FIFINE’s K690 microphone brings a wealth of features at a more affordable price point. The K690 is a USB microphone that connects to your computer and supports features such as audio monitoring – but one of the biggest features that stands out to me is that this microphone supports multiple polar patterns, making it a very flexible tool that can be used in many different production settings.
If you’ve seen my previous review of the FIFINE K678 earlier this year, you will recognise some design similarities between that and this K690 model – although there are still plenty of design differences to differentiate the two as this is a little larger and is more comparable in size to my Rode NT1 microphone.
The microphone features a matte black finish that looks sleek and understated and the whole microphone is made from metal, which makes it feels solid and well made. This added durability will be handy if you need to travel with the microphone and the packaging for the microphone can double as a travel case as it is lined with foam with cut-outs for the microphone and accessories.
The microphone sits on a metal stand which gives the microphone a weighted base and should stop it from easily falling over, the stand has rubber feet on the underside, so it won’t slide around your table or scratch it. I imagine the rubber feet will also add a minuscule amount of sound absorption, although the stand is not a shock mount, so vibrations from the surface that the microphone is sat on can be picked up by it. The stand can be adjusted so the K690 can be angled towards your face and, if you wish, the microphone can be removed entirely from the stand to be placed in a shock mount or on a different microphone stand using the included adapter.
Taking a look around the microphone, it has a cylindrical design and tapers a little from the centre. The front of the microphone has FIFINE branding as well as a microphone mute button and LED indicator, which is green when unmuted and red when muted. It’s nice to see a microphone with the ability to quickly mute the microphone with one push of a button. The front also has a headphone volume dial which is used to control the volume level of headphones plugged directly into the microphone for audio monitoring.
Turning around the microphone, the back has a microphone gain dial as well as a dial to switch between the various polar patterns the microphone supports. This allows you to use the microphone in many different situations – I’ll speak about the polar patterns in a little more detail further into the review. All of the sound is picked up by the capsule at the top of the device, which is behind some meshing. This meshing doesn’t act as a pop filter, you would still need to get one to reduce the impact of plosives in your recording.
Finally, we have the bottom of the microphone, which features a screw thread to use with the included adaptor as well as a headphone jack and mini-USB port for connecting the microphone to your computer. Whilst mini USB is a strong and sturdy port, it is a little outdated by this point and I think the inclusion of a more modern port such as USB Type-C would be more beneficial as I feel that, if on production and you need a cable to connect the microphone, someone is more likely to be carrying around a USB Type-C cable rather than a mini-USB cable – particularly in 2021.
Overall, the design of the microphone is very nice, it feels well built and doesn’t stand out – which is handy if you need to have it in frame for some video recording. It would be nice to see a more modern connectivity option, but aside from that it would fit into a home or professional environment without any problems.
The FIFINE K690 is a condenser microphone that features a 40Hz to 20kHz frequency range with a 16-bit bit depth and 48kHz sample rate, some other microphones will be able to go all the way down to 20Hz which may be beneficial for recording instruments with very low frequency ranges, but more most situations this should be just fine – I think the lack of 20Hz is outweighed by the benefit of multiple polar patterns.
Three capsules work to offer four potential polar patterns for this microphone, which really makes it a versatile piece of kit. The microphone features a cardioid polar pattern, which is found on most microphones and will pick up sound from in front of it, but you also get bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo patterns as well. A bidirectional polar pattern will pick up audio from each side of the microphone, making it handy for recording a two-person podcast or interview with a single microphone. The omnidirectional pattern will pick up sound in every direction around the microphone, making it handy to capture everything going on or for recording a large meeting. Stereo, as the name suggests, records audio in a stereo format – this can be used for ASMR recording or just for when you need an immersive sound.
The placement of the microphone is very important to get a good quality recording. During my testing, I had the microphone mounted on the included stand which was slightly angled towards my mouth and face – so it was probably around 30 centimetres away from my mouth. If you want to see some more examples of how the microphone sounds, the audio voiceovers for the Richard Tech Instagram Reels and TikToks over the next few weeks will have been recorded on this microphone, if you’re not already following Richard Tech on social media – please do!
The microphone sounds good for the £75 price it is currently selling for, the microphone can provide a clear recording of my voice that sounds good and natural – I primarily used the microphone in its cardioid mode. I also used the microphone on some online calls and didn’t have any problems getting it up and running – the microphone is plug and play and doesn’t require any drivers to be manually installed. I found myself having the microphone gain set to around 50% but this will vary depending on your use-case and recording conditions.
The other modes worked well as described, however, I did notice that the bidirectional mode was less sensitive to sound coming from the back of the microphone. It did still manage to pick up what was happening, but it was quieter than the sound being picked up from the front.
I’ve recorded some microphone samples of the different modes, please see the video review at the top of the article to listen to listen to those as part of the video review.
FIFINE’s K690 microphone provides a well-made microphone that sounds great for voiceovers, streaming or online audio calls. The flexibility that it brings with its support for multiple polar patterns is great to see on a microphone at this price point. It would be nice to see the bidirectional mode be a little more balanced and for USB Type-C connectivity to improve its performance and user experience, but for the £75 price tag, the K690 is a microphone that is well worth considering that offers good value for money.
The FIFINE K690 microphone is available to purchase on Amazon.
The SummaryFIFINE K690 USB Microphone
- Support for multiple polar patterns.
- Well-made metal design.
- Good sound quality.
- Mini-USB connectivity is outdated.
- Bidirectional mode is not balanced.
- No integrated pop filter.