So your Twitch stream has really exploded. Perhaps it’s because everyone has been spending more time at home, or maybe its because you’re just so darn engaging—regardless, it may be time to invest in a new standalone gaming microphone. The HyperX QuadCast S is the successor to the beloved HyperX QuadCast. It’s a USB gaming mic with an eye-catching design, but is it any good?
Editor’s note: this HyperX QuadCast S review was updated on March 9, 2021, to include a contents menu, expand the list of buying options, and add information about companion applications.
Who is the HyperX QuadCast S for?
- Streamers should get the QuadCast S for its sound quality and slim design. The QuadCast S also has Teamspeak and Discord certifications so you shouldn’t have any trouble using the mic with those services.
- Casual gamers who want clearer audio will appreciate this mic. It can be difficult to find a gaming headset with a good microphone, and having a standalone mic can improve the whole gaming experience for both you and your teammates.
- Anyone who likes the variable LED lights, and who wants a good-sounding microphone.
What’s it like to use the HyperX QuadCast S?
The HyperX QuadCast S is a very fun USB microphone: rainbow LED lights color the microphone beneath its grille. The mic is long and cylindrical, and it has a durable all-metal casing. The USB connection isn’t as durable as an XLR connection, nor does it provide the same quality audio, but its much easier to use and shouldn’t be a problem for anyone except the most extreme audiophiles. A layer of foam acts as a pop filter behind the grille, which works just as well as it did on the original HyperX QuadCast.
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The microphone comes bolted onto a shock mount, which prevents handling noise and external vibrations from affecting your recording. Unfortunately, you can’t remove it from the shock mount, so its portability is limited. This is fair, though, considering a gaming mic typically lives on your desk. It includes a microphone stand adapter, so you can mount it on a boom mic for greater flexibility.
The bottom of the QuadCast S houses a matte dial so you can adjust the gain, and the top is a touch-sensitive mute button. When you mute the mic the LED lights turn off, so you never have to worry if it’s actively recording or not. The back of the microphone houses a USB-C input for plugging in the provided 3-meter USB-C to USB cable. Above the USB-C input is a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can directly monitor your recording or live stream.
What is the HyperX QuadCast S compatible with?
The HyperX QuadCast S is a plug-and-play device that’s compatible with PC, PS4, and Mac. It should work with any platform that uses a mic input, but keep in mind that the Ngenuity software is only available on PC.
Does the HyperX QuadCast S have multiple recording patterns?
The HyperX QuadCast S has a dial on the back that lets you switch between the four available polar patterns: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional, and stereo. These settings can be useful for different recording types. If you’re interviewing someone who is sitting directly across from you, you’ll want to try the bidirectional setting. This is different from when you’re recording a podcast with just your own voice; in that instance, the cardioid setting is probably the way to go.
Do you need a pop filter with the HyperX QuadCast S?
Depending on your recording style, you might need to use a pop filter with the QuadCast S. Although the integrated pop filter is nice, it’s imperfect. If you speak into your microphone from any closer than 1 foot, plosives (p-, t-, k- sounds) and fricatives (f- and th- sounds) become a problem. However, when I recorded the microphone demos (below), I was roughly 1 foot from the microphone and you can’t hear any plosives or fricatives.
Should you download the Ngenuity software?
The software options of Ngenuity are nice, but it isn’t required to use the microphone or access any must-have features. If you have a PC, you can download gaming microphone the software. That’s right, this isn’t available on MacOS, but PC owners can customize the HyperX QuadCast S lighting effects. The software is a bit of a hassle to install—your computer must be registered to a Microsoft account—but it lets you do other things like adjust volume, monitor headphone volume, and indicate which polar pattern is selected. If you want to play around with the light settings, you can set solid colors, gradients, and turn off the lights completely.
How does the HyperX QuadCast S sound?
The HyperX QuadCast S records clear audio, and boasts a neutral-leaning frequency response with slightly de-emphasized bass notes to mitigate the proximity effect. The proximity effect refers to the unpleasant amplification and distortion of low frequency sounds when someone speaks too close to a microphone. You wouldn’t find the proximity effect to be much of an issue here, because it would pick up plosives and fricatives if you came too close anyways. The minor dip at 1kHz prevents your voice from sounding too nasally.
Again, the microphone demos below were recorded when I sat at least 25 centimeters from the mic’s capsule. The QuadCast S recorded my voice just how it sounds, though I did decrease the gain knob completely when singing to prevent clipping. It’s not a hassle to move away from the microphone, unless you’re recording in an untreated room. In that instance, distance between you and the mic introduces more unwanted room resonances and background noise to the recording.
The QuadCast S records 48kHz/16-bit audio with its three 14mm condensers, which offers plenty of data for post-production. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of each polar pickup pattern. Many microphones sound noticeably worse when using the omnidirectional setting relative to other recording patterns, but that isn’t the case with the QuadCast S. And while this mic is certainly not meant for recording instruments, I gave it a whirl with the acoustic guitar. Listen for yourself:
Hyper X QuadCast S cardioid polar pattern:
Hyper X QuadCast S bidirectional polar pattern:
Hyper X QuadCast S omnidirectional polar pattern:
Hyper X QuadCast S stereo polar pattern:
Hyper X QuadCast S singing sample:
Hyper X QuadCast S acoustic guitar sample:
Should you buy the HyperX QuadCast S?
All in all, the HyperX QuadCast S is a very good microphone for gamers and podcasters alike, so long as you fancy the mic’s aesthetic. I wish its internal pop filter was more effective and the gain knob could be turned down more, but when the positioning is right, the sound quality is good. It may not be worth $250, because for this price point, you can get a studio-quality XLR microphone or the hybrid XLR/USB Shure MV7. However if you’re a streamer looking for a particular style, or if design is generally very important to you, this mic will serve you well.
What’s the difference between the HyperX QuadCast S and the HyperX QuadCast?
There aren’t many significant differences between the HyperX Quadcast S and its predecessor, the HyperX Quadcast, and the original model is more affordable. But there are some differences between the two models that may be determining factors for some shoppers.
The QuadCast S has a dynamic RGB color scheme whereas the QuadCast only glows red. The QuadCast S also supports Ngenuity, allowing you to customize its colors and adjust headphone volume levels whereas the older model isn’t compatible with this software. The QuadCast also plugs in via microUSB whereas the QuadCast S plugs in via USB-C. Lastly, the frequency responses of the two mics are a little different. The QuadCast S attenuates bass frequencies more than the QuadCast, and the QuadCast amplifies high frequencies more than the QuadCast S to make subtle noises (like mouth sounds) easier to hear.