For a while, if you were looking for a USB microphone to start a podcast, stream on Twitch, or even just have better Zoom calls, the only name anyone would utter was Blue Yeti.
But over the past few years, a challenger has appeared that has now almost taken over the market, at least on Twitch. That microphone? The HyperX Quadcast S. Just like popular online gamers, I love it.
I only used the Quadcast S for an hour or two before I had the clear thought that whoever designed it spent a lot of time with other USB microphones. It’s not that I’ve ever been dissatisfied with my old Blue Yeti, necessarily. But if I had this HyperX microphone first, I might have been.
To begin with, on top of the microphone there is a touch sensitive pad that can muffle the microphone. This is easily one of the most convenient features, especially if you need to cut your audio quickly while on a live stream. Dimming the microphone also deactivates the colorful LEDs, so you get instant feedback that it is safe to talk.
On the (literal) reverse side there is a gain button built into the bottom of the microphone. This made it easy to adjust the input level immediately. The only minor dispute I have with this is that there is no input level indicator on the microphone itself, or in HyperX’s software, to help position the profit.
This is not a big deal, as applications like OBS usually already have it, but come on HyperX: The LEDs are just there. Just turn the entire microphone into a level gauge while the boost button is in use. Or at least cut red when I start to peak! Whatever, it’s good.
At the back of the microphone there is a rotary knob to switch between four polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid and bidirectional. It’s pretty standard, and you’ll probably never have to change the pattern if you use a consistent setup and just record yourself, but it’s still nice to have the flexibility. The microphone also connects via USB-C, a welcome upgrade over the mini-USB of the previous Quadcast microphone (as well as some competing microphones, including the Blue Yeti).
Built to be seen (and heard)
The most important event on the Quadcast S is the LED lights. Normally I would not give a device too much credit for RGB lighting – especially something aimed at gamers, where it is anything but legally required – but HyperX did it tastefully. The lights inside the core of the microphone blend in in a pleasant gradient that feels more like a subtle accent color, and less like a frontal attack from Rainbow Road.
While the original Quadcast only had red LEDs, the Quadcast S has the full range of colors, which you can customize via HyperX’s Ngenuity software. There are options for solid colors, lightning effects, or the most pleasant (in my opinion): wave, which slowly transitions across a spectrum of colors you choose.