HyperX’s QuadCast microphone reviewed

I’ve been a fan of HyperX headsets since the first HyperX Cloud on account of their high build and sound quality, relatively clean design, and reasonable pricing. The weakness of early Cloud headsets was mediocre microphone quality, but the company largely remedied that issue with the Cloud Alpha, which was my daily driver before the Cloud Flight took over that position. Given it’s extensive lineup of gaming headsets, it seems like a natural next step for HyperX to introduce a standalone microphone targeted at streamers and podcasters. The QuadCast is exactly that.

Those familiar with HyperX products won’t be surprised to see the QuadCast sporting the company’s signature black and red color scheme. HyperX has a history of running limited edition versions of its headsets with various color accents, so perhaps a QuadCast with a different color scheme will appear at some point. For now, though, it only comes as you see it here.

The outer body of the microphone is primarily metal, but the top and bottom are composed of a soft, rubbery substance that feels pleasant to the touch. The microphone is suspended in the air by a shock mount connected to a metal stand. The base of the stand is weighty enough to keep the microphone upright, but small enough to not hog desk space. The stand is also held in place by three beefy rubber feet on the underside of the base. Unfortunately, the shock mount is mostly just for show. The strings are too tightly tensioned to adequately isolate the microphone from noise-inducing vibrations.

The top of the microphone functions as a capacitive mute button. The capacitive sensor requires only a light tap to register a press, making the mute button intuitive and convenient. When the microphone is hot, the foam behind the hexagonal mesh glows red. The QuadCast won’t win any awards for subtlety, but the LED implementation is pretty slick.

The bottom of the microphone, like the top, has an integrated function. The bottom can be rotated to adjust gain, which is a handy and user-friendly feature. Five indicator dots mark the bottom of the microphone, but, oddly, the bottom can rotate well beyond these indicators.

The back of the QuadCast is home to a knob used to select one of four polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional. The ability to switch between these four patterns makes the microphone highly versatile. A great many standalone microphones, such as my Rode Podcaster, are built for specific use cases and thus have only one polar pattern. However, if armed with the QuadCast, you can seamlessly switch from voiceover work to a round table podcast.

A 3.5-mm headphone jack and mini-USB port can also be found on the back of the microphone. The headphone jack does not automatically output microphone input, as some microphone jacks do; it simply functions as an additional headphone jack for whatever device is connected to the QuadCast.

The QuadCast comes with a 9.8 ft (3 m) braided micro-USB cable, which should be plenty of cable for most applications. I actually found that I had to bundle up a bunch of excess cable underneath my desk so as to not make the space behind my computer a complete rat’s nest. HyperX also includes a mount adapter that fits mounts with thread sizes of 3/8″ and 5/8″. I had no problems removing the microphone from it’s stand and attaching it to a standard mic stand, as well as the boom arm I use for my Podcaster. I was even able to perform a full switcheroo and mount my Podcaster onto the QuadCast stand, but the base of the stand wasn’t heavy enough to support the substantial weight of the Podcaster without tipping over.

The real test

We’ve discussed the build, features, and accessories of the QuadCast, but let’s get down to brass tacks and see how it sounds. The clip below includes samples from the Cloud Alpha and Rode Podcaster for comparison. Since I’m the only one speaking into the microphone in the sample, it is set to the cardioid polar pattern. Right off the bat, it is apparent that the QuadCast is an an entirely different league than even the microphone on HyperX’s Cloud Alpha, as it should be. The Alpha has a good microphone, as gaming headset microphones go, but a standalone microphone should be markedly better in order to be a product even worth considering. I found that the QuadCast pairs well with the Cloud Flight, HyperX’s wireless headset. I kept the QuadCast sitting on my desk, and when I wanted to hop into a Discord channel with a few friends, I simply had to tap the top of the QuadCast. I was able to circumvent the process of attaching the Flight’s mic, and my voice sounded much cleaner to my friends than it did previously with the Flight’s mic.

This use case highlights the convenience of the QuadCast. If I were to attempt to use my Podcaster in a similar way, it would be a complete hassle. I’d have to swing the boom arm around, and spend a considerable amount of time adjusting it so that it was positioned in just the right way in front of my mouth, at which point the microphone and shock mount would partially obscure my view of my monitors. The Podcaster has a very tight cone within which it picks up noise. The tight cone makes the Podcaster fantastic at isolating my voice and picking up nothing else, but there is little leeway when it comes to positioning the Podcaster to adequately pick up my voice.

The QuadCast, on the other hand, has a much wider range, so I’m able to set it off to the side, next to one of my monitors, and it picks up my voice just fine. Unfortunately, the QuadCast’s wider range means it picks up more background noise, even when set to cardioid. The audio sample below is a bit echoey as a result, but the echo can be largely solved with better room acoustics. Echo aside, I’m quite impressed with the quality of the audio produced by the QuadCast, especially in comparison to the Podcaster, which is almost $100 more. The QuadCast isn’t a professional piece of equipment, but it produces very clean audio with a fairly full sound. It should be absolutely more than adequate for most gamers and streamers.

Conclusions

As HyperX’s entry into the standalone microphone market, I think the QuadCast is a winner. The only straightforward negative I can come with is that the shock mount does little to reduce vibrations. It picks up more background noise than some microphones, but I think that’s choice a made to make the QuadCast more usable and convenient. It also isn’t built like an absolute tank, like some professional grade microphones, but it is still well put-together and should hold up over time.

All the other notable features are clear positives. The capacitive mute button and rotating gain control are simple and useful and the polar pattern selector makes it highly versatile. The base of the stand takes up minimal space and the included mounting adapter means you can set it up how you want.  Most importantly, it produces clean, accurate audio. The QuadCast isn’t a studio-grade microphone, but with a feature set meant for versatility and a $140 price tag, it’s a great choice for those looking for a standalone microphone at a reasonable price. I’ll be using it from here on out as my go to microphone for most situations, which makes it a TR Editor’s Choice.

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cynan
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cynan

At $100, you have a compelling case. But for $140? Good USB interfaces start at about $100 and a decent condeser mic start at under $100. So for $50-$75 more, you get better gear and a more flexible upgrade path.

meerkt
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meerkt

35% more expensive is substantial. Though, you can get the Behringer UMC22 interface for $60 (a few months ago the regular price was $40), or the UMC202HD for $80 (or less).

But the question is if people are going to buy audio gear from a non-audio company.

Surprising fact: Kingston’s revenue is more than AMD! And similar to Nvidia.

DeadOfKnight
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DeadOfKnight

To be fair, just because it’s not branded by an audio company doesn’t mean it isn’t made by one.

From what I understand, their gaming headsets are sourced from a fairly decent audio company.

DeadOfKnight
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DeadOfKnight

I don’t know why condenser mics are marketed towards gamers and streamers. Your Procaster blows this thing out of the water for what you’re mostly doing with it. Granted that’s more expensive, but this would be better for most people at half the price: [url<]https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATR2100-USB-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone/dp/B004QJOZS4?th=1[/url<]

derFunkenstein
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derFunkenstein

It also depends on what you want to capture and how you want to capture it. Dynamic mics like what you linked are very different from large-diaphragm condenser mics like the HyperX. For streaming or podcasting I’m not sure I like the idea of a condenser. Nathan mentioned capturing background noise, and that’s just what a condenser does. I’d rather get something with input monitoring anyway. The HyperX lacks it, but an inexpensive audio interface like a Presonus Audiobox USB or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 has a better preamp AND direct headphone monitoring so you can hear yourself. Add a Shure… Read more »

Usacomp2k3
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Usacomp2k3

Thanks Nathan, good job. A couple questions:
*How well does it do eliminating pops? Does the mesh work as a pop-filter? Can you easily mount a pop filter onto it?
*Does it only work via USB or can you plug it in as an analog microphone?

Gyromancer
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Gyromancer

Thanks! The mesh does help dampen pops, but if you’re gonna have the microphone up close and personal, you might want to attach a pop filter. If you’re going to keep the microphone on the stand, it could be a bit difficult to attach a pop filter, given the thinness of the stand, but it’s still doable.
As for your second question, it’s a USB only microphone.

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