HyperX QuadCast S Microphone Review
A great microphone gains vibrant RGB lighting
NOTE: HyperX kindly sent me a final retail evaluation unit of this microphone to review alongside marketing assets and technical information, but no money changed hands and I had full editorial control over this article.
As per my reviews policy, this article will never be monetized, but additional content about this microphone, such as comparison articles I write in the future, may be. This post contains zero affiliate links as I don’t personally believe in the practice.
HyperX launched the original QuadCast microphone early last year, and it shook up the gaming/streaming microphone market that had long been dominated by the Blue Yeti. It has a sleek design with the classic red and black HyperX look, a set of four polar patterns, and a competitive price.
Now, HyperX has launched a new “S” version of their popular microphone. Unlike other “S” variants from the company, this one doesn’t add surround sound functionality, but instead doubles-down on cool presentation with two programmable RGB light zones and a price point that’s only $20 dollars higher. The USB port on the back of the mic has also been upgraded to USB-C, for those that want their tech to have the latest ports.
Retailing for $159.99, the QuadCast S (official site here) comes in a sleek black visual configuration that drops the red accents from the original model so that the lighting stands out more. It has four selectable polar patterns: cardioid, omni-directional, bi-directional, and stereo. If you want to program the lighting effects, you’ll need to download HyperX’s Ngenuity software package. Once you find the effects you like, you can save them to the internal memory of the microphone.
I’m guessing that the vast majority of users will leave the polar pattern dial set to its default cardioid pattern. It does a good job of background noise isolation and has a neutral, natural tone to it that I found just slightly accentuated bass frequencies. That’s great for giving voices a little bit of a resonant, silky quality. The mic sounds best if you place it about six inches from your mouth, though the capsule is sensitive enough to work from further away if you turn up the gain. You can click here to listen to a few minutes of me talking into the mic from different distances.
I love the large gain adjustment knob and tap-able mute surface, found at the bottom and top of the mic respectively. The mute surface requires only a light tap to activate, and the lights instantly go out to let you know that it worked. It doesn’t send a loud pop or bang down the mic line unless you aggressively smash it, meaning that your friends or colleagues in voice chat will be undisturbed by the function.
The gain control is silky smooth and makes it remarkably simple to set the right volume sensitivity level. You’ll probably only have to set this up once in your home, but when remote production work is more common again post-pandemic, this smooth knob would be great for recording podcasts, music, or live presentations in field settings. I’ve had to fiddle with external interfaces or computer volume bars in the past when doing this sort of work, so having a big smooth knob for gain adjustment is satisfying and easy.
The non-cardioid polar patterns are also best-suited to recording outside the home or with another person at the same table, and it’s nice to have them there as an option even if the standard cardioid setting is the most applicable for streaming, chat, and other common uses. The knob that switches between polar patterns has a soft-touch texture to it, just like the gain knob and mute touch surface.
That extra touch of classy build quality extends to the entire device. It’s built exceptionally well, with a fully metal housing that’s robust and solid in the hand. The stand is also quite thick and sturdy, and the knob for tilt adjustment is smooth and easy to operate. This is one of the nicest consumer-styled microphones I’ve ever seen, and it would be right at home inside a production gear bag.
Of course, the original QuadCast also featured a great build, four polar patterns, and smooth controls. But it only lit up in red. The QuadCast S has two full RGB lighting zones. One sits at the top of the capsule and the other sits at the bottom. The lights glance smoothly off the surface of the built-in pop filter inside the microphone, and although you can see the individual bulbs if you tilt your head just right, the lighting effect is clean and consistently bright across the entire capsule.
These lighting effects are perfect if you plan to use the microphone on-camera for streaming, or if you want to treat your co-workers or classmates to a light show during a work from home situation. They’re bright enough to come through nice and clean on-camera, but not so bright that I found them irritating. On the contrary, they made my desk weirdly fun to sit at during the week I’ve spent testing out the microphone.
On the back of the mic is a new USB-C connection port and right above it there’s a 3.5mm headphone monitoring jack. HyperX includes a nice braided USB cable in the box. The headphone jack provides real-time monitoring of the mic audio, and I found it to be accurate to the final sound. You can also run all of your computer’s audio through the mic’s internal DAC if you’d like to use the mic for voice chat in gaming alongside standalone headphones, or just listen to some music when not talking on the mic.
The headphone output has plenty of power, and although it doesn’t offer any kind of hi-res support, its stereo output is nice and clean. The only issue with the mic output is that it’s quite close to the USB port, and the threading hole for cords in the mic stand isn’t the largest, so if you want to use a headset or headphones with a thicker plug, you might be out of luck. HyperX’s headsets fit just fine, as do the thin plugs on the M50X and SHP9600, but Beyerdynamic’s larger plugs were too thick to fit in this small area cleanly. Just something to keep in mind.
That’s honestly the only negative thing I can say about this microphone. HyperX took their already-solid microphone, upgraded it with USB-C and RGB lighting, and only added $20 to the price. At $159, it may be at the upper end of the streaming microphone market, but I’d say it also has the best lighting and a compelling features list for that price. It’ll handle anything you throw at it, from streaming to game chat to work from home to standard audio production.
If you don’t plan to use the mic on-camera and don’t need the RGB lighting, you might consider the cheaper non-S model instead as you’ll get all the same performance and features as long as you can deal with the older USB port on the back.
Still, I’m honestly impressed that the price premium for these fun upgrades is only $20. We live in a world where Razer charges $179 for a microphone that can display emoji on the side of it, after all. Compared to that, the smooth lighting and large feature set of the QuadCast S is a better value, in my opinion.
I was immediately taken-in by the look of the RGB lights when HyperX announced this microphone, and they look just as smooth on my desk as they do in the pictures. When combined with the tank-like industrial design and competent set of professional audio features, this microphone is a winner. A future version with slightly expanded room for headphone connectivity could compete with many studio and professional models by offering flexibility for more types of headphone to be used for monitoring, but even with its current design the QuadCast S is an excellent blend of good audio reproduction, intuitive controls, and fun mesmerizing lighting that made everyone in my house stop by my home office for a look.