Neat Microphones Skyline Desktop USB Mic Review
When I think of a “desktop stick microphone,” my mind goes back to the early days of internet voice, when Logitech sold a whole bunch of thin off-white plastic microphones that protruded awkwardly into kitchens all around the world. They were flimsy, thin, unappealing, and very easy for a cat to tip over — but at least they were memorable I guess?
All of that is now thankfully behind us. Neat Microphones has just launched the Skyline, a stylish desktop microphone designed for work-from-home tasks, improved voice chat, and audio content creation. It blends their years of experience in mic design with a sleek look that should fit right in to your personal home or office setup without damaging its aesthetic.
It has all of the basic features you need, and it’s so easy to set up that you can start recording audio in literal seconds.
Note: The folks at Neat Microphones sent me a final retail version of this microphone to review, alongside some marketing images and information. I had full editorial control over this article. None of the links in this article are affiliate links. You can read my full reviews policy right here.
The Skyline comes in either black or white, and sells for just $69 (official site here). Most of Neat’s other products are designed for professional audio production, and this is their first geared more towards general home users. Even so, it still features a capable cardioid condenser capsule and recording capability all the way up to 24-bit/96khz, numbers normally only needed for music production. It’s compatible with both PCs and Macs.
Setup couldn’t be simpler. I unpacked the box, plugged in the nice long included USB-C cable to the mic and my computer, and I was done. The whole thing took just a few seconds. There’s no need to adjust, calibrate, or select anything — just plug the mic in, point it towards yourself, click record in your app of choice, and start making audio. At the very worst, you might have to open your sound settings and toggle to it as your default recording option, but on my Windows 11 PC it swapped automatically.
Sound-wise, the microphone is very good for the price. It offers clean, neutral, balanced audio pickup with plenty of volume sensitivity. The included documentation says the sweet spot is about six inches away from the front of the microphone, and at that position you’ll get a surprisingly broadcast-like voice quality. Further away, the capsule still has plenty of sensitivity so you’ll be audible, but with a small drop in quality.
You shouldn’t have any issues positioning this for excellent audio pickup on your desk. I found it worked great next to my keyboard with the volume set around 70 percent or so. Here’s some sample audio I recorded.
This is a perfect mic if you want to upgrade the audio in your home setup very quickly. It’s excellent for all of its advertised functions, and it’d also work great in a pinch as a gaming chat microphone if you’ve already got headphones that you like. You’ll have to make sure it’s placed in front of your keyboard for maximum noise rejection in that case, as the polar pattern is best at ignoring sounds directly behind the mic.
The Skyline doesn’t have the raw flexibility of some other microphones on the market, including some basic “gaming” models like the HyperX Solocast. It doesn’t have as much adjustability or the option to mount it on a separate stand. But that’s not a bad thing as that’s not the sort of customer this is for. The Skyline is perfect for those that just want to get an extreme amount of mic quality for the money alongside a setup that takes just a few seconds.
The industrial design of the Skyline is attractive, with a slim tall frame that evokes a skyscraper. The capsule is securely housed behind some foam and a thick plastic body. The base of the mic is built out of a weighted metallic material to help stop it from tipping over. I love that Neat used a USB-C connection here, and also provided a nice 2m cable in the box. I had no trouble routing it around my monitor and down to my computer.
So, it’s got great sound, a sleek design, and an easy setup process. The Skyline also has a strangely-enjoyable-to-press mute button. It’s a large rubberized lit-up button recessed into the front of the mic body. When you press it, you’ll feel a satisfying tactile bump inside, and the mic instantly mutes. The mic mute doesn’t send any sort of digital noise or pops down the line either, so you can mute without it disturbing your friends or colleagues.
If you want an attractive microphone for your home or school voice tasks that takes no effort to setup and sounds great, the Skyline is a wonderful choice. It’s not as controllable or flexible as some other options out there, but it’s simple, effective, and won’t ruin the look of your desk. It’s also easy to slide out of the way when you don’t need it, and hook back up in seconds flat when you do. And it can record in high resolution audio for when you decide to start recording those acoustic guitar covers you always dreamed about posting online.