Due to a growing number of streamers and work/school from home situations brought on by COVID-19, people have been looking to things like webcams and mics. Prior to this HyperX released their popular QuadCast mic, which had a lot of flares, something they brought to another level with the QuadCast S. However, a lot of people don’t need all the features of mics such as that, resulting in HyperX coming up with the cleverly named SoloCast. With a single polar pattern, simpler look, and more basic design, is it a must for newcomers or a bad investment in the long run?
As you might expect, the SoloCast comes in a rather modest box that does a good job of subtly conveying the features of the microphone. Through various images, you get an idea of the range and it features fundamental information like the single polar pattern featured with this microphone. Inside is a simple plastic holder with the microphone resting inside.
Just looking at the SoloCast, it’s clear HyperX went in a very different direction with it. We start by losing some features, one was the aforementioned polar patterns that we will get to later in this review, with another being the anti-vibration shock mount, on mic gain control, internal pop filter, and integrated headphone jack. In terms of newcomers, amateurs, or people trying to have a simpler setup, this actually isn’t much of a loss.
Things like the anti-vibration shock mount can be bought, same with the pop filter, giving anyone interested some kind of option. They won’t look as nice or fit as well as they do with the QuadCast line but it’s always good to have the option. The headphone jack really comes down to how important is it to monitor your voice. Odds are if you’re at the point where that is a deal-breaker, you’re likely not the target demographic for the SoloCast anyway. This leaves the polar patterns, gain control, and other benefits unique to the SoloCast.
While gain control, a feature that increases or decreases sensitivity, is a loss, it’s also the type of thing where a lot of people likely won’t frequently mess with, something that is also true for the polar patterns. As you might’ve guessed, the solo and quad names in HyperX’s cast line of microphones refers to this. Most gamers will likely use Cardioid, where the front of the microphone picks up sounds, which is a set up best for things like streaming, voice-overs, and podcasts. This is what the SoloCast has and it’s missing stereo (vocals/instruments), omnidirectional (more conversational capture), and bidirectional (face-to-face interviews). The others are certainly helpful to have, as it gives a microphone versatility, but it also hinges on need. For basic streamers or someone looking to simply talk, cardioid makes the most sense anyway.
Despite missing some features, HyperX gave the SoloCast some neat features. For starters, the included stand has a bit of movement. Not only does it tilt-up, but you can also rotate it aside. This makes it easier to grab the stand and hold it to talk, is more versatile for certain setups or simply makes it easier to store somewhere. Removing the SoloCast from the stand is relatively easy, simply pull it out or push it down and it will stay firmly in place. This makes it a bit easier to mess with compared to the QuadCast line, especially when you consider the boommic arm adapter is built into the bottom compared to being a separate piece. It also features USB-C, making it easy to work in virtually any setup.
In regards to look, it feels like a well-constructed product. The stand is a little lighter when compared to the QuadCast and it’s a more subtle design. For example, when you turn the QuadCast on, the mic part has illuminated either red (QuadCast) or your desired color (QuadCast S), whereas the SoloCast has a simple indicator below the microphone itself. It simply glows red when it’s on and blinks when it’s muted. For some, this might be annoying, though it can always be disconnected when it isn’t being used. It also features a similar tap to the mute button that works fairly well.
Unsurprisingly, performance largely depends on your setup and what you’re willing to invest. I bought a rather basic arm from Amazon sometime back to clean up my desk and the $20 or so kit included a shock mount that supported the SoloCast and a pop filter that worked. This, along with playing with the positioning, how to load I spoke and more resulted in a surprisingly good capture. I wouldn’t say it was on par with the QuadCast, but it was clear enough to easily think of a good quality YouTube video or stream.
When using the supplied stand, it took some effort to get the positioning and details right but when it all aligned it worked very well for recording voiceovers. I only got minimal background noise and my voice came through crisp and clear. I had a similar experience on PS4, with my friend saying it made my voice sound a bit deeper but otherwise clear than she was used to.
HyperX SoloCast Review Verdict
HyperX really did a fantastic job with the SoloCast. At $59.99, it does all a basic streamer/content creator could want, at a price that is extremely fair. While there could be a little more to make set up easier or some small tweaks, the basic performance is great once you get everything situated. The small size, easy controls, and nice stand give it so much versatility that it’s easy to suggest to practically anyone.
[Editor’s Note: HyperX SoloCast was provided to us for review purposes.]