At CGM, we have had the pleasure of reviewing a lot of microphones from a lot of companies. This time, we look at a company who offers only one microphone, the NZXT Capsule, a cardioid USB mic that is a real beauty to behold.
In the box, you get the microphone (in either black or white) and its stand, a long USB-C cable, a stand quick-release cover (a small piece to complete the mic’s cylindrical shape when it is separated from its stand) and a mic thread adapter to allow you to attach the microphone to a boom arm.
The first impression was that this was a beautiful microphone that was well-built. The NZXT Capsule has that immediate, solid feel in your hands. The minimalist stand does not sacrifice any sturdiness for its lack of material. I would have liked to have seen a spot taken out of the base ring to allow the USB and headphone cables to pass through rather than passing through the back of the stand, but that is a small complaint. Removing the mic from its stand is a breeze. It literally pops off of the back of the microphone, and then you can prepare to mount it on an arm.
NZXT’s goal with the creation of this mic was simple, less setup, more fun, and they proved it to be an achievable goal. The microphone was recognized and ready to use in less time than it took me to plug it in and check my monitor. Once this setup was done, I could add it to any stream software or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). It is worth checking NZXT’s website for any firmware updates, though.
It’s plug and play setup does indeed mean a lack of any supporting software for the NZXT Capsule, however. For a novice user, this isn’t an issue and a more experienced user, who could still utilize VSTs in software, may still miss the ability to do all of that work before the mic is sent to the stream.
“It’s plug and play setup does indeed mean a lack of any supporting software for the NZXT Capsule, however.”
Getting the NZXT Capsule up onto the mic arm looks great, but the only drawback is its sheer size combined with the longer mic thread adapter. The setup becomes quite formidable. Depending on which way you like to orient the microphone, there could be a cumbersome mic setup in front of your face.
The mic is a really nice aesthetic addition to a stream with its minimalist white ring of light (not RGB, just white, but there is nothing wrong with that) and its clean shape. I do wish that the plate that covers where the stand connected appeared a little more seamless, as that is the part of the microphone that faces the camera, or do something with the design to make it stand out as an individual piece. It’s a very small complaint that in no way affects the performance.
Right out of the box, the sound was impressive. The cardioid polar pattern seems to work better than most USB mics because the amount of room noise was minimal. It is one of only a couple of USB microphones that I have tried where I would be comfortable putting straight on my stream without any VSTs as any music or game audio you may have playing would cover up the room noise without issue.
For an audio perfectionist, though, there are small improvements that could be made with a little compression and equalization. The amount of adjustments I needed to make to get my voice just where I wanted it were minimal. The NZXT Capsule already did a pretty good job with the low-end frequencies of my voice and the mid-tones were not muddying up my voice a lot. I boosted the low end (100Hz) about 2dB and lowered the mid-tones (500-5000Hz) about 3dB. To add a little more presence to my voice, I boosted the high end (7500Hz+) 3dB. Compare this to approximately 5dB in either direction for most of the other mics I have reviewed, and it tells you that the NZXT Capsule is among the mics that are most well suited for my own voice.
It’s USD $129.99 price is also a very enticing aspect of the NZXT Capsule. It isn’t as affordable as some more lite mics, but a lot more affordable than so many others. It is right in that sweet spot where it is an incredibly viable option for beginner content creators or more advanced creators who aren’t hung up on all the bells and whistles.