A solid USB microphone is a great way for podcasters, streamers, and content creators to take a massive step up in audio quality from the mics that come attached to their headsets, but they are far from the best microphones out there. Audio professionals know that microphones that utilize an XLR connection can receive clearer sound quality and allow the user to upgrade to superior preamps and audio-to-digital signal converters. Not a lot of these have appeared specifically in the gaming space, however — until now.
HyperX has just released a brand new XLR mic that they are calling the ProCast. We’ve always found their USB microphones to be good when we’ve reviewed them in the past, so we were excited when they offered to send us one for a fair and unbiased review. Here’s what we found.
Zoom In: Specs
- Condenser microphone
- Connectivity: XLR
- Polar pattern: cardioid
- Gold-sputtered 1” diaphragm
- 48V Phantom power supply
- Switchable -10db PAD
- Switchable 80Hz high-pass filter
- Shock mount
- Detachable metal pop filter
- Launch Price: $249.99
Unboxing and Build Quality
Inside the box, you will find a quick-start guide and some other paperwork, the microphone, and a detachable metal pop filter. The ProCast itself has a surprisingly sturdy build. It’s all-black with a solid metal base going up into a metal mesh that covers the receiver. The overall construction looks similar to the company’s designs for the DuoCast and the QuadCast S, but it’s noticeably heavier and seems to be cut from thicker materials. This makes it immediately feel like a solid and dependable piece of equipment.
The ProCast comes pre-equipped with a shock mount that is permanently affixed to the microphone and has a vertically pivoting ¾” threaded stand mount attached. The curved metal pop filter simply clicks onto the frame of this shock mount and can be just as easily removed.
The XLR output is located on the bottom of the microphone and there are two switches on the back. The first is a PAD (passive attenuation device) switch that allows users to alternate between 0dB gain and -10dB gain. This is set to 0dB by default, but can by switched to -10dB when users who are recording louder audio wish to give their signal more headroom to avoid peaking. The other switch controls an 80Hz high-pass filter. This can be used to remove any rumbling or unwanted lower frequencies.
Design is all well and good, but the ultimate test of any microphone comes down to sound. Fortunately, the ProCast sounds fantastic. I tested it out using the Revolution preamps built into the RODECaster Pro 2 and found that the sound that came through was nothing short of excellent. The signal was warm, clear, and devoid of any noticeable electronic humming. It’s certainly worthy of professional-grade content creation. It’s the kind of audio that distinguishes production quality.
The only criticism that I had of the audio was that it tends to pick up lower tones a little more dominantly than mid tones. This results in voices sounding ever-so-slightly deeper than they do naturally. The signal is still clear and not remotely muddy, however. Some people may even prefer the deeper sound, but the change is still worth noting for those that do not.
What Kind of Audio Is It Good For?
The ProCast is a condenser microphone, meaning it has a different kind of receiver than a dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics are generally better at capturing loud, booming sounds. This makes them ideal for loud vocals and instruments. They are also generally sturdier, which makes them better for stage use.
Condenser microphones like the ProCast, on the other hand, are much more sensitive. This makes them ideal for picking up all the complexity of the human voice when you are speaking at a normal volume. They are much more at home in a studio setting, being used for things like recording podcasts, live-streams, video production, and voice over.
Is the ProCast Worth the Money?
The HyperX Procast MSRPs at $249.99. It appears to be priced to occupy a middle ground between entry level XLR mics like the Blue Ember, which can often be found for just under $100 and popular pro-grade microphones like the Shure SM7B, which costs around $400.
This is definitely on the more expensive side, but a fairly reasonable price given the quality of the ProCast. It also occupies kind of an awkward place in the market, however. There is a very small subset of users who require the level of quality that the ProCast offers who are also interested in its less professional and more gamer-centric design. To that small group of people who are willing to pay for pro-grade audio with a gamer aesthetic, though, this is an excellent buy.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The HyperX ProCast is a professional-grade condenser microphone with an impressive 1” gold-sputtered diaphragm and a sturdy build quality. Its gamer-focused design may be divisive for some users, but it has an excellent sound quality that contends with other professional-grade microphones.
- 1” gold-sputtered diaphragm for superior sound quality
- Sturdy build quality
- Includes shock mount and metal pop filter
- A little on the expensive side for most users
- Slight inclination toward low tones
- Gamer-targeted design may appeal less to those seeking more professional branding