The Turtle Beach Stream Mic is a good idea with poor audio

Everyone is a content creator. You are a brand, and you need to promote it. And you’ll need equipment to do that properly. That’s where Turtle Beach wants to step in and help you.

Turtle Beach Stream Mic

  • Pricing: $100
  • Availability: Out now
  • Compability: Consoles and PC over USB

The Turtle Beach Stream Mic is a USB microphone that comes with its own stand. It plugs into your PC, but you can also use it on your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One — and that sets it apart from other microphones. While you can already use most high-quality USB mics on a PS4, few of those will also work with your Xbox One. But Turtle Beach’s Stream Mic is compatible with them all, and the company is pitching this as a way to bring better audio to live broadcasts and recordings that you might do directly on your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One using the built-in Twitch and YouTube functionality.

I love that idea, and I think that Turtle Beach would really have something here … if the mic sounded just a little bit better.

What you’ll like

Works across consoles and PC

I won’t argue against the basic functionality of the Stream Mic. It does what it claims to do. You can plug it into a PC, a PS4, or an Xbox One, and it will work. And, like I said, it’s a smart concept. Thousands of people have started livestreaming their gameplay to Twitch and other sites thanks to the tools included in the current generation of consoles, and some of those folks may want to step up their production without having to bring a PC or capture hardware into the mix.

I respect that Turtle Beach is making a product that serves that crowd — especially the people on Xbox One who don’t have a lot of alternatives. And I like that it comes with its own weighted stand, which is probably something most people broadcasting from Xbox One won’t have lying around.

Lots of options

This also isn’t a dumb microphone. It has a lot of options to better perform for a single speaker, a 1-on-1 interview, and even a room full of speakers. While none of these will suddenly make the Stream Mic sound like a Blue Yeti, but you can definitely squeeze better audio out of it if you set it up properly.

On top of that, the Turtle Beach Stream Mic also includes a headphone jack so you can do instant mic monitoring. This is one of its best features since it provides you a way to ensure your voice levels are consistent.

What you won’t like

A nice-looking piece of audio equipment.

Above: A nice-looking piece of audio equipment.

Image Credit: Turtle Beach

Audio quality isn’t great

But as much as I like the idea, the audio actually sound really rough. It sounds significantly worse than a Blue Snowball, which is $50 less expensive. You could also spend a similar amount of money on an Audio-Technica AT2020, which sounds leagues better.

Sure, neither of those will work on your Xbox One, but they definitely work on the PS4. So if you are primarily using the Sony system, I probably wouldn’t jump on the Turtle Beach solution.

If you want to hear the Stream Mic in comparison to some other headsets, listen to this playlist.

Conclusion

Turtle Beach can make great microphones. If you don’t believe me, listen to the noise-cancelling microphone for the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset in the SoundCloud playlist above. That’s one of the best microphones I’ve encountered on a “gaming headset.” But the Stream Mic, which is $100, doesn’t even come close to matching that. Its quality never sounds professional, and I think it’s fair for you to expect that when you’re spending as much money as Turtle Beach is asking.

At the same time, the mic does work with the Xbox One. And it may provide a solution for certain audio demands you may have if you are using that console to create video content. Maybe you want a mic that’ll pic up a room full of talkers or maybe you like the idea of having a mic that comes with a nice stand. But outside of a specific use case, I would pass on the Stream Mic.

Turtle Beach provided GamesBeat with a sample of the Stream Mic for the purposes of this review. It is available now for $100.


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