Speaker 1: NZXT made a microphone aimed at streamers, but is it best in class? Let’s find out
Speaker 1: If you’ve ever shopped around for a pre-built PC or individual hardware components. You’re probably familiar with NZXT. They make gaming and streaming PCs, as well as all in one liquid coolers, motherboards power supplies cases. You get the idea. There’s one area. It hasn’t quite been successful in though. [00:00:30] And that’s audio back in late 2019. Oh my God. That’s almost two years ago. What is time NZ? X T announced what it called an all in one audio ecosystem centered around the air headset, but then backtracked before it launched. Well, sometime around mid 20, 20 NZ X T put up a note on its website, explaining the decision, saying the lineup wasn’t quote, living up to the quality standards that we strive for. They also noted it was working [00:01:00] on a new audio with a new manufacturing partner, which brings us to today and the official announcement of Nope, not a new headset, a microphone. This is the NCX T capsule. It’s cute.
Speaker 1: A small bit of housekeeping before he dive into my review. I think it’s important to mention NCX T’s goal with this microphone, and then start there as a baseline [00:01:30] way back in the original press release for the headset. There was a quote from Patrick Butler. Who’s a product manager at NC X T. He said our product development always starts by identifying a hassle gamers face. That takes time away from gaming. Based on the information provided to me about the capsule. It’s clear NZ X T aims to do the same thing here, create an affordable, great sounding microphone for PC users that doesn’t require a ton of tweaking and extra processing [00:02:00] before you use it for the first time H true plug and play mic for customers. So based on their goals for this mic, did they meet my expectations? And can they meet yours as a potential customer against the competition? Let’s dive in
Speaker 1: The NZXT capsule mirrors. A lot of the design cues NZX T is known for it’s very minimalist and modern looking. I have the [00:02:30] white version of it, which has this very cool two-tone look and conveniently matches the majestic PC I built earlier this year, but if you’re into a little less pizazz, NZXT also makes the capsule in the body is also aluminum, which is a little bit of a departure from other mics in its range. And I will say it does give the microphone a much more premium feel compared to the competition. There are two infinity dials up top. You control your gain [00:03:00] and click on it to mute. And then down below is your he phone volume. It connects via a very long three meter us B C to a cable, which I argue should become the standard going forward because it’s very nice.
Speaker 1: And lets me run the cable along a boom arm straight out of the box. You also get a little extender piece for boom arms, so you don’t struggle to plug everything in underneath once it’s mounted. And another really nice detail is this quick release bit [00:03:30] in the back to get the mic off its stand. Well, that piece stays on the Mount. If you take it off and there’s a second cover inside the box to keep flush and looking beautiful. It’s really solid build quality. And while the Mount is hefty, the mic itself is pretty light on its own. The pop filter and shock Mount are both also internal. So you won’t have to shell out a bunch of extra money for accessories if your budget is tight. So the build quality is very nice. It’s a microphone [00:04:00] that looks and feels premium, but is the sound premium?
Speaker 1: NC XT dropped a single massive 25 millimeter cardio capsule into this mic. And if you’re not familiar with the term cardio, here’s a quick and dirty refresher mics utilize different types of polar patterns, bidirectional on knee directional and cardio bidirectional picks up sound from the front and the back in a kind of figure eight shape omnidirectional picks up sound in every direction [00:04:30] and cardio picks up sound in one single direction. So cardio mics basically ask you to point the mic at the front of your face and talk. There are mics out there that offer Mo pattern functionality like the hyper X quad and the blue Yeti USB. That is not what this mic does. It is specifically designed for a single person speaking while sitting at a desk, which I guess makes sense considering the target audience is gamers and streamers. So it went with a cardio setup instead of going multi [00:05:00] pattern, which might be confusing to set up if you’re not a hundred percent sure what you’re doing, multi pattern.
Speaker 1: I mean, so let’s open audacity and take a look at some wave forms using the capsule. Here I am in audacity, I’m using the NC XT capsule for this experiment. Uh, I’m about a Shaka length away from the microphone. So it’s relatively close. And every time you plug in the NCX C capsule, it resets to a default of 50% [00:05:30] gain and 50% headset volume. So let’s talk about what that means you can see in the waveform. This looks and sounds pretty good. This, this looks amazing, but I do have some issue actually hearing myself the monitoring and the side tone is like not quite at the level that I prefer personally. Um, that’s not a huge issue if you really love to keep your monitoring, uh, low, if you like keep that at a low level. But if you wanna be [00:06:00] able to hear yourself, you have a couple of options, right?
Speaker 1: So you have the first option, which is to turn up your gain. So I’m gonna just turn this about a quarter. I’m not even gonna do it a quarter. I’m gonna do about an eighth of the way up. Okay. So that’s about an eighth through the way up and you can see there’s a little bit of a difference here. And I have now started getting into an area where I’m clipping. So I’m, I’m peeking. You can see it’s hitting that pretty often. So [00:06:30] let’s turn this back down again and try the other option, which is to turn up your headset volume. So again, the fault 50%, I’m gonna turn this all the way up. And now I feel like I can hear myself at a level that I prefer while streaming or talking to people in meetings. Uh, anytime I’m using a microphone, this is about the level I like for monitoring my side tone.
Speaker 1: Um, unfortunately, the issue with is, is that you [00:07:00] now have a problem balancing what’s coming into your ears. So while I have, for my purposes perfected what my audio sounds like going out, and I have the ability to hear it in the way that I prefer everything coming in now is at a headphone volume of a heart hundred percent. So my game volume, if I have guests on my Twitch stream, if I have notifications, they are all extremely loud. And then I have to go in and tweak all of those settings [00:07:30] to make sure that I can sort of hear everything at a level that I like that is good for me. Uh, that works for me as a streamer or as some buddy who is, you know, having a meeting or whatever you’re gonna use a microphone for. And that’s really frustrating, not great for a mic that wants to be truly plug and play.
Speaker 1: Okay. Back to the review for better or worse, NC XT wisely chose to sidestep any and all software for the capsule mic. [00:08:00] In that regard, it really is plug and play. It’s ready to go right out of the box and sets itself up in about five seconds. I did reach out to NZ X T and asked if there were any plans to allow users to adjust the monitoring side tone, either via software or firmware updates. And the company said it is always looking for ways to improve its products. So I’m guessing there’s gonna be an option for a little more customization soon. Let’s talk about price. The NCX T capsule costs a hundred twenty nine ninety nine, [00:08:30] which is a tough spot to be in. It’s competing as a price or budget option against the a hundred dollars mics. But it’s also a well built in an expensive choice if you’re comparing it to microphones in the $150 range.
Speaker 1: So what’s the verdict is the capsule of success based on its performance. And NZX T’s goals. Not quite, it’s really easy to get started with the capsule, but it’s not the best at balancing your monitor mix with what [00:09:00] you’re listening to. If you’re recording a podcast with a friend over Skype and you just have a lot of zoom meetings and Skype calls, uh, the capsule would actually probably be a really, really good choice. But if you, you are someone who’s known for a voice that’s all over the place and you’re looking for a streaming microphone, the capsule would not be my top pick yet. NC X T again seems really committed to tweaking and updating their first microphone. So it’s [00:09:30] possible over time. It will find a super nice sweet spot that makes it a big, big competitor in the space. If you’re a streamer drop your favorite mic down in the comments, and if you enjoy this video, you can make me look very good for my bosses by giving it a thumbs up and subscribing to our channel for more tech news reviews and other product coverage until next time be at humans.