The HyperX Duocast is a great entry-level USB microphone, if pricey

TechRadar Verdict

The HyperX Duocast is a great entry level USB microphone that sounds great and has plenty of personality, but it is a expensive, so it’s really only for those who are serious about getting started with content creation.

Pros

  • +

    Audio quality is fantastic

  • +

    Includes a well designed shock mount and boom arm adapter

  • +

    RGB lighting integrates well with other HyperX devices

Cons

  • Not competitively priced

  • Ngenuity software is cumbersome to use in real time

  • RGB may not be useful for some users

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HyperX Duocast: Two minute review

The HyperX Duocast USB microphone is the midrange offering from HyperX’s latest lineup of popular USB microphones. It was engineered to meet the demands of streamers, gamers, and content creators who are collectively looking for easy to use plug-and-play devices which provide professional level recording quality that satisfy the demands of discernable online audiences. The Duocast is a small but great sounding microphone that includes a lot of features for the price and anyone interested in finding one of the best USB microphones should consider it. 

The Duocast features excellent audio fidelity, noise reducing construction, and eye-catching RGB lighting technology. There is a 3.5mm headphone output incorporated into the microphone as well as a gain control knob. This gain control knob also allows you to toggle mic monitoring on or off. As if that wasn’t enough, there is a touch sensitive mute pad on the top of the microphone. The Duocast USB microphone comes complete with a shock mount, table top mic stand, and a boom arm attachment which supports ⅜” and ⅝” thread sizes.

HyperX seemed to construct the Duocast with the intention that you should be able to alter nearly every parameter of the recording experience from the microphone itself, which is incredibly convenient. Once you hit “Record” on your DAW, whether it’s Logic, Garageband, or Audacity, you’ll have complete control over your audio source, right from the microphone’s controls itself.

HyperX’s Ngenuity software provides audio and lighting support for the Duocast. It’s free to download from the Microsoft store (apologies to the Apple users). The Ngenuity program allows you to adjust the mic gain, monitor microphone volume, mute/unmute the microphone, activate the high pass filter, and choose between which polar pattern you want between Cardioid and Omni-directional polar patterns. Every single one of these features can be manipulated from the controls on the microphone itself, so you only really need the Ngenuity software to control the RGB lighting.

Ngenuity’s RGB lighting control for the Duocast integrates very well with other HyperX products, and you can have multiple devices under your control with the Ngenuity software. Headsets, keyboards, microphones, and mice can all share the same color profile that you control from the Ngenuity program. In addition to color, Ngenuity allows you to employ effects (such as “Breathing”, or “Twilight”, etc.) for the Duocast’s RGB lighting, making it a great option for streamers out there.

HyperX Duocast: Price and availability

computing

(Image credit: Future)

  • How much does it cost?: $99/about £80/AU$140
  • When is it out? It is available now through HyperX.com and most major retailers
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK and Australia

The HyperX Duocast USB microphone offers a lot of features for the price. The Ngenuity software is free to download from the Microsoft store. The Duocast plus the Ngenuity software, on its own, seems like a great value. However, giving the value of the Duocast a closer look brings up some ironic comparisons. 

For example, the HyperX Quadcast (also available at HyperX.com and major retailers) has four polar patterns (the Duocast only has two) and excellent audio quality for the same price as the Duocast. Granted, the Quadcast is a slightly older model but it’s still easily available for purchase and simply a better value.

There are also other USB microphones from competing companies which give the HyperX Duocast some stiff competition, such as Blue Yeti Nano. The Blue Yeti Nano is available for a price as low as $79 from major retailers. You won’t get the Duocast’s RGB lighting capability from the Yeti Nano, but the Yeti Nano does offer the same polar patterns (cardioid/omni-directional) as the Duocast. 

None of this is meant to disparage a microphone as good as the Duocast. However, only you can be the judge if the Duocast is giving you the best value regarding everything that you’re looking for in a USB microphone. The Duocast will be a perfect fit for many people, just not everybody.

  • Value: 3 / 5

HyperX Duocast: Design

computing

(Image credit: Future)

  • Included shock mount
  • Mountable on a boom arm with ⅜” or ⅝” inch thread size

Here are the specs for the HyperX Duocast USB Microphone sent to TechRadar for review:

Microphone Element: Two condenser capsules
Polar Patterns: Cardioid, omnidirectional
Microphone Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Headphone Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Connection Type: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone output
Sample Rate: 96kHz
Dynamic Range Bit-Depth: 24-bit
Power consumption: 5V 200mA (white light)
Lighting: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
Weight (Microphone): 0.53lb
Cable type: USB-C to USB-A
Warranty: 2 years

The HyperX Duocast USB Microphone sits firmly in a sleek, thoughtfully designed shock mount. There is a clever access port built into the spine of the shock mount which will allow you to pass your headphone cable, and USB-C computer charging cable through to connect to the microphone. The result is clean cable management and a professional look.

While the shock mount and base are made of a combination of metal and plastic material, the plastic is durable and non-conductive. This will help to eliminate any noise resulting from electrical current that tries to creep into your recording. The floating retainer of the shock mount will cancel vibrations that could adversely affect the microphone. 

The Duocast features an integrated pop filter which will help you to tame the plosives in your speech. With the noise reducing construction combined with the high pass filter of the Ngenuity software, you will have a clean sounding recording of your voice or anyone else speaking into the Duocast. 

The multifunction button in the rear of the microphone is easy to reach. The sensitive microphone mute/unmute pad on the top of the mic itself is thoughtfully positioned. It is simple to activate yet out of your way. You really don’t need to worry about accidentally muting yourself while speaking, and the LED ring indicates if the mic is muted or not, so you have a visual cue to know when the mic is “hot”.

We personally would have liked to have had a bit more of a visual indication where the mic capsule is positioned. In the cardioid position, the capsule faces out where the HyperX logo is placed. However, with the entire microphone being black, and the shock mount possibly obscuring the HyperX logo, it can take you an extra split second to realize where the mic capsule is facing.

  • Design: 4 / 5

HyperX Duocast: Features

  • Eye-catching USB
  • Easily accessible mute button on top

The HyperX Duocast can switch between “cardioid” and “omni-directional” polar patterns with a simple tap of the multi-function button on the rear of the microphone. These are two of the most popular polar patterns and it was a wise decision to include these as options for the Duocast.

The aforementioned multifunction button can also adjust microphone gain and turn off the microphone monitoring function. There is a “tap-to-mute” sensor on the top of the microphone which is very handy. The RGB lighting is controlled through the Ngenuity software. It’s more of a visual feature but as we mentioned before, if your mic session has a video component, the RGB function may be very appealing.

The Duocast microphone integrates an internal pop filter to mitigate plosives and unwanted noise. The table top stand connects to a removable shock mount. The shock mount can attach to a microphone boom arm through the use of the mount adapter (included with the microphone) which connects to any boom arm utilizing a ⅜” or ⅝” inch thread size.

It’s important to note that the Duocast rarely conflicts with the microphone of any headset mic that you’re wearing. It is best to use wired headsets connected to the Duocast’s headphone output. Especially, when using a headset mic and the Duocast at the same time. You will be able to choose the Duocast as your input fairly easily from your computer or DAW input settings. 

The only time we had a conflict where we could not hear the output was when we connected a wireless headset/mic to the USB of our 2015 iMac, bypassing the headphone output of the Duocast.  We were able to record through the Duocast into Garageband, but we were unable to hear anything. 

This seemed to only affect our Apple computers when paired with USB wireless headsets, such as the HyperX Cloud Alpha wireless headset. Once you connect your headset/mic audio cable to the headphone port of the Duocast, everything usually works fine.

Our Windows laptops had no conflicts once we routed the input and output correctly in the sound settings. So if you were worried about any conflict between using your gaming headset microphone and the Duocast in the same recording session, there’s often no need to buy a separate headset. Any wired headset (whether it has a mic or not) should work fine. Just be careful if using a wireless headset to monitor your recording.

The RGB lighting looks very slick and fancy. With the Ngenuity software, you can change the color of the LED ring running around the diameter of the Duocast. You can choose lighting effects as well, which make the Duocast visually impressive to look at. When paired with other HyperX devices that are designed to work with Ngenuity, each device can share color and effects settings.

  • Features: 5 / 5

HyperX Duocast: Performance

computing

(Image credit: Future)

  • Outstanding audio quality
  • Dual-pattern mic input

The HyperX Duocast USB Microphone produces amazing, clear audio for your recording needs, featuring a dynamic range of 24 bits and a sampling rate of 96kHz. This is powerful audio capture for the price. The Cardioid polar pattern produces a very full sounding audio capture of the user’s voice while rejecting unwanted noise from the side and rear. It’s the perfect option for those who are recording their own voices for podcasting or streaming. 

Similarly, the Omni-directional polar pattern also produces a very full sounding audio capture. The Omni-directional pattern will pick up more ambient noise than the Cardioid pattern, but the Duocast’s shock mount and high pass filter both do a great job of mitigating most unwanted noise.

When using the Omni-directional polar pattern, you must exercise care to place the microphone in a quiet environment since the Omni-direction pattern will pick up sound from every direction, though this is a disadvantage of the polar pattern, not the microphone. Once the input and output are set appropriately, the Omni-directional pattern is a great option for roundtable discussions as well as interviews.

The tap to mute button works fantastic. It’s very touch sensitive, therefore you don’t need to use a lot of force to activate it. When you do activate it, there is no audible change in sound. The microphone just quietly mutes the pickup without creating audio artifacts that the user can hear. There’s no pop or audible drop.

The Duocast’s audio controls work better when adjusted on the mic as opposed to the Ngenuity software. Aside from the RGB controls which necessitate the use of the Ngenuity software, Ngenuity seems clunky to operate and somewhat unnecessary. You can control all of the audio features on the microphone itself. It is certainly more convenient. 

You might find that you don’t need to use the Ngenuity program much at all. You need to set your input and output through the Window control settings first to make the most use of the microphone’s various controls. Fortunately, once you’ve made the initial setup, the Duocast can take control of the session from there.

  • Performance: 5 / 5

Should you buy a HyperX Duocast?

computing

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You need a great sounding USB microphone
Try to save a few bucks and it could cost you. The Duocast sounds fantastic, even if it could be more competitively priced.

Don’t buy if…

Also consider

HyperX Duocast: Report Card

Value While it could be more competitively priced, it isn’t bad for what you’re getting. 3 / 5
Design The HyperX DuoCast is a fantastic looking device, and the ease of mounting it on a boom arm is a huge plus. 4 / 5
Features The DuoCast will let you control everything you need to control right from onboard controls once you’ve started recording, making it great for streaming. 5 / 5
Performance With incredible audio quality and Ngenuity integration, this microphone looks great and sounds great. 5 / 5
Total (Average) While not without its faults, the DuoCast is an incredible midrange option for those really interested in content creation. 4.25
  • First reviewed 

How We Test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it’s on our radar.

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