Since 2020 pandemic led so many of us to spend far more time at home, a good microphone like the HyperX SoloCast are essential for work and gaming with friends. With everybody stuck at home, work has changed with Zoom and Teams being the primary way people connect; not to mention online multiplayer gaming, streaming, podcasting and YouTubing. While most gaming headsets do come with serviceable microphones, none of the compare to a proper, condenser microphone like the SoloCast.
Of course, at AUD $110, this is the little mic costs as much as many good gaming headsets but after a few weeks using it daily, it’s definitely worth your while to consider replacing your dodgy headset mic. What you get for your money is excellent audio quality in a tiny package that looks gorgeous and simply works when you plug it into your PC, laptop and even PlayStation. Let’s get into it.
The SoloCast is a beautiful little microphone; exuding a sophistication and professionalism that you’d expect from much more expensive microphones. The all black finish, clean lines and Cylon red LED make it extremely photogenic. The black pill shaped mic is symmetrically split down the middle like an alien medicine capsule.
The top has the wire mesh that shrouds the condenser element with a mic mute button right on top. Once muted, the LED light on the front of the microphone flashes to remind you if anyone can hear you. When using apps like Zoom, I found it safer to just use the in-software mute than to keep lifting my arm to tap the mic – yes, I know I’m lazy.
The bottom is a solid piece of metal with HyperX logo, an LED status light, USB 2.0 port and the screw threading for a boom arm at the bottom of the mic. The screw point works with 3/8 and 5/8 inch boom arm setups. Not that you really need one as the bundled desktop stand is great. The stand has a coaster sized base with a rigid stem attached to it. A rotating hinge holds a ring in which the microphone sits.
The hinge allows the mic to tilt backwards which is great when you are talking down toward the mic. It can also swivel sideways up to 90-degrees which halves the overall height of the mic and makes it easy to storing it under a monitor for instance. Quite accidentally, I discovered that the stand design allows it to slide neatly underneath my raised keyboard which positions it squarely in front of me which works perfectly for work calls when I’m staring straight at my monitor.
The SoloCast is plug and play which means no software or specialty apps needed for it to work. Just plug it into your PC, laptop or Mac and you can start chatting away. This is makes the SoloCast really accessibile to noobs and pros alike. Even better, this works just as seamlessly with the Playstation 4 which immediately recognises it as an input device which makes this great for owners who use their console on a desk.
The SoloCast is the first real mic I’ve had and so being used to gaming headset mics, I was immediately impressed with the sound output. It has a sampling rate of 8kHz to 48kHz and 16-bit depth which makes for some great audio. My voice sounded so much fuller and true to life with absolutely no compression or distortion that I am used to with gaming headsets.
The SoloCast uses a cardioid polar pattern which prioritises sounds from directly in front of the mic while relatively ignoring those from behind. The cone is about 60-degrees and I found that I didn’t have to have the mic directly in front of me. Especially when using a laptop, I could place the mic to the left of the laptop and still get great pickup.
In saying that, the mic is still sensitive enough to pick up ambient sounds like my daughters bickering over what snack to have or the TV. But none of that overrides my voice. My work colleagues never once complained about me needing to speak up and it’s been such a joy to not have unsightly gaming mics while on serious calls. One warning is that the microphone is quite sensitive to vibration so any keyboard presses transmitted through the desk get picked up as you’ll hear in the recording below:
You may want to get a mic arm for this reason alone as it can get pretty annoying for those listening to you. All in all, the HyperX SoloCast sounds amazing. It’s not perfect but after so many bad gaming headsets mics claiming that their microphone is certified by Discord and TeamSpeak, this is a breath of fresh air. The SoloCast works seamlessly with major streaming platforms like OBS and XSplit which makes it a great buy for up and coming streamers looking for a great budget mouse. But those looking to record professional audio might need something with better noise isolation and control.
At $110, there’s little to fault the HyperX SoloCast. It’s an a excellently designed, plug and play monitor that works for gamers and content creators alike. The fact that you just plug and play and get excellent audio recording and chat makes it hugely appealing. As someone who’s been trying to get into content creation for video, having a good mic like this is a must. It isn’t perfect but for what you pay, there’s little to complain about.
In fact, the only reason I’d hesitate to recommend this mic is because the Razer Seiren Mini exists, offering pretty much the same proposition but at $20 less. The Seiren is also smaller which is appealing to people to who are quite mobile like laptop users. However, the Seiren has less audio range than the SoloCast so if you are looking to do more content creation type work, the SoloCast would have the edge. At the end of the day, it’s a toss up depending on your need but I’d happily recommend the HyperX SoloCast to anyone with a desk setup.
The HyperX SoloCast was provided by HyperX Australia for the purpose of this review.