Tag Archives: Mic

Turtle Beach Stream Mic review

Finding the right equipment for audio setup on the Xbox One isn’t as simple as it should be. Problems such as headsets suffering audio bleed through, creating an echo in your party chat, or pucks that connects to the controller malfunctioning, makes achieving crisp audio nightmarish. This is especially irritating if you intend to stream or otherwise record your game sessions. Thankfully the new Turtle Beach Stream Mic helps with these problems quite a bit, providing a high quality microphone that’s ideal for streaming.

And indeed it should be ideal, that’s very much the unique selling point of the product. Turtle Beach boast that this mic is a “first-of-its-kind professional desktop microphone created for gamers streaming directly from their consoles.” With on-board “advanced digital processing” which in turn “supports multiple pick-up patterns for different applications and environments”. Lofty claims. Fortunately, this isn’t just marketing blurb, this mic does achieve high quality audio and provides practical and useful features for streaming.

The small microphone, sporting a 1930s aesthetic that’s hard not to love, has a very light weight build, with the main body consisting of plastic and a thin brushed aluminium mounting support. It feels a bit cheap but ultimately this proves a smart design choice, making it ideal for boom mounts. If you intend to stand it up right, then the included desk stand, with its heavy solid base, caters to that splendidly. The front of the mic keeps thing simple with a large illuminated mute button, meanwhile, the back keeps things tidy with mini USB power input, 3.5mm jack, volume control, mode button and compatibility switch. It’s minimalistic and simple to use.

stream-mic-1

In fact simplicity appears to be a key feature of the mic. Flip the compatibility switch to Xbox, plug it in to your console via the 3 metre USB cable, and it’s ready to use. It’s plug and play, automatically being assigned by your console as your primary microphone input regardless of the headset you’re using. The same can be said for connecting it to PC. Simply flick the compatibility switch to its only other state, PC/PS4, and after a quick driver update, you’re good to start recording.

Customising the mic to suit your recording needs is also as simple as pressing the mode button. There are four modes you can freely switch between: cardioid – which colours the mute button green – picks up audio from the front microphone array; bi-directional – colours the mute button purple – activates the front and rear arrays for audio pickup; hypercardioid – colours the mute button orange – increases the sensitivity of the front array to pick your voice out of a noisy environment; and finally omnidirectional – which colours the mute button blue – picks up everything from all angles. No matter what your setup requires, this mic can provide.

But of course, when it comes to microphones it’s all about the quality of its audio, and fortunately Turtle Beach’s Stream Mic performs brilliantly. The mic covers frequency response between 20Hz – 20kHz and picks up voices with high levels of clarity. Moreover, unlike many condenser mics, this is powerful enough to capture vocals clearly from several feet away, thanks to Turtle Beach’s TruSpeak™ Technology. This range allows it to pick up your voice and not the clicks of your controller. And thanks to the built-in headphone amplifier, you can monitor your voice and the game audio by connecting a set of headphones to the 3.5mm jack. Indeed, this is a well-designed and thoughtful microphone that caters to precisely the audience it intends to: steamers.

stream-mic-2

If you’d like more control over your voice recording, then the Ear Force Audio Hub provides ample options, however, this is restricted to PC. An Xbox One app would have been a nice addition to provide some extra options for console streamers, but with the plug and play ease it currently enjoys instead, this is more a wish list item for the future than a criticism.

With its ease of use, high quality recording and smart design, the Turtle Beach Stream Mic does an excellent job at providing professional level equipment to the streaming community at a reasonable price point. You’d be hard pressed to find another microphone that offers this kind of compatibility and recording quality for the same price, especially one that’s so well suited to the environment of streaming, with the required extra range the mic needs.

Thrustmaster Y-350X 7.1 Doom Edition headset review

In order to hear the full effect of the gloriously gory sounds of punching, dismembering and shooting the copious amounts of demons in Doom, a headset is recommended, and seems Thrustmasters agrees with that sentiment and have produced the Y-350X 7.1 Doom Edition headset. And with its highly competitive price point of £129.99, can this headset provide the quality we desire in a more wallet friendly package to the likes of Astro and Turtlebeach?

After tearing through the box – with specification breakdowns, Doom’s Revenant demon, and some pleasant shots of the headset itself adorning the packaging – the black plastic of the headset reveals itself, with its scattering of etched white scratches and the Doom and Thrustmaster logos. Its round brown speaker cushions begging to rest against your ears, and the brown cushion on the headband poised to rest comfortably upon your head. The detachable power pack and Xbox One controller puck sport the same black and brown colour scheme, with clearly ladled buttons on the puck allowing for the mic, voice feedback, and 7.1 to be activated and disabled, as well as the ability to switch between game, chat and bass volume controls. It only gets better once these are plugged in and green and orange lights dictate the volume level. It’s certainly an attractive headset.

Doom headset 1

However, minimal documentation can leave you wanting. It’s fairly intuitive to setup and use but when problems occur it’s off to the online documentation for answers and that too is on the small side. And unfortunately we did encounter some problems with the initial setup, with the puck not responding and only finally coming to life after unplugging it and plugging it back in to the controller several times. These issues persisted with different controllers and with the initial setup over multiple gaming sessions, however, once we were up and running the headset’s quality truly started to shine.

The bass is simply remarkable, with exceptional crispness and range across the low frequencies and terrific enhancement to its treble counterpart at the high end.  The 60mm drivers deliver loud, high quality sound that’s a delight to experience. Activate the 7.1 mode and the sound is enhanced further, providing you with brilliant directional audio feedback. However, the 7.1 is virtually simulated rather than the real thing, and its source is stereo as opposed to the Astro A50 5.1 source to 7.1 virtually delivery. It therefore doesn’t quite live up to the A50’s in this area, but its mighty close.

Doom headset 2

However, this is a £130 headset as opposed to Astro’s £250 equivalent, and the sound quality it delivers despite the lower price point is exceptional. Furthermore, the mic also provides crisp, clear voice, although its bare plastic does mean it’s highly sensitive to wind and breath sounds. We also found that long sessions with the round speaker cushions do end up hurting your ears.

The Y-350X 7.1 Doom Edition headset achieves tremendous sound quality in both its speaker delivery and mic input, making it a very competitive product against any of the high-end headsets currently on the market. And with its low price point it’s a bargain. However, it gets uncomfortable to wear over longer gaming sessions, picks up breath sounds very easily, and occasionally fights against the Xbox One controller. Mind you, its impressive scope of compatibility, with it working terrifically on PC, smartphones and PS4 makes, this a flexible headset that’s ideal if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution –  although the 7.1 functionality is restricted to the Xbox One through the puck. Indeed then, it’s easy to recommend the Y-350X 7.1 Doom Edition headset.

Thanks to Xbox and Thrustmaster for supporting TiX