HyperX QuadCast S Review: More Than Just a Pretty Face

Rating: 7/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $159.99
HyperX QuadCast S on a mic arm in front of a computer
Eric Schoon

The HyperX QuadCast S is a gaming microphone with RGB lighting, something that may sound ridiculous on the surface. But the QuadCast S delivers more than meets the eye, and while HyperX may advertise it for gaming, it winds up being a great USB microphone for anyone.

Here's What We Like

  • Premium Construction
  • Cool Lighting
  • Crisp Audio
  • Convenient Controls

And What We Don't

  • The Price Tag

First off, the “gaming” label doesn’t mean anything here; this is just a normal USB microphone with RGB. But while the microphone can’t offer anything “gaming” specific besides the fancy light, it still puts up quite the offering as a USB mic in general.

It has physical controls for muting the mic and adjusting the gain (the microphone volume, basically), a built-in pop filter for clearer audio, and the ability to switch between four different polar patterns. That’s all fine, and about what I would expect out of a premium USB microphone, which is good because the QuadCast S has a hefty $159.99 price tag attached.

That’s a lot to ask for this type of microphone, so let’s see if HyperX can actually make it seem worth it.

Premium Hardware with Convenient Controls

 

HyperX QuadCast S mounted on included microphone stand on top of desk.
Eric Schoon

The QuadCast S is quick to win you over from the moment you take it out of the box. The exterior looks and feels great, and the same goes for the metal stand (it also comes with hardware to install it on a mic arm). Once you plug it in using the included USB-A to USB-C cable, the bright RGB lights turn on to finish the look.

But the hardware doesn’t stop at looks; the microphone feels very durable, and the built-in shock mount and pop filter should go a long way towards improving the audio quality. On top of that, there are a few physical controls on the microphone to make adjusting your audio more convenient.

Close-up of HyperX QuadCast S "tap-to-mute" pad
Eric Schoon

The QuadCast S  features a “tap-to-mute” pad on the top of the microphone—it’s a softer part of the microphone that will mute your audio if you tap or brush your finger against it. It’s a nice alternative to the standard mute button on most mics and convenient to use. Because it is so sensitive, accidentally triggering it is possible, but with where it’s located, you shouldn’t need to worry about it that much.

Besides that, you have a dial on the bottom of the microphone that controls the gain, and thanks to how big it is, it’s extremely easy to adjust as needed. Finally, there’s the polar pattern dial on the back for changing the directions the microphone gathers audio from. There are four polar patterns available: stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional, which we’ll explain in more detail below. Underneath that is the USB-C port for plugging in the mic alongside a zero-latency headphone jack for audio monitoring.

Close-up of HyperX QuadCast S bottom gain dial
Eric Schoon

Overall, the hardware is great, and there are no issues unless you dislike RGB lighting (but we’ll get back to that). But none of that matters if the QuadCast S can’t deliver in the audio department as well.

The Audio Is Good, but It’s Still a USB Mic

While USB mics are somewhat limited in audio quality compared to an XLR mic, there’s certainly a difference between the good and the bad. Fortunately, the QuadCast S is on the good side of things. The audio is clear, well-defined, and the built-in pop-filter helps keep things clean. There’s also a shock mount built onto the mic out of the box (which can be removed by unscrewing it), and it does a decent job dealing with vibrations. I think it’s fine enough considering the price; just don’t expect anything crazy.

Unfortunately, if you’re already using a mid-range USB microphone, you won’t experience a major jump in audio quality here. Typically, I use the Blue Snowball as my main microphone, and it doesn’t sound that different than the QuadCast S despite only costing $49.99. This isn’t a fault of the QuadCast S specifically, and I’d be saying pretty much the same thing about every USB microphone that costs this much, but you should definitely be aware of that going in.

As I’ve already mentioned, you can use four different polar patterns with the QuadCast S.  All four affect which directions the microphone picks up audio from. Still, I expect most people will gravitate towards cardioid—which is optimized for one person speaking into the front of the mic. Ideally, this helps remove background noise by limiting the directions the microphone gathers audio from, but the QuadCast S was quite middling in that effort.  This is a problem most USB microphones face, so it’s not too surprising, but if you have a fan on or something like that in the room, just be aware it will likely be heard in a recording.

Ambient Lighting and Standard Software

It may seem weird to dedicate half a section to the RGB light on a microphone, but I think it was weird to include a light in the first place. And this isn’t just about the aesthetics—I had practical concerns for including this on a microphone. The part of the QuadCast S that lights up is the part you speak into, meaning you want it close to your mouth for the best results. Having a bright, multi-colored light near your face struck me as distracting—how could it not be? Well, that was my assumption at least, but HyperX managed to impress me by how well integrated the light is in the microphone.

HyperX QuadCast S in front of computer with RGB lighting on
Eric Schoon

The actual RGB light on the QuadCast S isn’t overly bright, preventing it from being too distracting. I suspect the internal pop filter is actually helping weaken the light, but either way, it treads the line of looking good without being in your face. The light is controlled through HyperX NGENUITY, and you’ve got some decent options here like different animations and brightness levels, but ultimately the light isn’t very customizable beyond the color.

Lighting options for the QuadCast S in HyperX NGENUITY
HyperX

The only annoying thing about the light is that it’s your only way of knowing if the microphone is muted when you use tap-to-mute. The light will turn off whenever the microphone is muted, and unless you have NGENUITY open, there’s no other way to tell. It’s useful, but if you’ve turned off the light completely for personal preference, that means there’s no indication if the microphone is muted—I feel like that’s a pretty big oversight, and including a separate mute indicator light would’ve solved this.

Audio options for the QuadCast S in HyperX NGENUITY
HyperX

Besides the lights, NGenuity allows you to adjust how loud the QuadCast S is, adjust the mic monitoring volume, and change polar patterns. Most of that is doable via physical controls on the mic itself, as we’ve already covered, but it’s nice to have them here as well. Having some more in-depth options in NGenuity to tweak the audio further would’ve been appreciated, though. What’s on offer here is pretty much the standard for USB microphone software, so I can’t say I’m disappointed, but more options would’ve gone a long way towards helping the QuadCast justify its high price.

Depth Beyond the Flash

HyperX QuadCast S in front of mesh window
Eric Schoon

As I’ve already touched on, costly USB mics are in a strange spot, as they typically can’t provide significantly better audio quality than other USB mics asking half the price. Regardless, if you’re looking at a USB microphone in the first place, you probably don’t care about having the absolute highest audio quality possible. USB mics offer convenience above all else, so they really need to sell that to justify a high price. Fortunately, the QuadCast S does a great job in that regard while also packing in a cool RGB light.

This leaves the price tag as the largest and only major issue with this product. Even the standard QuadCast (which ditches RGB for a pure red light) costs $139.99, and the S model I’ve been using bumps that up to $159.99. Considering you can get most of the same features and quality out of the Blue Yeti, which only costs $109.99, you suddenly start to wonder how much you’re paying for RGB.

The QuadCast S delivers quality audio and premium hardware which shouldn’t be disregarded. Still, it also has a lot of competition to beat—and to be fair, the QuadCast S doesn’t do anything wrong besides how expensive it is. But that will be a pretty big downside for most people, so I’ll just say this: the QuadCast S is a great microphone with a neat gimmick that helps it stand out. While it may not outperform its competitors, it doesn’t fall behind them either, and as long as you appreciate the things it exceeds when it comes to hardware (such as the durable construction and RGB), it’s worth the money.

However, if you just want a solid microphone you can use to record or join calls, you still receive the same audio quality for a lot less by going with one of its competitors. I’ll give the QuadCast S some points for being unique, but I’ll take some away at the same time for the price tag.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $159.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Premium Construction
  • Cool Lighting
  • Crisp Audio
  • Convenient Controls

And What We Don't

  • The Price Tag

Eric Schoon Eric Schoon
Eric Schoon is a writer for Review Geek and has spent most of his life thinking about and analyzing products of all shapes and sizes. From the latest games to the hottest smartphones, he enjoys finding the greatest strengths and weaknesses of everything he gets his hands on and then passing that information on to you. Read Full Bio »

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