Monday, February 8th, 2010
Toy Review: Junior Superstar Mic
My wife brought home a couple toy microphones last week, blue and green, devoid of any labels or visual clues as to whether they should be played with by a boy or girl.
I was prepared to unleash a scornful look anyway, but she cut me off by mentioning the toy is to our encourage are non-talking 23-month-old son to vocalize. The second mic, well, it’s to avoid power struggles with his big sister.
As microphones go, this one is pretty cool. It requires no batteries. Rather, it’s an echo toy with a vibration that reminds me of using a kazoo. The deeper you make your voice, the better echo-vibration you get.
The audio effect isn’t loud, and is most evident to the person holding the mic.
My 5-year-old daughter reports that she enjoys the mic because “most toy microphones don’t change your voice,” and “It makes me feel like a real performer.”
And, at just $1 per microphone, I really have no complaints.
Target sells the mic in a loose toy bin with no packaging. There was only a bar code label identifying the toy as a Junior Superstar Mic. Some googling reveals it looks the same as other toys called Magic Mic by Toysmith and Echo Microphones. Yeah, basically a cheap plastic toy whose shipping costs more than the toy itself.
At Target you’ll find they come in two sizes, the larger one having a fake 3-inch plastic cord coming out the bottom (that looks ripe for a toddler to yank out and swallow). A couple Amazon reviewers swear by the larger version, declaring the ‘small’ one we own to be useless. I say they’re smoking crack.
Don’t be mistaken. The microphone doesn’t amplify your voice. It merely echoes it back with an interior mechanism that seems to vibrate based on the tone and strength of your voice. Our best guess, peering through the mic holes, is that there’s simply a long spring mounted vertically that protrudes down the center of the cylinder.
I don’t know what age range the toy is rated for, but one source states it’s for 10-year-olds. Wow. Maybe there’s an unforeseen safety issue, or they think only 10-year-olds enjoy hosting pretend performances. The only hazard would seem to be if he were to smash it open during a performance. He doesn’t listen to rock music yet, so I’m not too worried.
I wish I could say it has become my son’s new favorite toy, but the truth is his attention span is short and he moves from toy to toy pretty quick. However, in one week’s time we have occasionally coaxed him into making sounds into the mic, as shown in these photos I shot before bedtime last night. We had a variety of balls out on the floor and got him to share some strong Buh sounds with us.