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Review: Yamaha PSG-01s Personal USB Speakerphone

I thought it a waste to only consider the merits of the PSG-01s in its conference calling mode. So, while I had the gear setup I did the same little recording test again, this time putting the PSG-01s into it’s pure recording mode. In this mode it defeats the speakers and acts solely as a microphone.

For this second recording the image above is the waveform display and  the image below is the spectral energy plot.

My impression of this admittedly non-scientific test is that the PSG-01s was more uniformly omni-directional. There’s less variation in record level as I move around the table. Further, there’s spectral energy evident up to 20 KHz, which implies that there is no filtering engaged in microphone mode.

All of this is a very good sign. It implies that Yamaha can tinker with the filtering and directional properties of the PSG-01s in software, then deliver that as firmware upgrade to users. The Controller software on the PC clearly shows the ability to update the firmware on the PSG-01s. My sample unit was running firmware v1.09. They can redefine the behavior of the device in conference mode if they desire.

Conclusion

True their long history in audio Yamaha has created a very capable device in the little PSG-01s. It’s very capable as a USB microphone, and almost as good as a USB speakerphone. Under Windows it supports close integration with Skype. In my mind there is no doubt that it’s a fine quality little device. If it didn’t have such potential I would not have bothered to experiment with it so completely.

About my only reservation is a little matter of price. The MSRP of $299 is more than a wee bit optimistic. Over the 2009 Christmas holidays the PSG-01s was offered at an attractive promotional price. I see that the Skype store still has it on offer for $219. Even that’s a little dear for my taste.

It’s nearest competitor is the not-inconsiderable Polycom C100S, which I have used and recommended for several years. That device commonly retails for around $120.

My sense is that if Yamaha et al can get their pricing into line then they will have a winning product on their hands.

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