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.
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.
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.