For a time, if you were looking for a USB mic 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 couple of years, a challenger has appeared that now all but taken over the market, at least on Twitch. That mic? The HyperX Quadcast S. Just like popular online gamers, I’ve been loving it.
I had only used the Quadcast S for an hour or two before I had the distinct thought that whoever designed it must have spent a lot of time with other USB mics. It’s not that I was ever dissatisfied with my old Blue Yeti, necessarily. But if I’d had this HyperX mic first, I might’ve been.
For starters, on the top of the microphone, there’s a touch-sensitive pad that can mute the microphone. This is easily one of the handiest features, especially if you need to quickly cut your audio while on a livestream. Muting the microphone also disables the colorful LEDs, so you get instant feedback that it’s safe to talk.
On the (literal) flip side, there’s a gain knob built into the bottom of the microphone. This made it easy to adjust the input level on the fly. The only minor quibble I have with this is that there’s no input level indicator on the microphone itself, or in HyperX’s software, to help position the gain.
This isn’t a huge problem, since apps like OBS usually have them already, but come on HyperX: The LEDs are right there. Just turn the whole mic into a level meter while the gain knob is in use. Or at least blink red when I start peaking! Whatever, it’s fine.
On the rear of the microphone, there’s a dial to switch between four polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional. These are fairly standard, and you probably won’t ever need to change the pattern if you use a consistent setup and only record yourself, but it’s still nice to have the flexibility. The mic also connects via USB-C, a welcome upgrade over the mini USB of the previous Quadcast mic (as well as some competing mics, including the Blue Yeti).
Built to Be Seen (and Heard)
The main event on the Quadcast S is the LED lights. Normally, I wouldn’t give a gadget too much credit for having RGB lighting — especially something aimed at gamers, where that’s all but legally required — but HyperX has nailed doing it tastefully. The lights inside the core of the microphone blend into a pleasant gradient that feels more like a subtle accent color, and less like a frontal assault from Rainbow Road.
While the original Quadcast only had red LEDs, the Quadcast S has the full spectrum of colors, which you can customize via HyperX’s Ngenuity software. There are options for solid colors, lightning effects, or the most pleasing (in my opinion): wave, which slowly transitions across a spectrum of colors you pick.