphone, such as the M90 PRO X condenser mic from the same product line, which delivers more neutral sounds ready for all manner of post-production sculpting. If your work is limited to recording voice-overs or other spoken-word media, however, then the razor-sharp broadcast-ready sound might make the Beyerdynamic M70 PRO X mic one of the best microphones for streaming and streamlining your workflow to produce the consistent, clear vocal recordings that your audience deserves.