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Is the HyperX SoloCast Any Good?

Is the HyperX SoloCast Any Good? An In-Depth Review

If you‘re in the market for an affordable, high-quality USB microphone for streaming, podcasting, gaming, or working from home, the HyperX SoloCast is definitely worth a look. Launched in late 2020 at an MSRP of $59.99, this compact condenser mic delivers impressive sound quality and ease of use for the price.

As a PC hardware expert and digital content creator myself, I‘ve tested over a dozen different USB mics in my home studio. And I have to say, the HyperX SoloCast is one of the best values out there for a plug-and-play USB condenser mic under $100. Let‘s dive into the details of what makes this mic so appealing.

First off, a little primer on condenser microphones. Unlike dynamic mics which are less sensitive and mainly used for live performances, condenser mics use an electrically-charged diaphragm to pick up more nuanced sounds. This makes them ideal for studio recording, but the tradeoff is they also capture more ambient room noise.

Most high-end condenser mics use an XLR connection and require a dedicated audio interface or preamp to function. But in recent years, more and more affordable USB condenser mics have hit the market, making it easy for anyone to get quality recordings without extra gear.

Popular options include the Blue Yeti, Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, Elgato Wave:3, and Razer Seiren X. But those are all priced over $100. In the sub-$100 category, the main competitors to the HyperX SoloCast are the Blue Yeti Nano and Razer Seiren Mini.

Like those other mini-USB mics, the SoloCast sports a compact, stylish design. The all-black aluminum build looks and feels premium. It comes with a weighted desktop stand that‘s sturdier than you‘d expect for the price. The stand is adjustable and also can be removed, revealing 3/8" and 5/8" threaded mounts to attach the mic to a boom arm or mic stand.

On the front of the mic is an LED status light that glows red when muted and green when active. The coolest design feature is the tap-to-mute sensor on top of the mic. Simply tap the top and it mutes, tap again to unmute. This is so much more convenient than fumbling around for a mute button on the back or in software.

The SoloCast connects to your PC, Mac, PS4 or PS5 via the included USB-C to USB-A cable (2m length). It‘s truly plug-and-play, no drivers or software required. However, there is a HyperX Mic Control app you can download to access a few extra settings like a low cut filter, compression, and a 4-band EQ. The app is basic but a nice extra for a mic at this price point.

Onto the most important part – sound quality. The SoloCast features a 14mm electret condenser capsule and utilizes a cardioid polar pattern to focus on picking up sound from the front of the mic while rejecting sounds to the rear and sides.

This is the ideal pattern for streaming, podcasting, and vocal recording. It does a solid job of only capturing what‘s right in front of it as long as you speak within 6-8 inches of the capsule. Compared to my Shure SM7B dynamic mic run through a Focusrite Scarlett interface, the SoloCast definitely picks up more room reflections and keyboard sounds. But I was impressed by how good my vocals sounded after applying some light noise removal and EQ in post.

What really makes this mic stand out from other mini-USB mics under $100 is the high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz recording. Most mics in this price range, including the Blue Yeti Nano and Razer Seiren Mini, top out at 16-bit/48kHz. While this isn‘t a huge difference for vocal recording, it does give you more headroom and detail if you want to use the mic to record instruments or foley sounds.

In terms of overall sound, the HyperX SoloCast delivers rich, clear audio that exceeded my expectations for the size and price. The frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz is the same you‘ll find on most condenser mics 3-4x the price. And the included pop filter does a decent job of reducing plosives and harsh "S" sounds when placed 4-6 inches away.

I compared it side by side with the Blue Yeti Nano and found the SoloCast to have a slightly warmer, more natural tone while the Nano sounded a bit thinner in the mids. The Razer Seiren Mini was a closer match in sound, but I preferred the more controlled bass response and higher resolution of the SoloCast.

So who is the HyperX SoloCast best suited for? At $59, it‘s an amazing value for anyone looking to step up their audio quality from a basic headset mic without spending a ton. This would be a great first "real" mic for beginner streamers, podcasters, or YouTubers. It‘s also a solid choice for work-from-home warriors who spend a lot of time on Zoom calls and want better voice clarity.

Since it‘s so compact and plugs right into a USB port, it‘s also great for gaming – especially on PS4 and PS5 where your USB mic options are more limited. Paired with a nice set of open-back headphones, you can enjoy game audio from your speakers or TV while still chatting with teammates online.

The main limitations compared to higher-end USB mics are the lack of a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring and the single cardioid polar pattern. More expensive mics often have multiple pickup patterns you can swap between. There‘s also no gain knob or on-mic controls apart from the tap-to-mute function. You‘ll need to adjust levels in your system preferences or recording software.

But I‘d argue most of those extra features aren‘t crucial for the intended audience and use cases. The beauty of the HyperX SoloCast is that it just works out of the box, no fiddling with settings or extra gear required. And it delivers very impressive sound quality for the price and form factor.

Another small nitpick is that the non-detachable USB-C cable connects directly into the bottom of the mic, which can be a little awkward to use with the included stand. I prefer USB mic designs that have the port on the back for a cleaner look. But again, a minor quibble considering the price and performance.

All things considered, I‘d highly recommend the HyperX SoloCast if you‘re looking for a fantastic sounding, compact, plug-and-play USB condenser mic under $100. While it may lack some of the more advanced features and flexibility of higher-end models, it nails all the basics and then some. The 24-bit/96kHz recording, tap-to-mute sensor, and solid metal build quality are standout features for a mic this affordable.

If you‘re willing to spend a bit more, the HyperX QuadCast or the ever-popular Blue Yeti are great alternatives with more polar patterns, on-board gain control, and a built-in headphone jack. But for most solo content creators who just want an easy way to capture clean, professional-sounding voice overs, the HyperX SoloCast is tough to beat.

I‘ve been using it as my daily driver for gaming and Zoom calls and it‘s performed brilliantly. It also worked great for some simple acoustic guitar and vocals recording tests. For streaming and podcasting, you‘ll probably want a boom arm to get the mic closer to your mouth and minimize keyboard sounds. But even with the stock stand on a desk, it does an admirable job of rejecting background noise.

If you‘ve been on the fence about upgrading your audio setup, the HyperX SoloCast is an excellent entry point into the world of stand-alone USB mics. With sound quality that rivals mics twice the price in a sleek, compact form factor, it‘s easy to see why this mic has quickly become a popular choice for a wide range of content creators and WFH warriors alike. Whether you‘re just starting out or looking to up your audio game on a budget, the SoloCast delivers.