Introduction & Specification
Two….Two..One….Two… Can y’all hear me at the back?
Hello there folks, it’s time for me to review something sort of new, a high end standalone microphone designed for gamers.
ASUS are a very well known computing company, they have been around for decades producing a huge variety of products from peripherals to complete systems. Their Republic of Gamers brand is highly regarded amongst gamers and tends to include higher quality and of course more expensive products.
Now ASUS have invaded the high quality condenser microphone market with the Strix Magnus. Let’s get a look at the specs.
- Pick-up Pattern – Uni-directional, Bi-directional or Omni-directional
- Frequency response – 20 ~ 20000 Hz
- Sensitivity – 35dB ± 3 dB
- Aura RGB Lighting
Rog Carry Case, 1.5m USB 3.0 Braided Cable, Quick Start Guide, Microphone Stand Adapter 5/8-27 thread (standard mount).
It’s interesting that the pick-up pattern has three options, lets take a closer look.
A Closer Look
Well this is a fairly big sturdy box for a microphone, not too much info on the front aside from a picture of the product and the name.
The rear of the box includes more details along with an image of the back of the Microphone, including some nice hints as to what all the buttons do. A picture showing three smaller microphones underneath the shield at the top explains the three pick up modes available, the mode switch will probably turn these on and off individually as required. A very small reminder that the microhpone comes with AURA RGB lighting finishes off this informative if basic description.
Holy Boxception Batman! Within the big outer box we are greeted by a smooth carry case, which often joins higher end equipment especially if it is to be transported or stored.
The contents of the box is nice and simple, no big collections of stickers or other frilly addons, meaning the focus has been on the product. The inside of the carry case has shaped foam to comfortably fit the Microphone and parts preventing them being knocked around. Aside for the warranty guide and user book we have of course the ASUS Strix Magnus itself along with a custom USB cable even though the final connector is a standard one, it is in a plastic shaped block for a snug fit. Finally there is the microphone stand adaptor should the mounting thread need to be altered. As I don’t have a custom stand or boom I will have to rely on reviewing this on a desk.
Looking at the front of the ASUS Strix Magnus, it has a bold striking design, a metal shield at the top where all the action takes place then adorned with some futuristic looking indents and led parts along with a ROG logo that also illuminates.
Around the back of the microphone, there is more Strix styling along with an AUX in and Headphone out port, the manual says to use the output port for both PC audio and microphone monitoring, so I will be listening to my own voice.
Checking out the left hand side, we are greeted with a mode switch for the three pickup modes, a microphone volume wheel and a through USB port.
On the right hand side we get a mute button, a lighting mode button, a headphone volume wheel and a very chunky port labelled PC that takes the extra large custom end of the included USB cable, I am not sure how necessary that is.
Plugging the ASUS Strix Magnus in we get to see that the custom USB block adds some stability by ensuring the cable rests at the bottom without twisting away maybe causing the microphone to move, the illumination shows in three areas, it does indeed look very striking, or would that be Strixing?
There is a piece of software available however it only controls the lighting on the Magnus so any audio trimming or processing, other than the microphone isolation settings, will have to be done through other software such as Audacity.
Performance & Testing
As far as condenser microphones go they are not often prevalent for pc gaming, however I do have previous experience with audio recording using Røde’s NT1A condenser, where learning about isolation and pop filters is a big lesson, so comparisons will be made against an audio recording giant rather than the usual headset mic’s.
ASUS have definitely used quality components for the Strix Magnus, the casing is very solid and easily as good as semi-professional recording equipment. Audio reproduction is very precise, the pickup units convey absolutely everything within range. This is where the very useful pickup mode switch comes in. Set to Cardioid, the microphone focus is set to pick up the whole room, including all background noise such as PC fans etc. On Stereo mode the audio pickup is more focused while allowing a fairly wide soundstage, background noise is reduced for a clearer target of the subject. Finally on ENC mode, almost all background noise is very cleverly removed leaving a clear pickup of a narrow focus point, here you have to position the microphone closer for the clearest audio.
Having these settings enables the Strix Magnus to handle different setup requirements, which is often missed with traditional condenser microphones, while the pickup tuning is stepped and set by ASUS to fixed levels, they are very well done and do away with the need for a mixing desk, it would be fun to try and further tweak the mic using such a mixer and is recommended to really attempt to bring perfect audio from this microphone.
Gaming & Broadcasting
Whether playing games on discord or streaming, the sound quality from the Strix Magnus is of no concern, setting the microphone up on my desk did however broadcast keystrokes and mouseclicks much louder than a headset does, it really does need a stand or boom arm to hold it in place, this will allow the user to drop the pickup volume reducing unwanted noises. Another thing that would benefit this microphone would be a pop-filter, I have previously had to use one with a recording microphone from Røde, this is common with condenser microphones and should be taken into consideration along with a stand/boom when purchasing.
The ASUS Strix Magnus oozes quality from the solid construction to the thick braided USB cable and the well padded carry case, much thought has been given to the presentation of a product that can be used not just for gaming and streaming but also serious audio recording.
So ASUS have put a gaming device into a market dominated by audio companies; many serious microphone users would chose a studio brand for even a streaming setup, ASUS have added some ROG bling to appeal to those who want quality and looks to go with many current PC schemes where RGB currently rules supreme. This product is however aimed completely at a studio style setting, don’t expect to enjoy the Strix Magnus at a LAN party, you will need a more constrained traditional headset for those.
Laying down audio tracks or whipping up a frenzy on twitch, the Strix Magnus performs without missing a beat, the detail available in the audio from this MIC opens up so many possibilities while ensuring listeners aren’t sent away with any audio issues.
The appearance of the Strix Magnus follows ASUS’ ROG design, so you cannot expect an understated product, you do however get solid metal housing, a good weighty feeling, futuristic design and of course AURA compatible RGB.
So as with any decent condenser microphone, you are always going to be north of £100, I found the ASUS Strix Magnus on Amazon for £164.99 at the time of writing which is actually not that bad considering the higher price ROG branded products usually fetch. As the microphone is so capable and even useful in a studio situation I don’t have any issues with the cost apart from the lack of even a basic stand for lifting the Magnus off the desk.
Well there we have it, an advanced high quality condenser microphone with a gaming twist. Great build quality along with excellent performance put’s this microphone in the top end of gaming audio peripherals with a nod to being usable in a studio recording setting, the different pickup modes are incredibly useful and actually perform some mixing desk functions although there is no substitute to using a proper mixing desk. Pop filter and stand or boom are going to be something you want to consider buying alongside the microphone so do bear that in mind.
The ASUS Strix Magnus picks up a performance and a gold award for providing a unique well made product to add to your gaming/streaming arsenal.
- Studio Quality build and performance
- Pickup adjustments to suit the room
- Priced well
- Needs a stand or boom
- Needs a pop filter
- Not suitable for LAN parties