If you’re stream live online, or record audio like podcasts, then you’ll be keen to capture audio with great quality to delight your users. When it comes to the visual side of recording, there’s obviously some expectations like an abundance of RBG lighting effects and this microphone has it in spades.
Audio is one of those areas that users get easily frustrated by, so it really is worth investing in a decent setup if you’re half serious about building your following online.
HypeX is a gaming brand after spending time with their QuadCast S microphone offers a lot for content creators, after spending some time behind the mic, it’s time to review it and detail what’s great and what’s not.
RGB in all the right places
Before the days of YouTube and Twitch, the design of your microphone would not even rate in the register in the decision-making process. Fast forward to 2021 and streamers care a lot about what’s in-frame.
HyperX’s designers have done a great job of integrating RBG lighting into the microphone. The integrated pop-filter illuminates with a gradient of colours and of course, you can personalise this.
Outside of the flashy lighting, the microphone design is a solid black finish and importantly, the mic comes with an integrated shock mount around the base of the mic. This means has the obvious advantage of avoiding loud bangs in the audio channel if you happen to bump the mic while moving it.
I really appreciate that there is a desk stand included, this makes the mic immediately usable out of the box. Alternatively, you can switch that out for a mount that allows you to attach it to a microphone moom arm. Using this approach offers the most flexibility, positioning the mic close to your mouth (and in frame) during use, and it rotates away when you don’t need it.
Controlling the microphone is made simple, just adjust the gain (mic volume) by rotating the bottom dial. On the back of the mic, you’ll find a 4-position mode selection dial. This changes the dynamics of how audio is captured, enabling it to be used for multiple purposes. This is a quick and easy adjustment and makes this really approachable for most users.
When it comes to connectivity, there’s a long USB-C cable that’ll enable you to run the cable from the back of the mic, down and arm and to the back of your battlestation. This generous length is definitely welcome and not always provided by microphone manufacturers.
Finally, the design incorporates a very obvious mute function. Not only does a capacity touch on top of the mic mute the audio, but you get very obvious visual feedback that you’re on mute, with all the lights turning off. I would have liked to see an option to configure this, perhaps turn all red when on mute, using the HyperX software.
How does it perform ?
While there’s a lot to like about the design of this microphone, the largest part of your buying decision should really be the audio quality.
Thankfully there’s great news regarding the audio performance of this microphone. When performing tests, I worked through each of the 4 modes available and there is absolutely a notable difference between them, which means you do need to remember to switch modes, in the event you’re goal of recording audio changes from single person directional, to multi-person omni-directional.
With the microphone up close to your mouth, you get a very nice representation of your voice, which avoids much of the noise around you. At times I was recording audio with my office window open, while cars were passing by, the occasional dog barking and even neighbours down the street mowing their lawns.
Even with all those distractions in the background, they thankfully weren’t audible in the recording. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pickup ambient noise, but in Cardioid mode (Designed for podcasts, streaming, voiceovers etc) this microphone does an excellent job. I was equally impressed with the microphone’s built-in pop-filter, avoiding peak levels when words with predominant sounds like ‘P’s are pronounced. This avoids the need to have an external pop-filter, offering a much cleaner look to the setup and saving the additional cost.
When it comes to the modes like Omnidirecitonal and Bi-direction, designed for multi-person recordings, this is definitely designed for a quieter recording environment but does open the door to use a single microphone (well-positioned) rather than the additional expense of a dual-mic setup. You don’t need to be on top of the mic for this, but that does mean audio isn’t quite as crisp as the Cardoid option.
Overall I was very impressed with the quality of audio captured with the HyperX QuadCast S.
Stand out features of this device.
Microphones aren’t typically a gadget that has a long list of features, and that’s true here. There are a few key features that are important to set it apart from competitors, but things are fairly straightforward here.
It’s hard to miss the obvious RGB lighting available here, which immediately stand out as a point of difference to most other microphones. Owners are able to personalise this lighting using the HyperX NGENUITY Software to customise the colours and lighting effects. This could be as simple as personal preference, or it could be set to match existing branding which is nice.
Anti-Vibration shock mount
When we talk about topics we love, we tend to get animated and excited and it’s not uncommon to bump the microphone. Having a shock mount included is a real asset, with other microphones (of all price points) leave you to source one at an additional cost.
Tap-to-Mute sensor with LED indicator
If you’re using a headset, there’s often a very physical way to mute yourself, like rotating up the microphone. With this microphone, there’s a similarly physical technique to mute yourself, just tap the end of the mic.
Sure there are always software options to do this in most streaming and recording software, but the physical option is almost always faster. On top of the speed to action, there’s also a very visual way for you and your audience to know that you’re intentionally on mute, the RGB lighting turns off and an LED indicator turns on (mute icon on top).
Four audio modes
Choose between four polar patterns (stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, bidirectional) to optimize your broadcast setup and keep the focus on the sounds you want to be heard.
The different modes are targetted at use for:
- Stereo – Vocals, Instruments
- Omnidirectional – Multi-person podcasts, conference calls
- Cardoid – Podcasts, streaming, voiceovers, instruments
- Bidirectional – Face-to-face interviews
Convenient gain control adjustment
It’s simple and easy to adjust the sensitivity of your microphone by turning the dial at the bottom of the microphone. Of course, this is another case of being possible in software (to a point), but rapidly adjustable with a physical dial.
Mount adapter, pop filter, and headphone jack
This adapter enables fitment to 3/8-inch and 5/8-inch threaded setups, which makes it compatible with most mic stands or boom arms. The internal pop filter also helps to block and sounds resulting from accidental hits to the mic or pops in your voice.
When it comes to listening to audio, it’s possible to jack in directly into the microphone, but could also simply connect your headset directly (wired or wireless) to your PC. The 3.5mm headphone jack in the microphone is convenient if you want to go that way, but I think most have migrated to a USB or Bluetooth-based headset.
Multi-device and program compatibility
Get great sound whether you’re connecting to a PC, PS4, or Mac. QuadCast S is certified by Discord and TeamSpeak and works on major streaming platforms like Streamlabs OBS, OBS Studio, and XSplit.
We know you love the detail, so here’s the full list of specs.
Power consumption:5V 220mA (white light)
Element:Electret condenser microphone
Condenser type: Three 14mm condensers
Polar patterns: Stereo, Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Bidirectional
Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz
Sensitivity: -36dB (1V/Pa at 1kHz)
Cable length: 3m
Weight: Microphone: 254g / Shock mount and stand: 360g / Total with USB cable: 710g
Lighting: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
Connection type: USB-C to USB-A
Impedance: 32 Ω
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Maximum power output: 7mW
THD: ≤ 0.05% (1kHz/0dBFS)
SNR: ≥ 90dB (1kHZ, RL=∞)
Not everything’s perfect
There’s honestly not much to complain about in what’s on offer here with this microphone. I’d probably suggest a couple of opportunities to improve the product in the future.
USB-C in and out. The 3.5mm headphone port is understandable, but personally, I’d prefer to have 2x USB-C ports, one for the microphone to the PC and the other as the direct headphone out port. With some laptops only offering a single USB-C port, this would also make this microphone + a USB-C headphone possible.
My final piece of feedback would be around the mode dial. It would be nice changing the dial would announce which mode is selected. In some positioning of the microphone, seeing that dial may not be practical. I have a headset that announces when it connects to a computer or the battery is low, both of which are really appreciated and a nice touch I’d like to see HyperX follow.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The HyperX Quadcast S RGB USB Condenser Gaming Microphone is available right now from a variety of online retailers including JB HiFi (A$299), Scorptech (A$289), Mwave (A$299) and more. For that price, you get a really solid microphone that’ll server any up and coming podcaster, or streamer really well and look good doing it.
The price should be achievable for most, but is more than your very basic podcast in a box setup, particularly by the time you add a boom and headphones. I believe the price is justified for the audio quality and features on offer.
For more information, head to HyerXGaming.com
It’s really easy to recommend this microphone, mostly because of the great audio quality on offer, but also because it looks great, comes with a shock-mount and built-in pop-filter.
While it’s not the cheapest on the market, I think the features on offer, more than justify the price tag and the simplicity in which you can set this up, really makes it accessible to everyone.
As a new microphone, I’m very happy to see them using a USB-C connector in the back of the mic and a long 3m cable included to support various setups.
This may not be your first microphone, but it may well be your last, for quite a few years to come.
- Audio quality
- Audio modes